X-Games Big Air Produces Another Insane Crash

Thursday, July 31, 2008

This event is just about the craziest thing I've ever seen. Last year it was Jake Brown falling four stories to the bottom of the ramp and this year it's Danny Way with another massive wreck. I can't even describe it. Here's the video....

First of all, that flip across that huge gap was ridiculous, but dropping two stories onto your shins? F that. Oh and get this....he came back and did another 3 runs, crashed again, and finished second. That's just madness.

Hey, A Sports Center Ad Without Steve!

So apparently Sports Center actually went live today for an hour and I completely missed it. Thanks for the notice! Anyway, I know you're insanely sick of Steve at this point so I thought I'd give you a look at the Hannah Storm-Josh Elliott spot they just came out with. And hey...they mention blogs!

I've said from the very beginning that this plan seemed like a great idea and a move to counter the freshness of blogs, but for them to acknowledge the competition is kind of weird. I mean it's not direct competition but the one thing websites have/had over Sports Center was that in the 24-hour news cycle they had breaking news up during the day. I guess that's not the case anymore. I still don't know how they're going to find new stuff on a slow day over a six hour period, but it's still a good game plan.

FYI- I'm going to have an open thread the day it debuts so be sure to stop by.

ESPN Airing The NFL HOF Induction Ceremony On Sunday

Well we now know where ESPN's allegiance is. The Baseball HOF Ceremony was relegated to ESPN Classic, but the NFL one on Sunday will be broadcast on ESPN Uno. We even get Chris Berman back as host!

ESPN will present live coverage of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2008 induction ceremony Saturday, August 2, at 6 p.m. ET from Canton, Ohio. NFL Live’s Trey Wingo will host the three-hour primetime telecast with analyst Tom Jackson. ESPN’s Chris Berman, entering his 23rd year as host of Sunday NFL Countdown, will emcee the ceremony that honors the six members of this year’s class – Fred Dean, Darrell Green, Art Monk, Emmitt Thomas, Andre Tippett and Gary Zimmerman. The telecast – which will re-air Saturday night at 11 p.m. on ESPN Classic – will review each inductee’s career with speeches from the inductees and their presenters.

Correspondent Bob Holtzman will also provide reports for SportsCenter and other ESPN programs throughout the Hall of Fame weekend, including coverage of Sunday’s Redskins-Colts game.
Obviously as a Skins fan, it's going to be a great day for me, but when you add in the game the next night it's just an awesome weekend of all things Football. I should be around most of the weekend with vids if you want to stop by. Football is here people....let us rejoice!


Everyone Welcome Freddie Prinze Jr. To The World Of "Sports"

I have to admit that I check in on the WWE from time to time. I'm no expert, and I'm not even sure who's champ at the moment (according to Google some guy named CM Punk), but the business side of it intrigues me. Well how about this for a business decision? Actor, and husband to Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr. has been hired by the WWE to be a storyline writer for the Sports Entertainment behemoth....

Freddie Prinze, Jr., a long-time fan of World Wrestling Entertainment(R), has joined WWE(R)'s creative team. Prinze, Jr. will now have a behind-the-scenes role contributing to USA Network's ratings powerhouse, WWE Monday Night RAW, as well as WWE's weekly television and pay-per-view programs.

"Bringing on board an experienced Hollywood writer, actor and producer like Freddie Prinze, Jr. will only increase the level of entertainment to millions of viewers and passionate WWE fans every Monday on USA," said Chris McCumber, Executive Vice President Marketing Digital & Brand Strategy, USA Network."

"Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s passion, energy and creativity make him an excellent fit for WWE," said WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
How random is that? It must be nice to be able to work wherever you want to. I also promise Vince McMahon that if he gets Freddie into a storyline, I'll start watching on a regular basis again. The guy has certainly been in some crap movies but he's also been on Robot Chicken and Boston Legal recently.

Freddie Prinze, Jr. Joins WWE Creative Team (Market Watch)

Create The Caption #255

(Usually) Everyday I'll throw out a photo from the AP or one of the bigger sites and you provide the caption. Hilarity ensues. I'm also adding a handful of links at the bottom of the page that you should check out each day.

Yesterday's Winners....

"The only time in history where the sky is the limit for the Lopez twins."- Anon

"Robin: God, I'm so bored! When is this thing gonna be over? The McDonald's play area closes in half an hour!
Brook: Well let these guys know that we're really only gonna average a combined 2 points per game next year and maybe they'll cut this short."
- Anon

"I'll take 'NBA Twins whose careers look significant only when compared to Jason and Jarrod Collins' for $200 Alex."- Johnny HR

"Dude, Stephen A. Smith thinks we can be the best forwards since Slava Medvedenko!"- Steven

Are you funny enough to create a caption for this photo of Snoop hanging with Les Miles at LSU's Tiger Club Meeting?

Daily Links:

More On The Snoop And Les Meeting (The Sporting Blog)
Favre's Second Coming Will Mirror Jordan's (NPR)
A Collection Of Funny Mascot Moments (All Balls)
Pat Gillick Doesn't Have To Make Any Moves (Crashburn Alley)
Tyson Gay's Myspace Page! (Joe Sports Fan)
Baseball Fans Love Cheesecake (Red Sox Monster)
Nadal Caught In An Awkward Moment (Meaningful Collateral)
Boston Can Win Without Manny (I'm Writing Sports)
Brady Quinn Has Some Interesting Fans (The Zone Blitz)
A Look At The Boring Month Of July (Rumors and Rants)
WFAN Wants Brett Favre (Hugging Harold Reynolds)
July 31st Is The Worst (JV Sports)

Erin Andrews Was A Clubhouse Distraction For The Cubs Last Night (Updated)

I was trying not to do back to back posts on someone I've covered to death, but alas this story just needs to be examined. Erin Andrews obviously wears different outfits in the clubhouse, or on the sidelines, than traditional reporters and finally someone is calling her out because of it. Mike Nadel of the Peoria Journal Star wrote a piece this morning about how Erin Andrews was the fodder of Cubs' locker room talk and even refers to her as a sexpot....

Erin Andrews, the ESPN “it” babe who clearly isn’t afraid to flaunt it, sauntered around the visiting clubhouse, flitting from one Cubs player to another. Her skimpy outfit — designed to accentuate her, um, positives — had players leering at her. Some made lewd comments under their breath. Others giggled like 12-year-olds. More on that later, as the scene was just one part of Bizarro Wednesday at Miller Park.

