Shooting from the lip/May 13th edition
The latest from the world of sports ...
Local news of the week
This week started with a potentially juicy showdown between WDAE 620-AM, the biggest and most popular sports-talk radio station in Tampa, and its most popular host, Steve Duemig. The week ends with a quiet announcement that Duemig signed a new deal that will keep him with the station for at least two more years. And really, we shouldn't be surprised there weren't any fireworks or big-time changes because, in the end, neither side had any leverage to play chicken for too long.
Duemig's contract was set to expire Sunday, and with the sides far apart as recently as a few days ago, both the station and Duemig might have started considering their options. They likely found they didn't have any other options.
If Duemig wanted to remain in the area, where he has been on the radio for 21 years, he could have flirted with one of the other sports stations in town: WQYK 1010-AM or ESPN 1040-AM. But it's doubtful either could have come up with the money to pry Duemig away from WDAE. Duemig was stuck. He could re-sign with WDAE or go to another market. The station knew that and probably believed it could strong-arm Duemig.
On the other hand, if WDAE had let Duemig walk, it really didn't have a suitable replacement. Love him or hate him, Duemig is the most polarizing sports radio host in town. And when it comes to radio, polarizing is a very good thing. Simply put, there was no one out there who could take Duemig's place. Duemig knew that, and that's probably why he was stubborn about re-signing.
Then throw in a third party. In this case, negotiations not only were going on between Duemig and WDAE, but Clear Channel, which owns WDAE.
Ultimately, WDAE and Duemig realized neither could live without the other and a deal came together fairly quickly. Still, Duemig has said he was disappointed in how he was treated during the negotiations. He said he would get over it and was happy to remain at WDAE. But will some of these bitter feelings come alive the next time Duemig's contract is up? It just seems like bad business for WDAE and/or Clear Channel to play hardball with its most popular host and give him a reason to look around in the future. And it makes you wonder what will happen when the contracts of the hosts of other shows at the local Clear Channel stations are set to expire. If they played tough with Duemig, imagine how they will handle contract talks with everyone else.
* Golf Channel and NBC are now owned by Comcast, which is why NBC's top golf announcers, Johnny Miller and Dan Hicks, made their Golf Channel tournament coverage debuts Thursday by calling the first round of The Players Championship.
* The Pac-10 (soon to be Pac-12) will start its own network in 2012, according to the New York Times. The network could carry as many as 350 games a year in a variety of sports.
* On Sunday, Versus will air a one-hour highlight show of the college fishing national championship, which was won by Florida for the second year in a row. FLW Outdoors airs at 1 p.m.
Best radio item of the day
It's always a pleasure to listen to Lightning radio announcer Dave Mishkin during his weekly appearance on 620-AM WDAE's Ron and Ian Show. Mishkin is best known for his maximum-volume goal calls but, obviously, is more than just a guy who occasionally screams. When on the show, Mishkin gives objective, measured and intelligent comments about a variety of topics that go much deeper than just general hockey talk. And the conversation gives listeners a real insight into the team and its players. It also helps that hosts Ron Diaz and Ian Beckles set up Mishkin with good hockey questions that do more than just scratch the surface. It's all quite enjoyable and informative and one of the highlights of the Ron and Ian Show.
Best TV item of the day
The Golf Channel did outstanding work Thursday in the wake of Tiger Woods withdrawing from The Players Championship after nine holes. The network's show, Live from the Players Championship, came on the air at 11 a.m., just a few minutes after Woods withdrew because of a sore left Achilles' and left knee.
The show had live shots of Woods pulling out of the parking lot and his interview with the media on tape moments before that. It also went to an array of analysts giving their take on the latest in the Woods' saga. The most interesting comments came from John Feinstein, who said he believes Woods was pressured by the PGA Tour to play in the tournament.
"I don't think he ever should have come here this week,'' Feinstein said. "He has had four knee surgeries. That is a big deal, and I think his first priority should have been to say to the tour, 'Look, I understand why you want me there. I need to make sure I'm 100 percent.'''
Three things that popped into my head
1. Didn't LeBron James' behavior during and after the series-clinching victory against the Celtics on Wednesday seem a little over the top for a mere second-round series? He does realize the Heat has to win two more rounds, right?
2. There is nothing more stomach-churning than watching your favorite team play in a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. And there's nothing more enjoyable than watching a Game 7 that doesn't involve your favorite team.
3. This actually popped into the head of WQYK 1010-AM's J.P. Peterson, who cleverly wondered out loud if there are a slew of owners around Major League Baseball who look at the Rays and say to their general manager, "How come you can't put together a good team on the cheap like Andrew Friedman has?’''