Shooting from the Lip/Monday edition
More and more Rays fans have been writing in about how they prefer Brian Anderson over Kevin Kennedy as the analyst on Rays television games. Actually, most of them are still pining for former analyst Joe Magrane. Anderson so far does seem more comfortable in the booth than Kennedy, and more sociable to the viewers. His style -- the funny guy who knows what he's talking about sitting next to you at the bar -- goes over well. The only concern might be Anderson's other part-time job, as the Rays' assistant to the pitching coach. Though that job might offer him some extra insight into Rays pitchers, will he be willing to be critical of one of them knowing he has to work with them? Anderson has been pleasant to listen to, but he hasn't been heavy with criticism, either.
As far as Kennedy, let's be fair. We're still only a couple of months into the season, far too early to hand out a report card. Kennedy plays the "me'' and "I'' card a little too often. He can't seem to get through more than an inning or two without bringing up something that happened to him and saying the word "I.'' It's a little distracting, but perhaps that's of a product of still learning the team. The Rays have played only 46 games, and Kennedy has called only about two-thirds of them. As the season progresses and more stories develop, perhaps Kennedy will be able to talk more about the team and less about himself.
Until then, it's nearly impossible to judge his performance fairly.
ABC/ESPN's coverage of the Indianapolis 500 was solid, especially in the first half-hour of the race and of the controversial wreck in the first lap between Mario Moraes and Marco Andretti. Analysts immediately pinned the blame on Moraes, and ABC showed plenty of hustle by tracking down both drivers for emotion-filled interviews. Moraes, 20, later seen by ABC's keen eye to be crying, blamed Andretti, 22. Meantime, Andretti offered the best quote of the coverage: "The kid doesn't get it, and he never will. He's just clueless out there.''
ABC/ESPN pit reporter Jack Arute does a good job, but why in the world was he putting a Firestone cap on the head of Helio Castroneves and handing him the bottle of milk after Castroneves won the Indy 500? Completely inappropriate.
Best use of a baseball rain delay
TBS's Sunday baseball game of the week doesn't seem to have quite the juice as Fox's game on Saturdays, but who knew a rain delay would turn out to be one of TBS’s better moments? A 37-minute delay in the first inning of Sunday's game between the Mets and Red Sox forced the broadcasters to kill time by simply shooting the breeze. Chip Caray, Buck Martinez and Dennis Eckersley easily chewed on a number of topics, including the ridiculously high number of homers hit at the new Yankee Stadium, and offered up an entertaining conversation.
During CBS's golf coverage of the Byron Nelson Championship on Saturday, Ch. 10 put thunderstorm warnings on the screen. Severe weather alerts need to be passed along to viewers, so no one should take issue with Ch. 10 posting the graphic. The location was the problem. The map of the counties under warning was put in the lower right-hand portion of the screen, often blocking scorecards and the hole as golfers putted. A better location would have been in the upper right or left part of the screen.
It was weird to see the Astros' Miguel Tejada doing a tease for ESPN's Baseball Tonight. Isn't ESPN the network that ambushed him a year ago for lying about his age?
ESPN's Sports Reporters on Sunday talked about Michael Vick, who could return to the NFL after missing the past two seasons and serving time in prison for his role in a dogfighting racket. New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica brought up an excellent point. Yes, what Vick did was hideous, and he deserved his harsh punishment. But let's think about that punishment for a moment. He lost two years of his career, he has been ruined financially, and his reputation is forever tarnished. And, oh yeah, he served 19 months in jail. Who knows if another team will take a chance on him. But as horrible as Vick's actions were, is he now expected to suffer more? Is his punishment now over or not? This isn't to defend Vick but to point out that he did something wrong and served his punishment. Lupica wasn't sticking up for Vick, but he did have a message for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "They don’t get to decide the rest of Michael Vick’s life,'' Lupica said. "And they don't get to bring zealotry to his comeback attempt.''
When the Phillies' John Mayberry Jr. homered in his first major-league game during Saturday's Fox game of the week, cameras quickly cut to a man in the stands identified as John Mayberry Sr., the former big-league slugger. One problem: The guy wasn't Mayberry Sr. Who knows who he was? But give Fox credit for later admitting its mistake and getting an interview with the real elder Mayberry. Fox even poked fun at itself by showing the wrong guy in the stands again with the graphic, "Not John Mayberry Jr.'s dad.''
Shame on Versus hockey analysts Brian Engblom and Keith Jones. And on ESPN analyst Barry Melrose. And on NBC's Mike Milbury. All four said Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall should not have been penalized for his hit on Chicago's Martin Havlat in Game 3 of the West final. (Kronwall got a five-minute interference penalty and a game misconduct.) All four said it was a "good hockey hit.'' Milbury and Melrose even suggested it was Havlat's fault for not keeping his head up. Baloney! Who knows what replays they were watching, but Kronwall lunged and left his feet to make the hit. The worst part is he targeted Havlat's head. The intention wasn't to separate the man from the puck, but to try to separate Havlat's head from his shoulders. Those types of hits have no place in the game. To defend one -- especially one delivered by a guy who has a reputation for such hits -- is the reason hockey occasionally gets knocked for being a thug sport littered with meatheads.