Moments later, the blonde reporter was chatting with Alfonso Soriano. At one point, she placed her hand suggestively on Soriano’s left biceps. Was I reading too much into all this? I don’t think so. I’ve been a paid observer for a long time ... and I wasn’t exactly the only one who noticed. As two Cubs stood near their lockers, one asked the other: “Hot? Or just attractive? Does she do anything for you?” The inquisitor then made eye contact with me as if saying — to use a term my uncle might have — “Hubba-hubba!”

This went on for at least an hour. Finally, Piniella emerged from his office, ready for his dugout media session. As he turned the corner, there was Andrews in all of her bare-legged, high-heeled, low-necklined glory. “Hey, hey, hey! Look at this!” Piniella said, loudly and excitedly. “Are you doing a baseball game today or a modeling assignment?”

Did she really feel playing the sexpot was necessary to practice journalism? She is good-looking enough and has enough of a high-profile job that she would get plenty of interviews and attention even if she showed up in a burlap sack.
Guys acting like this in locker rooms is nothing new, but like Nadel said, she's talented enough to leave the short dresses at home. It's a shame if she feels she HAS TO use this method, but hey....it's her career and body. She's already wearing thin on myself and other websites, and with this method it'll just be a matter of time before she's "phased out" in the Sports World. I don't know if someone is tell her to wear these things (last night's above), but they might want to tell her to tone it down a bit....

(See also: Jill Arington)

Update: Another shot via Deadspin....

Nadel: Blonde bombshell can't distract red-hot Cubs (PJ Star)
Erin Andrews - what she was wearing that got the Chicago Cubs and Lou Piniella all bothered (Stiles Points)

Sports Center Steve Serenades Erin Andrews

I have to admit that while some of these are insanely lame, they're still making me chuckle from time to time. Here's our good friend Steve singing a little diddy for Erin Andrews during last night's game....

I wonder if he wrote that down first and then thought, "Hey, what song would this work with? Oh I know...Werewolves in London!" Steve's been pretty entertaining to say the least but if you haven't enjoyed him, at least it's different than seeing the same thing over and over again.

Oh and just so you know, they're not even halfway done with these spots. There's over two hundred more to come.

Mike Wilbon Is Not A Fan Of Long Pants

I swear I watched the entire episode of PTI last night and I didn't notice this, but thank to the eagle eye(s) of Mister Irrelevant we have the best photo to come out of Bristol since...well, link.

It's not out of the ordinary for announcers and TV hosts to go sans pants, but it's another thing entirely to see it on air....

I remember a few months back, I saw Jalen Rose wearing some white high tops during an NBA Fastbreak segment, but this is awesome. It almost seems like a Penn & Teller trick it's so out of place.

The Only Thing Michael Wilbon Hates More Than Sports Bloggers Is Pants (Mister Irrelevant)

"Ex-Pats" Writer Decides To Burn Bridges And/Or Create Elaborate PR Stunt

There's either an extremely elaborate story coming out of Foxboro or.....yeah.....there's an extremely elaborate story coming out of Foxboro. I don't even know where to start with this one, but I'll give it a shot.

Tom Casale was, up until recently, apparently a writer for Patriots Football Weekly. Tom has "been let go" for one reason or another (so says he) and now he wants to drop some bombs and nuke the place on his way out. Pats fans then decide to believe the plan via the comments and other websites. And......Herrrrrrrrre We.......GO!

Now that my time with the Patriots is over, I'm sure some of you would be interested in info from a guy who worked on the inside of an NFL Dynasty. Before I give out that info, I want to make it clear that nobody in that organization did wrong by me. Bill Belichick never yelled at me and the players were more than accommodating 99 percent of the time. I have no axes to grind with anyone. The things I write below are simply the truth from information I've obtained and observations I've made over the years. (Good so far....)

--Tedy Bruschi is much more popular with the fans than he is with his teammates. He isn't the team leader people think he is. Actually, Bruschi rarely talks to any of his teammates. (Enh...not bad...)

--Corey Dillon is about the most miserable piece of shit you would ever want to encounter. You should see the looks and gestures he would give fans when we went on the road. (That's a little better...)

--Hold on for this one: I heard from someone who is close to the case that there is a sex tape of Bill Belichick banging the married woman he had an affair with. I shit you not. The husband who is suing that woman for being unfaithful to him has a tape of his wife and Belichick screwing while the two of them were still married. (And Scene!)
Well then. Forget Spygate! We're on to Sex Tape Gate!!! The line forms behind me for the first peek. What's that? You just threw up??? Wuss.

I'm sure they'll receive a ton of press for this tomorrow, and watch for mainstream media to pick up on it around 10 a.m. or so. It should be a fun day in Foxboro and I'm curious to see how far this reaches. Very, very clever move though if you ask me.

Oh and by the way....it's for a betting website. Come on people.

My Last Day as a New England Patriot (Pregame.com)

The Full Baron Davis-Steve Nash Video Finally Surfaces, I'm Still Confused

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So it turns out that crazy Nash-Davis photo and video of them riding a tandem bike was actually a promotion for some website called IBeatYou. There's some sort of challenge thing and you post videos and people vote on whether you're better than the other person. The challenge for Steve and Baron was seemingly for "Best Movie Trailer" and the official title for this "movie" is "Step Brothers". Enjoy!

I'm still so confused, but that was insanely entertaining. Who knew that in all of those old drunk photos with Dirk, Steve Nash was actually really breaking and not just looking goofy. Good stuff.

Step Brothers (I Beat You)
Steve Nash Does a Mean Robot, Gropes Baron Davis (Fanhouse)

You Know Where You Can Put Your Shift, A**hole?

Hilarious find by Sports Crack today. Jason Giambi was batting in the bottom of the sixth inning against the O's last night when Brian Roberts decided to change up the standard shift on the lefty. Instead of standing in the deep infield and moving toward first, B-Rob decided to play almost all the way in the outfield (ala a short fielder in Softball). It almost worked too, but the first baseman's shot made it just past him.

The best part though by far was Giambi's reaction after the fact. He seemed none too pleased with the inventive Roberts. Watch as he rounds the base....

Sorry for the quality there, but it was the best I could get. The photo below via SC might give you a better look....

Apparently it was all in fun, but Giambi definitely looks a bit pissed off there for a moment. You know what it is? It's the 'stache. You can never tell if someone with one is smiling or not. Either way though....hilarious.

Jason Giambi Says F U To Brian Roberts (Sports Crack)

Commence The Bidding War For Joe Buck's Business Card!

There are always awesome items up for bid on Ebay, but I think this one is my new personal favorite. How often do you get the chance to bid on a business card from Sports industry superstar, Joe Buck? Not only that, but it's autographed AND the seller is throwing in an Ed Orgeron autograph too?!?!

Oh wait, nevermind the Ed Orgeron card isn't part of the auction nor is the Edward Whitcare (?) beauty either. Still though, $14.99 for a signature from announcing royalty is worth that, the $2.99 shipping and much more!

