Wednesday, February 21, 2018
TV and Radio_sports

Shooting from the lip: ABC's Indy 500 coverage a highlight

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

Best coverage

ABC's coverage of the Indianapolis 500 was the broadcast highlight of the sports weekend.

The production and direction were outstanding with coverage whipping around at a dizzying pace. Think about it for a moment. It's a bunch of race cars driving in circles for three hours, yet ABC's intense coverage left no moments of silence or boredom.

For my money, pit reporter Jamie Little was the MVP of the broadcast. The amount of information she relays to viewers only proves how hard she works preparing for the race.

Meantime, the best moment of the broadcast came when driver Ed Carpenter talked about the crash with 25 laps to go that took him out of the race and possibly cost him a victory. He said the wreck was the result of an "amateur move'' by James Hinchcliffe, then added that Hinchcliffe was lucky to have suffered a concussion earlier this month or else Carpenter might have done more than yell at him.

Strongest comments

Former NFL players are suing the NFL, saying they were unaware of the dangers and future effects caused by painkillers to mask injuries. Certainly everyone sympathizes with the health problems suffered by former players, but surprisingly, one high-profile former NFL player is not blaming the NFL.

ESPN's Mark Schlereth, who played 12 seasons and had 29 surgeries during his career, admitted he took pain pills and shots throughout his career.

"I did it to myself,'' Schlereth, 48, said on ESPN last week. "I knew what I was doing. That's why I never joined a concussion lawsuit despite getting an email every day."

Best hire

After a year, Fox Sports 1 hasn't had quite the impact on sports television that some thought it might. It really hasn't cut into ESPN's dominance, but that shouldn't be a big surprise. When you have a network as good as ESPN, it's going to take more than a year to try to change viewer habits.

Anyway, Fox Sports 1 is still trying. The latest move was to hire Yahoo Sports NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski, who covers the league probably better than anyone. Wojnarowski will immediately begin contributing to Fox Sports Live. The hire also means that Fox likely wants to get in on carrying NBA games.

Biggest absence

One of the biggest soccer stories in U.S. history went down last week when Landon Donovan, probably the country's all-time greatest soccer player, was left off the World Cup team.

The theory that I'm buying is that the Americans are in such a tough pool this year that coach Jurgen Klinsmann is already looking to the 2018 World Cup. So that's why he is leaving Donovan, 32, at home while going with a few younger players who could benefit from World Cup experience.

Donovan has done great things for American soccer. No doubt about that. But I don't get the outrage over Donovan being left off the team. The Americans are good in soccer but not great. It's time to take soccer to the next level and it requires bold moves to do that. Leaving Donovan off the roster this time and building to the future is such a move.

Best calling out

Sun Sports Rays analyst Brian Anderson is having another solid season — as usual. He can be offbeat and silly, but he also can be critical. Example, in Sunday's game, Rays catcher Jose Molina was lazy on a ball in the dirt thrown by pitcher Joel Peralta. Instead of blocking the ball, Molina tried a backhand and the ball ended up going to the backstop.

"That, right there, is not textbook,'' Anderson said of Molina's effort. "That's not how you should do that at all. … What's that do to your confidence to pitch the ball down and away?''

Worst news

Say it ain't so, Chuck. In a radio interview last week, TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley said he might walk away from broadcasting when his contract expires in two years. Barkley said he wants to become a general manager.

"Not that I don't love my job,'' Barkley, 51, said. "I got the best job, I just think 17 years is long enough to do anything, to be honest with you. You know, when I took the job, I told them I was going to do it for four years. I'm in year 15 now. And I think 17 years is long enough to do this job.''

Best show

How big is football in this country?

Well, consider this: NBC's Sunday Night Football finished the 2013-14 television season as the No. 1 show in prime time. That's all of television we're talking about. The 21.7 million average viewers for Sunday Night Football beat out second-place finisher NCIS, which had 16.9 million average viewers on CBS. That's quite a gap between first and second.

Officially hired

As expected, CBS named Tracy Wolfson to be the sideline reporter for its Thursday night NFL broadcasts. Wolfson also will work select Sunday NFL games. In recent years, CBS has been getting away from sideline reports on NFL games, though Wolfson has worked NFL playoff games and the Super Bowl for CBS.

Wolfson has spent the past 10 years as the network's lead college football sideline reporter, working SEC games alongside play-by-play man Verne Lundquist and analyst Gary Danielson. So who will take over Wolfson's college football gig? Look for Allie LaForce, 25, who has had a meteoric rise with CBS.

