Shooting from the Lip/Monday edition
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
While Roger Federer jumped up and down Sunday celebrating his Wimbledon victory and his record 15th major title, wasn't it hard to think about anything other than the heartbreak Andy Roddick was suffering? Roddick played his guts out, showing more heart and mental fortitude than he ever has before, and he did not deserve to lose the epic five-set final. That's not to say Federer didn't deserve to win. But Roddick deserved better than the runnerup trophy for playing, probably, the greatest match of his life just two days after he beat Britain's favorite son, Andy Murray, in the semifinals.
"He's probably played the greatest match of his life two straight times,'' NBC's Ted Robinson said on the air.
If there is any justice, Roddick will win Wimbledon some day, but you have to wonder if he ever will. He turns 27 in August, but Federer turns a mere 28 in August, too. And, Rafael Nadal, who is out with a knee injury, just turned 23 and, when healthy, is the best player in the world. But, just like John McEnroe after his loss to Bjorn Borg in the classic 1980 Wimbledon final, Roddick had his reputation change for the better in a losing effort. Because of his performance and the class he showed after such a cruel loss, Roddick should be given more respect from now on. That stood out more Sunday than Federer's 15th grand slam victory.
Random thoughts about NBC's Wimbledon coverage
Best commentator: John McEnroe again showed why he is among the best commentators on TV. He never talks over the audience's head by using technical/inside-tennis speak. A final like Sunday's is all about emotion and drama, and McEnroe brought that out by talking like the common tennis fan. But one nit about NBC’s commentators: McEnroe was not included in the women's final Saturday, and Mary Carillo was not in the booth for the men's final. McEnroe and Carillo have great chemistry together, and NBC would be best served having them work together for the finals.
Best post-match moment: John McEnroe's interview with tennis legends Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras, who was on hand to see his record of 14 majors fall to Roger Federer. Give McEnroe his due for putting them all on the spot by asking if Federer was, indeed, the greatest of all time. Sampras even admitted it was hard to say that while standing next to Laver and Borg.
Best commercial: The first commercial after Roger Federer's win was an instant Nike classic with Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods congratulating Federer on his record. The best line was from McEnroe, who said, "Thanks for making us all feel so mediocre.''
Most rigid: NBC announcer Ted Robinson might be right, but ever since Roger Federer won the French Open, he insists that Federer is the greatest player ever, as if no one else even belongs in the conversation. After Sunday's match, Robinson said Federer "now has every stat needed to lay claim'' as the best ever. No, not every stat. Rod Laver has two career grand slams. He won each of them in the same year, only the second player to accomplish that feat, and the only one in the Open era. Bjorn Borg essentially quit at age 25 after winning 11 majors despite playing the Australian Open only once in his career. Finally, there's Pete Sampras, who won 14 majors against, arguably, better and deeper competition than Federer. Equipment has changed, rules have changed, eras are different. For Robinson to act as if there's no debate is disrespectful to the sport.
As good as NBC's Wimbledon coverage was, the best sports coverage of the weekend goes to TNT for its work at the crash-filled Coke Zero 400 on Saturday night. The finest moments came immediately after the race when TNT showed serious hustle with a series of lightning-quick interviews with a half-dozen drivers about the final-lap wreck between winner Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch.
Best use of soapbox
Here, here for Fox baseball analyst Tim McCarver, who took everyone to task for getting so giddy over the return of Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez from a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy.
During Saturday's Fox game of the week between the Mets and Phillies, McCarver said, "It's almost as though Manny Ramirez is being treated as though he was on the disabled list for 50 games. Maybe this is a rhetorical question, but why all the adulation for a guy who has served a 50-game suspension when guys like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, A-Rod served no suspensions and yet they're branded? I mean, is that a reasonable question to ask?''
ESPN should be most embarrassed by its Manny coverage, but Fox, too, joined in Saturday by showing each of Ramirez's at-bats in the Dodgers game against the Padres, a fact not lost on McCarver.
"We jumped right on the wagon, too,'' McCarver said.
More changes over at 1010-AM. The days of the SportsChix appear to be over. Two weeks after co-host Leslee Lacey left the show, longtime co-host Lynne Austin has decided to call it quits as well. Last week, the SportsChix's noon to 3 p.m. slot was filled by Sporting News Radio programming. Tom Krasniqi will take over the noon to 3 slot, although there are rumors he will be joined by a partner in the coming weeks. This news comes after morning-drive juggling when the awful Tampa 2 stopped airing after only a few months. Bottom line is 1010 needs to get its act together, pick a regular lineup and stick with it.
The Sports Animal, 620-AM, dominates the market mostly because it has the strongest signal and affiliations with the area's sports teams. The programming on 620 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Dan Sileo, Ron and Ian, Jim Rome, Steve Duemig) is not bad but not so great that another station can't give it some competition. But when the lineup is different virtually every week, it's hard to build a following.
Most forgotten network
MLB Network went live to a game last week even though the game was in a delay. But what made it so cool was the game between the Astros and Padres in San Diego was in a delay because of a swarm of bees. But speaking of the MLB Network, you have to wonder if diehard baseball fans turn to ESPN's Baseball Tonight or the MLB Network for their latest news and highlights.
Meanwhile, TBS did a solid job with its All-Star Selection Show on Sunday, including interviews with Rays manager Joe Maddon and third baseman Evan Longoria. But would it kill analyst David Wells to throw on a tie or, at least, a sport coat?