FOX Sports Announcer Joe Buck Signed Business Card (Ebay)

FOX NFL Analyst Barry Switzer Gets An Acting Gig

It's no secret that the ultimate goal of most Sports personalities is to get on television. Usually though, programming like Sports Reporters or Around The Horn is usually where that journey ends. There are a very lucky few that do get to crossover into other genres. Some of the more recent performances have been Mark Schlereth and Mike and Mike on Guiding Light, as well as Stephen A. Smith on General Hospital.

Well you can now add ex-Cowboys Coach and FOX Analyst, Barry Switzer to the list. But Barry isn't just settling for a cheesy soap opera role. No no. B-Swizzy is going to be a star on the hit TNT drama "Saving Grace"!

Famed football coach Barry Switzer guest stars as himself in the SAVING GRACE episode “Do You Love Him?” airing Monday, August 11, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT). Holly Hunter stars in the series as Grace Hanadarko, an intense Oklahoma City police detective with a fiery spirit and audacious lifestyle. In this episode, the door to Grace’s Porsche gets knocked off when a drunk driver slams into it. The impact lets loose thousands of dollars in cash that had been hidden by a previous owner. Switzer is among the owners questioned. When he visits the station, the OCPD police detectives hail him as a hero, except for Butch, the former University of Texas football player. Grace allows Switzer to take a glory ride in the Porsche for old time’s sake.
I wonder how he, or his agent rather, pulled that one off. That's too funny. I'll get video and/or photos for you as soon as I can.

(Via TNT)

Create The Caption #254

(Usually) Everyday I'll throw out a photo from the AP or one of the bigger sites and you provide the caption. Hilarity ensues. I'm also adding a handful of links at the bottom of the page that you should check out each day.

Yesterday's Winners....

"Once again, Ellis Hobbs is nowhere to be seen."- johnnymaher

"::humming the training song from "Mike Tyson Punch Out"::"- Sportz Assassin

"Man this is boring, I should brought the latest Danielle Steele novel."- Frank In General

"BI-cycle! BI-cycle! I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my biiiike! Man that Freddy Mercury could sing!"- Ross>

"I'm So Ronery
So ronery
So ronery and sadry arone"
- Adam

Are you funny enough to create a caption for this shot of the Lopez Twins posing together for a photo during the NBA Rookie Photo Shoot in Tarrytown, N.Y.?

Daily Links:

A New Women's Blogging Network Decided To Come Along At The Right Time (Playing The Field)
What The Heck Is Brady Quinn Thinking? (Busted Coverage)
Art Monk Would Like A Moment Of Your Time (Kissing Suzy Kolber)
Yao And China Lose Their Warmup Game (Yahoo)
Hockey Player Pulls A Playmate (Rand Ball)
The NFL Fantastical Scale (Cake Rocks The Party)
Air Rage Is All The Rage (The Big Picture)
Six Degrees Of Derek Jeter (World Of Issac)
The Jackie Moon Of Soccer (The Beautiful Game)
If You Don't Like Your Team, Sue Them (Lion In Oil)

Olympic Censorship Is Awesome

The Beijing Olympics are obviously not new to controversy, but this wrinkle is by far the most humorous. China had promised that there would be no Internet censorship during the Games, but you can already throw that out the window. Via MDS at Fanhouse....

Journalists in China to cover the Olympics are unable to conduct the research necessary to do their jobs properly because China is blocking access to web sites that contain information about China's human-rights policies. This violates a promise that China made to give Olympic visitors open access to the Internet.
Well that's no surprise right? Well some of the websites they are blocking are. According to the Rocky Mountain News, none other than Fire Joe Morgan is one of those not accessible to reporters and the like....
Daniel Oshinsky of the Rocky Mountain News reports from Beijing that FJM is inaccessible in China.

I find this to be excellent.

What's the matter, China? Can't handle EqA? Big fans of bunting over there? Love Livan Hernandez, hate Johan Santana?

We will not stop blogging until every Chinese citizen has the right to read curse-filled nonsense about Dusty Baker. And that is a kind-of promise!
Awesome. I wonder if it's because of the word "fire" in the title, but then again I'm not sure if FJM went on a recent run of anti-Hu Jintao articles (I heard he was a scrappy ball player). Someone over there let me know if AA is on the list. I'd be honored.

A Journalistic Highlight (Fire Joe Morgan)
Hu Jintao Does Not Care For OPS+ (Rocky Mountain News)
China Breaks Promises on Internet Censorship, International Olympic Committee Does Nothing (Fanhouse)

Introducing The "ESPN Action Sports Network"

Well I guess it isn't exactly "introducing", but rather reintroducing. ESPN has decided to go with daily coverage of Action Sports online and apparently one website wasn't enough. The "Leader" plans on taking it's one X-games like site, EXPN.com and turning it into a vast hub of multiple platforms for your viewing pleasure....

Signaling ESPN's dedication to complete, daily coverage of action sports, ESPN is re-branding its online home for action sports. The site will become ESPN Action Sports this fall as part of a new multimedia initiative that will also mark the launch of the ESPN Action Sports Network - a group of interconnected sites, including sport-specific vertical sites from ESPN (ex: ESPN Skate) and other premiere action sports destinations such as Surfline.com, Vans.com, Active Ride Shop and more. The new network of sites, with ESPN Action Sports as its central hub, will create multiple drop in points for action sports participants and enthusiasts, with the mission of developing the best, deepest, most useful network of action sports content and community anywhere.

"ESPN Action Sports signifies an ongoing focus to bringing ESPN.com's standard of excellence and comprehensive coverage to the action sports arena," said Dave Finger, senior director, action sports, ESPN Digital Media. "We have been building towards this vision for more than a year - piece by piece - and this marks a new starting point for the next stage in the evolution of what our digital media assets will deliver to athletes and enthusiasts around the globe."
Seems like a lot of work for an X-Games event that comes only twice a year, but there has to be a market for this sort of thing, or they wouldn't be trying it. I personally thought the fad had run its course, but you're going to get ratings and viewers with dudes falling 40 feet out of the air (ala Jake Brown above). The demo is an advertisers dream, so if they tap into something other networks couldn't (NBC), they'll be raking in the dough. It will more than certainly come at our expense over on ESPN, but what's new right?

The added use of sites like Vans.com is curious to me as well, but not something ESPN hasn't done before.


Mark Schlereth Knows Not Of Your Earthquakes

So if you didn't hear, there was a pretty substantial earthquake in California yesterday and we certainly hope everyone is okay. Sal Pal brought it up yesterday on NFL Live and was hoping that Mark Schlereth went with him, but of course he did not....

