Your MLB Announcing Schedule For The Weekend Of 5/30

Friday, May 29, 2009

Saturday, May 30th:

Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs - Joe Buck, Tim McCarver & Ken Rosenthal (FOX, 4:10, 70%)

MARKETS INCLUDE: Albuquerque, Austin, Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago,
Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Dayton, Denver, Hartford,
Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis,
Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, Oklahoma City,
Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Richmond, Sacramento, Salt Lake
City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis,
Tulsa, Washington, West Palm Beach

Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks - Kenny Albert & Mark Grace (FOX, 4:10, 15%)

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

Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays - DeWayne Staats & Eric Karros (FOX, 4:10, 14%)

MARKETS INCLUDE: Boston, Detroit, Fort Myers, Kansas City,
Minneapolis, Orlando, Providence, Tampa

St.Louis Cardinals @San Francisco Giants - Local Broadcast (MLB-N, 9pm)

Sunday, May 31st:

New York Mets at Cleveland Indians (TBS, 12:30pm) - Chip Caray, Dennis Eckersley
LA Dodgers at Chicago Cubs(ESPN, 8pm)- Jon Miller, Joe Morgan, Steve Phillips

I'm A Celebrity, Please Get Me Out Of This Interview

The NBC sure to be blockbuster hit, "I'm A Celebrity....Get Me Out Of Here", kicks off next week, and some of the show's "stars" have been doing press this week. Two of those people are Patti Blagoevich and John Salley. Both showed up on the oh-so-entertaining Good Day L.A. via satellite recently, and after some awkward questions on delay, host Steve Edwards decided to try and be funny at John Salley's expense. Let's just say the joke didn't go over too well....

Well that was awkward. I don't know why he thought that would have been funny, but Steve isn't known for his graceful hosting abilities and transitions. Oh and if any of you watch that reality show, I'm disowning you as a reader.

Memo to Steve Edwards, John Salley is Married (YBB)

Introducing The Hastily Made Inside The NBA Commercial

Mike Polk is a bit of an Internet star, after creating a video he calls the "Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video", and TNT actually tabbed him to make one for the Inside the NBA crew. Here is just about the funniest thing you've seen in quite some time....

Now that is entertainment! I think he could have done better on Chuck, but the Kenny part and the "Closer" ending, were both hilarious. Good stuff, but TNT....was it really necessary to bleep out "douchebag"?

'Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism' Video Creator Takes a Moment to Burn TNT (The Sporting Blog)

MLB Network's Reynolds And Williams To Talk Man Caves On DIY

There is a revolution in the world of home decor, and that revolution is "man caves". Men from coast to coast have been creating basements filled with bars, sports paraphenallia and arcade games, and Major League Baseball is getting involved. The MLB Network's Harold Reynolds and Mitch Williams will be appearing on the DIY channel's "Man Caves" in September, and will be giving away an officially licensed MLB cave. Via USA Today....

Major League Baseball will formally announce today that the DIY Network's popular Man Caves series will include a Sept. 29 show in which some lucky guy — and it has to be a guy — gets his own MLB cave.

The show transforms rooms in houses — usually basements — into pricy playrooms for really big boys. DIY, as in do-it-yourself, frequently creates sports-themed caves — ex-NBA player Brandon Williams gets his garage converted in the Aug. 4 show — in a series hosted by Fox NFL analyst Tony Siragusa.

But with the MLB tie-in will come lots of hype on MLB Network — viewers will be asked to send in videos explaining why they're cave-worthy — and MLBN analysts Harold Reynolds and Mitch Williams will show up for the cave creations.
Sounds like a great promotion, but I wonder if it's for a specific team, or the entire league? Maybe Bud Selig will make DIY create a "Selig Shrine" of sorts, so his legacy can be remembered???

'Cave' dwellers get MLB pitch (USA Today)

The Lebron And Kobe Puppets Do Sports Center

Well they don't exactly "do" Sports Center per se, but rather sing the intro song as annoyingly as possible for 20 seconds. For some reason Nike managed to get the Kobe and Lebron puppets onto the Sports Center set, and this is what they came up with....

While some people think these spots are hilarious, I still can't quite figure them out. Sure they're entertaining, but they're not really selling anything specific, which is rare. I guess Nike is just banking on a Lakers-Cavs Finals matchup like the rest of the world.

The Nike Puppets Do Sports Center (Intentional Foul)

Lebron's Strong Fourth, Powers Cleveland To A Game Six

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I made the mistake of "Billy Packering" the Magic after a terrible first quarter, but it was for a good cause. Lebron finally figured out that he needed to drive to the basket, and in his deciding to do so, opened up the floor for his teammates. So much so, that he was a part of almost every basket for the Cavs in the 4th (A point or assist on 32 straight points is just ridiculous). Here are your highlights from the end of the game....

So that was pretty a pretty entertaining Game Five, but the Magic still have the upperhand and none of the pressure. On a side note, I loved that section of the vid where Reggie couldn't get a single person's name right in the crowd (Hi A-Rod!!!). Who is this Mario Rivaro you speak of? At least he wasn't the only person on TNT's crew who couldn't figure out exactly who Ben Roethlisberger was. Via Sparty and Friends....

TNT Knows Their Quarterbacks! (Sparty and Friends)

ABC Typos At The Bee, And L-A-O-D-I-C-E-A-N

So ABC was doing a wonderful job covering the Scripps National Spelling Bee, up until they tried to put up a graphic illustrating what the winner receives. How a network could misspell a word at Spelling Bee is hilarious, but especially so when said word is "Educational". Via Bklyn Josh....

Too funny. Other than that it was a great broadcast, and very entertaining. If I learned anything, it's that contestant Kennyi needs his own show and/or Youtube channel, and the winner Kavya Shivashankar knows every word known to man....including Laodicean. Congrats!

Lee Corso Suffers Mild Stroke

Scary news out of Bristol this evening. Apparently Lee Corso suffered a bit of a stroke, but everything is okay, and he is expected to back for the start of the 2009 College Football Season. Via ESPN....

ESPN College GameDay analyst Lee Corso recently suffered a minor stroke, but plans on being back for the kickoff of the 2009 college football season.

Corso suffered no permanent damage in the minor stroke, which was caused by the blockage to a small artery, according to a statement from Corso. He is expected to make a full recovery.

"This is just a small bump in the road, " Corso said in a statement issued by ESPN. "A 'not so fast, my friend' in my game of life. I look forward to making a full recovery and returning to ESPN for my 23rd season analyzing the greatest sport in the world -- college football."
Obviously thoughts should be with Corso and his family, but if Lee could survive as Burt Reynolds roommate in College, I'm pretty sure he can take on this challenge. Good luck Lee, and I think well all hope to see you back next season.

