Sportscasters – The Blogosphere’s Top 10

31 01 2008

The sports site, Sports Media Challenge took on a massive task to get a list organised as to who bloggers thought were the most influential sportscasters. The resulting Top 10 was:

  1. Marv Albert - most influential?Marv Albert
  2. Bob Costas
  3. Peter Gammons
  4. Jon Miller
  5. Gus Johnson
  6. Al Michaels
  7. Dan Patrick
  8. Mike Tirico
  9. Dick Enberg
  10. Chris Fowler

Whilst I voted for Tirico, my top choice – Scott Van Pelt didn’t rank. Oh well…

Quotes from around the web on various sportscasters…

John Madden – “Madden might be a grammatically incorrect bovine-like figure, but his video games have allowed him to be one of the most followed voices in sports. If you’re able to understand what he has to say, you’re likely to agree with him.” Lion in Oil

“It simply doesn’t feel like a big baseball game if Joe Buck isn’t doing the play-by-play. He is the voice of October baseball to my generation. It’s just too bad he gets paired with Tim McCarver, who is simply terrible.” Phinsider

“Known for having Starbucks cappuccinos IV’d into his body during games, the ultra-frisky Johnson is actually quite enjoyable – when taking massive amounts of barbiturates. No, seriously, every March Madness game needs to be announced by Gus Johnson.” The Sports Hernia

“As a fan, Peter Gammons is one of the few sportscasters I’ll actually stop what I’m doing to listen to. The best thing about Gammons is nothing appears forced. He legitimately seems to love baseball and conveys a sense of pure joy that he’s actually getting paid to do what he does.”Maize n Brew

The likeable Mike Golic… sans GreenbergMike Golic – “When Golic’s not around partner Mike Greenberg, he’s insightful, blunt, and discusses sports with a bar-room honesty that is eminently likeable. When with Greenberg, hit that off switch.”With Malice…

“Brent Musberger – Always makes a game feel more important.” Joe Sports Fan

Marv Albert – “Best NBA guy ever, he also does a great job on the radio during NFL Games. Some legendary calls over the years…”YESS!!!!!”…” NFL Gridiron Gab

“Something about Josh Elliott and Scott Van Pelt reminds me of the ‘old’ days of Sportscenter, where the announcers are having fun, but not in an over-the-top, must-use-a-catchphrase manner.” The Big Lead

“The greatest announcer since Jesse “the Body” Ventura, Marv’s so good he can even make a Nets game watchable and make Continental Airlines Arena not feel like a 20,000 seat morgue. Marv should be broadcasting the NBA Finals every year until he doesn’t feel like doing it anymore. He’s the voice of basketball and should be treated that way, plain and simple.” The Sports Hernia

“Marv Albert is the bomb. Soooo good on NBA calls, as well as football on the radio with Boomer. I’d take Marv any day of the week, any sport. His 90s NBC telecasts were something I’ll always miss.” Behind the Steel Curtain

Trippin’ Bill Walton“Bill Walton. So over the top he’s a trip. Or should I say a long strange trip (it’s been).” Restrictor Plate This

Chris Fowler- “Host of the best sports show on TV, ‘College GameDay’, he was able to cover the BCS Title Game, rip the Pac-10 and Big 10 for refusing a playoff discussion, then go to the Australian Open. Fowler’s tennis work may actually be better than his college football work.” Alligator Army

“Bob Costas – Kind of an uninspired choice, but the guy really does a great job. Whether he’s doing Olympic stuff, the NBA, baseball, football… Costas never seems out of his depth or uninterested. He’s probably the most well rounded sportscaster I’ve ever watched.” Bleeding Green Nation

“Brent Musburger – Yeah, I know a lot of people can’t stand the guy. But when you hear his voice, you know that you’re probably watching something important. I can almost envision going out to dinner with the guy. . .”You are looking live. . .at a steak! And a baked potato! This might be the greatest steak in culinary history, ladies and gentlemen!”…” Daily Norseman

“James Brown – This guy could host anything and make it work. JB is a true television veteran and a class act. He always brings a level of intellect to a program that none of his peers can match.” Deuce of Davenport