I don't know why, but that just made me crack up for some reason. Nope...no earthquake on my end, but thanks for asking. Can we get to the Favre stuff I've prepared already please? Thanks.

The Newest Trend In Announcing....Pirate Speak

This is how you start a Wednesday morning folks. Best Week Ever caught an announcer going a tad bit over the top with this call of a horse race in Saratoga Springs, NY....

It turns out that the owner of the pony named it "Arrrr", but that was entertaining none-the-less. That guy must have taken lessons from Jim Nantz on how to prepare your hyperbole ahead of time. Great work.

WTF (With Leather)

A Look At ESPN's Olympic Coverage And The Six Lucky Individuals Heading To Beijing

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I think ESPN really lucked out by not being allowed to get video and content right away, and thus their decision to send just six souls overseas will turn out to be a good one. They still have a good bit planned are here is a general idea of what they'll be offering come 8-8-08....

SportsCenter: Every SportsCenter, including the 9 a.m.-3 p.m. live, daily editions debuting Monday, Aug. 11, will feature live and taped Olympics coverage, including hourly updates in the SportsCenter Right Now segments. Reporters Jeremy Schaap and George Smith will file daily reports from Beijing.

Bottom Line: The “Bottom Line” will increase its overnight staffing to ensure comprehensive 24/7 Olympic coverage which will include the reporting of all Gold, Silver and Bronze winners, and special noting of every world and Olympic record.

Outside the Lines Pieces:

July 29 - Outside the Lines First Report (3 p.m.): Wwhat has changed in and out of the pool for Michael Phelps since the 2004 Athens Olympics -- ESPN The Magazine's Eric Adelson

August 3 – SportsCenter (10:30 a.m.): what plan does the U.S. men’s basketball team have in place to address the questions about China's human rights issues – Shelley Smith

Sunday, Aug. 17, SportsCenter (10:30 a.m.): how Brazilian Vanderlei de Lima led the 2004 Marathon by 30 seconds with less than four miles to go when Neil Horan aka "The Grand Prix Priest" ran onto the course and shoved him into the crowd as a way to publicize his religious beliefs to a large audience. -- Chris Connelly

Sunday, Aug. 17, Outside the Lines (9:30 a.m.): an examination of Kenya’s violence toward Olympians -- John Barr went to Kenya to report

ESPN.com: Pat Forde, Jim Caple, Elizabeth Merrill and Chris Sheridan will represent ESPN.com in Beijing, and ESPN.com will feature a special Olympics section. ESPN.com has already launched Moment In Time, a comprehensive, multimedia look at past and present moments and athletes of the Summer Olympics, and a look ahead to Beijing.
So your players are Jeremy Schaap, Pat Forde, Jim Caple, Elizabeth Merrill and Chris Sheridan and George and expect to see a lot of pieces of them standing outside buildings due to rights issues. Should be a fun month.


The Fanhouse We Knew And Loved, Is Officially Gone

I mentioned at the beginning of the month that Fanhouse had decided to use the WNBA as an advertising vehicle, and more recently that they chose to broadcast a curious set of ads for their new Fantasy Football product, but I think this current move is the biggest head-scratcher of them all. I give you the "'House's Fantasy Sports Girls"....

It all makes total sense now. Look, no site on the Internet is without sin when it comes to objectifying women. An attractive woman like Erin Andrews will bring hits to a site, and that's just a known fact. But what we saw above is just wrong on so many levels.

Fanhouse has employed a ton of very talented females involved in editing and content since its inception and this has to be a slap in their collective face. Even more disturbing is that AOL's recent deal with the WNBA included a sponsorship of the league's "Dads and Daughters Program" that will, "celebrate the special connection between dads and daughters by inviting them to experience female athleticism at its best." I'm sure they'd love to come across this trashy video.

The real reason this is such a shame though, is that Fanhouse was one of the sites that brought huge credibility to all Sports Blogs. There's room for all types of websites in the 'Sphere (yes even the dirty and profane), but when a great site with all sorts of talented writers (of both genders and all backgrounds) gives up a respectable model and decides to drop multiple employees and content for something like that....it's just downright depressing. This is a far cry from the engine that Jamie Mottram developed as a positive outlet for Sports fans back in 2006.

I think you'll see more and more of your favorite names disappearing from the site over the weeks to come (which will add to a growing list) as Fanhouse tries to emulate the oh so successful BDSSP model. Good luck with that.

Fantasy Sports Girls in the 'House (AOL Fanhouse)
WNBA and AOL Partner to Honor Dads & Daughters During 2008 Season (WNBA)
The WNBA Has Some Interesting Advertisers (Awful Announcing)
Sports Blogs Are So Meta (Awful Announcing)

Your NFL Kickoff 2008 Performer Is Keith Urban

More music news folks. If you're like me, you've certainly enjoyed the past NFL Kickoff parties and you may have even attended one (I got to see Britney [above] live!). This year's Kickoff artist joins the list of such amazing acts as Ms. Spears, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Aerosmith, Destiny's Child, Elton John, Green Day, Ozzy Osbourne, Good Charlotte and Kelly Clarkson to name a few....

According to a few rumors and the latest issue of Sports Business Journal, the main artist at your NFL Kickoff Party is......

No silly, not Nicole Kidman. It's her husband.....yeah....that guy. His name is Keith Urban, and this isn't first time that the Kickoff Show has featured a Country singer. Just the first time that he/she has been the main performer during the show. The show will be sponsored by EA Sports and other acts will be named soon.

ESPN Might Need To Review Its Mag's Fantasy Content

Again, I always preface this with the statement that I'm not one to necessarily poke fun at typos and errors, but to have twenty seven found in a national publication is a tad bit too much. ESPN's Fantasy Mag is out in stores now and for the low low price of $7.99 you can see some of the errors found by Walter Football too! Here are some of my favorites....

Who the Heck is Greg Smith? (Page 55)

I have no idea why ESPN even ranked Chauncey Washington, a Jaguars rookie running back, but it says the following in his write-up: "It's possible he could emerge as the inside rushing complement to MJD, but he'd have to bump Greg Smith first." I searched high and low on NFL.com's Web site, but I couldn't find any player named Greg Smith. The man they were referring to, of course, is Greg Jones.

Spelling Error No. 1 (Page 45)

Taking a look at the first sentence of Jamal Lewis' write-up:

"Dust when you thought he was done, Lewis pulled us all back in."

Special News Alert: Steve Smith Has An Is (Page 66)

Sounds like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, doesn't it? At any rate, you can find this grammatical blunder in the Steve Smith analysis:

"He's not a burner but has is savvy enough to make occasional big plays."

