Shooting from the lip/June 25th edition
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
I received several emails on Sunday afternoon from television viewers upset that golf and Olympic trials coverage was interrupted because Channels 10 and 8 broke away for weather coverage because of the massive rains and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Debby. To those viewers who were upset, I say, "Are you people nuts?''
Hey, I'd rather watch golf, too, but when a major weather story develops, that must take precedence over sports. Whoever wins the Travelers Championship, or whatever the heck it was called, isn't nearly as important as tornados, flooding and other potentially life-threatening events. It just isn't.
Now, some might say that there are other channels to watch for those interested in tracking the weather. My take always has been that the more channels that are showing dangerous weather, the better. Ultimately, the local news channels' top priority is the welfare of their viewers. In addition, the backbone of any local television news is weather coverage, especially here in Florida.
Interestingly, at one point, Ch. 8 meteorologist Steve Jerve even addressed that he understood viewers might be annoyed that they were missing regular programming because of weather coverage. But he explained why it was important.
"It's really not that hard,'' Jerve said of the decision to stay with the weather.
He's absolutely right.
Ch. 8 broke away from NBC's Olympic trials coverage sometime after 3 p.m. and stayed with weather for a while before going back to the trials. But as the weather continued to grow worse, Ch. 8 returned to storm coverage and did not go back to sports until the track trials started at 7.
Ch. 10 broke away from CBS's golf coverage sometime after 3 p.m. and never went back to the golf. Just to note: Ch. 28 (ABC) and Ch. 13 (Fox) did not have sports coverage late Sunday afternoon. Ch. 28 stuck with weather, while Ch. 13 stayed mostly with its regularly scheduled programming with a radar box in the corner.
Since this column usually critiques what's on TV on Sunday afternoons, let's go ahead and critique the weather coverage. Give me Ch. 28 and Denis Phillips. He's a straight-shooter who talks like a regular guy. And he tells us what is going to happen instead of what just happened.
Looking ahead instead of back? That's what makes a good sports analyst.
Oh, one other thing: Kudos to Nicole Darin of Ch. 10. She's normally a sports reporter, but she put on her poncho and boots and then waded through flood waters Sunday evening to put out a solid news report.
I've written time and time again about how much I like Sun Sports Rays analyst Brian Anderson, but I wasn't a fan Saturday evening when he slammed his own crew, even though he might not have realized how badly he was doing so.
During the Rays-Phillies broadcast, a graphic appeared on the screen showing that Rays first baseman Carlos Peña led all interleague batters in walks. Anderson's point was such a stat -- the fact that Peña has walked a lot against a small sample of pitchers -- really doesn-t tell you anything. He did have a point, but then he went too far.
"That's just a waste of my time and everybody else's,'' Anderson said.
Someone in the Sun Sports production truck looked up that statistic. Someone in that truck decided to put it on the screen. And Anderson shot a hole in all of it and undermined the credibility of the broadcast in general and a few individuals in particular. Again, Anderson sort of had a point, but it wasn't such a great point that it needed to be addressed. Ignoring it would have been the best tact instead of making your own team look bad.
Most interesting real estate item
Cool nugget from the website TheBigLead.com. It uncovered that former USF men's basketball coach Seth Greenberg, fired recently by Virginia Tech, has purchased a home in Avon, Conn. What makes that interesting? Avon is 14 miles from Bristol, home of ESPN.
So we've added two plus two and came up with Greenberg joining ESPN. There's a buzz that if Greenberg doesn't return to coaching, he would be a perfect replacement some day for Digger Phelps on the basketball version of College GameDay. Phelps turns 71 in July.
Meantime, College GameDay already has an opening now that Hubert Davis has left to become an assistant coach at North Carolina. The rumor is ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose, a member of the old Michigan Fab Five, is in line to replace Davis. Personally, I'd rather see Doug Gottlieb in that role, partly because Rose is just fine on the NBA, but mostly because Gottlieb deserves the higher profile. And can't you just see him trading barbs with Jay Bilas?
LeBron James and the Heat absolutely deserved to win the NBA championship. And it's true that injuries are a part of the game. But Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan made an interesting point on ESPN's Sports Reporters on Sunday.
"If (Bulls guard) Derrick Rose hadn't gotten hurt,'' Ryan said, "we might be having a very different conversation this morning.''
Former major-leaguer Orestes Destrade is the analyst on the Sun Sports pregame road games and, while on camera at the desk, he holds a baseball. Maybe he wants this to be his "thing'' or whatever, but it's annoying. And distracting. You can't help but look at the baseball when he's talking, and you end up not hearing what he is saying. The only time a TV sports analyst should be holding a piece of equipment -- a baseball, a football, a baseball bat, a golf club, whatever -- is when he is demonstrating something. Otherwise, put the toys away so we can listen to what you're saying.
Don't you just love technology? In the 1970s, we were lucky if the scoreboard on the television screen wasn't crooked. These days, it seems like there's a new cool graphic every time you watch a sporting event. We have graphics that show whether a pitch is a ball or a strike, technology that tracks the flight of a golf ball and a yellow line that shows where the first down marker is in football.
The latest is something called the "splash-o-meter.'' In diving, we are always hearing about how the smaller the splash is, the better the dive is. So, finally, NBC came up with a graphic that shows just how big the splashes are. NBC unveiled the technology for this past weekend's Olympic trials coverage, and you can be sure you will to see a lot more of it during the London Olympics.
Three things that popped into my head
1. For those who dislike the Red Sox, isn't it going to be weird to see Kevin Youkilis with the White Sox? He always seems like the one Red Sox player who got under the skin of rival team fans.
2. I hope Dwight Howard does not get traded to Brooklyn. Why? Because that's where he wants to be traded. The Magic should trade him to Charlotte or some other lousy team just so he can see how good he had it in Orlando and how badly he treated Magic fans.
3. Did anyone think that on June 25, the Phillies and Tigers would have losing records, while the Indians, Pirates and Orioles would have winning records?