Three things that popped into my head

1. The Red Sox are a bunch of babies. Complaining about Yunel Escobar taking an uncovered third base with the Rays leading 8-3 in the seventh inning Sunday? Seriously? Have the Red Sox seen the Rays bullpen? A five-run lead in the seventh inning is far from safe. In fact, things got dicey for a moment in the ninth for the Rays.

2. Speaking of the little dustup between the Rays and Red Sox, I had no problem with Boston's Jonny Gomes standing up for his team by rushing in from the outfield, but he shouldn't be pushing (even inadvertently) Rays' 54-year-old third-base coach Tom Foley, who was merely trying to play peacemaker.

3. Most underrated announcer: NBC hockey guy Kenny Albert. Doc Emrick is so good that Albert often is overlooked. But he's tremendous.

tom jones' two cents


Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballGeorgia at South Carolina6:30 p.m.SECXavier at Georgetown6:30 p.m.FS1North Carolina at Syracuse7 p.m.ESPNGeorgia Tech at Virginia7 p.m.ESPN2Texas Tech at Oklahoma State7 p.m.ESPNUSMU at East Carolina7 p.m.ESPNewsClemson at Virg...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballIllinois at Michigan State7 p.m.ESPNWest Virginia at Baylor7 p.m.ESPN2Mississippi State at Texas A&M7 p.m.SECBoston College at N.C. State7 p.m.FSFCreighton at Butler7 p.m.FS1Rhode Island at La Salle7 p.m.CBSSNRutgers at Ohio St...
Published: 02/19/18

Monday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballWomen: Florida State at Duke6 p.m.ESPN2Miami at Notre Dame7 p.m.ESPN; 620-AMMaryland at Northwestern7 p.m.FS1Howard at N.C. Central7 p.m.ESPNUWomen: Georgia at Mississippi7 p.m.SECWomen: Syracuse at Pittsburgh7 p.m.Fox SunWomen...
Published: 02/18/18

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballUSF at UCF6 p.m.ESPNews; 820-AMIowa at Michigan6:30 p.m.Big TenClemson at Florida State7 p.m.Fox Sun; 1010-AMVirginia Tech at Duke7 p.m.ESPN2Kansas State at Oklahoma State7 p.m.ESPNUMississippi State at Vanderbilt7 p.m.SECVilla...
Published: 02/13/18

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballGeorgetown at Butler6:30 p.m.CBSSNKansas at Iowa State7 p.m.ESPN2Oklahoma at Texas Tech7 p.m.ESPNTexas A&M at Missouri7 p.m.ESPNUBoston College at Pittsburgh7 p.m.ESPNewsArkansas at Mississippi7 p.m.SECMaryland at Nebraska7 p.m...
Published: 02/12/18

Monday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballNotre Dame at North Carolina7 p.m.ESPNDelaware State at Norfolk State7 p.m.ESPNUColgate at Bucknell7 p.m.CBSSNWomen: Louisville at Connecticut7 p.m.ESPN2Women: Vanderbilt at Auburn7 p.m.SECWomen: Indiana at Purdue7 p.m.Big TenB...
Published: 02/11/18
Tom Jones’ Two Cents: Some criticism, some praise for NBC

Tom Jones’ Two Cents: Some criticism, some praise for NBC

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Worst of the weekendIs there anything on television that talks down to viewers more than a network’s coverage of an Olympics opening ceremony? Oth...
Published: 02/11/18
Hulk Hogan and sober Ric Flair recount glory days and alcohol-fueled nights at Tampa show

Hulk Hogan and sober Ric Flair recount glory days and alcohol-fueled nights at Tampa show

For one night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa the crowds were roaring again for pro wrestling legends Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. First over the sound system as a loop of their 1994 Bash at the Beach match in front of 14,000 thousa...
Published: 02/11/18

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Daytona 500 qualifyingnoonFoxMonster Energy Cup: Advance Auto Parts Clash3 p.m.FS1NHRA: Winternationals5 p.m.FS1BowlingPBA Tournament of Champions1 p.m.ESPNCollege basketballLoyola at LafayettenoonCBSSNWomen: Michigan at...
Published: 02/10/18

Friday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballToledo at Miami (Ohio)6 p.m.CBSSNPrinceton at Harvard7 p.m.ESPNUDavidson at Rhode Island7 p.m.ESPN2Minnesota at Indiana7:30 p.m.FS1Women: Marquette at Xavier8 p.m.FS2Detroit at Oakland9 p.m.ESPN2Kent State at Ball State9 p.m.ES...
Published: 02/08/18