The Rest

Posts that don’t fit under any other category

All the way from Memphis

Memphis’ 2008 trip to the Final Four has been “vacated,” the NCAA has ruled. So it’s as if it never happened. Wipe it from your memory. The NCAA says it’s all a blank. If they could get one of those mind eraser thingees from Men in Black, NCAA officials might be going coast to coast right now and knocking on the doors of everyone who watched the men’s basketball final two seasons ago.

But short of that occurrence, fans aren’t going to forget Derrick Rose and Co., regardless whether any of the victories officially count. So I wouldn’t bet on the media pretending as if the team never existed. Yes, Memphis must give money back, so that is a real penalty. However, in the real world beyond the NCAA offices, everyone is going to count Memphis’ Final Four appearance.

Let’s say the Tigers reach the national semifinals this coming season. Do you believe media reports will say it’s Memphis first trip to the Final Four since 1985? Well, no. How can we be sure? For one thing, when the Tigers reached in 2008, the stories said it was their first appearance in 23 years, but that 1985 Final Four also was vacated for rules violations, so we should have heard it was actually their first appearance since 1973.

We’ll sooner forget the Mott the Hoople classic from which this entry gets its title than anything the NCAA says we’re supposed to forget.

Sorry

Apologies to Troy Smith for last month’s post about what appeared to be crude messages sent by him via Twitter. My post expressed some small doubt the tweets might actually be from Smith, but not enough. In Wednesday’s Sun, the Ravens backup quarterback said he doesn’t use Twitter and the tweets weren’t his. Again, I am sorry.

Islanders Drop Radio Voices, To Simulcast TV Audio

Thanks to SMJ friend Neil Best for alerting me to this story in Newsday by Islanders beat writer Greg Logan on the decision by the New York Islanders not to renew the contracts of radio announcers Steve Mears and Chris King.

According to the article, the move was made after the team received permission from Madison Square Garden Network to simulcast the television audio of announcers Howie Rose and Bill Jaffe.

This is the first I had heard of such an arrangement by a “big-4” professional sports team to simulcast television audio on radio,  that is until pointed out in Logan’s piece that the practice is also being done by the Buffalo Sabres.

This may soon become the trend in sports where the role of radio play-by-play coverage becomes less relevant.  Only baseball, with its slower pace, still translates well on radio. With ratings drops and revenue cuts facing teams and radio stations, I can see a day when all audio broadcasts of games will be off terrestrial radio and housed within a team’s website.  Actually not a bad idea.

Donny Drama

ESPN’s new ombudsman, Don Ohlmeyer, has had a long career that goes far beyond sports. He should have no trouble evaluating the talent at ESPN, regardless of the size of any egos. After all, Ohlmeyer was executive producer of Crazy in Love, a 1992 TV movie featuring Holly Hunter, Gena Rowlands and Frances McDormand. So, in the better sense of the phrase, he has dealt with true drama queens.

Disco, disco, duck!

One quibble with ESPN’s piece, which ran over the weekend, on the 30th anniversary of the White Sox’s disastrous Disco Demolition promotion: a lack of social context. Many have noted how the anti-disco crowd was basically all white. Some commentators point out the roots of disco in the black and gay communities and draw a connection to the Demolition, labeling it, at least in part, as a repudiation of those groups. Maybe that is a stretch and a bunch of people just didn’t like the Bee Gees. In any case, the observations were worth at least a brief discussion.

Shape up, 105.7 Playmakers hosts told

Baltimore-centric note: Word comes via Facebook from Jeremy Conn that management at 105.7 the Fan wants his Playmakers show with co-host Ken Weinman to be fixed in some fashion. Here is Conn’s message: “Ken and I have been given a week to make management happy with the show….. So hopefully all will go well now…. We shall see…”

It’s raining home runs

During its coverage of the Home Run Derby Monday, the day before baseball’s All-Star Game, ESPN will debut “Ball Track.” The graphic can track each ball hit in real time, giving trajectory, distance as it flies through the air and projected landing spot. Best of all, the technology uses Doppler radar, so Chris Berman should be able to give us a weather forecast instead of “back, back, back.”

ESPN sees green

OK, sometimes you just have to swing when you get a pitch grooved right over the plate.

A news release about the network’s green initiative extending to ESPN’s signature awards show includes these sentences: “The 2009 ESPYs will represent a major step in ESPN’s continued commitment to environmentally friendly productions as the event, for the first time, will be carbon neutral.  And, by implementing stringent recycling and composting measures, the ESPYs will again be virtually waste-free.”

That is, waste-free except for the couple of hours of time the telecast uses up.

Swoosh, they did it again

Over the past few days, Nike reminded us again just good it is with timely ads. The simple, good-humored, congratulatory spot for Roger Federer brought out the company’s star power, with John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Serena Williams and Tiger Woods. Even better, the inspirational ad spotlighting Lance Armstrong’s return to the Tour de France. Armstrong swings at critics while saying he’s riding for fellow cancer survivors. Shots of Armstrong riding are mixed with clips from rehab sessions from those fighting back from the ravages of the disease. Sure, this is on the order of myth-making. But it’s smartly done myth-making.

Reflections on MASN/105.7

Baltimore-centric note: After all this time that MASN has simulcast the afternoon chat-fest from 105.7 The Fan, you would think somebody would have figured out a way to stop that annoying reflection we see on TV each time the camera shifts away from the studio with Scott Garceau and Anita Marks. News updater and Third Voice Mark Zinno is kept secluded offstage in a soundproof booth. The problem is, the shots of Zinno also show a glare and reflection of somebody else in the glass Zinno sits behind. This hasn’t changed from the first simulcasts done by MASN.

For the moment, I suppose, MASN can say it’s the network’s tribute to Michael Jackson, an homage to the King of Pop’s “Man in the Mirror.”