Corso Expected Back For '09 Season (ESPN)

Fran Tarkenton Is A National Hero

Not only has Fran Tarkenton taken on the great Brett Favre, by calling the Vikings interest in him "despicable", but he's now moved onto ESPN analysts. After his comments on Tuesday, Marcellus Wiley called Tarkenton a "grumpy old man", and the former QB decided to lay into the analyst. Via Sports Radio Interviews....

“Marcellus Wiley, who is trying to parlay a minimal football career into still making more money. This grumpy old man is 69 years old, I own six businesses, I’ve built 16 over the years, I’m paying my taxes, I’ve started two new businesses, we’re hiring more people, we’re not laying them off, we’re not cutting their salaries — we’re increasing their salaries, and in this society we are productive when so many people are not productive. I’m not playing croquette down at Orlando at the Villages, I’m not playing golf every day, I’m out there as a 69 year old … making money out of sports or with sports — I’m creating and building businesses from the ground up: that’s this grumpy old man.”
Now that's a comeback, and definitely hilarious. It's rare that people get to respond to comments made about them on ESPN, so good for Tark to say something. Especially when he's speaking in the best interests of the Vikings.

Fran Tarkenton Responds To Brett Favre Comments (SRI)

Your Stanley Cup Finals Television Schedule

So NBC and the NHL have officially moved up the Stanley Cup Finals to this Saturday, and have released the full seven game schedule. There is a little bit of a TBD though for this Sunday, and according to Fang's Bites, it's due to Taylor Swift and the movie "The Last Templar". There is a possibility of the game being moved to Versus, but it's more than likely that NBC will bump one or both programs. Add to that the fact that NBC doesn't want Hockey running into the debut of Conan on the Tonight Show, and it's a huge cluster "f". Here's the schedule....

Saturday, May 30th- at Detroit (NBC/CBC/RDS, 8pm)
Sunday, May 31st- at Detroit (NBC/CBC/RDS, TBD)
Tuesday, June 2nd- at Pittsburgh (VERSUS/CBC/RDS, 8pm)
Thursday, June 4th- at Pittsburgh (VERSUS/CBC/RDS, 8pm)
* Saturday, June 6th- at Detroit (NBC/CBC/RDS, 8pm)
* Tuesday, June 9th- at Pittsburgh (NBC/CBC/RDS, 8pm)
* Friday, June 12th- at Detroit (NBC/CBC/RDS, 8pm)

ESPN Finally Feels The Sting Of The Economy

Businesses across the country have been reeling in this economic downturn we find ourselves in, and apparently even the "WWL" isn't immune to the climate. According to Broadcasting & Cable, ESPN plans to cut over 100 jobs in the coming months, from PAs all the way up to execs....

Disney’s ESPN is the latest media outfit to go forward with a restructuring, as the cable giant will shed around 100 positions in a shift previously predicted by chief George Bodenheimer.

The network released the following statement to B&C Wednesday evening: "Most of the jobs are being repurposed in support of initiatives which will more effectively grow our company, and our headcount number, ultimately, will remain consistent with current levels.”

The jobs cut are expected to be across a wide variety of levels, from production assistants up to executive roles, according to sources with knowledge of the company’s plans.

Back in January, the network said it would be making cost-reduction moves in line with much of the media world as a result of the slumping economy, including a hiring freeze for the remainder of 2009 and a reduction of as many as 200 open jobs.
Well that's depressing. The latest news was that ESPN/Disney was one of the few companies turning a profit, but I guess no one is safe these days. I would personally rather see ESPN keep some PAs, and get rid of some of the pointless "talent" (*ahem* Skip Bayless!), but who am I to tell them what to do?

ESPN Goes Forward With Restructuring Plans (Broadcasting & Cable)

Posted by Awful Announcing at 11:37 AM 4 Comments Links to this post

Erin Andrews Wants To Go On "Dancing With The Stars"

Given that DWTS is an ABC show, and that EA is a huge draw in the 18-45 male demo, this actually seems like it could happen. Dan Steinberg interviewed her at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and this is what the sideline reporter had to say....

"I want to do it, because I think I'd be good at it," Andrews said yesterday, over a lunch of a hamburger and chicken noodle soup in downtown D.C. (I had iced tea. Too many freebie cookies from the Scripps National Spelling Bee.)

"I want to do it very badly," she continued. "That's the big push."

She joked with DWTS host Tom Bergeron about earning a spot last year during the Spelling Bee telecast, which Bergeron hosts. She said she would ask again this year; ABC is broadcasting the Bee finals tonight, with sideline reporting from Andrews.

"I love the show, and I've grown up around dancing," said Andrews, who, of course, was on the Dazzlers dance team when at Florida. "People say, 'Oh, you're a dancer, how could you do it?' But I've never taken ballroom, I've never partnered dance with anyone. I think I'd be in the top, unless I fall. I'm a big faller. If you fall, that's a hard fall, which I'm sure would make the Internet very happy."
Well then. I might not be speaking for everyone, but on the behalf of bloggers I say....pleeeeease make this happen ABC!

Erin Andrews Returns to Spelling Bee, Says She Wants to be on 'Dancing With the Stars' (The Sporting Blog)

The Shaq And Ben Stein Comcast Commercial Outtakes

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You've probably seen the Shaquille O'Neal Comcast commercials with Ben Stein (Bueller?), but I bet you haven't seen the outtakes. Outtakes that feature Ben Stein breaking out some old school Snoop Dogg rhymes. Here's the clip thanks to Comcast....

Wheat jelly, huh? And "hittin' corners on the low low"? Not sure if I've heard of that one before. Pretty hilarious though.

Behind The Scenes With Ben and Shaq (Comcast Voices)

Barcelona Dominates Man U In UEFA Champions Final

Since I didn't have anything better this afternoon, I decided to grab each of the goals during Barcelona's win over Manchester United this afternoon. Eto'o and Messi were your goal scores during the 2-0 win, with Messi's goal being a complete thing of beauty. Here are those goals and a few other highlights from ESPN's last broadcast of the Champions League Final....

Your Madden '10 Player Ratings Are Out

Every year I take great pride in picking apart the Madden player ratings, and this year's crop of scores is pretty darn interesting. The biggest shock has to be Nnamdi Asomugha in a tie as the top defensive player with Albert Haynesworth), Polamalu and Ed Reed, but there are certainly a lot more to debate as well. Two to discuss are Donovan McNabb being higher than Philip Rivers, and DeAngelo Williams tied for the third best RB ahead of Portis, Jackson and Gore. Here are the top ten for each position....


