Oooh, episode 360. You spin me right round, internet, right round. Like a record, internet, right round, round round.
Today’s show talks about women’s basketball, coaches who can’t get fired for performance quite possibly doing so for getting in an argument at a game for which they aren’t even a coach (as Nick says, Rutgers basketball coach Fred Hill may as well have taken a bucket of money, lit it on fire and thrown it at the Pittsburgh baseball team), the magic of Lionel Messi — and if he’s reached that level of transcendent sports icon, even in America — and David Shuster getting suspended, and maybe canned from MSNBC for filming a pilot with CNN.
So basically, it’s a show of topics we really know nothing about. Well, except the Rutgers stuff. And, I suppose, the women’s basketball stuff. And the soccer, a little. And even the TV and PR angles.
Hey, not so bad. Thanks for listening.
It’s the day after Sports Christmas and we’re still opening presents. The show is in three segments.
First, Nick and I talk about the National Championship game and I sound like, gasp, an NBA fan. People are talking about how great the game was, but does close automatically equal great? There was very little scoring at the end of the game – one point scored in the last 54 seconds and no baskets for the national champion in more than two and a half minutes to end it – but it was hard-fought and tenacious. Does that, alone, make the game as great as people are writing today?
Also, we apologize to Duke. They deserve the title. And we rip to shreds One Shining Moment and whoever at CBS thought it was okay to put FIVE different shots of Jennifer Hudson. Chris Littmann has a better breakdown than I could do.
Shane Bacon and I talk about the Tiger Woods press conference. For video clips, and my take, check out here. For Shane’s take on the presser – other than our conversation – read him at Devil Ball Golf.
We also take some time to preview the Masters. Is Anthony Kim the guy? Is another young gun? How about a guy like Steve Stricker? Or maybe a guy named….Phil….something.
Can Mickelson compete after having a rough start to the season? And will he go into his presser this week and remind everyone that his wife and mother had cancer and it’s not all about Tiger’s big swinging…putter?
To read his preview, click here. (Lots of plugs today).
Opening Day. We can breathe again, as baseball is back. Nick and I talk about the winners and losers. Hey, look, a plug. Read my take here.
Click here for audio. Thanks for listening.
Today’s show is more like a watercooler conversation than anything. We had topics — how could you not know the topics — so we just talk. Nick calls today “Sports Christmas.” I am unfamiliar with that term.
McNabb trade, Opening Day (a National Halladay in these parts), National Championship game with Duke and Butler and other important things.
Oh, and at some point my wife calls and I think she’s in labor. Thanks for listening.
We plug the baby pool again — folks, I’m telling you, SKEW EARLY. Like, the countdown is on now.
Next, Nick and I talk about the Santonio Holmes situation in the context of trying to figure out how the media is supposed to talk about the Santonio Holmes situation. Can’t anyone sue anyone for anything? If Nick and I file a lawsuit against Donovan McNabb for pain and suffering, it’ll be news. But is it fair? And our kneejerk reaction is always to assume the worst of the athletes, yet sometimes when there is smoke it’s just smoke, not fire. People can’t have an opinion on this, right? It’s more just ‘um…here’s news that may or may not be true.’ The lawsuit, in this case, is the news. The accusations, in Ben Roethlisberger’s case, is the news. But only a few people know what actually happened. So are we covering the news, or covering the news that there’s news?
You know who can fix this? Holmes. Not Santonio Holmes. Mike Holmes. That dude can fix anything. We need to get a show called Holmes on Holmes, where Holmes spends each episode giving us his opinion of what’s wrong with Holmes.
Nick and I are back, no worse for the wear. We break down each of the Final Four teams. In bullets:
• Why do we, and by we I mean I, hate Duke so much? There’s more in there than just them being white guys. Not much more, but more.
• We talk about why nobody picked Michigan State to go to the Final Four, yet everyone is talking about Izzo’s 6 of the last 12 Final Fours. Why didn’t we think of that three weeks ago? Someone, I think Whitlock, said that Izzo is the best basketball coach in the country at any level. Is that fair? Is it true? Or is he a great TOURNAMENT coach?
• We talk about Tennessee shooting too soon on their last possession in that game, and as Chris Littmann tweeted today, we disagree on the idea of ever shooting too soon when your team is losing. He thinks you take the lead as quickly as you can. I think, with a team like MSU doing the same thing to Maryland last week, you milk the clock and either win or lose with the ball in your hands. I would have called timeout and ran the play to leave less time on the clock.
• I’m rooting for West Virginia. The team, not the state. I mean no ill will to those who live there. I bet I like a bunch of people from there. But let’s not turn a bunch of NYC area kids winning a few games into some grand statement about the people from that state. I’m looking at you, Dan Wetzel’s Yahoo column.
• Butler is a great story, but will there be THAT MUCH of a home-court advantage for them? Sure it’s at home, but don’t people root for the underdog everywhere? Will there be that many more fans rooting for them in the stands in Indy as there would be in New Orleans? Will Hoosier fans be so quick to jump on the Butler Bandwagon when their team is in shambles?
