Saturday, March 1, 2008

Soccer Coverage Has Balls, Lacks Kick

Here's a portion of an email we received regarding coverage of the East Asian Cup soccer tournament:
Don't know about where you live, but around here all the Asian kids are really smart. My kid does real well in school because he cheats off of them on all the tests.

I think a whole lot of the smart Asians moved away from their country [sic] and now only the dumb ones are left to work in sports TV.

Check out this soccer game. There must of been one hell of a collision, but every camera damn guy went with the damn ball. Meanwhile the director keeps cutting to the back of a coach's head for a reaction. What, we're supposed to see his hair stand up on end or something?

Damn morons have no replay worth a damn. I get madder and madder every time they show another replay. I think maybe they got one right, but no. They don't. Another moron follows the ball.

Thanks to Fan IQ

Tough to argue with his point.

That was China vs. Japan, by the way. The goal keeper for China kicked the Japanese player in the chest.

These guys hold grudges for centuries, don't they?

Best Ever? Worst Ever? We're Torn.

Normally in the male dominated worlds of sports and television, seeing a group of college girls wrestling with each other would be considered a good thing.

If this happens at a hockey game, so much the better. A lot of babes attend college hockey games.

But when the women rolling all over each other aren't in the stands but on the ice, things begin to change just a bit.

And when all the players on the ice go at it simultaneously, it becomes more "Slap Shot" than "Stripes".

Finally, when it's a one camera webcast and the poor cam op doesn't know which altercation to shoot, it kind of comes out looking like this:

Thanks to Fan IQ

We'll give the camera guy a break because it's hard to focus on your job when your testicles have jumped up into your stomach.

Those are the women of North Dakota State and Minnesota State, everybody.

Feel free to contact the lady of your choice via her MySpace page.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Hey, Knight, What's Up?

To the list of sports figures who have been less than friendly with TV crew members before becoming their colleagues, add Bobby Knight.

Knight's decision to join ESPN beginning March 12 is actually less surprising than any of those pictured with him above. Paul O'Neill and Kirk Gibson were downright surly toward camera operators, A-2s and stage managers during their playing days. Dave Winfield merely acted as if anyone associated with TV was completely beneath him.

But when their playing days were over and they became what they had once resented, things changed.

Well, Gibson didn't change much actually when he worked on Tigers games for FSN.

But suddenly O'Neill stopped sneering at the cameras and started smiling for them. Who knew he could smile? A YES Network paycheck did the trick.

Winfield changed his tune while stumbling through his taped on-cameras during his stint with FOX on the 1996 World Series. Each night as his takes numbered anywhere from the teens to the thirties, FOX crew members who had experienced his dugout behavior when he played, kidded Winfield that he was no All-Star in this field.

On the night of the thirty takes, the kidding stopped and the crew got downright pissed. Winfield repeatedly apologized, swore this take would be the one, before tripping over his tongue yet again. His career at FOX was short lived.

And what of Reggie? Nobody forgot about Reggie during his time working games for KTLA (Angels) and ESPN.

Nobody ever forgets Reggie. Even if you can't hear him.

The clip has no audio but if you couldn't read his lips, dear Reggie said "Get that camera off me or I'll f**king rip it off..."

Strange comment from somebody who always wanted the camera on him, huh?

Great guy, that Reggie.

And now here's Bobby Knight in a position to work with some of the very people he treated with disrespect over the years. He will encounter far fewer of them than he could have, because he will work from ESPN's Bristol studios rather than at game sites. Chances are though, someone involved with his inexcusable blow up at Jeremy Schaap still roams the ESPN campus and hasn't forgotten.

Need another reminder? How about walking out unprovoked during a taping and leaving the producers with no content:

Thanks to felixnightowl

Welcome to our little world, Bobby.

You'll feel at home soon. Sometimes we're not too nice either.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Oh, My Nose!

Everyone and their Uncle Blogger has posted this photo because it's one of the all time greats.

But what is flying up from the impact point? Sweat? Air from the ball? The whites of his eye? What?

What does any of this have to do with sports TV?

Well, every time we see the photo, we can't help but think of this:

And a football on TV fits in here!