1. Peyton Manning- 99
2. Tom Brady- 98
3. Drew Brees- 97
4. Kurt Warner- 94
5. Ben Roethlisberger- 93
6. Donovan McNabb- 91
7. Philip Rivers- 88
8. Carson Palmer- 87
8. Jay Cutler- 87
8. Tony Romo- 87

Running Backs:

1. Adrian Peterson- 97
2. Michael Turner- 95
3. LaDainian Tomlinson- 94
3. Brian Westbrook- 94
3. DeAngelo Williams- 94
6. Clinton Portis- 93
7. Steven Jackson- 92
8. Frank Gore- 91
9. Brandon Jacobs- 90
9. Thomas Jones- 90

Wide Receivers:

1. Larry Fitzgerald- 99
2. Andre Johnson- 98
3. Steve Smith- 97
4. Randy Moss- 96
5. Reggie Wayne- 95
6. Anquan Boldin- 94
6. Roddy White- 94
8. Brandon Marshall- 92
8. Calvin Johnson- 92
10. Terrell Owens- 91

Tight Ends:

1. Tony Gonzalez- 98
2. Jason Witten- 97
3. Antonio Gates- 95
4. Chris Cooley- 91
4. Dallas Clark- 91
6. Kellen Winslow- 90 7. Heath Miller- 88 8. John Carlson- 87
9. Zach Miller- 86
9. Owen Daniels- 86


1. Nnamdi Asomugha (CB, Oakland Raiders)- 99
1. Albert Haynesworth (DT, Washington Redskins) - 99
1. Ed Reed (S, Baltimore Ravens)- 99
1. Troy Polamalu (S, Pittsburgh Steelers)- 99
5. Patrick Willis (LB, San Francisco 49ers)- 98
5. Jared Allen (DE, Minnesota Vikings)- 98
5. DeMarcus Ware (LB, Dallas Cowboys)- 98
8. Kevin Williams (DT, Minnesota Vikings)- 97
8. Ray Lewis (LB, Baltimore Ravens)- 97
8. Julius Peppers (DE, Carolina Panthers)- 97

Madden '10 Ratings (ESPN Video Games)

NBA Ratings Up Big For Both TNT And ESPN

This year's NBA Playoffs have been just as exciting as they have been lucrative. And even though the potential dream matchup between Kobe and Lebron is looking bleak, all parties involved shouldn't be upset at all. Thanks to long series, and great matchups, the ratings through 40 combined games on TNT and ESPN are up over 18% over 2008. Via Sports Business Daily....

TNT is averaging 4.310 million viewers through 40 NBA Playoffs telecasts through Sunday, up 18.7% from 3.631 million viewers for 39 telecasts at the same point in '08. Meanwhile, ESPN's 16 postseason telecasts have averaged 4.049 million viewers, up 10.1% from 3.679 million viewers for 18 telecasts at the same point last year. ESPN's 5.7 cable rating and 7.886 million viewers for Thursday's Nuggets-Lakers Western Conference Final Game Two also marked the net's second-most viewed basketball game ever. For the week of May 18-24, the five NBA Playoffs telecasts between TNT and ESPN marked the five most-viewed telecasts on all of cable.
This level of viewership hasn't been approached by the NBA in quite some time, and it's great to see the league slowly building it's ratings back up. Advertisers must be loving the long series, and with so many young stars in the game, it will only bring in more dollars to the networks.

TNT, ESPN Both Seeing Double-Digit Aud Increases For NBA Playoffs (Sports Business Daily - $)

Breaking: Fox Replaces Baldinger With Lynch

There was a rumored fight for John Lynch between the NFL Network and ESPN, but in the end it was the network that originally courted the former NFLer, that ended up with him. John Lynch will be going to FOX this Fall, while longtime analyst Brian Baldinger is being shown the door.

While the hire for FOX is definitely a high-profile get, you all know that I'm always wary about networks throwing former players into the booth right away. As far as Baldinger goes, he was always hit or miss. He'd either say something that was completely on point, or spend five minutes making zero sense. He was however, a staple on the network, and it will be interesting to see how the pairing are affected by his departure.

Update: I forgot to add that Newsday's Neil Best predicted this about three weeks ago. Bravo sir!

Sidney Crosby Dooms Penguins In Stanley Cup Finals

Everyone in and around the World of Hockey knows that you absolutely DO NOT touch the trophies after winning the Conference Championship. Well yesterday, following the Penguins sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes, Sidney Crosby did the unthinkable by picking up the Prince of Wales Trophy and skated it over to his teammates. Here's the clip....

I'm just as superstitious as the next person, but when you are looking at facing the Red Wings in the Finals for a second year in a row, you mind as well try something different. In fact, that's exactly why Crosby said he touched it.

Sidney Crosby accepts the Prince of Wales trophy (Blitz Corner)

College Football Live Going On A 50 State Football Tour

I'm normally against the whole "50 State" tour thing, but when you come up with a new angle like ESPN has in this case, it might actually work. College Football Live is planning on going to each state this Summer, but they'll be doing so with a famous college athlete from that location. Via ESPN PR....

Every state has a football story, memorable moment, legendary coach, great players, rivalries, or esteemed high school. ESPN’s College Football Live will offer a daily showcase of the best and greatest of amateur football – college and high school -- from all 50 United States and the District of Columbia with “College Football Live 50 States Tour” from June 1 to August 7.

College Football Live, a weekday afternoon studio show dedicated to college football aired weekdays generally at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, will explore topics specific to every state, including greatest plays and games; and best coaches, players and high schools across 43 episodes. Some episodes will focus on two or three states while select states will be spread out over two shows.

“College Football Live 50 States Tour” will feature live interviews related to the state, including with prominent football figures, current coaches, and local writers. The shows will also include debate between analysts and an online component for fans to pick each state’s best coach, player and team.
Definitely a great idea, and when you look at who's lined up for the first week, you can see why I'm a bit excited about this idea. Here's the schedule for week one....

June 1st: Michigan - Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson
June 2nd: Tennessee - Peyton Manning
June 3rd: Delaware and New Jersey - Joe Flacco
June 4th: Oregon - Mike Belotti
June 5: Oklahoma - Barry Sanders

ESPN Gets Dream Matchup For Last Champions League Final

ESPN will be broadcasting their last Champions League final, before the rights move over to FOX Sports, and the "Leader" couldn't have hoped for a better matchup. Barcelona will take on Manchester United today at 2:25pm on ESPN and ESPN360 live from Rome, and ESPN can't hide its excitement. Via the NY Times....

“We’re going out with a bang,” Mike Walters, the vice president of programming for ESPN International, said in a telephone interview. “We’re not going to mistreat or somehow shortchange this property because we’re not televising it in the U.S. next year.”

The game will be shown in high-definition on ESPN in the United States and other countries (and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes, which will offer a 90-minute pregame show), while the network will also beam the game to more than 167.8 million households in 115 countries around the world, including in Latin American, Africa, the Pacific Rim, Asia and Canada. ESPN2 will carry a one-hour preview show on Tuesday, the day before Manchester United attempts to defend its title, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. The match will also be available on the broadband network ESPN will also present halftime and postgame in-studio analysis.