Inside the Press Box:
We discuss two notes from Press Coverage this week. The story on Mike Penner in the LA Times, and the PFT story about Tim Tebow’s autograph session and the role the Palm Beach Post played in sponsoring and covering it.
We’re back. Please tolerate the congestion.
Pleased to have Gary Thorne, venerable broadcaster and the voice of MLB2K10 on the show. We talk a bit about the game and the process by which he records all those sounds. I never knew they do it in a booth with no visual aids. They are basically calling an imaginary baseball game? Wait not just one game…like 70 hours of imaginary games.
We talk about the fact that Thorne isn’t given a script – that he’s hired for the way he calls the game as much as his voice – and how different the game is when there’s nothing to cross-talk about. Isn’t the cross talk what makes baseball announcing so much fun?
We discuss actual baseball as well, as I ask Thorne about the differences between calling national games and local games for the Orioles. And being in Baltimore, does he find his audience is much more dedicated, and therefore baseball savvy, than a larger audience of bandwagon jumpers may be in, say, Philadelphia or Boston? Thorne does agree that it’s important to know the audience, but not to talk over them and get to inside baseball.
Speaking of that, we do discuss the balance of stats and sabermetrics in a broadcast with the “Joe Morgan” types of announcers. Thorne’s wife has a company that trains former players to become broadcasters, so we discuss the importance “having been there” with “the numbers indicate”. What is the balance? And could it be that TV and radio – due to the audience and the time constraints of the game going on in front of you – lend themselves more to “experience” as expertise while the number crunchers can have more focus in print and other non in-game mediums?
We talk a lot about the idea of Floating Realignment, and if it’s a viable idea for change. In fact, is any change needed? Thorne does bring up the concept of buying a championship, which you can make the case that only a handful of teams can afford to do. Of course for every Yankees (or Red Sox of Phillies) there is a Dodgers or a Cubs, who can get to the playoffs, but can’t win anything – a concept to which Thorne rightly brings up the point that getting to the playoffs has been far too marginalized in baseball. It’s still a really big deal.
Last, we talk about hockey. Well, hockey and baseball and which Thorne likes to announce more and which he thinks he is more known for. The short answer: it’s like asking him which kid he loves more.
Jon and I run down the weekend’s games – a full compliment of storylines so deep that we didn’t even get to the Maryland-MSU game that may have been the best (and worst for some in my family) of the weekend.
We do talk a great deal about Cornell and try to figure out exactly why we didn’t pick them over Temple. We also look forward to the announcing crews for the Regionals. For more on that, and a look back at this weekend’s job – and how Gus Johnson had the most boring games of anyone – read Press Coverage today at TSB.
Tiger Woods did two interviews yesterday. We said we’d talk for five minutes about this and it goes about 14 and change. And I know I said at the start of the segment that I have Tiger fatigue and then spend those 14 and change talking about the topic, but it’s not so much about Tiger as it is about the media covering Tiger. Why would CBS not do the interview, even if it was only limited to five minutes? And why are media people applauding that decision. From an outsider (me) and an insider (Tannenwald) in the media world, we have a pretty frank debate about whether or not putting a shot clock on the interview is fair to a reporter, and if that would be a deal breaker for some.
For a question-by-question breakdown of Tom Rinaldi’s and Kelly Tilghman’s interviews, head over to TSB for Press Coverage. It’s pretty interesting to read them together.
Nick didn’t do a bracket. I call him a chump. Maybe he’s right. Unless I win, then I will mock him. Go watch Zoe’s picks, and then enjoy the games. Today we talk about the Tournament, Tebow at the draft (I think it’s a good idea and Nick does not) and some Tiger notes, including a wonderful column from our friendly neighborhood general columnist.
Thanks and enjoy the games. Click here to listen to the show. We’ll be back on Monday.
Last year, when Tony Kornheiser wasn’t on radio during the NCAA tournament, he offered me the authority to reach out to Phil’s Mom — the woman whose bracket picks on his radio show are so outlandishly hilarious that we’ve raised thousands of dollars selling charity t-shirts — and get her on our show. She decided not to do it, but thanked me for the offer. Trying to find a good replacement for hilarious bracket picks, I hastily recorded my then not-quite two year old daughter making bracket picks. Little did I know she had a double ear infection at the time, but the lack of focus and constant falling down made the video even funnier.
I was a bit concerned when I was asked to talk with Paul Bessire of PredictionMachine.com because I hate doing interviews with guys who do 25 interviews in a day. They get tired of answering the same questions over and over again and it turns into autopilot mode.
This is not that interview, and it turned into one of my favorite shows in a long time. If you’re listening CLICK THIS LINK TO FOLLOW ALONG. It’s heady number crunching and it helps to have a something to look at. But honestly, I’m convinced this system could work.
Paul mentions that they have a book on every single player in college basketball, and use that to create team profiles. The team profiles are used to run 50,000 tournaments to determine the probability of how far each team will go. It’s rather incredible.
We run through the chances of too many teams to just list one or two here (ahem Villanova), so please listen if you want your bracket to do well. Or if you’re a stat geek.