Posted: Friday April 14, 2006 6:58PM; Updated: Monday April 17, 2006 11:01AM
Peter Gammons gives the Sunday-night crew a second Hall of Famer behind the mike.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
5. Peter Gammons, ESPN analyst The Capo di tutti capi of ESPN baseball has given his network added heft by providing on-site reporting for Sunday Night Baseball. At 61, Gammons remains at the top of his game, though it blows my mind that he'd vote for Barry Bonds for the Hall. For reasons why Bonds should never be invited to Cooperstown, I'll cede to the finest baseball writer in the country.
6. NBC's Sunday Night Football Just like 30 is the new 20, Sunday night is the new Monday night. The flexible schedule applies to the last seven weeks of the football season, and the NFL gets to pick the games for NBC. We're guessing they won't be dogs.
7. ESPN's The Sports Reporters The show is much more interesting when fresh voices filter through the studio, and bravo to the producers for bringing in female journalists Jackie MacMullan and Selena Roberts on recent panels. Both offered interesting and reasoned opinions without mugging for airtime. We'll continue to ring the bell for gender equity on The Sports Reporters as long as females constitute 50 percent of the population.
8. Sally Jenkins, Washington Post And speaking of female sports reporters, is there a better sports columnist in the country than Jenkins, who manages to consistently spin thought-provoking prose on a weekly basis? The former SI senior writer and best-selling author was recently nominated for an inaugural Billie Award, named for the Women's Sports Foundation founder and tennis legend Billie Jean King. The awards will be served up April 20.
9. World Baseball Classic Thrilling games, an international audience and better-than-expected domestic ratings makes the WBC a hot property for 2009. The event drew a 1.1 rating on ESPN -- better than the network's 1.0 average for Major League Baseball regular-season games last season. By its next go-around, ESPN should iron out its problems (tape-delayed games, picking up games in progress). Here's one piece of advice: Make Dan Shulman the television play-by-play man for the tournament. His radio call of the WBC was as good as Ichiro's performance for Japan.
10. Dominos No, not the pizza company, dude. The New York Times recently profiled the iconic sport and its future as a television property. Tournament play is currently airing on ESPN Deportes every Tuesday night (10 p.m. ET) through May 2, and ESPN2 will begin airing dominos programming on June 12. "The sport cuts across all of the Latino market and we think it crosses beyond the Latino market," says Lino Garcia, the general manager of ESPN Deportes. "A lot of non-Latinos play. There is a fan base there -- I don't want to say it's underground -- but they have not had the benefit of seeing this televised. It hasn't had that national spotlight."