“It’s really a dream final,” Adrian Healey, one of ESPN’s studio analysts, said in a telephone interview. “These are the two best teams in Europe and it’s one game to determine the champion. But I think what really makes it intriguing, with all the focus on the managers, the players and the history, is that these two clubs really haven’t won that many European titles. ManU has been outshone by its domestic rival Liverpool and Barcelona by Real Madrid.”

“It’s no secret that we made a run to continue, we’ve been nurturing and growing the event here for 15 years,” Walters said. “We’re never happy to see something go elsewhere, but properties come and go. We’re all really in the rights rental business. We don’t have a divine right to air it year to year, unless it’s something you’ve created yourself, like the X-Games. But this certainly is a loss.”
The final should be a awesome (Manchester United is a -130 favorite), and ESPN couldn't have got a better final to go out on. In fact, it's so important that they actually sent Derek Rae, Tommy Smyth and Dave Roberts, to Rome to call the event in person. If anything exciting happens during the game, I'll be sure to have the video for you.

ESPN Gears Up for Final Final (NY Times)

Orlando Hangs On In Overtime To Take Game Four, Go Up 3-1

The Magic were up eight with two minutes left, when they decided to continually jack threes during the last minute, while Lebron and the Cavs took it to the hole and hit free throws to take a one point lead. With 6.4 seconds left, Rashard Lewis hit a three to take the lead back, but after a controversial call with Lebron driving to the basket and two free throws from the Cav, the score was once again tied with .5 to go. The Magic tried a lob to Howard, who was basically fallen on top of by Varejao, and the game went to overtime.

In the extra period, Howard dunked all over the Cavs early and free throws helped them close it out. It didn't come without a scare or two though. Here are the highlights if you missed them...

This was obviously the biggest game of the series, and the Magic are actually on the verge of shocking the world and closing this thing out. All you TV execs and advertisers can start getting your resumes together. As far as the refs are concerned, they obviously blew some key calls in this one. Lebron got a foul call while falling down in regulation, and the subsequent Varejao tackling of Howard wasn't even close to being whistled. The league would normally receive some flak tomorrow, but with the Magic closing out in OT, it will all get swept under the rug.

Mr. T Rocks The Zubaz, Dazzles Cubs Fans With His Angelic Voice

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Today in great "Take Me Out To The Ballgame Performances" at Wrigley, comes the one and only Mr. T. Not only did Mr. T throw out the first pitch in zubaz pants, AND sing during the 7th inning stretch, but he also inspired a heck of an impression by Scott Van Pelt....

"THREE STRIKES YOU OUT!!!" Love it. It doesn't get much more entertaining than that.

NHL Considering A Finals Move

With both the Red Wings and Pens on the verge of closing out their respective Conference Finals, the NHL is in a bit of a pickle. The current Finals schedule is set to start on Friday, June 5th, and if both teams finish off their respective series, the two wouldn't play for over a week. With that taken into account, the NHL is considering a move up. Via Associated Content....

As it looks now, the Red Wings and Penguins could both wrap up berths in the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals within two days. The Penguins can finish a sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, with the Red Wings set to close out the Chicago Blackhawks in five tomorrow.

The start date of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals schedule was set for Friday, June 5, since both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals would not end in a sweep. But if nothing changes in the Stanley Cup Finals schedule, and both the Red Wings and Penguins win their next game, they will not play each other for over a week.

For teams that have a long rest going into the championship series, they face constant, incessant questions about being off too long. The Phillies got this question before the World Series last year, but still handled the Tampa Bay Rays in five.

Both the Red Wings and Penguins could face those questions when they finally start the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals schedule. As usual, the needs of television would get the blame, as NBC and Versus need to set the Stanley Cup Finals dates on specific nights. TV needs are also the reason that the first two games of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals will take place on back-to-back nights.

But in this case, a week plus layoff for the Red Wings and Penguins may be pushing it. So the NHL and NBC are set to save face, assuming the Red Wings and Penguins do win their next games.
The rumored start day would be this Saturday if both teams win, with the Red Wings hosting Game One, and Game Two would follow on Sunday. It seems like a great idea, and when you consider sweeps week is coming up, and the launch of the new Tonight Show with Conan limits late night NBC placement of games.

2009 Stanley Cup Finals Schedule May Need to Move Up (Associated Content)

ESPN Set To Launch Finals Campaign

ESPN finally seems to be taking a queue from NBA TV and has decided to go old school for its NBA Finals campaign. The new set of ads will be an extension of the "Where Will Amazing Happen This Year" theme, but will feature an homage of sorts to the greats. While the video promos will stay the same, the main piece of marketing will be a photo timeline of seven NBA players in the midst of a dunk. The piece titled "Evolution" will be seen in print and on billboards in various cities. Here is your first look (click for larger)....

Just an amazing photo right there. I've always been a fan of the sequence photos like that, but switching it to multiple players like that almost makes it "poster worthy". If I still lived in a dorm, that thing would be up post haste.

The Story Of Elevator Ernie Johnson, And A Shirt You Need To Buy

Ernie Johnson is one of the nicest, most genuine people you will ever meet. Not only that, but he subscribes to the tenet that this site has survived on over the past three years. If you can't make fun of yourself, who can you make fun of?

Well, Ernie did just that when looking back at old footage of himself in a makeshift dunk contest, and a clothing company has even brought back his famous shirt from that night. Here's the background....

Great story, and the shirt you see above is not only available now, but a portion of proceeds even go to The Lymphoma Research Foundation (the disease EJ began battling in 2003).

Elevator Ernie (Homage Clothing)
Phenomenal Swag: 'Elevator' Ernie Johnson t-shirt (Ball Don't Lie)

ESPN Adding Lab At Disney To Test Graphics Packages

ESPN's studios and on-site setups are obviously always in use year-round, so the "WWL" has decided to create a testing lab at their headquarters at Disney's Wide World of Sports. The "ESPN Innovation Lab" won't be a tourist attraction, but rather a full-time research facility. Via the Orlando Sentinel....

Dubbed the "ESPN Innovation Lab," the facility will allow the cable-sports giant to test new applications such as virtual graphics during events staged at Disney's sports venues. Think concepts such as the "EA Virtual Playbook" that ESPN has used as part of its pro football and basketball coverage or the strike-zone graphics used during baseball games.

The lab, which will be housed in a renovated building at Wide World of Sports, won't be a typical tourist attraction. ESPN intends it to be a working research facility, though it'll likely include big bay windows that allow people to look in and see the company's emerging-technology staff at work.

ESPN has already moved five employees to Orlando from its Bristol, Conn., headquarters to work at the lab, and more could follow. The Innovation Lab is expected to formally open this fall.
Seems like a good idea, given all of the new technology that keeps popping up on the network. Heck, maybe they could use the place for focus groups as well. You know, to test out the reaction to nonsense like "Who's Now" or "Mount Rushmore".