Maybe someday we'll post the "Mom always said, "'Don't play ball in the house'" scene.

Mystifying MLB On TBS Schedule

The Sunday afternoon MLB on TBS package is mystifying because we can't figure out how they're going to be successful with this thing.
TBS games are not exclusive. Both teams can and will televise the game to their regular markets.
ESPN Sunday Night and FOX Saturday games are exclusive broadcasts.
TBS can not change the start time of a game to a window with potentially higher ratings.
ESPN dictates Sunday Night start times (usually 8:00 PM EST). FOX dictates Saturday start times (usually 3:55 PM EST).
TBS does not have camera position priorities over the local rightsholders.
ESPN, on weeknight games, gets camera priority over local rightsholders in select positions including those adjacent to each dugout.
So what's the hook that will get people to tune in?
Like we said, mystifying.
Chip Caray will handle the play by play with analysts to be named later. Joe Simpson, Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken, Bob Brenly and Steve Stone worked for TBS during last year's playoffs. If Stone returns, hopefully he will do a little more homework than he appeared to have done last fall.
TBS has made their game selections through Memorial Day Weekend. All times Eastern.
April 6
Boston Red Sox @ Toronto Blue Jays
1:00 PM
April 13
Chicago Cubs @ Philadelphia Phillies
1:30 p.m.
April 20
LA Dodgers @ Atlanta Braves
1:30 p.m.
April 27
NY Yankees @ Cleveland Indians
1:00 p.m.
May 4
NY Mets @ Arizona Diamondbacks
4:00 p.m.
May 11
NY Yankees @ Detroit Tigers
1:00 p.m.
May 18
Milwaukee Brewers @ Boston Red Sox
1:30 p.m.
May 25
Seattle Mariners @ NY Yankees
1:00 p.m.

Hopefully TBS' coverage in 2008 will be better received than it was in 2007.
Even if it is though, we'll always miss the SuperStation WTBS era and gems like this:

Thanks to TVARK
Pac Man Fever. Catch It.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Name Change Can't Stop Wheels Spinning

Because there's nothing more consistent in New York sports TV than change, this probably won't raise an eyebrow.

FSN New York, which was once SportsChannel New York, and is the sister station of MSG Network, will change identity again March 10 when it is renamed "MSG Plus".

According to Newsday's Neil Best,

The channel will continue to carry programming from Fox Sports, including college football and hoops and the likes of "Best Damn Sports Show Period."

But one plan is to make the often haphazard schedule more coherent. For years, FSNY has been an odd mish-mosh, from boating to boxing to a lot of poker and a lot of old Fran Healy interviews.Another goal is to bulk up the local content itself.

That includes younger-skewing events such as high school games and more interactivity via, as well as (next season) more programming directly tied to the Islanders and Devils.

Michael Bair, president of MSG Media, said the station wants to "frankly capitalize more than we have on the Islanders and Devils," properties he conceded "we have undernourished on some level for a number of years."If all goes well, MSG Plus will be treated as an "equal to the core channel, whereas in the past it might not have been treated that way," as Bair said.

The first difference viewers will notice is a new graphics package, including a 24-hour ticker.

That's all well and good for roughly half the year. You can call the channels anything you like but if there's nothing worth watching, nobody will watch. Owning an all-sports network in the NY tri-state area is great except when you own two of them but don't own the rights to televise baseball.

With the Yankees-owned YES Network and the Mets co-owned SNY around for the long haul, the math is very simple:

MSG+ MSG = 0 reasons to tune in from May to October.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Trade San Diego For Bristol? Not Exactly.

ESPN has a new coordinating producer for baseball and boxing.

Nick Davis was hired away from Cox Communications, where he produced San Diego Padres broadcasts for Cox's Channel 4.

Davis' job switch resulted in this terrific write up from John Maffei of the (SD) North County Times:

He's the most-valuable person regular viewers of Channel 4 have never heard of

Working behind the scenes in the production truck, he's one of those men responsible for the station's network-quality Padres broadcasts.

But after 17 years in San Diego ---- 13 of those with Cox Communications, Channel 4's parent company ----- Nick Davis, coordinating producer for Padres baseball, is leaving to join ESPN.

