Shooting from the lip/May 17th edition
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
It seemed odd that Gabe Kalper was batting third in the Rays' order on Sunday. He came into the game batting .224 and was 1-for-8 with four strikeouts in his career against Mariners starter Cliff Lee. It would not have been surprising if Rays television analyst Kevin Kennedy had defended manager Joe Maddon's decision (because that's what team analysts normally do), but give credit to Rays' play-by-play announcer Dewayne Staats for raising an eyebrow and give credit to Kennedy for not giving Maddon a ringing endorsement.
"I think it's a fair question to ask,'' Kennedy said.
Kapler went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, but did knock in the winning run with a sacrifice fly off Lee in the bottom of the eighth.
Most unusual decision
Usually when a fan runs on to the field during a game, television won't show it. The reasoning: we're not going to give attention to a disruptive fan because it might encourage other fans to run on the field for 15 minutes of fame. Fox, however, showed the fan who raced onto the field during the ninth inning of Saturday's Rays-Mariners game. After seeing the fan roughly tackled by security, I can't be sure if showing it on TV encourages or deters fans from acting like idiots.
Speaking of Fox's coverage, it was a little disappointing that analyst Tim McCarver didn't give his take on the Rays cutting ties with Pat Burrell other than to say it was a "difficult morning'' for Rays manager Joe Maddon. Fox play-by-play man Kenny Albert gave him an opening, but McCarver had little to say about Burrell's unproductive time in Tampa Bay.
HBO Boxing now has an analyst's opening since not renewing Lennox Lewis' contract, and there's talk about trainer Freddie Roach joining HBO. But New York Daily News columnist Bob Raissman has the perfect replacement: Mike Tyson. Raissman writes, "This artist, formerly known as 'Iron Mike,' will bring an instant buzz to the production, a quality that has been lacking. Lewis brought a likable presence, but never was excited about the gig or totally prepared to deliver insights. With Tyson behind the mike, there would be strong, controversial opinions from a guy never shy about saying what's on his mind. Tyson would also bring, as he did throughout his turbulent career in the ring, a historical perspective of the sweet science.''
Most interesting comment
Judging by how Tiger Woods has fared since returning to golf, you have to wonder if he would be better off shutting it down for the rest of the year, getting his personal life (either his marriage or divorce) and health in order and setting his sights on 2011. His return hasn't been as smooth as it appeared it would be after finishing in a tie for fourth at the Masters.
"It makes you apply hindsight about whether he should have come back this quickly,’' Detroit Free-Press columnist Mitch Albom said on ESPN's Sports Reporters. "He doesn't like losing. ... He doesn't like losing money like he’s going to lose in a divorce. He doesn't like losing out on the golf course. It's like one after the other and everywhere he turns, all the lights that used to turn green are now suddenly red.''
Most interesting story
ESPN's Outside the Lines did an outstanding profile on former big-leaguer Bernie Carbo, most famous for hitting a pinch-hit three-run homer in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series for the Red Sox against the Reds. Carbo told his story of drug abuse, even saying that of the 1,010 major-league games he played, he only played one straight. "Nobody did as many drugs as I did,'' Carbo said.
When former National League MVP Keith Hernandez testified in a 1985 Pittsburgh drug trial on baseball that Carbo was the man who introduced him to drugs, Carbo said he wanted to pay someone $2,000 to break Hernandez's arms. If he had a chance to talk to him today, Carbo said he would tell Hernandez, "I'm sorry I introduced you to drugs and I'm sorry I was your problem.''
Carbo claimed he nearly ended his life in the mid-1990s, but was stopped by former major-league players Bill Lee, Fergie Jenkins and Sam McDowell. Carbo, 62, said he has been clean and sober for 16 years.
Most interesting numbers
Think that one player can't make a huge difference to a franchise? Check this out: according to Forbes magazine, the Cavaliers were worth $258-million right before LeBron James was drafted in 2003 and they are now worth $476-millon. If James leaves, it’s believed the Cavs' value would immediately decrease by $100-million.
Perhaps the WNBA is going for a different audience than the general sports fans, but still, does it seem like a smart idea to start your season on the same weekend as the conference finals in both the NBA and NHL, as well as one of the biggest horse races of the year? Why not wait a few weeks until the sports schedule has calmed down a little?
Check it out
A new Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel debuts Tuesday night at 10 on HBO and this episode includes a profile of Lane Kiffin, who takes over as football coach at Southern Cal after one season in Tennessee. Reporter Andrea Kremer presses Kiffin on "loyalty'' and "togetherness'' -- two things he stressed to the Tennessee players.
"I never once told any of those players I would be there forever,'' Kiffin tells Real Sports. "I never made the statement, 'I'm coming here, this is my dream job, I'm never leaving.' I never made those statements.''
He was asked if that made the players "feel better''’?
Kiffin: "No, but it's part of the business. You know, and as they get older they understand. That's why they put buyouts in contracts, you know.''
Three things that popped into my head
1. Is anyone except horse-racing diehards remotely interested in watching the Belmont now that we know there is no chance for a triple crown this year?
2. Shaquille O’Neal says he wants to play until he's 41, but he should probably retire when he's 38. Uh, he turned 38 two months ago.
3. The Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead. The Celtics are turning back the clock. The Red Sox are all over the place. Say this, it's not dull to be a sports fan in Boston these days.