ESPN to open new research facility at Disney's Wide World of Sports (Orlando Sentinel)

Tales From The News Desk: The Joy Of Lebron

Everyone saw Lebron's buzzer beater over the holiday weekend (yes it was amazing, no it wasn't one of the best ever), but the best reaction could have come from WEWS Channel 5 News. The team was trying to sign off right as Lebron was hitting his shot with one second left, and here is the reaction....

Now that's just plain fun. I love before the weather when the anchor tells them to change the channel, and then freaks out and scares the entire set. Great stuff.

LeBron Runs Cleveland News Anchors Through Full Spectrum of Emotions (The Sporting Blog)

Dennis Eckersley Has A Potty Mouth

With the holiday weekend, I'm a little late getting to this, but this definitely deserved a post. Dennis Eckersley is filling in for Jerry Remy on NESN, and twice during last Friday's Mets-Red Sox game, the former major leaguer used some interesting commentary to describe the action. The first involves Eck using the "S" word, and the second is him somehow turning Justin Masterson's name, into "Justin Masterbates". Enjoy!

Now that is one heck of a bad night. I can just picture Orsillo rolling around in the booth, and making fun of him every single break. Too funny.

Dennis Eckersley's Golden Sombrero (CBSB Media)

Baseball Rain Delays Are Officially Awesome

Friday, May 22, 2009

Crazy things have happened during rain delays in the past (i.e.- Rick Dempsey), but this video might just put them all to shame. During a delay in the UConn-USF game, during the Big East Tourney, both teams decided to take to the field and potentially "serve" the other squad. It's a danceoff!

Now that is entertainment! Enjoy the holiday, and I'll see you more than likely on Tuesday.

Baseball Rain Delay Turns Into Massive Dance-Off (SbB)

Jeff Van Gundy Doesn't Care About Your Future Coaching Gigs

Most former coaches and players find it hard to make the transition from the field to the analyst chair, mainly because of current and former connections in the league. Most former players don't want to trash former teammates, and most former coaches don't want to burn any bridges to future coaching positions. Well one of the ones who doesn't seem to care is Jeff Van Gundy, and he spoke about this and other media matters, to the Wall Street Journal recently....

WSJ: You were a head NBA coach and you have said you would be interested in coaching again. How tricky it is to be candid as a broadcaster when you could be talking about future employers?
Mr. Van Gundy: I don't really think about that kind of stuff. I try just to worry about what I'm doing right now. I try to be fair. I think that is the hardest balance — trying to be candid and trying to be fair. That is what I shoot for. I have probably missed a few times, but I don't really worry about how it may impact me as far as coaching down the road.

WSJ: Dwight Howard called out the head coach of the Orlando Magic at one point during the playoffs. The head coach of the Magic is, of course, your brother. You have been doing the Western Conference games and so you weren't covering him, but it must come up. How do you deal with this?
Mr. Van Gundy: It is all fair game. My problem with the national media, in general, is that 90% of them, instead of studying an issue, run to the player's defense. In this case, they were very critical of my brother for Howard taking just 10 shots in Game 5. But where is the outcry when Howard took just nine shots in Game 7, which the Magic won in a blowout? That is one way that the national media is very unfair.
It's refreshing to hear someone actually come out and say that. The reason people don't respond to former coaches in the booth, is because they're so afraid to say something bad, that they don't say anything at all. Good for JVG to call out the rest of his brethren in a roundabout way.

Questions for: Jeff Van Gundy (Wall Street Journal)

Rich Eisen Thought Gruden Was Staying At NFL-N

Earlier this week, news broke that Jon Gruden had sort of given the NFL Network the run around during contract discussions, and today Rich Eisen made completely clear that was the case. Eisen went on the Dan Patrick Show, and had the following to say about Chucky....

Obviously handshake deals mean nothing in Sports, especially when you take into account that ESPN's monetary impact. I certainly hope Gruden will be good, but I think he would have benefited from staying at the NFL Network. Not just for practice, but because I still believe he's going to coach again soon, and ESPN will be left out in the cold.

Rich Eisen says NFL Network was expecting Jon Gruden (SI)

David Eckstein Is One Of The Greatest Players To Ever Play The Game Of Baseball

Or so says Padres' announcer, Mark Grant. During last night's Giants-Padres game, David Eckstein lost a flyball in the lights at second base. Instead of pleading for help, the crafty guy pretended he was going to catch the ball, thus letting it drop and fooling the runner at first. A smart play indeed, but Grant decided to take hyperbole to another level, calling him one of the "best players to ever play the game of Baseball!"....

Wow...that's just a tad over-the-top. I thought the whole "David Eckstein has done so much with his small frame" talk, but I guess not. Every time he goes to a new team, we're going to have to hear it all over again.

Your MLB Announcing Schedule For The Week Of 5/23

Saturday, May 23rd:

Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees (FOX, 4:10pm)- Joe Buck, Tim McCarver & Ken Rosenthal

MARKETS INCLUDE: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Buffalo, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Denver, Detroit, Fort Myers, Greensboro, Greenville, Hartford, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, Raleigh, Richmond, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, West Palm Beach

Texas Rangers at Houston Astros (FOX, 4:10pm)- Josh Lewin & Mark Grace

MARKETS INCLUDE: Austin, Dallas, Houston, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Tulsa

Sunday, May 24th:

New York Mets at Boston Red Sox (TBS, 1:30pm) - Chip Caray, Buck Martinez and Dennis Eckersley
Milwaukee Brewers at Minnesota Twins (ESPN, 8pM)- Jon Miller, Joe Morgan, Steve Phillips

Carmelo's Fiancee Finally Speaks On Incident With Mavs Fans

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The motherly website, Momlogic, has an exclusive interview with Carmelo Anthony's fiancee, and for the first time she explains what set her off during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals. Not only does she claim fans yelled racial slurs at her, and the Nuggets, but they even called the couple's son a "bastard"....

"They began yelling 'F*** the Nuggets!' right in front of my son." Then she says they started calling the Nuggets players "n*****s." She was shocked. "I've been at a ton of games -- but I have NEVER heard fans say things like that." Then, looking directly at her while taunting Anthony on the court, Lala says the fans called her son a "bastard."

"I know it was directed at me. Yes, my son's dad and I are not married -- but we are engaged!" Lala turned to the fans and said, "This is just a GAME! Do you even know these players?!" She then asked her babysitter to take Kiyan out of the arena. The fans, who by this time, claims Lala, were completely intoxicated, became even "more aggressive," yelling "F*** the Nuggets!" and insulting their families -- namely, Lala says, her and Carmelo. Then they physically pushed her. Pushed to the edge, she turned around and yelled back.

