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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Shooting from the Lip/Monday edition



Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

Kennedy Worst performance
Question for Kevin Kennedy: Are you the Rays television analyst or not?

Kennedy called the first game of Sunday's doubleheader against the Red Sox but didn't call the second game, which was added to the schedule because Friday's game was rained out. Kennedy wasn't scheduled to do the Baltimore series, which starts today, and he bolted after Sunday's first game so could catch a flight to his real home in California. Brian Anderson was on hand to serve as analyst in the second game. The whole thing comes off as amateurish.

Kennedy calling about two-thirds of the games on TV has been an issue all season, and the blame lies with the Rays for allowing Kennedy to dictate this schedule, in part so he can continue to host a satellite radio show. Where are his priorities? Does he want to be the Rays analyst or is it more important to live in California and host a radio show? If it's the latter, that’s fine. But the Rays need to think about their product, and their broadcasts have suffered because of having two analysts.

If the Rays like Kennedy and want him to return next season, that's okay. But he -- or whomever gets the job next season -- should get it only under one condition: that they are the full-time analyst who can commit to 150 games.

Serena Biggest controversy
Who better to comment on tennis star Serena Williams blowing a gasket Saturday night than tennis' all-time bad boy John McEnroe? Williams was called for a foot fault late in her match, and when she unleashed a series of expletives and shook her racket at the linesperson, she was docked a point that turned out to be match point in her U.S. Open women’s semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters.

"You cannot defend the indefensible,'' McEnroe said.
McEnroe was right. Williams was dead wrong to explode like she did, but come on, a foot fault at that juncture of the match? Williams had every right to be upset. She even had the right to complain. But she didn't have the right to go off like she did. CBS's Mary Carillo said Williams should have been suspended from the women's doubles final. Williams was not suspended, but the impact of her behavior might be worse.

"That mars,'' New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said on ESPN's Sports Reporters, "what has been an extraordinary career''

Best prediction
ESPN's Lee Corso called the biggest upset of the weekend as he predicted Houston to go on the road and beat No. 5 Oklahoma State, which came into the game as a 15 1/2-point favorite.

Best advice
Who thought ex-Bucs defensive lineman Warren Sapp would ever be the voice of reason? But he does a solid job on the NFL Network's Sunday pregame show and had some strong advice for 49ers first-round pick Michael Crabtree, the only remaining unsigned first-rounder. "It's not the first contract that gets you the money, it's the second,'' Sapp said. "Take the money and go to work.''

Biggest slam
Wow, maybe ESPN NFL reporter Ed Werder was just clowning around, but he really slammed Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman on the air after Berman set up a story on Brett Favre and, apparently, took a little too long. Werder said, "Hey Boomer … that lead-in was so long I'll have to go check that Favre hasn't retired again since it started.''

Berman tried to make light of it when Werder pitched it back to him, but you got the feeling Berman was a little annoyed by the remark.

Best rumor
There has long been talk about the NFL moving into Europe someday. It still seems far-fetched, but Charley Casserly of CBS's NFL Today suggested it might not be that far off: "There is European money. There is interest in purchasing an NFL team and moving it to London. They're going to look into buying the St. Louis Rams, who are for sale now, or perhaps another NFL team. The Rams, by the way, are only contracted to be in St. Louis through 2014.''

Bradshaw Strongest comment
I thought Fox analyst Terry Bradshaw and Vikings quarterback Brett Favre were buddies, you know, because they're both gunslinging QBs from the South. That's why it was a bit surprising to hear Bradshaw rip into Favre on Fox NFL Sunday.

"I'm tired of it,'' Bradshaw said. "My mom and dad are tired of it. We're all tired of it. I wish it would go away. I'll be glad when it goes away. I feel bad for the Green Bay Packer fans because of the way this guy is. … I'll be glad when he's retired and moved on because I'm really fed up with it.''

Worst direction
The end of the Notre Dame-Michigan game had three controversial plays, and none was reviewed or explained on the game broadcast by ABC/ESPN. There was a celebration penalty on Notre Dame that helped set up Michigan's winning drive, and yet no replays were shown. Then there were time issues on the final two plays -- a kickoff on which two valuable seconds ticked off the clock and the last play when there was perhaps a second left for Notre Dame to run one final Hail Mary play. Now if you were a viewer who happened to flip over to ESPN's College Football Scoreboard, then you saw replays and explanations. But for those who watched the game, you were highly disappointed by ABC/ESPN's late-game coverage.

Best innovation
ESPN's new EA Sports Virtual Playbook, which makes it appear as if analysts are on a life-size football field with actual players around them, might be the coolest thing on TV since that yellow line that shows where the first down is. Analysts can now explain X's and O's in a way that is easy to understand and incredibly fun to watch.

Worst tradition
Yes, I know the Rays have this little tradition of hazing their rookies by making them wear dresses on the road for a day, and it's all in good fun. But did it rub anyone else the wrong way that the team decided to do this right in the midst of a losing streak that essentially ended their season?

Just wondering
So, it was announced Saturday that the USC-Ohio State game drew 106,033, breaking the record for Ohio Stadium. The previous record was 105,711 for last year's Penn State-Ohio State game. It seems that every week there's a big game and a record is set somewhere at a stadium that is always sold out and no new seats have been added. Exactly how does that happen?

Jeter Three things that popped into my head
1. The best point of the weekend might have been made by Michael Kay on ESPN's Sports Reporters. He said that as great as Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is, he's still woefully underrated.
2. I liked the move NBC made having Football Night in America host Bob Costas at the game instead of in studio, which seemed crowded a season ago.
3. Memo to Bucs radio's Gene Deckerhoff and T.J. Rives: No more saying "Cadillac is out of the garage'' when talking about Cadillac Williams. The guy has been here four years now and that cliche went out of style about a week after he got here.

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:43pm]


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