Shooting from the lip/Sept. 26th edition
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
Most interesting comments
Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander is a lock for the American League Cy Young Award, but will he be named MVP? Should a pitcher, after all, be named MVP when he plays only once every five days? One person who thinks pitchers should not be named MVP is TBS analyst Dennis Eckersley, who, ironically, is the last pitcher to win the MVP award -- when he was the A’s closer in 1992.
"If there is anybody … this guy (Verlander) deserves to be considered for the MVP,'' Eckersley said on Sunday's MLB on Deck. “He's having a better year than I ever had. Personally, I think the award should go to an everyday player. … But I'm not giving my award back. I think it really deserves to go to an everyday player.''
CBS NFL studio analyst Boomer Esiason made some serious allegations Sunday. Last week, Cowboys QB Tony Romo stayed in the game despite suffering a couple of cracked ribs and, it's believed, a punctured lung.
"I think he's one heck of a quarterback, and I want to see him play for the next 10 years,'' Esiason said. "That's why there has to be somebody on their sideline protecting him from himself. It was a pressurized situation. … He felt like he had to go back on the field. In my estimation, reading everything, listening to everybody, he was either lied to or he was misdiagnosed. Lied to or misdiagnosed. In both cases, that's negligent. And that's why I do believe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has to look into it.''
Best local shout-out
The Rays got a little love on ESPN2's Sports Reporters on Sunday when Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan said, "Mark Trumbo has the slugging numbers and Ivan Nova has the wins, but the best rookie in the American League has been Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. And it's not even close. Check it out.''
Give Fox credit for continuing to think outside the box by adding a medical expert on its NFL coverage. Dr. Mark Adickes, a former offensive lineman for the Chiefs and Redskins, is an orthopedic surgeon. He joined the pregame show Sunday to talk about health issues involving QBs Michael Vick, Tony Romo and Peyton Manning. It was solid stuff despite Howie Long's best efforts to sabotage yet another segment with his ill-timed and silly (read: not funny) humor. Long is a really good analyst, so why does he clown around so much?
Adickes had tough talk for Manning: "My career ended with a back injury. I was blocking a guy in training camp and felt a sharp pain in my back. Legs (went) numb. I didn't even think about football. My legs were weak for a year. All I thought about was playing with my kids. If I'm his doctor, I would tell him to retire.''
During a telecast of the Bears-Falcons game last week, Fox showed what was made to look like newspaper headlines from last season's playoffs talking about Bears QB Jay Cutler. The headlines included "Cutler Lacks Courage'' and "Cutler's No Leader.'' Analyst Daryl Johnston said these were "actual headlines from the local papers in Chicago.''
The Chicago Tribune dug into this and found what they knew to be true: There were no such headlines. Fox made them up.
During the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show, host Curt Menefee read a statement admitting the headlines were not real and apologized to Cutler and the Bears. The apology laid the blame on the production staff and not Johnston. Where the blame lies hardly matters. This is a major blunder. It's a serious breach of ethics and undermines Fox's credibility. What's worse is someone knew last week that these headlines weren't real and plowed ahead with it. Fox apologized only after the Chicago Tribune uncovered the truth. If the Tribune had not checked it out, would we have gotten an apology Sunday?
The setting: Saturday night, LSU playing West Virginia. The situation: 43 seconds left in the first half, West Virginia facing third and 19 from its 25 and trailing 20-7. That's when ABC's Brent Musburger said, "Danger zone here. You don't want to throw a costly pick late in the first half.''
Moments later, LSU's Tyrann Mathieu intercepted a pass, returned it inside the 2-yard line and set up a touchdown.
Not sure what ESPN NFL analyst Cris Carter meant , but when talking about Falcons QB Matt Ryan and Bucs QB Josh Freeman, Carter said he thought the Falcons front office was "more committed'' to winning than the Bucs. Hmm.
My favorite part of ESPN's College GameDay (well, aside from listening to Kirk Herbstreit talk) is watching former Gators coach Urban Meyer and Todd McShay break down game film. Watching Meyer makes us all realize how little we really know about the X's and O's of football compared with coaches.
I have to admit, Meyer has turned out to be a much better broadcaster than I thought he would be. I thought he would be too dry and stiff. So far, on GameDay and in the booth for games, Meyer has stuck with his strengths. He doesn't try to be funny. He's himself, meaning he's a diehard football coach. He can talk strategy and technique as well as anyone.
Most people were probably paying attention to the Rays and the NFL. That's too bad because you would have missed the best sports broadcast of the weekend -- NBC's coverage of the PGA Tour's Tour Championship. The last hour or so might have been the best golf coverage of the year. It started with incredible audio of Hunter Mahan talking over a shot with his caddie with, potentially, more than $10 million on the line. The minutelong conversation was a revealing look into what caddies and golfers say to one another, something viewers almost never get to hear and never that clearly for that long. Later, the replays of eventual winner Bill Haas chipping a shot out of the edge of a water hazard, as well as Johnny Miller's commentary, were stunning.
I've always been a huge fan of HBO's boxing coverage, but Saturday night's replay of the Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz controversial pay-per-view fight on HBO from a week ago was especially well done. Typically, HBO has simply rerun the original PPV broadcast of big fights. But Saturday night's replay was edited to add extra shots, including different camera angles and behind-the-scenes material. It then concluded with postmatch news conferences, shots from the two dressing rooms, additional interviews and voice-overs to put a cap on the evening. HBO will continue to re-air the broadcast for the next couple of weeks. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Rant of the day
Clemson fans storm the field after beating a Florida State team that had lost a week ago and was ranked No. 11 at the time? Really? Geez, Tiger fans, act like you’re the major program you are.