TV cameras captured security guards approaching her. "They said they had seen the whole thing and told me I had done nothing wrong. I was NOT ejected, they just escorted me to a suite [for safety]. I was mad!" Mavericks owner Mark Cuban even apologized the next day for a variety of incidents that happened at the game -- including the insulting of another player's mother -- saying "This has gotten out of hand."
Usually in cases like this, both parties are to blame, but I can completely understand losing one's cool in this case. Arenas and stadiums have been getting more and more violent over the years, so hopefully this unfortunate incident leads to some stricter fan guidelines.

Lala: Fans Called My Son a Bastard! (Momlogic)

Linda Cohn Has Her Own Blog/Fan Site

I haven't seen Linda Cohn on ESPN a lot lately, and that very well could be because she's been busy starting her own blog and fan website. It's pretty fancy, with photos, posts from random people and even a forum. Cohn even has posts she puts up herself, which include passages like the following....

Can you believe the Mayor of Buffalo has already given Terrell Owens the key to the city and he hasn't even played a game yet for the Bills! T.O. showed up for Bills minicamp proclaiming he is misunderstood. Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah, Dallas and Philly. Oh, by the way, Owens says his welcome by the fans of Bufffalo [sic] was the best he's ever recieved [sic] in any city.

Chucky comes to the World Wide Leader! I could not be happier with ESPN hiring Jon Gruden to be in the Monday Night Football booth with Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski. Tony Kornheiser can stick with PTI. Gruden will be sensational! Why? He is likeable and genuine and it comes across on the screen. He'll make you laugh and give you his insight at the same time.
Not bad commentary sans the spelling errors, but I'm certainly not the person to chastise someone for a mistake along those lines. Welcome to the fabulous world of blogging, Linda. It's good to have you!

Linda Cohn Fan Club (Cohnhead Fans)

Brian Kenny Vs. Floyd Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather made the rounds on ESPN the other day, and after taking on an anchor over at ESPN News, the fighter decided to take on Sports Center's Brian Kenny. Kenny, as we know, rarely backs down from a debate, and here was the very contentious exchange...

The weird thing is, that was the exact same argument he made on ESPN News earlier in the day. The other weird thing is that Mayweather is completely and utterly crazy on so many levels. Brian Kenny never fails to make me laugh as well.

"4th And Long" Is Entertaining, Extra Pukey

I completely forgot to check out the debut of "4th and Long" when it aired, but lucky for me, Spike puts full episodes up on its website. Not only was the show hilarious, mainly because of Michael Irvin being dressed in all black and channeling his inner Jerry Jones, but because just about every contestant threw up. Let's go to the montage!

I love how Irvin just randomly appears and then disappears into the tunnel. He's like a ghost, I tell you! Well a ghost dressed in an all-black Armani suit. Still though, I'm kind of digging the show, and I'm definitely going to watch next week.

4th and Long: The Puking-est Show on TV (TSB)

NBC To Air Women's MMA Reality Show

Every channel is looking to fill holes in their programming with a reality show these days, and Sports based ones seem to be the most popular. Well NBC is getting in on the trend as well, and will be airing a women's MMA reality program this fall. Via Chicago MMA....

Ultimate Women’s Combat is a television show that focuses on 16 female Mixed Martial Arts fighters as they attempt to make a name for themselves in the rough and tumble world of professional cage fighting. Many of these combatants have been connected to male fighters and trainers their entire careers. It’s now time for them to step out of the shadows and into the fire! Throughout the show the audience will get to know these warriors not only as fighters but as women who have lives, responsibilities and experiences that extend beyond the cage. Ultimate Women’s Combat will delve deep into the lives of these women pulling from them the most intriguing details of what makes a female fighter. The weekly challenges will have the girls working closely with nationally recognized organizations to make the public aware of issues that have impacted our communities and the women themselves. Make no mistake, this is a fight show and there will be fights! At the end of the season the winners of the tournament will receive a major contract from a partnered fighting promotion. Ultimate Women’s Combat is not a fighting promotion and the creators do not intend to promote fights under the Ultimate Women’s Combat banner.

Bas Rutten and Maxim 100 model, Joanna Krupa will play hosts to the show. Also featured as coaches are #1 ranked fighter, Tara LaRosa, U.K. fighting sensation Rosi Sexton, Strike Force contender Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and Jiu-jitsu legend Cesar Gracie. The 16 female fighters include Felice Herrig, Angela Magana, Angela Hayes, Melissa Steele, Roxy Richardson, Lauren Sugahara, Kerry Vera, Michelle Vera, Moroeles Coenen, Casey Noland, Molly Helsel, Vanessa Mariscal, Jessica Aguilar, Martha Benavides, and Kate McGray (fight roster subject to change).
Obviously they would be better served if they could pull Gina Carano, but this little program could be a hit. There's something about attractive women fighting each other, that guys seem to enjoy.

Felice Herrig's Upcoming Reality Show To Air On NBC (Chicago MMA)

Tony Dungy Pens Vick Essay For Sports Illustrated

You knew that the story was coming out one way or another, and today we all learned where. Tony Dungy's talk with Mike Vick, during his last days in prison, will be presented as an article in this week's SI. In fact, it's already online and here's a brief snippet....

Then I went to see Michael. As I sat down with him at the table in the visitors' room, he looked just like many of the young men I have talked with in other prisons. I couldn't get over how young he still looked. I hadn't seen him in person since 2005, but his face looked the same. The Falcons' number 7 jersey, though, had been replaced by a tan jumpsuit with his inmate number on it. We talked for about two hours, and my message was the same one I've given hundreds of other inmates I've visited. "What you learn in life is the same thing you learn in football," I told Michael, who was scheduled to be released from prison this Wednesday to serve the final two months of his 23-month sentence in home confinement. "You have losses, and you have to rebound from them. The key thing is, How do you bounce back from a defeat?"

In the two hours we spent together, Michael and I learned a lot about each other, and we made a commitment to stay in touch after he is released. When I left the prison, I found myself thinking: What if Michael, who says his father was not a positive influence on his household when he grew up, had had the same family support system that Josh [Freeman] had? Would he have ended up in this situation? I really don't think so.
That's really just the surface of the article, as it delves into how Dungy helps a lot of inmates, so you should definitely check out the rest. I've noticed over the past few days that rarely has anything bad been said about Vick, and I'm beginning to understand why. It's human nature to want to forgive and forget, and that's what the media seems to already be doing with Vick. Either that, or they want to be the first to score an interview (*ahem* ESPN!).

Guidance With A Fatherly Touch (SI)

Orlando Bloodies Lebron, Takes Game One In Cleveland

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I really didn't give Orlando a shot in this series, but after game one, they definitely proved me wrong. On the strength of a Rashard Lewis three at the end of the contest, and great defense in the last few seconds, the Magic took game one of the series and put all of the pressure on the Cavs. They even managed to injure Lebron at the end of the game, causing him to stay on the court for about five minutes following the final buzzer....

