Nick and I talk about Oswalt to Philly, Dom Brown’s debut, the LeBron story that got pulled from ESPNLA.com and what that means from a PR perspective (and how to fix that if you’re ESPN) and other stuff, including a little on the shakeup at ABC and how TV has changed in the last five years and some talk of the MLS All-Star Game.
Quick recap, so go listen. And thanks for doing so.
We actually have four topics today:
• T.O. to the Bengals and why it’s so crazy it basically has to work.
• Jay Glazer and Daryl “Moose” Johnston to the NFL Network and what that could mean for the league’s network and, most specifically, for Glazer having to balance breaking news for the NFL and for Fox.
• A ton of numbers in the Year of the Pitcher vs. Year of the Walk-off debate.
• Talk about the MLS All-Star game tonight and how the U.S. pro soccer league has really capitalized on soccer’s popularity coming out of the World Cup.
Thanks for listening.
We talk about a lot on this episode, including the Baseball Hall of Fame — which includes part of Andre Dawson’s speech that we reference in today’s title.
We also touch on NFL training camp and Dez Bryant’s refusal to carry Roy Williams’ pads. Which side would you be on…the hot-shot rookie who may be too big for his britches or the veteran who may just be a dick because he knows his job is going to get taken?
There’s more to this, including something about NASCAR, Tour de France, MLS All-Star game and the U.S. Open buildup. Of course, we talk about all of this because I expected Nick to watch Mad Men and he didn’t, so we couldn’t discuss it. Serves me right for staying up late.
Thanks for listening.
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.
We try to do today’s show in five minutes bites. Or, I suppose, bytes. It obviously doesn’t work.
Today, we discuss:
• Tiger’s return and the theory that CBS put the kiabosh on Bay Hill because it would coincide with the NCAA Regionals (and be on NBC) as opposed to his enormous, and protected, return on CBS for the Masters.
• The crazy up and down world of the BIG EAST, including the chance that West Virginia could be a #1 seed. Plus, some Big 12 talk as well! See, we aren’t totally east coast biased.
• A complete and utter dismantling of the ridiculous Floating Realignment idea in MLB. More on that at TSB if you want to read my thoughts and see my plan for realignment. Oh, an a bit of advice for the teams who think they can’t compete for their division crowns because other teams are better: get better. If you can’t beat the Yankees and Red Sox, tough darts. Get better. Sure those two teams habitually make the playoffs, but the Red Sox have only been in two World Series since 1986. The Rays have been in one more recently. I’m not saying things shouldn’t change, but let’s back off the radical ideas because of the “success” of two teams.
• MLS labor talks may lead to a strike. So far, both sides have been doing things right.
• RIP Merlin Olsen. Nick puts out the question, for you, of which current athletes (or recently retired) will we think of more as actors/pitchmen/analysts and less for what they did on the field?
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.