? Thorne's Thorny Calls
?Old-school Mike Men
?It has been rough skating this postseason for the usually solid Gary Thorne. The voice of hockey on ESPN and ABC has missed goal calls throughout the playoffs, most notably in Games 6 and 7 of the hotly contested New Jersey Devils- Ottawa Senators series. In Game 6 he said that the winner in the Senators' 2-1 victory was scored by right wing Vaclav Varada when it was clear that defenseman Chris Phillips had scored it. In Game 7 Thorne first called Jeff Friesen's game-winner a goal, then said at least twice that there was no goal before changing his mind again. (The red light hadn't gone on, but the referee had signaled a goal.) Fans know a hot goalie can save a series—they're learning that a cold announcer can spoil one.
? CBS missed a ratings bonanza when Annika Sorenstam missed the cut at the Colonial, but the network produced a fine Annika wrap-up last Saturday. During the one-hour show that led into tournament coverage, Jim Nantz interviewed Sorenstam live from her home in Orlando, where she revealed that a highlight of her week came when Tour player Jeff Sluman grabbed her after her Friday round and said, "Please don't make it your last."
?Hoping to boost buzz for Wednesday Night Baseball, ESPN is calling in pinch hitters. Every few weeks a different veteran announcer will join the network's broadcast team. Last week 83-year-old Curt Gowdy sat in with Chris Berman and Joe Morgan at Fenway for a game between the Red Sox and the Yankees and did some play-by-play between stories about Dizzy Dean and Joe Cronin. Next up: longtime voice of the Cincinnati Reds Marty Brennaman for the Yankees-Reds game on June 4.