“Barry Melrose: I’m a casual hockey fan, but I could see myself drinking 12 and listening to him tell stories. And he has great hair.” Busted Coverage

“Ron Jaworski. THE only football analyst with brains and personality. Infectiously geeky, always analytical without being obtuse, and perfect at what he does. Hyperbole does not cover how good he is at what he does.” Every Day Should Be Saturday

Annoying? SAS… “I will be shocked if [Stephen A. Smith] makes your list, unless ‘influence’ means ‘influenced me to change the channel.'” Dan Shanoff

“Marv Albert is an all-time great who’s fallen off his game recently, plus there’s the whole women’s underwear and biting thing that costs him respect.” With Leather

“[Bill Walton’s] speech is condescending. His voice sounds like he’s just returned from a month long stay at an Amsterdam “coffee” shop. His opinions are generally off the cuff instances of the first thing that leaps into or out of his mind.” Camden Chat

“I can’t stand Mike Tirico. I appreciate that he’s low-key, but he’s also boring as hell.” Third Quarter Collapse

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NBA MVP – Who? (With Malice)

30 01 2008

Kevin Garnett…KB#24Kobe.

Or KG.

Recent discussions including LeBron James that currently flood the ether appear merely based on the outcome of last Sunday’s Lakers vs Cavaliers game. And totally ignore that James plays in what is still a very weak Eastern Conference (despite the presence of Boston & Detroit).

Yes, LeBron deserves to be in the conversation… but rates no more a mention than Chris Paul or Brandon Roy.
Perhaps less so.
People arguing that LeBron should be there because his scoring is prolific this year should scroll back a year or even two and check Kobe’s ppg. average.
Chris Paul has taken New Orleans to the very top of perhaps the toughest division in the NBA, and amassed the best record in the West thus far.
Brandon Roy is in the process of leading Portland to the playoffs. A team that everyone dismissed in the wake of Greg Oden’s injury.
LeBron has the Cavaliers doing exactly what they did the last few years, and does anyone really believe that he’ll lead them to the finals?
Past Detroit or Boston?
Don’t make me laugh.

Kevin Garnett is pretty much doing as he’s always done, only now it as so much more impact. He’s playing in the East, for perhaps the best team in the league. He has two legitimate Hall of Fame candidates as his wingmen in Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Should Boston hope to make the Finals, then all 3 of their stars will be playing a balanced game – and that will detract from KG’s chances of MVP. Hell, should they take the title he won’t give a damn.

Kobe.  Should be the MVP - if there’s any justice…Kobe Bryant has re-invented himself. He trusts, he plays a team game. In the days after Andrew Bynum’s injury, everyone declared that ‘uh-oh, he’ll revert to being a shoot-first guy again’… and one game – he did. But pretty much every writer, commentator, commenter stated that even in doing so, he wasn’t betraying the team – he pretty much won the game against the Griz’, scoring 48 points.
Two games later, he had eleven assists and took on the role of ‘play-maker’, guiding the Lakers to a win over the then-division-leading Denver Nuggets.
Losses to Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio and Cleveland all were winnable, and at times Los Angeles looked like they’d do just that.

Still, for Kobe to claim the title of MVP, the Lakers need to be at least a .500 team sans Bynum.
Everybody’s declaring that for that to happen Bryant needs to trust the team.
No: he’s doing that.
The Lakers need to trust themselves. Luke Walton cannot panic like he did at the end of the Cavs game, passing up on a potential match-winning shot.
Kwame Brown needs to play at least at a decent level. He doesn’t need to be good, he just needs to ‘not suck’. Phil Jackson likened Kwame to a bank deposit… he’s been given an opportunity, now they need to see returns on the investment.
Don’t forget that it’s not only Bynum the Lakers miss – but Ariza and Mihm too.

