We start with more on the spat between Keith Olbermann and Bill Simmons. For more on my thoughts, echoed in the conversation by Nick, read it at The Sporting Blog.
The news, of course, stems from this comment by Olbermann in response to Simmons calling him out on Twitter.
I am surprised, however, to be able to shed some light on something that has been a prominent topic of late around the internet: the prospect that Mr. Simmons is leaving ESPN. Admittedly I am something of an authority on this process. Nonetheless, I was stunned to receive several emails from some of Mr. Simmons’ bosses there, thanking me for pointing out the absurdity of, and the embarrassment to ESPN provided by, the Woods/Ali comparison.
About five years ago, I guess, somebody said Tony Kornheiser was the most uncontrollable, unmanageable talent in the history of ESPN. I was, of course, crushed (although I believe I got honorable mention). When ESPN bosses are writing me for helping them about somebody they claim has now lapped Tony and myself, I am left to conclude only that if Mr. Simmons does leave ESPN, it may not be entirely of his own choosing.
Not mentioned in my TSB piece is Nick’s assertion that Simmons has changed so much in the last ten years — to which I reply who hasn’t — mostly in his style of writing. Things are far more serious and authoritative than they used to be. The fun is gone from much of his style, and we wonder if it was sapped away from the prevalence of sports blogs. Namely, Drew Magary, who has either organically become the internet’s version of Simmons circa 1999 or made a calculated decision to model his entire online persona that way. Either way, we discuss how it has put Simmons into a bit more perspective that wasn’t there when he was the only sportscar in a lot full of sedans.
Rovitz, aka Ron Balaskovitz, winner of the first Blogs with Stones tournament, joins the show to talk about how great it is to curl online. But that’s not all! Rovitz not only admits he JOINED TWITTER just to play in Blogs with Stones, but also admits that he blew off friends from out of town to play in the tournament segment of the event. Also, and this is the better reason to have him on, Rovitz and friends travelled to the U.S. Curling Championships last weekend. We talk about the event, how it differed from the Olympic coverage and if he had any run-ins with John Shuster.
Turns out, the Olympians weren’t there, which makes me question how you have a national championship without the team that qualified for the Olympics. Nonetheless, we talk about the scene at the event, from the action on the ice to sitting in the stands and knowing when and when not to cheer.
If you listen to this show you know how much I’m into curling these days. It went from a campy fun sport in the Olympics that you’ll watch because it’s the only thing on, to something we all really seemed to care about, learn about and embrace. The man heading the television coverage — calling every match on the NBC family of networks — was Andrew Catalon, and I am very happy to have him on the show.
If you haven’t heard of Catalon, you’re not alone. In fact, this is part of his bio from WNYT, NewsChannel 13 in Albany:
Andrew Catalon is the weekend sports anchor at NewsChannel 13. He joined WNYT in November 2003. Andrew hosts “Big Board Sports with Andrew Catalon,” the Capital Region’s only Sunday night sports wrap-up show. When he is not on the anchor desk, you can usually find Andrew at a local high school. Each and every Tuesday, Andrew honors the top student-athletes in the area for the “Dunkin’ Donuts High School Player of the Week” segment.
In other words, he was plucked from the middle of nowhere (no disrespect to Albany). So how did he go from his local NBC affiliate to covering the cult-favorite sport of the Olympics? We discuss his affiliation with the network, from doing a few local productions on the sport to calling a promotional event on the ice at Rockafeller Center for NBC, eventually leading to a gig calling Handball during the Beijing Games, which carried over to Vancouver.
Snow today has everything a bit behind, so to make up time, this is what we discuss today.
• The MLS Labor situation. Read more about that here.
• Whitlock vs. Daulerio. We talk about how many of us try to make a story about us. Self-promotion is how we survive in this business. But Whitlock has seemed to take it to a whole new level. We talk about that, his decision to use the blog world as puppets to do his bidding, and how Daulerio really doesn’t seem to care what people think of him. Which, frankly, makes it hard to get over on the guy. Whitlock clearly cares what people think of him, no matter what he says or writes.