"I love San Diego and I love Channel 4," Davis said. "And I'll stack our telecasts ----whether it's Padres, San Diego State, USD or the high school championships ---- up against anyone."I didn't want to leave, but ESPN pursued me. And it was an offer I just couldn't refuse."

Davis, who lives with his family in Rancho Penasquitos, will be the coordinating producer for Major League Baseball and boxing --- two sports he loves ---- for ESPN.

That requires a move to ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters. But he's not going away completely.

"Are you kidding, who would leave San Diego?" Davis said. "I'll rent an apartment in Bristol, but we'll keep the home in San Diego."Part of the deal with ESPN is that I get home as often as possible. Whenever ESPN has a baseball game on the West Coast, I'll be home for two or three days before or after the game. So it's not like I'm leaving for good."

Davis was a receiver at Purdue in his college days, earning a B.A. in communications, graduating in 1983.

He moved to San Diego in 1991. In 1993, he landed a job as producer and director for programming at Dimension Cable Services in Vista.

He joined Cox Communications in 1995 when it merged with Dimension.

"There is no finer person than Nick Davis," said Dennis Morgigno, station manager at Channel 4 and the man who oversees the day-to-day operation. "This is a great deal for Nick, but we hate to lose him."He takes an awful lot of pride in his work, and it shows on the air. In a way, though, this says a lot about what we're doing. I've been saying for years that our production is on par with anyone in the country. So for ESPN to recognize Nick and what we're doing, is pretty good."

Davis said the people at ESPN are very familiar at what's going on at Channel 4."And they love it," Davis said. "I think that validates the quality of our local production, and the fact we put the same effort into everything we do."

At ESPN, Davis will have a hand in scheduling as well as working with the network's talent."My goal is to increase the presence of the West Coast baseball teams on ESPN, especially on Sunday nights," Davis said. "I want to make sure there is a West Coast presence. That's an exciting prospect."

"Still, I hate leaving Channel 4 because it has been a big part of my life. And there are so many talented people there."

"But the opportunity to work at ESPN, ABC and Disney and the long-term ramifications was just too good to pass up."

In working with ESPN's baseball announcers Davis will be reunited with Rick Sutcliffe who in addition to his ESPN gig, worked with Davis on Padres telecasts from 1997 - 2004.

You will no doubt recall a moment those two shared on May 10, 2006. Following a day of golf in San Diego with actor Bill Murray, a less than sober Sutcliffe paid a visit to announcers Matt Vasgersian and Mark Grant the Padres TV booth at Petco Field. Davis was producing in the truck as brodacasting infamy fell all around him.

The original YouTube clip from the telecast was removed at MLB's request. Thanks to thecuddmancometh for reposting the audio portion.

Rick Sutcliffe served a one game suspension from ESPN for his conduct.

Nick Davis probably doesn't have to serve notice so something like this won't happen on his watch at ESPN.

Then again, considering the cast of characters already in Bristol, maybe he does.

Monday, February 25, 2008

CBS' Black Eye Turns Kentucky's Balls Blue

When CBS mistakenly cut away from Saturrday's (2/23) Kentucky - Arkansas game in the final minute, you would think that they would have at least tried to make it up to their viewers, especially those in Lexington who complained first to local affiliate WKYT and then to the network itself.

Not so much.

CBS regularly posts previews, reviews and highlights of games they air on both and YouTube but Wildcat fans got no satisfaction again, as the game's highlight clip ended as UK took a 57 - 55 lead with 1:15 remaining.

We would have posted the highlights, but CBS doesn't allow clips they post to be embedded on other web sites.
Even if the so-called "switching error" somehow prevented the game's final minute from being recorded at CBS master control in New York, the truck at Rupp Arena certainly had multple angles of everything that transpired in Kentucky's 63 - 58 win. Even if the melt wasn't fed down the line, it would have taken minimal effort to include at least some of the unaired footage.
WKYT Executive Sports Producer and Senior Sports Videographer (chooses stories then shoots them?) Steve Moss blogged:

CBS Sports made a monumental gaffe on Saturday. With the Kentucky-Arkansas game winding down, and nearing 4:00 p.m., the network switched viewers throughout the South from the UK game to St. John’s vs. Duke.

