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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Shooting from the lip/Aug. 27th edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

meyer.Biggest pains
Every time I turned on ESPN over the past two weeks, it seemed like I saw one of two things: Urban Meyer or the Little League World Series.
I quickly grew tired of both.

I've written time and time again that I love youth sports but hate that the Little League World Series is on TV. I just don't need to see a little boy who gives up the winning homer or costs his team a championship because of an error have the worst moment of his life on TV just for our entertainment.

But let's move on and talk about the overwhelming coverage of Meyer and Ohio State football. ESPN went inside the program with exclusive coverage of practices complete with Meyer wearing a microphone. Other Big Ten schools must have been furious over what turned into a tremendous recruiting tool. …

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Shooting from the lip/Aug. 20th edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

anderson.Most interesting comments
It's not very often you hear a baseball analyst suggest a pitcher knock down or brush back a hitter. But that's what Sun Sports' Brian Anderson did Saturday during the Rays' 10-8, come-from-behind victory against the Angels.

With the Angels banging out a dozen hits and leading 8-0 in the third, Anderson suggested someone on the Rays needed to take a stand.

"We've seen Angels hitters with extremely aggressive swings; a lot of success. And nobody has been knocked down, had their feet moved. Nothing,'' Anderson said. "They're just standing there as comfortable as can be, swinging out of their shoes.''

It sounded strange -- but extremely refreshing -- to hear an analyst be that brutally honest. It also was a revealing look at how the game used to be played.

Anderson even pointed out why we never saw an Angels batter moved off the plate. For starters, the game isn't played that way anymore. Furthermore, Rays pitchers are so rarely pushed around, they didn't know what to do.

Great stuff, as usual, from Anderson. …

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NFL Network and Bright House still don't have deal

nfl.Another NFL season. Another NFL season without the NFL Network for Bright House Networks cable subscribers.

This week the NFL Network and Cablevision reached a deal, and the network now is being carried by eight of the nine largest cable/satellite companies. The one that doesn't carry it? Time Warner, which negotiates deals for Bright House.

It is believed Time Warner and the NFL Network were close to a deal last year, but talks ended. Time Warner says conversations are ongoing and it hopes a deal can be made. That sounds good.

This doesn't: The NFL says the sides are not talking and they are not close to a deal.

Making matters worse for those missing the NFL Network is the network is nearly doubling the number of games it is showing this season. It will carry 13 games on Thursday nights.

The Bucs play the Vikings on the NFL Network on Oct. 25, but that game is expected to be shown on a Tampa Bay area channel so even Bright House subscribers can see it.

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Media tidbits

gruden.* Chucky alert: Former Bucs coach Jon Gruden will be profiled in the next Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, which debuts at 9 Tuesday night on HBO. Gumbel traveled to Tampa hang out with Gruden.

* ESPN began its fourth consecutive season of televising England's Premier League soccer on Saturday. Play-by-play voice Ian Darke and analyst Steve McManaman return for their third seasons.

* CBS said Bill Macatee will be the lead play-by-play voice for tennis' U.S. Open. CBS’s coverage begins Sept. 1. It's quite the coveted role. Macatee becomes the fifth lead U.S. Open announcer since CBS acquired the tournament's rights in 1968. He follows Bud Collins, Pat Summerall, Tim Ryan and Dick Enberg.

* Former Gators football coach Ron Zook has been hired by CBS Sports Network as a college studio analyst. He will work with another former SEC coach, Houston Nutt.

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Big numbers for Hard Knocks

johnson.Tuesday's episode of HBO's Hard Knocks, which featured Chad Johnson being cut by the Dolphins, was the second-most-watched episode of the series ever, with 984,000 viewers. That was a 34 percent jump from this season's debut episode as the series features Miami. The finale of the 2010 series, which featured the Jets, drew more with 1 million viewers. If you haven't seen the scene with Johnson being released by coach Joe Philbin, make sure to find it and watch. It's hard to watch but impossible not to watch.

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Thursday: Chat live with Tom Jones, 12:30

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Shooting from the lip/Aug. 13th edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

bolt.Biggest dilemma
So the Olympics are over, and there was an interesting dichotomy when it came to NBC's coverage. NBC's television numbers were through the roof, yet the network was roundly criticized for its choices of what it showed and when it showed it. Viewers complaining about television coverage has become almost as much of an Olympic tradition as lighting the torch. Here are the two major problems with most Olympics when it comes to television in the United States:

1. There are dozens of events going on simultaneously.

2. The Olympics are often held on the other side of the world, meaning they take place several hours before prime time in the United States.

So, a U.S. network has a choice: show as much as it can live during the day and risk losing millions upon millions of prime-time viewers, or show the big events on tape delay in prime time. …

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