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Shooting from the lip

tom jones' two cents

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

Best answer

The Tigers' Delmon Young isn't exactly the warmest, fuzziest guy around. Those in Tampa Bay are familiar with how prickly the former Ray can be sometimes. But he gave a tremendous answer to TBS's Craig Sager after Saturday night's 6-4 victory against the Yankees in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.

Sager asked Young how the Tigers were able to maintain their composure after the Yankees stormed back from a 4-0 deficit in the ninth inning to tie the score.

"We're big-leaguers," Young said. "We're supposed to."

Most ill-advised comment, Part I

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., top left, sought medical help for a concussion last week, and that led to him being shut down for two races. Then driver Jeff Gordon, bottom left, said he hated to admit it but he probably would keep quiet if he had concussion symptoms so he could keep driving.

I suppose Gordon should be given credit for his honesty, and he's probably not the only driver who feels that way. However, Gordon needed to keep his mouth shut on this topic. Though he likely didn't intend to question Earnhardt or suggest drivers should keep injuries quiet, that's the way he came off. Earnhardt should be praised, especially because his concussion issues affect his fellow drivers as well. If I was a driver, I'd be a little nervous driving 180 mph next to Gordon, knowing he would go out there even when he didn't feel well.

Most ill-advised comment, Part II

Shame on Rangers president Nolan Ryan for questioning whether star slugger Josh Hamilton picked the wrong time to quit smokeless tobacco. Hamilton quit the habit during the season, and Ryan said Hamilton should have waited until after the season so his play would not have suffered.

Could Hamilton have waited until the offseason? Perhaps. But take it from someone who knows how difficult it is to break a smokeless tobacco habit: No time is the wrong time to quit. Any time you can muster up the right frame of mind and the will to stop is the right time. And Hamilton's health is more important than Ryan's baseball team.

Best called shot

At halftime of Saturday's Notre Dame-Stanford game on NBC, studio analyst Hines Ward said the Irish should be targeting their 6-foot-6 tight end.

"You need to be looking at Tyler Eifert," Ward said. "The guy only has three catches in the last three games. When he's down in the red zone, throw it up and give him a chance to catch the ball."

In the fourth quarter, Notre Dame, which won in OT, tied the score when Everett Golson threw a jump-ball pass in the end zone to, yep, Tyler Eifert.

Best line

NBC's Mike Mayock, the analyst on Notre Dame games, nailed this one perfectly Saturday when he said, "I don't care whether you're a Notre Dame fan or a Notre Dame hater. When Notre Dame is relevant, it's good for college football."


Funniest line

Well, it's funny to all but Nationals fans. New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, top left, on Sunday's ESPN Sports Reporters said, "I've got a question: Is Stephen Strasburg pitching Game 1 or Game 2 of the National League Championship Series?"

The Nats are out of the playoffs, and Strasburg, bottom left, one of baseball's best pitchers, was shut down for the final stretch of the regular season and the playoffs because he had elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2010.

Second-funniest line

During the NFL on Fox pregame show Sunday, analyst Howie Long said Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez needs a fresh start in a new place. To which analyst Jimmy Johnson cracked, "You're exactly right. How about the Saskatchewan Roughriders?"

Twitter feed of the day

The Notre Dame-Stanford game ended in controversy Saturday when, on fourth and goal in overtime, officials ruled that Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor was stopped short of the goal line, giving Notre Dame the win. Replays showed Taylor stretched the ball over the goal line before he was down. But had the whistle blown?

Doesn't matter, Fox football rules expert Mike Pereira, the NFL's former vice president of officiating, said on Twitter (@MikePereira): "The fact that the whistle may or may not have been blown is irrelevant. The play is reviewed and when the whistle blew has no bearing."

Worst remembrance

After legendary ESPN college football analyst Beano Cook died last week, ESPN SportsCenter anchor Neil Everett said, "If I say Beano Cook and you say, 'Oh yeah, the guy on the ESPN blooper reel,' well then, you're really cheating yourself and the man's legacy."

No, do you know what is really cheating the man's legacy? Assuming your viewers think of ESPN's blooper reel first when they think of Cook. Was that anyone's first thought?

Most, if not all, people who remember Cook likely do for his analysis, humor and regular-guy approach to television.

Not only was Everett's line a disrespectful way to introduce an obituary story about Cook's life, it was also arrogant to assume the ESPN gag reel is such a big deal that viewers knew exactly what Everett was talking about.

So, ESPN, when viewers and certain critics complain about your self-promotion, this is the kind of thing that only adds to that reputation.

Best analysts

I wasn't in favor of TBS's Cal Ripken Jr. calling the Yankees-Orioles AL Division Series because I thought he was too closely associated with the O's. But it worked out well. He and analyst John Smoltz were superb together. I like Smoltz with normal partner Ron Darling, and they are working the AL Championship Series. But I miss Ripken in the booth.

Three things that popped into my head

1. After the Cardinals were one pitch away from being knocked out of this year's playoffs and one pitch away (twice) from losing last year's World Series, their fans can never gripe, whine or complain about anything that happens in baseball. Ever.

2. Have you heard that sort of mocking whistle thing that plays in Yankee Stadium after an opposing hitter strikes out? It's annoying, and it seems below the tradition-rich Yankees to resort to such bush-league sound effects. Come on, Yanks, you're better than that.

3. Whether you like the Yankees or not, you hate to see shortstop Derek Jeter miss the rest of the postseason with a fractured ankle. Baseball is better and more exciting with Jeter playing, especially in October.

Shooting from the lip 10/14/12 [Last modified: Sunday, October 14, 2012 11:48pm]
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