It sent the Big Blue Nation into a frenzy. Some of the phone calls and emails to our sports office were inappropriate.

WKYT’s General Manager, Wayne Martin, said the unfortunate error was made in New York, by the network. WKYT was supposed to be provided a “constant” feed of the UK game.

We provided callers with the phone number to CBS and apparently many voiced their opinions. The CBS mailbox was full in a matter of minutes.

Big Blue Nation had their feelings soothed by the victory, but will no doubt be a little wary of CBS' feelings towards them for a while.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Blue Jays Fly Outside The Box To Sell Tix

"Hottest pre-season action" and "Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds" in the same sentence? Doesn't sound like covering the game is a priority anyway.

Toronto Blue Jays vs Cincinnati Reds
Sunday, March 2nd, 2008 on Citytv
Broadcast Begins at 12:30pm ET Live From Dunedin, Florida

TORONTO, Feb. 19 /CNW/ - Citytv takes you out to the ball
game as it brings you the hottest
pre-season action live
from Dunedin, Florida as the Toronto Blue Jays take on the
Cincinnati Reds Sunday, March 2
nd, 2008 on Citytv. Live
coverage begins at 12:30pm ET.

Join some of your favourite
Citytv personalities in
supporting the Toronto Blue Jays. "
CityNews" anchor Gord
Martineau, resident Sports Specialists Kathryn Humphreys
and Hugh
Burrill, and "Breakfast Television's" Jennifer
are joined by The Fan 590's Barb DiGiulio to
bring you three hours of
pre-season action, atmosphere and
excitement as it happens.This unconventional sports
broadcast team will give you a perspective on baseball
you've never seen before on television! The last half hour
of the telecast will take you behind the scenes at the
season ticket holder
barbeque where fans get to rub elbows
with their favourite players.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with the Toronto
Blue Jays in this
Citytv baseball broadcast first" said
Haggarty, Executive Vice President, Television
Operations, GM/VP
Citytv Toronto, Rogers Media Television.
"We look forward to offering our viewers a taste of
pre-season action from sunny Florida, giving them a chance
to witness all the action

"We are excited about our partnership with
Citytv and
love the fact that they will broadcast our March 2 game
against the Cincinnati Reds using such a diverse crew,"
commented Patrick
Elster, VP Ticket Sales &Services.
"Live during the broadcast they will also announce the
Grand Prize winner from our Spot the
Bobblehead contest
which kicks off February 22
Those crazy Canadians may not be so crazy. The telecast is basically set up to sell 2008 Blue Jays tickets. Tickets to individual games go on sale the same day. Heavy local promotion combined with the use of popular Toronto non-sports TV personalities could attract an audience with wider demographics than a typical Spring Training game.

There's no coincidence that Citytv, the Blue Jays, and SkyDome Rogers Centre are all owned by Rogers Communications.

Ah, synergy.

This isn't exactly Citytv's first foray into, uh, creative coverage of the Jays during Spring Training as evidenced by this clip from 1984.

Thanks to Peter Gross

Can't say they didn't try.

Everyone's A Comedian

Live from Philadelphia with the number one reason...

Epic Carnival presents the


10. NFL Network ads provoke unquenchable urge to murder

9. After the Week 17 Giants-Patriots wussout, no actual point to the network seen by, well, anyone

8. When the choice is the sixth channel of Starz or combine highlights, the sixth channel of Starz will not be denied

7. It's not just you with the all-consuming hatred of Bryant Gumbel

6. Cable and satellite providers laughing last, longest

5. Ratings have taken a sudden and inexplicable drop ever year after Week 17

4. In a recession, advertisers tend to cut down on brand campaigns to shut-ins

3. After the Patriots lost the Perfect Season, a 24-hour-a-day network on a seasonal sports just seems, you know, kind of silly

2. Environmentally questionable to continue pumping that much pure bull into the ozone

1. If they keep televising it, the cable and satellite networks risk attracting the attention of Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Wants A Ring)
What constitutes piling on?