Issue of the week
Interesting story about Twitter on ESPN's Outside the Lines on Sunday. It brought to light many of the issues Twitter presents in the sports world. The report stated that more than 700 athletes use Twitter. They mostly use it to give daily updates, but some use it to break news. The Timberwolves' Kevin Love tweeted that Kevin McHale was out as coach a day before the official announcement. Then there is the issue of people who claim to be an athlete and offer false status updates. That has happened to Shaquille O'Neal, Manny Ramirez and the Rays' Evan Longoria, to name a few.
Some players, such as Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, have ghostwriters. (Hey, it takes a lot of time to come up with 140 characters). Some, such as IndyCar driver Danica Patrick, use Twitter to advertise watches. And others, such as Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco, have vowed to use Twitter during games. That caught the NFL's attention. "The NFL policy is coming out in about a week or so,'' Mark Maske of the Washington Post said on Outside the Lines. "People are going to be watching it. The league is so good at controlling the message that goes out to fans. Other leagues will be watching to see how the NFL deals with it and how it helps to promote the sport.''
Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald believes Twitter should be banned in sports, especially in the NFL. He pointed out on ESPN's Sports Reporters on Sunday that if a coach had tweeted last season about Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown being used at quarterback in practices before the game against New England, maybe they don't win that game and maybe they don't win the AFC East. "Twitter is too instantaneous,'' Gutierrez said. "It leaves room for too many slipups, potentially season-ending slipups. As minute of a chance as that is, it's enough of a reason to support the Twitter prohibition.''
Hall of (yawn) Fame inductions
Unless one of your favorites is being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a three-hour ceremony on ESPN on a Saturday night is far from must-see TV. But it is cool to listen to old-timers and their stories. Ralph Wilson, longtime owner of the Bills and an original owner in the old American Football League, told one about his early years.
"It was in the preseason, and we were down 21-7 to the New York Titans, who are now the New York Jets,'' Wilson said. "Some of my friends said to me, 'Wilson, you need to go down there and talk to the team. You can't do any worse.' I said, 'What am I going to tell them?' They said, 'You have to tell them something.' So I went down to the locker room, and there was our coach, Buster Ramsey, and he had this look on his face like, 'What are you doing down here?' I said, 'I want to talk to the team.' I gave them one of the best fight talks you ever heard, like Knute Rockne or Vince Lombardi. Then we went out there and lost the game 51-7. Shortly after that, Buster said to me, 'Hey, Ralph, next time talk to the other team.' ''
Tiger on Sunday
It was the perfect final-round scenario for CBS: Tiger Woods, below, in the last group at the Bridgestone Invitational, trailing playing partner Padraig Harrington by three shots. That meant four-plus hours of Woods, which is gold for television networks. It also meant four-plus hours of Gary McCord, but that's what the mute button is for. With little to no competition from the major networks, as well as a rainout of the Sprint Cup race on ESPN and a middle-of-the-road baseball game (Twins vs. Tigers) on TBS, CBS is sure to report high ratings. It didn't hurt when Woods cut his deficit to one after the second hole, then led after five. "They've only been on the golf course 25 minutes,'' analyst Nick Faldo said. "That's what Tiger does to you. He puts you in a half-nelson right away, and he doesn't let up.'' Woods later lost the lead, but he stiffed an 8-iron on 16 as Harrington imploded for triple bogey, hitting five straight shots without losing his turn.
Just saying …
Todd Kalas has a pretty sweet gig. As the third announcer on the Rays' broadcast team, Kalas gets to travel with the team, do a pre- and postgame show, and give a couple of reports during the game. One of those interviews Saturday night in Seattle was with a bachelorette party. Didn't see much of Kalas after that. Hmmmm.
Three things that popped into my head
1. Most analysts believe Albert Pujols is the best player in baseball this season, but if there's one player I would want at the plate in a clutch situation, it's Ichiro Suzuki, right.
2. NFL training camp footage raises one question: Who would watch a team practice in August heat if they didn't have to?
3. Josh Hamilton's admission to falling off the wagon in January emphasizes how every day is a challenge for those dealing with substance abuse problems.
St. Petersburg Times staff writer Rodney Page takes a look at the best and the worst from a weekend of televised sports.
Game of the week
Regardless of how you feel about the Red Sox and Yankees, they do play some spirited games against each other. Saturday's nationally televised game on Fox was a case in point. Through 52/3 innings, the Yankees' CC Sabathia was pitching a no-hitter. Color commentator Tim McCarver, a former major-league catcher (as he reminds viewers regularly), broke the unwritten rule by mentioning the no-no in the fifth inning. Lead broadcaster Joe Buck chided McCarver, saying, "Aren't you superstitious?" McCarver said, "No. Particularly about a baseball game when a guy is in a booth and has nothing to do with the game. Why can't I say that?'' Sure enough, the no-hitter was broken up by the next batter, Jacoby Ellsbury. There was more drama in the bottom of the seventh when Red Sox reliever Ramon Ramirez hit Alex Rodriguez and was quickly ejected by home plate umpire Jim Joyce. The plunk was supposedly in retaliation for a Thursday night beaning of Dustin Pedroia. At the time of the A-Rod plunk, New York led 2-0 in a game Boston needed to win, which led McCarver to say, "(Boston) is a team trying to stop the bleeding. Thursday should have had nothing to do with it. So my question is why? Why would they pick now to bean a batter? That's the way I look at it.'' The Yankees went on to win 5-0, and it was a typical broadcast for these two teams: lots of drama, lots of time to play it (31/2 hours) and good stuff from Buck and McCarver.