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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Shooting from the lip/Aug. 8 edition



Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

tebow.Worst criticism
Maybe Tim Tebow cannot play quarterback in the NFL. And, as a 2010 first-round pick of the Broncos, he's certainly open to scrutiny and criticism. But doesn't it seem as if most critics are especially harsh when it comes to Tebow? Don't the attacks seem personal? Don't they seem more nasty than the critiques of other inexperienced players? It feels as if some want Tebow to fail.

The latest is ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge, who comes off as having an agenda against Tebow. Aside from disparaging comments on ESPN and ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning show, Hoge fired off nine tweets on Twitter, most beyond normal criticism of a player, such as:

"It's embarrassing to think the broncos could win with tebow!!''
"QB play is not just about who works hard gives rare rare college speeches or who is a good guy!!''
"College credentials do not transfer to NFL. raw raw speeches do not work!''

hoge.jpg(We're assuming Hoge meant "rah rah'' speeches, not "rare rare'' or "raw raw.'' And while we're at it, is Hoge actually suggesting that Tebow won a Heisman and two national titles at Florida simply by giving good pep talks?) After Tebow responded to Hoge's comments, Hoge said he hoped Tebow would prove him wrong and wished him luck.

Still, nine messages on Twitter? That seems excessive. It feels out-and-out mean. In the end, Hoge is paid to give strong opinions, but he comes off in this case as either trying to make headlines or having something personal against Tebow.

Worst conflict
Speaking of ESPN's Merril Hoge, he wrote on Twitter about attending the wedding of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. (Hoge played for the Steelers but not with Roethlisberger). Isn't this a major conflict of interest? An NFL analyst attending the wedding of a player he talks about from time to time? Why should viewers trust anything Hoge ever says about Roethlisberger when they know he was close enough to the Steelers QB to be invited to his wedding?

williams.Best interview
Golf caddie Steve Williams might have given the greatest caddie interview in the history of television Sunday -- partly because we don't remember a caddie ever being interviewed. Major kudos to CBS for grabbing Williams, fired by Tiger Woods last month, after Williams carried the bags for WGC-Bridgestone winner Adam Scott. If CBS was hoping Williams would say something interesting, it hit a gold mine.

Williams called it the "greatest week of my life'' and said it was the "best victory of my career.''

Read those quotes again and then realize this was a guy who carried Woods' clubs for 13 major championships. Think he still isn't bitter about being axed by Woods? CBS deserves the Best Hustle Award for the juiciest television moment of the weekend and the best golf moment of the year.

Best statistic
Here's another example why it's so fun and educational to listen to Rays games on the radio. After Rays starting pitcher David Price struggled Sunday, announcers Dave Wills and Andy Freed pointed out how Price was in trouble all game. Producer Chris Mueller quickly figured out that of Price's 110 pitches, 73 were from the stretch. Of the 37 pitches out of the windup, 24 came to batters leading off the inning. That's terrific insight and par for the course for the Rays radio crew.

mlb.pngBest network
Just last week in this space, I wrote how the MLB Network is the mandatory destination for baseball fans when news is developing, such as a no-hitter or a bottom-of-the-ninth rally. The network produced more must-see TV Friday night moments after a brawl broke out in the Phillies-Giants game. Numerous camera angles, great analysis and some laugh-out-loud humor covered all the bases, once again, on breaking news.

Setting up shop
ESPN's College GameDay -- the best sports preview show on television -- has announced sites for its first three broadcasts of the college football season. The show will make its season debut Sept. 3 from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where Oregon faces LSU in the Cowboys Classic. On Sept. 10, the show heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., where Michigan hosts Notre Dame in the first night game at Michigan Stadium. Then Sept. 17, Tallahassee hosts the show in anticipation of the showdown between Florida State and Oklahoma, which should be the nation's No. 1 team at the time.

pirates.Three things that popped into my head
1. It's always fun to sit down and watch the Yankees and Red Sox play each other until you look at the clock and realize you've been watching for two hours and it's only in the fourth inning.
2. Did you know the Pirates are 1-11 since losing that 19-inning game on a bad call against the Braves on July 28?
3. The NASCAR season already feels long and we still have another 3 1/2 months to go.


[Last modified: Sunday, August 7, 2011 9:55pm]


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