But mostly, Whitlock’s job is to get you to pay attention to Whitlock. He always succeeds, but it doesn’t make it right that he does it or how he does it.
• The Olympics are coming to a close. Will you miss them, or will you be happy to get back to normal viewing habits? What will NBC’s fallout be? Will ESPN really get the Olympics and put things on live? And will we care about curling next week?
If ESPN really wants the Olympics, and wants to prove it’s about the sports, they should buy up the American TV rights to all these events — handball, curling, archery, etc — and put them on a specific Olympic-themed ESPN360 channel, giving us maybe 3-4 hours a week on one of their networks for a “Wide World of Sports” themed show. Let’s hope it happens.
• Congrats to Rovitz for winning the Blogs with Stones Curling Championship. Matt Suss– got the silver and cknoblockhead got the bronze. Great even, and we’ll do it again soon.
Let’s have a short recap today, shall we? Nick and I talk about the Canada-Russia hockey game last night. It seems Canada woke up from whatever US-induced haze they were in and seem like, literal, world beaters again. And we link to a report that Mike Milbury used the term “Eurotrash” to describe the way the Russians played. Bill Patrick and Jeremy Roenick seemed very taken aback by that. Is it that derogatory? Where does that term rank on the epithet list? Or was it more a shot at European HOCKEY player?
Stephen A. Smith wrote a column about Brian Westbrook getting released, and turned it into yet another shot at the Eagles front office. So, if for no other reason than it’s fun to point out how ridiculous his words can be, we turn it into another shot at him. This could be a recurring show theme, so buckle up.
The big Blogs with Stones curling tournament is tonight. Here’s a bracket…vote to see who you think will win. Follow #blogswithstones on Twitter to stay on top of all the action. Even more Olympic conspiracies last night, making the IOC the only sports organization worse than the NCAA at this point. It has to be close, right?
Click here to listen. Oh, and be careful in the snow.
Nick and I start the show with a conversation about Allen Iverson’s leave of absence from the Sixers to be by his four-year old daughter’s side. She’s sick. They aren’t sure what it is. Iverson could be done with the Sixers, and in theory, with the NBA if nobody else picks him up.
First and foremost, we wish his daughter a speedy recovery. Being a parent of a child around that age, you spend every minute of every day thinking and worrying about their safety. Second, Nick points out that Iverson’s career may end with a whimper, like most stars that shine bright…then burn out. But if he leaves the game to be with his family, doesn’t that illustrate that Iverson has his priorities straight. That a player everyone called selfish is hanging it up so he can take care of his kids? It’s bittersweet, perhaps.
Josh Zerkle joins the show to promote our curling tournament tonight. There may or may not be spots left, so email me if you’re interested. And we talk about curling in the Olympics, and if it will actually spill over to become a recreational sport in America, not as popular as bowling, but somewhere higher than crab soccer. What, you’ve never played crab soccer with your friends on a nice summer afternoon? You’re not livin…
Nick and I discuss the victory by Team USA over the Canadians in what had to be the most intense first-round matchup I can remember. That was the greatest All-Star game I’ve ever seen (and yes, I understand that the likes of Ovechckin, Malkin, et al were not involved). Can a game like that restore my interest in the NHL? It sure can’t hurt.
There’s a lot more we discuss about the game, including all the references by NBC people to the Miracle on Ice this week — including last night — but the lasting image I have is Martin Brodeur failing. And that makes me smile. Nick points out that the combination of the United States beating Crosby and Brodeur in the same game is maybe the best scenario ever.
We also take a look at the Olympic bracket to realize just how tough Canada has it now. By my view of it, they’ll have to beat Germany and then face Russia AND Sweden just to get to the Gold Medal Game. Yeesh.