Quinn Sypniewski, Miracle Man (Page 81)

Just a slight contradiction here. In the Quinn Sypniewski write-up, ESPN writes, "He tore his ACL during Ravens minicamp this April and will miss the season."

Yet, for projected stats, they have Sypniewski catching 21 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown in 13 games.

Lorenzo Booker - Lost in the Mail (Pages 45 and 53)

In the Ronnie Brown write-up, ESPN writes:

"Ricky Williams is still hanging around in south Florida, and Lorenzo Booker should be a bigger part of the offense."

OK, so maybe this magazine was released prior to the Booker-to-Philadelphia trade? Or maybe not - on Page 53, they list: "Lorenzo Booker, PHI."
It's rare to not get through an entire magazine without finding a mistake, but doesn't ESPN employ people to proofread? It's one thing to have a typo or two but if you read the WF post you'll find that no one took a second look at any of the sections. Things contradict each other and they leave players out entirely (Steve Slaton). If you have the magazine, also keep an eye out for Merril Hoge's sound fantasy advice including taking Braylon Edwards as your first WR because he's, "like [Terrell] Owens without the drama."

I'm sure fantasy owners really care about that, Merril.

2008 ESPN Fantasy Football Magazine: 28 Factual Errors, Omissions and Illogical Statements (Walter Football)

Create The Caption #253

(Usually) Everyday I'll throw out a photo from the AP or one of the bigger sites and you provide the caption. Hilarity ensues. I'm also adding a handful of links at the bottom of the page that you should check out each day.

Yesterday's Winners....

"What do you mean we don't have any time-outs left?"- Anon

"The real Farnsworth Bentley comes at a price...and apparently, Chris Webber is only willing to pony up for an imposter."- Anon

"Like Sacramento fans are accustomed to seeing him do in all clutch situations, Chris Webber is about to pass off to a teammate."- Dan

"Charissa: So, let me just start off by saying I was a big fan of your show...
Chris: My show?
Charissa: Arn't you the guy from "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper?""
- Lammy742

Are you funny enough to create a caption for this photo of Plax "participating" in Giants practice yesterday?

Daily Links:

Carl Pavano Is Back, Wait No He's Not (The Sports Hernia)
Some Interesting PTI/ATH Rumors (Small White Ball)
A Good Greg Lalas Interview (Unprofessional Foul)
Alyssa Milano Is Going To Be Jealous, Russell (Big League Stew)
Not Everyone Is A Manny Fan (I'm Writing Sports)
Knicks City Dancer Auditions (MSG)
Please Send Cheese! (The Point)
Heidi Watney Has An Admirer (Red Sox Monster)
We're Approaching The Trading Deadline (Calling The Shots)
Cubs And White Sox Fans Fight On Sesame Street (Luol's Dong)
Now That Titletown Is Over, What's The Worst Sports City? (Y-Barker)

Emmitt To Be Replaced By Cris Carter On Sunday Countdown

Noooo! Pro Football Talk is reporting this morning that ESPN is officially dropping Emmitt Smith from the Sunday NFL Countdown team for the upcoming season. Smith will be replaced by Cris Carter on the show but will still be featured on that morning's edition of Sports Center....

It’s official. Emmitt Smith will not be part of ESPN’s two-hour pregame show, NFL Countdown, in 2008.

ESPN is expected to make the formal announcement soon.

Emmitt will be replaced by Cris Carter, whose enhanced visibility could help his chances of getting into the Hall of Fame on the second try. (Then again, if Carter does a bad job or comes off as a blowhard, it could hurt him.)

The Sunday NFL Countdown lineup will consist of Chris Berman, Mike Ditka, Carter, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, and Chris Mortensen.

Monday nights from Bristol also will feature Berman, Ditka, Carter, Jackson, Johnson, and Mortensen. Stationed at the game sites will be Stuart Scott, Smith, and Steve Young.
Very sad news as about 80% of Emmitt's stellar comments came on the Sunday edition of Countdown. There is good news though....Emmitt still has a spot on Monday Night Countdown along with newcomer Trent Dilfer!

You can also tell that this is the first of many problems that ESPN will run into in regards to scheduling. They're either going to have to phase Emmitt out entirely or continually move people around to give everyone an opportunity on-air. That's what happens when you employ 8,000 different analysts.

Update: From the official release....
Former All Pro wide receiver Cris Carter has been named an analyst for Sunday NFL Countdown (11 a.m. ET) and Monday Night Countdown (7 p.m.), ESPN’s popular NFL pre-game studio shows. In addition, Emmitt Smith will move this fall from Sunday NFL Countdown to the new expanded Sunday morning editions of SportsCenter (8 a.m. and 10 a.m.) where he will offer insight and analysis during NFL segments. Smith will also continue to travel to the Monday Night Football game site each week for Monday Night Countdown.
Carter In, Emmitt Out On Sunday NFL Countdown (PFT)

(P.S.- I also saw Kordell Stewart on a program the other day....don't even think about it ESPN.)

ESPNU Goes HD, Releases Announcers For CFB Games

I still don't know anyone without Verizon FIOS that has ESPNU but for the precious few of you that do, you'll be happy to know that the network is now in HD. ESPNU will be ESPN's fourth network in HD and will feature over 200 events in HD over the next year....

ESPNU will kick off its fourth season of presenting live college football games with the launch of its new high definition network, ESPNU HD, on Thursday, Aug. 28. The first ESPNU event to be televised in high definition will feature a college football matchup between the SEC’s Vanderbilt and the MAC’s Miami (Ohio) in prime time at 7:30 p.m. ET. The network will showcase more than 70 live college football games, with all of its Thursday and Saturday telecasts in HD.

On Monday, Aug. 11, the 24-hour college sports network will begin its college football studio coverage with seven preview shows featuring all six BCS conferences, plus a one-hour show (Aug. 17 at 10 a.m.) highlighting all the other Division I schools and conferences. ESPNU anchors Lowell Galindo and Mike Gleason will alternate hosting the one-hour shows and will be joined by returning college football analysts Mike Gottfried and Tom Luginbill, as well as newcomers and former college (Nebraska) and NFL teammates (Carolina Panthers) Mike Minter and Mike Rucker.
Interesting cast of characters there, and here are your announcers for the 2008 College Football Season....

Thursday Night: Charlie Neal and Jay Walker
Saturday (Noon): Dave Armstrong and Larry Coker
Saturday (3:30pm): Doug Bell and Charles Arbuckle
Saturday (7pm): Clay Matvick and David Diaz-Infante
Saturday (10:30pm): Dwayne Ballen and Eddie Robinson Jr.

Only live games will be in HD on the network, but that should be a great number of the contests, and they've got some good games to check out this season. Their schedule is highlighted by games featuring Boston College, Connecticut, Florida State, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, and UVA. More announcing schedules to comes as they are released.


