Media Circus (cont.)
THEY SAID IT, PART I
"When I saw that postgame press conference last night, I thought he looked completely immature. He acted like he didn't even care."
THEY SAID IT, PART II
"Thirty other teams told us who the starting quarterback was going to be, and for competitive disadvantage, he decided he wasn't going to tell us. Eric Mangini can take the fun out of a 10-year-old's birthday party with Big Bird there. That's how miserable this guy is becoming. Cleveland deserves better. This is a proud franchise with great fans and you have one of the most stifling, if not the most stifling, of all head coaches in the NFL there."
SPORTS TWEETS OF THE WEEK
On a plane with Chris Mortenson and I'm in first class he is in coach, being team player I sent my lunch back to him!"
I've listened 2 Mike & Mike for 5 minutes and I already want to turn the game off. Why does ESPN think this is a good booth combo? My god."
"Mike Lupica sez Pete Carroll's team is underachieving. Right, cause Carroll's the one who's been livin off his rep & mailin it in 4 years."
The next time either ESPN or the NFL Network has an opportunity to interview NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, I'd suggest they pull out the tape of Bob Costas' interview Sunday night. The NBC broadcaster asked direct and thoughtful questions about the potential end of revenue sharing and the salary cap, Goodell's relationship with DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, and blackouts. ("Given the present economic circumstances in the country," Costas asked, "would it make sense to suspend the blackout rule for a year and figure out what to do after that?") Best of all, he bypassed the usual backslapping that goes on when Goodell appears on the set of one his broadcast partners.
ESPN and CBS analyst Patrick McEnroe (more on him below) impressed me by pressing Serena Williams in an on-court interview (following the Williams sisters victory in the doubles championship Monday) about her behavior during her semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters. McEnroe was booed by the crowd (probably a first for the popular figure) when he asked a follow-up question to a non-answer by Serena. He also took a shot from Venus Williams, who said, "I think the crowd is saying, 'Patrick, let's move on,'" It was, but McEnroe's job was not to move on. His work here is appreciated.
Say a prayer for former USA Today baseball beat writer Rod Beaton, who is in a nursing home and battling Parkinson's disease. Beaton last wrote for the paper in October 2005 and was one of the good guys in the business, even prompting sympathy from Barry Bonds.
"On his last baseball season, 2002 or 3 or 4, Rod was stuck in a couch and could not get up," wrote Beaton's wife, Maria, in a post this week on SportsJournalists.com. "No one noticed he was struggling to get up from the couch until Barry Bonds walked by and said, "You need some help?" And he gave Rod a good pull and helped him up, then looked at him a little more closely and remarked, "You don't look too good. What's wrong?" When Rod told him he had Parkinson's, Barry shook his head and told him, "That sucks. I'm sorry." Rod told me he meant it. I refused to believe Barry could be that nice spontaneously, but Rod was adamant that Barry has a heart and showed it. He was visibly touched by Barry's gesture."
Props to ESPN's Monday Night Football camera crew for a couple of spectacular angles of Buffalo kickoff returner Leodis McKelvin's fumble in the fourth quarter of the Pats-Bills game.
If Twitter serves as an indicator of real-time opinion, ESPN's decision to assign Greenberg and Golic to call the Chargers-Raiders ranked somewhere between allowing that horse into the city of Troy and Shelley Long's decision to quit Cheers. The duo (who were joined by Steve Young for a booth that never jelled) was crushed by mainstream critics, fan sites and the competition.
One of the great traditions at the Grand Slams is that the champions get to address the crowd. Unless, of course, CBS is running late on Monday night. It's tough to give Dick Enberg the hit here but the broadcaster becomes the fall guy for not allowing U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro an extended opportunity to address his family in Spanish. (The Argentine did give an abbreviated shout-out to his parents).
The silencing of Del Potro angered plenty of viewers, especially Spanish-speaking ones. My SI colleague Jon Wertheim received a ton of e-mails on this subject following the match. None was kind to CBS.
"There were elements of the presentation that had to take place before we got off the air," said CBS spokesperson Leslie Anne Wade. "Checks, trophies, and cars. But he [Del Potro] was given the microphone to speak Spanish. You would have loved to have the freedom of time to let the full moment play out naturally, but Dick was just trying to fit everything in. He is really a gentleman who celebrates a moment like that more than anyone. Historically, people know that about Dick Enberg."
Enberg's class isn't at issue, nor is his storied broadcasting career, but he should have improvised and allowed Del Potro his time, damn the consequences. Also, his weak-kneed defense of Roger Federer, who lost his cool and cursed at a linesman ("It wasn't venomous," Enberg explained) was a ridiculous attempt at protecting Federer, who does not need the protection. He was properly called on it by his colleague and friend, Mary Carillo.
Someone needs to increase the size of the graphics during CBS's The NFL Today's Football Faceoff segment. You can't make out the results of the viewer vote unless you have an JumboTron in your home.
I've written it before: CBS and ESPN need to stop putting Mary Joe Fernandez -- one of the nicest people in the sport and an improving analyst in terms of breaking down matches -- in the ridiculous position of interviewing Federer. The Swiss star's agent is Fernandez's husband, Tony Godsick. Or at least let the viewers in on a conflict of interest the size of Antarctica. And I could not agree more with Wertheim, who wrote that it "was awkward when Patrick McEnroe and Fernandez, who both draw a check from the USTA, were weighing in on the appropriateness of the tournament response to Serena-gate."
Memo to NBC: Jay Leno belongs on your Sunday night broadcast about as much as James Denton did on Monday Night Football.
If Tennis Channel wants to be taken as seriously as the big boy sports networks, it needs to upgrade its U.S. Open studio host next year. Kevin Frazier's shtick might work for the Entertainment Tonight crowd but hardcore tennis fans (uh, your audience) expect a broadcaster who can ask poignant questions of his analysts or offer some insight about a tournament that many consider the most important two weeks of the year. It might have been easier had he and analyst Lindsay Davenport not hosted U.S. Open Tonight some 3,000 miles away, in Culver City. On a positive note, Ted Robinson was his usual excellent self, the on-court tennis coverage was solid, and analyst Jimmy Connors might be the healthiest looking 57-year-old on the planet.