Egads… this has turned into a veritable Kobe-love-fest…The other thing on this is that people have to remember that this LA Lakers renaissance is happening ahead of time. No-one expected them to be this good, this soon (at least, with a full roster).
Bynum’s accelerated growth as a player has certainly lead that charge, but the growth of Farmar, the presence of Fisher, and the acquisition of a resurgent Ariza have all had impact as well.
Kobe’s probably realised that his best chances of being in an elite team are in LA, right here in the Lakers.

He doesn’t need to trust more, he just needs to be patient.

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What You Want To Hear, And Then The Truth – From A Pats Fan

29 01 2008

So the editor of this site wanted to get the perspective of a Pats fan regarding the Super Bowl. Assuming you’ve stereotyped me already, I will just get it out of the way immediately: My team is The Patriotsbetter than yours, I think I am better than you, and you need to get over Cameragate, and my dad could beat up your mom…
*Deep exhale*… I feel better.

I was joking with the last sentence.
I’m really not one of those kinds of Pats fans, but I’m sure there are plenty of them out there that have severely annoyed you over the past few years, so I apologize on their behalf. I’m not the most intense Pats fan there is, and I like to think I can stay pretty objective about the team and their place in history and why they’re disliked.
Here is how I think the game will break down.

I like their chances.
I don’t think they’re a shoe-in to win, but I’d rather be on the Patriots than on the Giants right now.
Not being a meathead- I will entertain the hypothetical of the Giants succeeding: for the Giants to win I think they would have to play at least 95% of their absolute best AND have the Pats throw in a clunker.
What scares me most about the Giants is their bruising running tandem matching up with the Patriots linebacking crew late in the game. Coughlin did a brilliant job of saving Ahhmad Bradshaw for the third quarter and perforating the defense for when Brandon Jacobs came back in to. That was a great strategy, and could prove equally effective against the Patriots as well, especially if the Giants offense is able to stay on the field a lot in the first half. That’s how every team tries to beat the Patriots, and the Giants have proven that they can win against teams with that exact strategy.
If the Giants are to win, they will have to do much more than just that, but I think that will prove to be their key to victory.

The Little ManningThat being said… Eli, however isn’t particularly scary. At his best he is very efficient, but no better. He won’t single-handedly carve up a defense or steal a win by sheer brute force, but he still can wield an offense very efficiently. Teddy Bruschi, Junior Seau, Adalius Thomas, or Richard Seymour could really rattle his cage at some point(s) too. But if the New York running game comes to eat, Plaxico Burress is still on fire, and if Amani Toomer can actually show up, they could hold their own and make it interesting for a while.
That is if ALL of those happen, mind you.

On the flipside is the Patriots defense, and they tend to be on when the stakes are highest. While it’s fashionable to claim that they have coasted (i.e. underachieved) in the latter half of the season, their zero losses certainly does not support that claim. They’re savvy, clutch and are used to taking a team’s best shot in high-stakes games. They aren’t the sexiest defense, and they’re tackling could be better, but they always come prepared and they never disappoint.

Randy Moss, Tom BradyWhich brings us to the matchup of the Patriots offense against the Giants defense.
I can’t think of something to tell you about their offense that you don’t already know; except maybe that their offensive line is inhuman and never seems to get any credit. Everyone on the New England offense is not only good, but an “X-factor” of sorts. Brady and Moss can humiliate a defense at any point, if you doubleteam Moss, then Welker is going to eat your lunch, with Stallworth and Gaffney getting his leftovers. At worst Maroney and Faulk can keep you honest and wear down your defense by the 4th quarter- or on a good day, they can take over the game. And even if you don’t let any of the aforementioned singlehandedly beat you- Brady still can with a prolonged efficient attack that is blunder-free. Belichick does an outstanding job of making the opposing defense pick their poison.

I mentioned earlier that the Giants could win if the play 95% of their best game possible. The converse of that is that the Pats will win if the can hold the Giants to playing A- or B+ ball, while eeking out an 80% of their max. That’s how I handicap horse races: If horse A can win at 85% of his max, while horse B would have to run 98% of his max to win, I bet on horse A, since his threshold is much easier to achieve.

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Top Sports Stories in Japan…

29 01 2008

The Very Hot Haruka IgawaVery busy times… only a few days out from what’s probably the biggest sporting event on the US calendar – the Superbowl.