NBC's Music Lineup For The Olympics

I mentioned yesterday that I was curious as to what music NBC was going to be featuring for the Olympics. Thanks to reader DW....I've got the answer. Much like its over-the-top coverage that they have planned for the television side of things, NBC will feature sixteen different artists that will rotate throughout the seven networks covering the Games....

What do Nelly, Sheryl Crow, Kate Voegele, Colbie Caillat and 3 Doors Down have in common? They're among the top artists recording exclusive tracks for AT&T Team USA™ Soundtrack to inspire and support U.S. Olympic Team athletes as they pursue their dream of competing in the Olympic Games.

The music — debuting during the NBC and Telemundo broadcast of the 2008 Olympic Games — will be available during the Olympic Games right here at AT&T Team USA™ Soundtrack, and downloads will benefit Team USA. Other participating artists will be announced later, so come back August 8, 2008, to download exclusive tunes and support Team USA!
Outside of those mentioned above, you can add: Army of Me, Chris Brown, The Clique Girls, Flipsyde, Josh Kelley, Lady Antebellum, Luis Fonsi, Mere, Queen Latifah and Taylor Swift. Interesting list, but it seems like overkill to me. Most of the songs are pretty good, and seemingly inspirational, but Nelly's "Warrior" just made me laugh. Anytime you try to recreate "WAR-E-ORS!!!" call from "The Warriors", I'm going to chuckle.

AT&T Team USA Soundtrack (AT&T Bluerom)

Everything Is Right In The World, Emmitt's Back!

Just when I thought there was no hope and that we were going to spend the rest of the summer in a Brett Favre induced coma, Emmitt swoops in to rescue us! Here Emmitt talks about people who fall harder, getting hurt more and the Dallas Cowboys. Enjoy!

"Some guys fall hard, some guys learn how to fall. The guy that falls the hardest the most, is the guy who's going to be hurt the most."- Emmitt Smith

That's honestly like a lesson for life. I don't think he's given better advice in his career AND we got a Cowboys breakdown too! Although they haven't been to a Super Bowl since 1996, so I'm not sure how they're "getting back to a Super Bowl." Either way though....I approve of this message!

BBC To Use Gorillaz Inspired Cartoon Character For Olympic Coverage

Monday, July 28, 2008

How is this for random? The BBC has employed the services of Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn of the pop/rock/hip-hop group the Gorillaz to put together an ad for their Olympic coverage. From The 700 Level via Sterogum....

Gorillaz guys Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn have put together a pretty sweet little promo clip for BBC Sports's Beijing Summer Olympic coverage. I'm not much of an Olympics fan, so maybe this trippy cartoon narrative -- based in part on Gorrillaz' (and Chen Shi-Zheng's) Monkey: Journey to the West -- will be the only lasting impression I have from the games. It doesn't seem very Olympic at first, but wait for the finale.
Here's a look at the spot. Enjoy!

Kind of cool if you ask me. Hopefully NBC comes up with something similar but I picture Bob Costas and Bela Karyoli having tea while Gymnastics clips play in the background.

BBC Olympics Coverage to Feature Gorillaz Created Monkey (The 700 Level)
Gorillaz Light The Olympic Torch For The BBC (Stereogum)

Nike's "Controversial" Hyperdunks Ad Pulled

I passed on this story last week because it didn't seem that noteworthy, but that was until today. A few people got upset with the "homophobic nature" of a few of Wieden+Kennedy's latest efforts for Nike's "Hyperdunk" shoes and the company has in turn pulled a few of the ads....

Nike is strongly opposed to discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting athletes regardless of their sexual orientation. The advertisement in question is based purely upon a common insight from within the game of basketball - the athletic feat of dunking on the opposition, and is not intended to be offensive.

However, after listening to concerns expressed around specific executions, we have decided to drop them from the campaign to underline our ongoing commitment to supporting diversity in sport and the workplace.

Nike has a strong record of support for diversity and is proud to have been honored with a 100 percent score over several consecutive years in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index.
I really have no idea how this spiraled out of control, but Nike has pulled the three ads seen within this post. While some sites like Out Sports don't seem to find a problem, in the end it's a good move. The ads seemed like a sloppy effort at best and certainly could be taken as perpetuating stereotypes. That's not something we need more of in Sports these days.

Nike drops three Hyperdunk ads (Oregon Live)
Some Nike crotch-to-the-face ads are catching "homophobic" heat (Out Sports)

Breaking News: ESPN's Titletown Is Valdosta, Georgia.....Wait What?

I thought it was a lock that Boston was going to win this nonsense, but I apparently I was wrong....very wrong. Valdosta, Georgia will be your brand new, or first rather, Titletown when ESPN announces the winner during tonight's Sports Center....

For years, it’s been called Winnersville. Now, the south Georgia town of Valdosta has another name: TitleTown USA, thanks to ESPN.

The cable sports network is coming to Valdosta today to declare Valdosta the winner of its summer promotion that earlier this month featured the city as one of its 20 finalists for the national award.

The 20 finalists were visited by film crews and highlighted on ESPN, and the winner was determined by online voting July 23-27.

The trophy ceremony will be filmed at Valdosta High School’s Bazemore-Hyder Stadium, where fans and citizens are encouraged to arrive by 2 p.m. Valdosta will be announced the winner on Monday’s 6 p.m. “SportsCenter.”
I don't really even know what to say. You spent two months of the summer driving this segment down our throats and then give it to a city that has zero pro teams and zero D-1 schools. Good work ESPN....you should be proud of what you've put together here.

ESPN names Valdosta TitleTown USA (AJC)

Griffey Throws A Throat Slash Gesture At Reds' Announcer Jeff Brantley

Jeff Brantley hasn't been making many friends in the Reds clubhouse this year and it appears that players are fed up with him. So much so that the level headed Ken Griffey Jr gestured to him with a throat slash following a homerun on Saturday night. Here's the background and the video (:30 mark as he enters the dugout)....

CINCINNATI — For those who read Ken Griffey Jr.'s lips after his home run Saturday night and saw him make the throat-cutting gesture at home plate, the antics were aimed at broadcaster Jeff Brantley.

Griffey is angry over different comments Brantley made and said one of them was, "He said I'm pouting because the Reds haven't picked up my option ($16 million) for next year. If I was that concerned about money I wouldn't have come here in the first place."

Brantley isn't known for shying away from talking about his hometown Reds, but most fans think his bashing has gone over-the-top as of late. He bashed Edwin Encarnacion for not being clutch (Edwin promptly hit a homer), he talks trash about Adam Dunn regularly, he said David Weathers didn't care whether he won or lost and now this. Between him and Marty Brennaman, they've got the announcer controversy on lockdown for this year.

