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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Shooting from the lip/June 25th edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

tropical.Best decision
I received several emails on Sunday afternoon from television viewers upset that golf and Olympic trials coverage was interrupted because Channels 10 and 8 broke away for weather coverage because of the massive rains and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Debby. To those viewers who were upset, I say, "Are you people nuts?''

Hey, I'd rather watch golf, too, but when a major weather story develops, that must take precedence  over sports. Whoever wins the Travelers Championship, or whatever the heck it was called, isn't nearly as important as tornados, flooding and other potentially life-threatening events. It just isn't.

Now, some might say that there are other channels to watch for those interested in tracking the weather. My take always has been that the more channels that are showing dangerous weather, the better. Ultimately, the local news channels' top priority is the welfare of their viewers. In addition, the backbone of any local television news is weather coverage, especially here in Florida. …

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Joe Maddon vs. Davey Johnson: Who's right? Who's wrong?

glove.The controversy rages on. Rays relief pitcher Joel Peralta was busted Tuesday night for having an illegal substance (pine tar) in his glove. But, according to Rays manager Joe Maddon, the Nationals violated baseball's code by snitching on Peralta. Who's right? Who's wrong? It's a fascinating ethical dilemma. Here are some of the things that popped into my head regarding Tuesday night's drama.

Someone needs to write down these unwritten rules of baseball
Here's the problem with baseball's so-called unwritten rules: Everyone has a different interpretation. Take this matter. Nationals manager Davey Johnson believes a pitcher shouldn't be able to rub pine tar or any foreign substance on the baseball. Rays manager Joe Maddon thinks Johnson went against baseball etiquette by using insider information and ratting out another player for doing something so many others have done for more than a hundred years.

So who's right? …

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Shooting from the lip/June 18th edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

anderson.Most awkward pairing
Marlins TV play-by-play announcer Rich Waltz and Rays TV analyst Brian Anderson teamed up to call Saturday's Rays-Marlins game on Fox's Baseball Night in America game of the week.

And, man, it was an awkward broadcast. The two had no chemistry. It seemed as if Waltz talked way too much, while Anderson didn't talk nearly enough. In fact, there were moments when this viewer wondered if Anderson had left the booth for some reason. There were other moments when this viewer wondered if Waltz was being paid by the word. What made it especially noticeable was the game went 15 innings and took more than five hours.

Now, it's possible that Anderson didn't talk because Waltz was talking too much. Or maybe Waltz talked so much because Anderson wasn't jumping in enough. Maybe it was just a chemistry thing. Let's just put it this way: Anderson sounds just fine when he works with regular partner Dewayne Staats and sounded just fine when he worked with Fox's Dick Stockton a couple of times earlier this season. …

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Most suffering fans in sports

Last week, the Los Angeles Kings ended a 45-year drought and won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Finally, the long-suffering fans of the Kings could celebrate a title. But what other fans continue to suffer?

There are plenty of teams still waiting on the first championship in their histories. Some franchises -- such as, say, the Florida Panthers, Carolina Panthers, and even the Rays -- haven't been around long enough for true suffering.

Some franchises -- such as, say, the Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz and Buffalo Sabres -- don-t have any titles but have had plenty of superb seasons.

Some franchises -- such as, say, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals -- have struggled in recent times but do have histories that include respectability and championships.

So, considering all that, here are our picks for the fans who are suffering the most these days. …

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Shooting from the lip/June 11th edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

union.Best switch
While most of us were sleeping Friday night/Saturday morning, the sports folks at NBC worked through the night to, essentially, rebuild the Belmont coverage that was destroyed when Triple Crown candidate I'll Have Another was scratched Friday afternoon. NBC's two-hour pregame, which began at 4:30 p.m., was originally dedicated to I'll Have Another’s quest for the first Triple Crown since 1978. NBC tried to salvage some of that original show, and for the most part, it succeeded.

A feature on Steve Cauthen, who was 18 when he rode Affirmed to the Triple Crown in 1978, was interesting but did seem slightly out of place without a Triple Crown at stake. A piece on horses that failed to win the Triple Crown after winning the first two legs held up.