 Back to Japan:

Today’s top sports stories were…

  • Golf prodigy Ryo Ishikawa signs deal with Matsushita… [Daily YomiuriIshikawa signs a 500 million yen sponsorship deal (just over $US4.6 million) with electronics giant Matsushita (soon to be ‘Panasonic’).  Not bad for a 16 year old…
  • Hakuho still stoked over his victory against Asa (sumo)… [Daily YomiuriAnd so he should be.  A phenomenal win to take the Emperor’s cup…
  • England’s Yamauchi wins Osaka International Women’s Marathon… [Mainichi Shimbun Just finishes ahead of Japan’s Tomo Morimoto…
  • Japan held to a draw with Chile in Soccer Friendly… [Mainichi ShimbunThey’ll be unhappy with this – and rightly so.  World Cup qualifiers start February 6th…
  • Tiger Roars at the Buick Open… [Japan TimesYet again, the familiar sight of Tiger holding a trophy aloft…
  • Handball: Japan & South Korea face punishment over qualifying qualms… [Japan TimesLooks like this is inevitable, but the Asian Handball Federation is setting itself up against the International body in doing this… feathers’ll fly!

Don’t Get Caught

28 01 2008

Written in conjunction with a piece up at Epic Carnival, HALL OF MIRRORS: GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT IN SPORT

Don’t give it to me straight…My son’s coming up on his 1st birthday.
And I look forward to the years ahead, where hopefully he and I can share a love of sport.
I fully intend to give him every advantage in his formative years by teaching him to lie, cheat and commit almost any act of deceit to win… to quite literally be the ‘best he can be’. I mean, that’s what sport’s all about, isn’t it?
Winning at any cost. Literally, any cost.
Isn’t it?

Is it?

Obviously, the above comments were made merely for effect, and I do hope to instill the same sense of ‘fair play’ as I was given when I first started playing sport. It’s something we all try to introduce to our offspring…
Fair play.
Being just.

We were all brought up to believe that cheating is bad.
That winning at any cost is too high a cost.
Or do we?

Then how do we reconcile ourselves with the fact that cheating goes on every day in Professional Sports, and Players Associations in each of the major sports actively protect it. I cannot fathom why a Players Associations – for any professional sport – would fight against having the strictest testing put in place. If your sport’s participants are supposedly on the whole, ‘clean’ (as they all assure us they are), then not having the most stringent tests available works against the vast majority of membership.

Yet time and time again, ‘Big Sport’ Player Assoc. fight tooth and nail to keep testing as lenient as possible.

Major League Baseball had to be dragged virtually kicking and screaming to develop a more comprehensive performance enhancing drug policy.

The demise of innocence…There’s no way in hell that baseball as a collective unit were unaware of steroids prior to the new millennium, but they were all more than happy to sit back and ride the cash-wave that occurred in the McGwire/Sosa-fueled renaissance.
It took Congressional hearings in 2005 for Baseball to clean house. And even now, it appears that some of the biggest issues to face baseball are yet to come.
How to deal with what may come out regarding Bonds and Clemens…
Will Clemens face the same degree of cynicism that Bonds has faced, and if not, what questions will that raise?…
* How should this era be remembered?
Should the entire era be asterisked?

One thing is for sure. The lessons being taught by today’s athlete isn’t necessary the one it should be.

Don’t get caught.

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Super Bowl Week – Who’s Gonna Win?

28 01 2008

Superbowl XLIIAs we head into the countdown for Super Bowl XLII, I asked a few people around the traps who they thought would win, what the score would be, and who would be the MVP.
Here’s what they thought:

