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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Shooting from the lip/April 30th edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

mccarver.Best criticism
Every time I write something nice about Fox baseball analyst Tim McCarver, I get a bunch of emails and phone calls telling me I'm full of beans. I don't get it. I think McCarver is really good. His worst flaw is when he says something and turns out to be right, he likes to remind us he was right. But, heck, we all have a little bit of that in us.

But let's go back to Saturday's Fox coverage of the Brewers and Cardinals. The Cardinals had just walked in a run in the top of the sixth to tie the score at 3 and Milwaukee starting pitcher Marco Estrada came to bat with the bases loaded and two outs. Immediately, McCarver and partner Joe Buck questioned Brewers manager Ron Roenicke for not pinch-hitting, and both men turned out to be exactly right. Estrada struck out and then gave up two runs in the bottom of the inning. The Cardinals went on to win 7-3.

Hey, anyone can second-guess a manager after the fact. Give McCarver and Buck credit for doing it before they knew how things would turn out. …

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Shooting from the lip/April 23rd edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

valentine.Worst weather
Bad break for ESPN and baseball fans Sunday when the series finale between the Red Sox and Yankees was rained out. What a juicy story line with the struggling Red Sox blowing a nine-run lead Saturday and new manager Bobby Valentine being booed by the fans and criticized by his players. It would have been incredibly interesting to hear what ESPN Sunday Night Baseball analyst and former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona had to say about the mess in Boston.

There is already talk Valentine's job is in jeopardy, but Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan isn't blaming Valentine.

"They aren't very good,'' Ryan said of the team on ESPN's Sports Reporters on Sunday. "And he was handed a bad roster, period.''

New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said, "They talk like they are still champions of the world.''

Lupica astutely pointed out that the Red Sox haven't won a postseason game since Game 6 of the 2008 American League Championship Series against the Rays. …

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The nastiness of the Stanley Cup playoffs

These are the overriding images of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs: gloves and sticks and blood littering the ice, disturbing brawls, players dazed on all fours and, in the most somber snapshot so far, the Blackhawks' Marian Hossa unconscious on a stretcher after a brutal hit to the head.
"I've never seen anything like this,'' NBC analyst Pierre McGuire said. No one has. Here's a look at what has happened in these playoffs, why it is happening and how to stop it.

crosby.What has happened?
The playoffs are 8 days old, and already, eight players have been suspended. That includes Phoenix's Raffi Torres, who is suspended indefinitely and scheduled to have a hearing Friday for his hit Tuesday night on Hossa.

But it doesn't include several incidents that could have prompted suspensions such as Nashville's Shea Weber repeatedly slamming the head of Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg into the glass in a move straight out of the WWE. …

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Shooting from the lip/April 16th edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

pens.Best criticism
Sunday's Penguins-Flyers game on NBC looked like a reel of deleted scenes from the movie Slap Shot. There were fights, sucker punches, hair-pulling and, oh yeah, a little hockey in between. Frankly, it was a rather embarrassing day for hockey. Yeah, sure, a segment of fans love fighting, but this was way beyond simple fighting. This was over-the-line junk that gives hockey, pardon the pun, a black eye.

But NBC rink-side analyst Pierre McGuire deserves major kudos for blaming the officials for a brawl that broke out with five minutes left. McGuire pointed out that officials should have kicked out Penguins star James Neal for a hit he made, which would have eliminated the spark that started a major wildfire.

"This all could have been avoided if James Neal was sent to the room,'' McGuire said. …

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Club loudmoth

Open mouth. Insert foot. Sports celebrities have been following those dangerous instructions forever.  Late Reds owner Marge Schott once used the n-word and said Adolf Hitler was "good at the beginning.'' Late Dodgers executive Al Campanis suggested that blacks didn't have the "necessities'' to be managers. Former NBA star Tim Hardaway said he hated gay people. The latest to join the club is Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen for saying he loves and admires Fidel Castro because the Cuban leader has stayed alive all these years.  Here is a look at some members of the loudmouth club.

knight.Bob Knight
When you think about it, it’s stunning that the former college basketball coaching great now makes his living talking into a microphone for ESPN. This is a guy who once, in answer to a question, tried to compare getting bad calls in a game to being raped — and his answer could not have been more inappropriate. He once brought a whip to a postgame news conference and talked about how it was a great motivator. These are just two of the more infamous quotes from a man who bullies, intimidates and belittles others regularly with his words. …

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Shooting from the lip/April 9th edition

Looking back at a weeked of televised sports ...

anderson.Best opening weekend
The Rays season was only three innings old Friday and I already had received several emails complaining about television announcers Dewayne Staats and Brian Anderson. Too boring, too offbeat, too this, too that.

Everyone has their own personal tastes and favorites. Put 100 people in a room and give them the name of a broadcaster and you might have 50 people who love that announcer and 50 who can’t stand him. No one is right or wrong. It's all personal preference. But I find it hard to understand why anyone has issues with Staats and Anderson.

They inform. They entertain. They explain. …

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Shooting from the lip/April 2nd edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

kidd.Worst nonreplays
If CBS's coverage of the Final Four was a meal, it would be a good cheeseburger. But definitely not a steak. It's good. Not great. And it's the little things that keep CBS's coverage from being outstanding. It just seems like CBS gets locked into its plan and sometimes forgets to adjust to what the viewer might be thinking.

Here's a perfect example, and it's the type of thing that happened throughout the tournament. With 13:47 left in the first half of Saturday's Kentucky-Louisville game, Kentucky star forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was called for a controversial charge. It was his second foul of the game.

"That's a big number,'' analyst Clark Kellogg said. Kellogg was absolutely right. It forced Kidd-Gilchrist to the bench for the rest of the half. But did we ever see a replay? No. The replay was obviously shown inside the arena because there was an audible outburst. Instead, CBS showed us a replay of a missed dunk. All viewers, especially Kentucky fans, wanted to see the replay of a call that had a huge impact on the game. …

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Five minutes with ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball crew


ESPN’s Sunday night baseball games will have a new crew this season thanks, in sorts, to an offseason trade. Last season, it was play-by-play man Dan Shulman with analysts Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine. Then in the offseason, Terry Francona was fired as manager by the Red Sox and replaced by Valentine. ESPN quickly scooped up Francona to take Valentine’s seat in the booth. Earlier this spring, the three were in Clearwater, where they sat down with Tom Jones.

Dan Shulman
What are your thoughts on Terry Francona joining the broadcast?
I think he's going to be fantastic. I think he's really going to be terrific at it. He's just such a regular guy. Obviously, he has spent a lifetime in baseball, and he has great stories and experiences. He's just natural. He says what he sees. There's no pretense about him. He's extremely likeable and extremely knowledgeable.

And Orel Hershiser?
From a pitcher's perspective, who knows more about it? Who can break it down better than Orel Hershiser? I've got a guy who accomplished everything you can as a pitcher and a guy who accomplished everything you can accomplish as a manager. …

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