Just an amazing performance by Howard and Lewis, and if those to are going to put up 30 and 22 each game, the Cavs might be in a little bit of trouble. With that said, Lebron James had a hell of a game (49/8/6), but he had little help on the offensive end. Great first game, and let's hope the series stays this way throughout.

Kobe And Lebron Documentary To Air On ESPN

ESPN just aired a Kobe documentary last weekend, but they've already lined up a second one. This time it's a combo flick with Lebron James, called "Dream Season: 23 & 24", and will air on Thursday, May 21st at 7pm. But wait, there's more! It will even be narrated by the one and only, Justin Timberlake!

ESPN will televise Dream Season 23 & 24 presented by NIKE, a one-hour special Thursday, May 21, at 7 p.m. The program, narrated by six-time Grammy Award-winning and Emmy Award-winning artist Justin Timberlake, will chronicle the past seasons of Cleveland’s LeBron James, the league’s MVP, and Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. From Olympic gold in Beijing to the quest for each to lead his team to the top of the respective NBA conferences, the cameras will provide unique access into James’ and Bryant’s preparation and stellar performances on the court.
They probably could have got Spike Lee to do this one as well, and killed two birds with one stone, but alas....they did not. Still, it sounds interesting, and after watching "Kobe Doin' Work"....I hope it doesn't disappoint.

Mike Vick Sneaks Past ESPN's Cameras

I mentioned last week that ESPN planned to stalk Michael Vick as he left Leavenworth today. Well apparently Vick used his once elusive Football skills, to escape the "Leader's" (and every other media outlet) cameras. Here is Hannah Storm talking about just that with on-site reporter Kelly Naqi. Via Fang's Bites....

How funny is that? On the surface you would think it'd be virtually impossible to leave undetected, but that's obviously not the case. All that work for a shot of a random reporter standing in the wind outside of a prison. Good times.

In Case You Missed Vick's Release (Fangs Bites)

Adidas Partners With Free Darko For Howard/Rose Commercials

If you've been reading blogs for awhile, you almost certainly know about the crazy yet genius Free Darko. Well Adidas has also recognized the site's brilliance, and has decided to use some of Bethlehem Shoals' illustrations that he used in "The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac", and turn them into a commercial. Here's a look at the Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose spots....

Yes, that was Chali 2na from the Jurassic 5, doing the voiceover. And yes that was awesome. Congrats Free Darko!

Some of Where We've Been
(Free Darko)

Everybody Hates Steve

Steve Phillips has only been on Sunday Night Baseball for two short months, and already he's causing Sports writers around the country conniptions. Both SI and the NY Daily News to umbrage with a recent Phillips exchange with Joe Morgan on Carlos Beltran, and both writers of the pieces (Joe Posnanski and Bob Raissman) took Steve to task....

Posnanski: My point is not to say that Carlos Beltran is above criticism. My point is to say that ... well, yeah, at the moment, Carlos Beltran is above criticism. Are you kidding me? A brilliant defensive center fielder who hits, hits with power, steals bases, runs the bases, draws walks ... and this year, so far, he's hitting .367. Is he perfect? Of course not. But if you want to judge him by certain criteria ... well, hey, wait a minute, here's some criteria right here, courtesy of Steve Phillips himself (quotes from this insightful article from the typically insightful Ted Berg):

"That guy who's a good base runner, a good defender, doesn't give up at-bats, gets the hit when you need the hit, drives in a run when you need the run, always seems to be in the right position. I think the good teams have that guy ... that singular flawless player that in every aspect of the game, lead."

Raismann: "After Phillips said Reyes and David Wright are part of the Mets long-term solution, he suggested that GM Omar Minaya (he referred to Minaya as "they") might want to start thinking if Carlos Beltran has a future with the Mets. For "the $17-plus million they have invested in him," Phillips wondered if the Mets were getting enough "game-winning plays" in return.

"I definitely would disagree," Morgan said. "You want more from Beltran, but you can't deny he's put up the numbers."

In all this back-and-forth, Phillips showed no spine. No one is suggesting that these debates should be taken to an extreme. Nonetheless, every time Morgan shot down Phillips there was little response. Phillips needs to counter-punch. That would make the television more compelling.
This has always been the case with Steve Phillips. He never seems to think about what he's said in the past, then just shoots off at the mouth and contradicts himself. That being said, trying to slide into a spot in between a duo that has been together for 20 years, can't be easy. Hopefully Phillips can find his way, but it's not looking good for the trio.

Defending Carlos Beltran from the Steve Phillips screwdriver (SI)
Steve Phillips Leaves Bat On Shoulder In ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball Booth (NY Daily News)

Joe Theismann Still Taking Shots At Kornheiser

I felt a bit sorry for him at first, but Joe Theismann has spent the last three years whining about MNF and Tony Kornheiser, to the point it's almost sad. Well Theismann isn't done, and on the heels of Korny leaving Monday Night Football, he headed to the airwaves to pile on. Adam Schein, host of the Sirius Blitz, asked Joe about Kornheiser, and here was his response....

Adam Schein: “In your opinion, how will history judge, how should history judge Tony Kornheiser’s time in the Monday Night booth?”

Theismann: “I think as a fish out of water. I don’t think Tony was ever really comfortable in a role. I know the time that I spent with him, he really didn’t want to do football. One of the things we discussed early on, he didn’t want to go to meetings and it was an interesting scenario because, you know, Tony is a cynic. Tony wants to criticize. That’s what he does with PTI and that’s what he’s done as a writer. When he got into television the reason he didn’t want to sit down with coaches and players was really simple, because he felt like if you got to know them then it would be very difficult to be able to criticize them the way he has. And I think he really found out that there are a lot of really great people that are involved in professional football and a lot of the things that you hear, a lot of the things that you think about individuals aren’t necessarily the case. But Tony was cast in a role to bring a different type of perspective to the telecast and I think people will look at the three years there and say, ‘He was a writer. He was a guy that gave it a shot and it’s [unintelligible].’ It’s not for me to judge how someone will view Tony. I know how I did and I, like I said, to me I always felt like he was somewhat of a fish out of water. It wasn’t a comfortable place for him and that is very difficult to mask when you’re on a set. When you do three hours of a telecast people are going to get to know an awful lot about you and in Tony’s case I think he did a heck of a job trying to get ready and prepare but I still don’t think he ever found a comfort zone doing television.”
I love how he says that it's not for him to judge Tony, after he just spent a minute doing just that. Look, what he says about Kornheiser is right, but he's spent the past three years saying the exact same thing. Sometimes it's just better to just say nothing at all.

Sirius Blitz (Sirius)

Audio Of Shaq's First Interview

It seems a bit weird to me that the NY Times got a hold of Shaq's school work, but I'm not argue. O'Neal talked with Stephen Curry, in a mock on-air interview, and here is the audio and some background on the course he's taking....