NBC had to scrap Bob Costas' taped interview with controversial I'll Have Another trainer Doug O'Neill but replaced it with a live Costas interview with O'Neill and I’ll Have Another owner Paul Reddam. Costas got in some hard-hitting questions for O'Neill, and the interview was solid. …

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Who should be next in Bucs Ring of Honor?

brooks.The Bucs announced Wednesday that tackle Paul Gruber would become the fourth person inducted into the team's Ring of Honor, joining former players Lee Roy Selmon and Jimmie Giles and former coach John McKay. Here's a look at the next five who should go into the Ring of Honor.

1. Derrick Brooks
How can this guy not already be in? You could make an argument that Brooks is the best player in team history. At the very least, he's the second-best player in franchise history behind Selmon.

Imagine the Bears having a Ring of Honor and three players going into it before Walter Payton. How far down on the list would the 49ers go before inducting Joe Montana?

Here's the thing: Gruber most certainly deserves to be in a Bucs Ring of Honor. Selmon, McKay and Giles deserve it, too. This isn't to suggest that Gruber or any of the others were bad selections or undeserving in any way. But put it this way: right now, the Bucs have, in effect, a Mt. Rushmore and Brooks isn't on it.

Really? …

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Thursday: Chat live with Tom Jones, 12:30

Want to talk about the Rays, Bucs, NHL or NBA playoffs? The baseball or hockey drafts? The new "Sports Page'' morning radio show (6-9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE 620-AM) featuring the Times' Tom Jones and Rick Stroud? Join Tom for a live chat Thursday, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Can't make it? Leave a question in advance in the "Comments'' area below, then check back afterward to replay the chat.

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Shooting from the lip/June 4th edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

kalas.Best replacement
Rays television analyst Brian Anderson was off this past weekend so Todd Kalas joined Dewayne Staats in the booth for Tampa Bay's series against the Orioles. It was of no surprise that the broadcasts were knowledgeable and enjoyable. Kalas is a pro and has no problem making the transition from sideline reporter to working in the booth.

The reason is Kalas knows what he knows and knows what he doesn't know. He's not a former player, so his analysis is based on extensive homework and reporting. But he's also been around the game enough to know what he's watching.

For example, on Friday night, the Rays' Carlos Pena was surprisingly gunned down at home on a grounder to short. As the replay ran, Kalas smartly zeroed in on Pena and noticed that Pena froze just long enough to be unable to score on a play where he should have scored. …

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Hawk Harrelson scolded by MLB for his rant

White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson was called into the principal's office, so to speak, for his little outburst during Wednesday's Rays-White Sox game. Harrelson was upset that umpire Mark Wegner tossed White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana out of the game for throwing a pitch behind Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist. On Friday, Harrelson said he had spoken with MLB commissioner Bud Selig. Harrelson told, "We had a talk. Actually, Bud talked and I listened. If it was a prize fight, they would have stopped it in the first round. I also talked with (White Sox owner) Jerry (Reinsdorf), and I listened to him as well. That's all I really have to say.''

In case you missed Harrelson's rant, here you go:

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Guys who get under our skin

aj.A.J. Pierzynski? You just made the list, buddy. We all have a list that isn't necessarily written down, but tucked away in our heads of people in sports who get underneath our skin. Maybe they're a braggart, maybe they're a punk, maybe they constantly have lapses in judgment. Whatever. The point is, they bug us. The list is ever-changing, but here is the current list of people who are under our skin.

A.J. Pierzynski
His former manager, Ozzie Guillen, once said, "If you play against A.J., you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less.'' See, the White Sox catcher even rubs teammates the wrong way. Last week, his dangerous spikes-high slide on mild-mannered and all-around good guy Ben Zobrist was uncalled for and easily could've broken Zobrist's ankle. And this isn’t the first time Pierzynski has been involved in some sort of shenanigan or another. In fact, it seems like he's always in the middle of controversy. …

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