Griffey bristles at broadcaster's comments (Springfield News-Sun)
Ken Griffey throws a throat slash toward Jeff Brantley's booth (Big League Stew)

Let's Unveil Our New Jerseys With A Choreographed Fashion Show!

This idea ranks just above Who's Now in the pantheon of stunts, but the more I watch it, the more I think it could be the worst of all time. Bayern Munich was unveiling their uniforms recently and they decided they would be best served by blasting some dramatic music and having women do a choreographed dance to it. From WL via SBB....

Good lord....that just kept going didn't it? Just when you thought it was over they just continued the crapiness. Seems like a lot of time wasted for a jersey that just says "T-Home" on it, but okay. I also loved the reaction of the reporters after the show as well. No one even moved. That was the epitome of fail right there.

F-Minus (With Leather)
Soccer Team Unveils New Jerseys, Hilarity Ensues (Sports by Brooks)

Create The Caption #252

(Usually) Everyday I'll throw out a photo from the AP or one of the bigger sites and you provide the caption. Hilarity ensues. I'm also adding a handful of links at the bottom of the page that you should check out each day.

Last Thursday's Winners....

"Kobe ponders whether or not Shaq's ass would taste better with Mayo."- Wade Robertson

"Nah, man, college is cool. They pay you and everything."- Anon

"Why is JJ Redick over there? And what's he doing to Coach K? Did Coach K pull a muscle in his groin or something?"- PLBT

"OJ:So wait your telling me that you didn't actually jump that car?...
KB:Nah man. It was all computer shit.
OJ: Thats bull man computers can't jump cars"
- JV

Are you funny enough to create a caption for this photo of Chris Webber being interviewed by Charissa Thompson at his "Bada Bling Celebrity Weekend"?

Daily Links:

ESPN Is Looking To Replace Melrose (Going Five Hole)
Could Manny Be Heading Back To Cleveland (Juiced)
Football Gets Better As You Get Older (LOCG)
Tony Stewart Is Crazy (From The Marbles)
Orel Hershiser Is Pissed At Something (The Sports Hernia)
Shan Foster Posterizes Fezzy (Sports VU)
A Look At ESPN's Soccer Fest (SS Reporters)
Betting On The Olympics (Ryan Parker Songs)
Kentucky Football Has A Few Problem Children (Meaningful Collateral)
A Look At Favre's Reinstatement Letter (BMDP)
A Behind The Scenes Look At A Wiz Girls Photo Shoot (Uncoached)

Sports Blogs Are So Meta

I know I'm not alone here in noticing that AOL's Fanhouse has seemingly recently received a bump in their advertising budget. At the beginning of the month, I noted that Fanhouse had a rotating ad on the scoring table at a WNBA game. Since then I've noticed them popping up everywhere. Even on other blogs.

Now I'm not against getting the word out there, but this is just a little bit more than weird. Fanhouse is advertising their Fantasy Football somethingorother and has featured ads on both The Big Lead and Deadspin....

I don't deny that some Sports Blogs reach a ton of people, but this campaign is more than just a bit curious. Outside of hitting up your friends for a spot on their site, I also have no idea what the campaign is about. Sure it's about Fantasy Football, but what does a cellphone and a shady looking motel have to do with the topic?

It's a very curious decision, but hey....whatever works right?

The WNBA Has Some Interesting Advertisers (Awful Announcing)

A Look At The Sports Center Live Commercials

I mentioned last week that Sports Center was going to start airing some live commercials with the help of our new friend Steve (their rookie actor). Well, those started up over the weekend and I wanted to share a clip in case you missed it/them. Here is Steve live on-air yesterday....

Kind of cheesy, and very telethon-like, but the the kid didn't seem nervous at all. It can't be easy to go on-air live multiple times throughout a day/week. I also really like the tagline on the sign at the end. "More Work For Us. More Better For You," actually made me chuckle.

Not a bad start Stevie, but I'm watching.

ESPN To Use Live Commercials (And Rookie Actor) For New Sports Center Spots (Awful Announcing)

CBS' Ratings Are Poor Without Kimbo Slice On The Card

I said I enjoyed the first installment of CBS' Elite XC, and I seemed to be in the minority, but this go around seemed to be much more of a success. All of the hardcore MMA fans and those in the know enjoyed the showing, but unfortunately not that many people were watching the show....

And there really still isn’t much to say except for this: EliteXC Saturday Night Fights without any buzz surrounding Kimbo Slice performed much worse without Kimbo than it did with him. CBS initial foray into MMA didn’t draw a slew of viewers but at least performed well in the 18-49 and 18-34 demos.

That airing back on May 31, 2008 scored 4.3 million viewers and a 1.9/6 among 18-49 year olds and since the Kimbo Slice bout for that airing aired past primetime (11p) the most viewed portion wasn’t included. But lacking any Kimbo anticipation, last night’s fights pulled a mere 2.62 million and a 1.0/3 from 9pm-11pm.
The numbers are certainly low, but given that it was a Saturday night and CBS beat ABC and NBC in the 18-49 male demographic, it's definitely not the end of the world. Slice is back on the program on October 4th.

No Kimbo Slice, CBS EliteXC Ratings Drop (TV By The Numbers)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 8:19 AM 2 Comments Links to this post

Hank Williams Jr Back Doing MNF Intro For The 19th Straight Year

When I was younger I couldn't stand the Monday Night Football theme, but it's grown on me over the years. Even last year's addition of random artists like Brian Setzer would still get me excited that the game was coming on. Well according to AP, ESPN is bringing back Williams Jr. for another year of tunes....

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Hank Williams Jr., who has sung the opening theme for "Monday Night Football" since 1989, will continue the tradition this season.

ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer says Williams will again base the theme song on his hit "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight."

Williams is recording the tracks this week in Nashville, Tennessee, and will shoot the video next month in Los Angeles.
I'd also expect some guest artists here and there, but keeping the song true to its roots is definitely a good move. The song isn't amazing, but at least it's not that horrendous rendition that NBC uses for their telecasts. Still no word on whether Faith Hill will be singing that intro for the upcoming season.

Update: Okay so she is doing the song again this year. I guess it's better than Pink.

Williams Jr. to continue 'Monday Night Football' (AP)

Now This Is How You Introduce A Lineup

Sunday, July 27, 2008

These lineup reads before the Saturday FOX game had been pretty bad over the past few weeks, but leave it to an aspiring impressionist to spice them up. This is Will Ohman of your Atlanta Braves and he wants to give you the lineup in his best Harry Caray. Via The 700 Level....