  • Joe from BustedCoverage – Patriots win, 34-17… MVP’s Tom Brady
  • Brandon at Storming The Floor – New England wins with the score: 31-24. MVP is Wes Welker
  • The enigmatic Jack Cobra of Cobra Brigade predicts – Patriots win 42-14 and Tom Brady is your Super Bowl MVP
  • Ryan McNeill of the excellent Hoops Addict tells me that that Pats will win with a 31-13 scoreline, and that Randy Moss will be MVP.
  • Jeff from states it’s another Boston victory – New England Patriots winning 31-17, Wes Welker’s the MVP.
  • Str8Hoops‘ Chris didn’t tell me who the MVP would be, but he did tell me that the Pats would win 34-13.
  • Epic Carnival‘s impresario Doug predicts a slaughter in Phoenix, with the Pats running out 49-13 victors. MVP – Tom Brady.
  • Andrew Isaac of The World Of Isaac thinks Tynes kicks the game winner. Plaxico is the MVP… with the Giants upsetting the Pats to the tune of 24-21.
  • Simon On Sports‘s Simon prognosticates: A Pats win, 34-23… Mike Vrabel is MVP
  • Mr Perfection, Tom Brady. Bleh.Darren Heitner – I Want To Be A Sports Agent – tells me the Patriots win, the score will be 27-24, and MVP? Tom Brady…
  • The ever-cynical Eric Angevine tells me: “Advertisers and corporate lackeys will win the superbowl.”
  • DMtShooter – Five Tool Tool – has the “…um, Patriots 35, Giants 20, and a mild surprise MVP in Maroney.”
  • Brett, reader here & friend in Japan: Pats up 35-28… Maroney gets the MVP.
  • Either Rupert or Stan of The Ghosts of Wayne Fontes thinks there’ll be an upset with the Giants winning 28-27, Phil McConkey for MVP…
  • Ed Ziti of MVN’s Lakers Library states: “Shockey and Tiki are gone, so Eli can finally have control of his team. Giants 31 Pats 28 Giselle Bundchen MVP” … Giselle to do a Jessica?
  • JP from Pyle of List predicts Patriots 31, Giants 21. MVP: Tom Brady “… I know it’s boring but I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to give it to Dreamboat.
    I actually expect a good batch of commercials this year too.”
  • Regular commenter here, Rob (brumbygg9) thinks “…Patriots take it 37 – 20 with the unimaginative of Tommy Terrific getting the MVP nod.”
  • Sooze of Babes Love Baseball fame thinks that “…I’m gonna go with little Manning by a field goal, just to mix it up.”
  • Neate Sager coming to you from out of Out Of Left Field says that the scoreline will read Pats 41, Giants 24… with Asante Samuel as MVP.

Me? Well, it’s a hard Super Bowl for me to cheer for anyone, I despise New York teams… but now Boston’s getting right up there for the ‘dislike quotient’… I’ll be cheering for the underdog Giants, but I fear the Patriots will win: 34-28. Brady will be MVP. Damn him.

Goodbye Gilly – Australia vs India ~ 4th Test (Day 5 In Play)

28 01 2008

That would describe the innings Australia amassed during Day 4 of the Adelaide test.

Adam Gilchrist - his last day of Test CricketStill, by having India bat part of the last session, and by taking Pathan’s wicket oh-so-cheaply… there is a glimmer of hope. A small shimmer of possibility… a tiny little sparkle of … well, you get the idea. In yesterday’s thread I stated that Australia needed to bat viciously during day 4, and amass a huge lead – sending India into bat in the last session of day 4 with a lead of 150 or so… they did send India into bat, but the batting was a little forgettable.

Day 5 finds India ahead by 8 runs, with a first innings tally of 526 and a second innings of 45/1 (thus far)… to Australia’s 1st innings of 563.
Whilst there have been some very good individual scores, neither side’s been particularly dashing. Centuries to Tendulkar (153), Hayden (103), Ponting (140) and Clarke (118) were all great… but only Sachin’s had anything remotely resembling a swashbuckling performance.
India’s first innings had a run rate of 3.44, Australia set a pedestrian 3.11.

It’s a pity that this test will be the last that Adam Gilchrist plays in – as it’s likely that it will end in a draw, and his first innings total of 14 is in no way indicative of the man’s ability. Hopefully, the ODI series will provide sufficient staging for his fare-thee-well.

So… Day 5. Verinder Sehwag’s on 31, and Rahul Dravid’s 11.

Let’s go.

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