The 37-year-old O’Neal insists he will play four more N.B.A. seasons, but he plans on having his own radio and television shows after retirement. He envisions something similar to HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel.”

That was why he found himself in broadcast hot seats across the Syracuse campus this week in an intriguing role reversal — conducting interviews instead of giving them.

O’Neal’s three-day broadcast boot camp at Syracuse is a spinoff of the second-year program that the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications runs in concert with the N.B.A.’s players association for players interested in pursuing broadcasting after their careers. Players pay $5,200 for the program. But because O’Neal wanted his own private session, he had to fork over more than $15,000.

“You have to know what you’re doing,” O’Neal said of the basics of broadcasting. “There are a lot of guys who are great speakers, but it doesn’t come off that way unless you have all the other elements. I needed to learn the secrets.”

That was pretty darn good for a first try. Good questions, especially about Curry playing in a smaller conference, and no flubs. O'Neal just might have a future in Sports Media.

O'Neal Hopes To Be Next Big Thing In Broadcasting (NY Times)

Your NBA Draft Lottery Results

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I love watching the NBA Draft Lottery every year, just for the moment when the representative from team with the best shot ends up getting the 4th pick. The schadenfreude is off the charts. Well this year's lottery was no different, with Chris Webber and Flip Saunders being the lucky charms. Here's your video....

Ugh. Could there be a worse pick in this year's draft besides five? I doubt it. Jordan Hill wouldn't be a bad pick, but I have a feeling the Wiz are going to get stuck with the choice of Hardin, Evans, DeRozan or a trade. I like Evans, but a trade might be worth it. Start up your mock drafts people!

1. LA Clippers
2. Memphis
3. Oklahoma City
4. Sacramento
5. Washington
6. Minnesota
7. Golden State
8. New York
9. Toronto
10. Milwaukee
11. New Jersey
12. Toronto
13. Indiana
14. Phoenix

Kornsheiser Speaks About MNF Decision

We've heard from a lot of people on Tony Kornheiser's decision to leave Monday Night Football, and about his replacement Jon Gruden, but we had yet to hear from Tony himself. That is until tonight. Kornheiser explained his decision at the very end of PTI, and delved deeper into the notion that travel was the reason....

If the man hates flying, the man hates flying. Oh and the Hall of Fame comment was pretty damn funny. There was also a veiled shot at Gruden's different faces at the end of the program, but I cut the video off.

Shaq Is Now Taking Broadcasting Classes

I guess the possibilities are endless when you're a personality like Shaquille O'Neal. Shaqtus is now apparently expanding on his life outside of basketball, by enrolling in broadcasting classes at Syracuse University. Oh and get this, his first interview is with the new 'Cuse QB....Greg Paulus. From Yahoo Sports via Fanster....

Shaquille O’Neal(notes) is in training for his next career.

The 7-foot-1 center for the Phoenix Suns is taking a broadcasting class at Syracuse University known as Sportscaster U, a crash course designed to teach athletes about the broadcasting industry. He arrived in Syracuse on Sunday and started school Monday at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Instructor Dave Ryan, an ESPN play-by-play announcer who started the program, says O’Neal is spending the time taping mock stand-ups, scripting material, and conducting interviews.

O’Neal even scored the first on-camera interview with former Duke point guard Greg Paulus since he announced his decision to play football at Syracuse in the fall.
As we've seen in his Police work, when Shaq puts his mind to something, he usually gets it done. I think the guy is hilarious, and obviously there's a place for him on television, but the only question left is where? Pretty sure if ESPN signed the guy tomorrow, and put him on the ABC pregame show with Wilbon, Magic and Stu Scott, we'd all tune in.

Step Aside Erin Andrews, Shaq is gunning for your job (Fanster)
Shaq takes crash course in broadcast at Syracuse (Yahoo)

Colin Cowherd To Host Sports Nation Show

I honestly hate when days turn into an all ESPN free-for-all, but the "Leader" is breaking some really big news today. In addition to the Comcast item, ESPN also released the details surrounding their long rumored Sports Nation show, and lucky for all of us, Colin Cowherd is going to be the host! Joining Shrutebag will be ESPN 1050 anchor, Michelle Beadle, and the show will premier on Monday, July 6, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Via ESPN PR....

The show will include discussion of the smaller stories that generate buzz on the Internet but often aren’t seen on television.

“SportsNation will focus on topics that dominate fans’ email exchanges and blogs,” added Horowitz. “The show will be a conversation between people who love sports but don’t take every story so seriously. The funny Web stories everyone forwards to their friends will find a home on SportsNation.”

Feeding off the producers’ theory that if two heads are better than one, 100,000 heads are better than two, SportsNation will engage hundreds of thousands of sports fans across the country via’s SportsNation. Fans will be able to interact with the hosts before, during and after the show by e-mail, text, Twitter or just making a phone call.

“SportsNation will really have three hosts – Colin, Michelle and the fans,” Horowitz said. “We are counting on the fans’ commentary and feedback to make the show unique. I’d like to rely on Colin, but he doesn’t listen to anything we tell him.”

Said Cowherd, “I’m stunned management let me do a TV show. I know what the producers and I find interesting and funny – and it leads me to conclude that we probably won’t be on the air very long.”
I feel like ESPN has tried this before, but for some reason, I can't remember the show's name. In any case, it's a risky idea and Colin Cowherd is either going to be hit or miss on television. Just like on the radio, people are going to love him or hate his guts. I also find it interesting that ESPN is breaking this news right after Versus announced their plans for a similar show.

In addition to this news, there is also a small shakeup at ESPN Radio. The SN show will actually premier after the new ESPN2 simulcast of the Scott Van Pelt show. Mike Tirico is going to work strictly on TV, and SVP will be joined by Ryen Russillo for a two hour show starting at 2pm (only the last hour will be simulcast).

Your MLB Network Schedule Through June

The MLB Network is still on course to bring you live games from every team in the majors on Thursday nights, and they just released their next set of games. I thought I'd share it with you....

May 28th: Dodgers @ Cubs – Bob Costas & Harold Reynolds (8pm)

May 30th: Cardinals @ Giants - TBD (9pm)

June 4th: Cubs @ Braves – Matt Vasgersian & Joe Magrane (7pm)

June 6th: Orioles @ Athletics - TBD (9pm)

June 11th: Yankees @ Red Sox – Bob Costas & Jim Kaat (7pm)

June 13th: Padres @ Angels - TBD (9pm)

June 18th: Tigers @ Cardinals – Victor Rojas & Joe Magrane (8pm)

June 20th: Gillette Civil Rights Game: White Sox @ Reds - TBD (7pm)

June 25th: Phillies @ Rays – Matt Vasgersian, Joe Magrane & Mitch Williams (7pm)

June 27th: Yankees @ Mets - TBD (7pm)