Pretty darn impressive and the Mike Hampton line got me good. It should be required that someone does an impression for these things. No matter how good or bad it is.

Will Ohman Does His Best Harry Caray (The 700 Level)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 2:00 PM 12 Comments Links to this post

The NFL And NBC Will Team Up To Stream Games This Coming Season

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Interesting NFL angle this weekend as Sports Business Journal passes along the news that NBC will be streaming their Sunday night games online. Seventeen games will be able to be viewed online and will start with the Skins-Giants on September 4th....

Starting with the NFL Kickoff game on Thursday, Sept. 4, between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, the league plans to stream NBC's prime-time schedule on NFL.com and NBCSports.com as part of a plan being engineered by NBC Olympics President Gary Zen-kel and Brian Rolapp, NFL senior vice president of digital media.

The online video will consist of NBC's broadcast feed, with the call by Al Michaels and John Madden. The league has not decided how to treat the ads, but the most likely scenario will strip NBC's ads out of the broadcast, with the NFL and NBC selling new online ads and sharing the revenue.

The move is significant for the NFL, as it continues to ramp up its digital offerings and open its content on more platforms. The league always has been extremely protective of its game action, doling out limited use of highlights and vigorously safeguarding the television broadcast. Two years ago the league took management of NFL.com in-house, and last year that site was the only place on the Web where users could find limited game highlights.
I still don't understand why they don't do these process for all games similar to what MLB does. How many fans would pay at least $20 a month to watch out of market games? The NFL Network did this last year (sort of) but there's a big difference between a cable channel and network television. I don't know who would care about watching a game online that everyone in the country gets already, but I guess it's a step in the right direction towards streaming all of the games on Sundays.

(Via SBJ's Monday Edition)

A Look At Madden 2009's TD Celebrations

Friday, July 25, 2008

Shutdown Corner via With Leather has the video of Madden 2009's TD celebrations and I think for once we can say they've nailed it. Here's your first look....

I don't know how I feel about Portis doing cartwheels, but the Lambeau Lamp and LT teapot endzone celebrations gave me goosebumps. I always thought the celebrations in older editions of Madden were pretty stale, so this is a good sign that the game might have improved.

Madden's brand of virtual happiness (Shutdown Corner)
Madden TD Celebrations Look Okay (With Leather)

Your MLB Announcing Schedule For The Weekend

Here it comes folks...the weekend you've dreaded all season. It's the Sox, It's the Yanks, It's Buck and McCarver and it's on FOX.....NEXT! You'll be getting a double dip of the rivalry that people love to hate this weekend, but there is some good news as well. HR is going to be in the booth for TBS! It's been awhile Harold....welcome back.

Here's the schedule....


New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox- Joe Buck, Tim McCarver & Ken Rosenthal (Fox, 3:55pm, 85%)

Albuquerque, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Dayton, Denver, Detroit, Fort Myers, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, Raleigh, Richmond, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Tulsa, Washington, West Palm Beach

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies- Kenny Albert & Eric Karros (FOX, 3:55pm, 15%)

MARKETS INCLUDE: Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Nashville, Philadelphia


Florida Marlins at Chicago Cubs- Chip Caray & Harold Reynolds (TBS, 1pm)

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox- Jon Miller, Steve Phillips & Orel Hershiser (ESPN, 8pm)

The WNBA Goes Right Back To Being Lame

I really thought that stunts like added retired players or really tall/short people was left in the minor leagues. Well apparently not. Two days after a brawl that gave the league more press than it's ever had, the WNBA decided 50 year old ESPN broadcaster Nancy Lieberman needed to play for a night.

HOUSTON (AP) -- Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman showed she still had one nifty pass left in her.

The 50-year-old Lieberman had two assists, including a no-look pass in the closing minutes of the Detroit Shock's 79-61 loss to the Houston Comets on Thursday night.

Lieberman made a one-time only appearance in the Shock's first game since Tuesday night's bench-clearing melee with the Los Angeles Sparks.

Five Shock players were suspended and Cheryl Ford sustained a season-ending injury, prompting coach Bill Laimbeer to offer Lieberman a seven-day contract.
Lieberman was once a great player, but come on WNBA. There was really NO ONE ELSE they could sign? This reeks of publicity stunt. The first real intense thing happens in your league in its history and you go and do something cheesy like this? I'm not saying that fighting should be highlighted, but it happens in Sports. The biggest knock on the WNBA was/is that the players are soft and Tuesday night showed that wasn't the case. After the ridiculous Mahorn "Peacemaker" suspension and this, I think the WNBA set a record time for losing validity.

(P.S.- I would have pulled the video, but it's Friday and ultimately I don't think you really care.)

Gus Johnson Talks MMA

There's another CBS Elite XC fight tomorrow and you know what that means? Gus Johnson is once again on the mic. The program got hammered by the MMA heads the first go around and in an interview with MMA Rated he addresses that as well as touching on some other topics....

The guy doesn't know everything about the Sport, but he sure does his homework. I still can't get into it, but I hope he catches on because he seems like the right guy for the program.

Rated Exclusive: Gus Johnson Interview (MMA Rated)

ESPN To Use Live Commercials (And Rookie Actor) For New Sports Center Spots

Everyone is anxiously counting down the days until the new Sports Center starts (okay not really) and we finally have an idea of how ESPN is going to market it. Get some random guy and put him on the air live....375 times between now and August 11th. Steve Braban is a 25 year old program coordinator but will soon be the star of the network. Via USA Today....

But next week, David Letterman's monologues might mention Braband's breakfasts. Starting Sunday, Braband will begin appearing daily in at least 25 30-second ESPN TV ads over 15 days — yes, at least 375 total ads — that will all be live.

The idea is to hype ESPN's new live SportsCenter weekday shows — from 9 a.m. ET to 3 p.m., hours that have been used for reruns from the night before — that will debut Aug. 11. Not coincidentally, that's the first weekday of the Beijing Olympics. Wieden & Kennedy, the Portland, Ore., ad agency that created Nike's famous ads and produces SportsCenter ads, suggested picking an ESPN employee who comes across as a fan.

More than 160 staffers showed up for an open casting call. Braband says he felt like he was "rushing through (his audition) like a big idiot. But they said everybody else was being like Johnny SportsCenter anchor. I was real. Plus, they got a big kick out of seeing I'd locked myself out of my car."
On the surface this seems like a ridiculous idea but the advertising firm W&K's recent ads have been outstanding. My hope is that the kid has a "Boom Goes the Dynamite" performance but whether he's good or not won't matter. Either way it'll bring attention to the new lineup.

Updated: ESPN sent along a picture of the guy so I added it above.

ESPN gives novice on-air role in ad campaign (USA Today)