Monday offers something for every sports fan
It is Monday, but it feels like Sunday with three must-see, momentous sporting events, enough bats and balls and overarching personalities to crowd a month.
It is baseball’s opening day. Little-guy Butler is to play against royal Duke in the NCAA men’s college basketball championship game, the culmination to March Madness in April.
And then there is this added to everyone’s schedule — Tiger Woods in a room full of reporters, not handpicked, taking questions from the site of this week’s Masters.
Even on a work day, how could a sports fan ignore all this? The MLB Network was on at 9 a.m. with its “MLB Tonight” show. The final basket of the college season wouldn’t come until nearly 9 p.m. The Angels would play until nearly 10 p.m.
So we offer a TV review of a nonstop sports day, a little of what happened while you were at the office. Big home runs, Tiger words, a basketball going thunk off the rim, time running out when we wish it wouldn’t for the underdog or for the sports fan.
It’s 10:30 a.m. when the Dodgers come on Prime Ticket with Eric Collins saying, “Will 2010 be the year for Joe Torre’s Dodgers?” But don’t the Dodgers belong to a McCourt?
Also, it should be the law. Dodgers must open where Vin Scully will do the first game. That means a game in the West. It’s simply a must.
When Collins describes a hit as a “flipper,” suddenly my head is clanging with these lyrics: “Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning.” It’s the theme song of the old television show about Flipper the dolphin, but I don’t want to remember. The song is still in my head. Thanks, Eric!
A quick switch to check out the MLB Network crew and, yikes, it’s Tommy Lasorda. So back to Prime Ticket.
This offers a chance to hear Collins call the home run of Pittsburgh’s Ryan Doumit this way:
“Hard-hit ball to left field. This one’s got a chance. It’s gone.”
Pittsburgh fans were already celebrating the fact the ball had a chance to land in the second deck.
Turning on the radio now … Charley Steiner … his voice is heaven.
Baseball viewing took a backseat at 11 a.m. to Woods being quizzed.
Some observations on this much-anticipated event:
British-accented reporters asked most of the confrontational questions such as why Tiger’s wife Elin isn’t at Augusta.
Someone wondered how Tiger fooled so many people for so long. Earlier Tiger had made reference to his many “friends” in the room. Is there a correlation there?
No, not the putting question. Really. Someone asked about his putting. Putting?
And on to the post-news conference analysis.
Golf Channel’s John Hawkins said, “He is better in an interview than on a golf course.” Wait, how was it Tiger fooled so many people?
Golf Channel’s Charlie Rymer: “Tiger came with a sense of strength, sense of peace.” Also, Tiger was “very honest.” And you know this how, Charlie?
Back to baseball.
Sean McDonough and Orel Hershiser are doing the Cubs at Braves game on ESPN.
Atlanta’s 20-year-old right fielder, rookie Jason Heyward, is singlehandedly crushing the Cubs and McDonough and Hershiser have become ready to proclaim him, it seems, heir to Hank Aaron. McDonough says, “The torch may have been passed.”
Heyward may be the next great player, but this seemed too much too soon.
So let’s turn to the MLB Network again.
May I make a small request?
In making the switch from ESPN to MLB, one MLB crew of four was switching with the next MLB crew of four. It was choreographed like a hockey line change. But it took about four minutes and many highlights before introductions were made.
The host was Greg Amsinger with analysts Al Leiter, Joe Magrane and John Heyman. Apologies for not recognizing all their names and faces yet. But there’s a lot of cast at MLB.
Made the mistake of hitting “last” on the remote so was taken directly to ESPN where Tom Rinaldi was doing an emotional “essay” on underdog Butler. Plus another on overdog Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski. And ESPN isn’t doing the game.
CBS has the telecast and one gets the sense analyst Jim Nantz and analyst Clark Kellogg are trying too hard to not seem Duke-centric.
One would wish for a little more pointed commentary than this after Duke center Brian Zoubek took a leisurely stroll through the lane. “Zoubek may have gotten away with a walk,” Kellogg said. Yeah, about a two-mile walk.
Luckily it is about time for the Angels to come on the air on FS West. Victor Rojas got the job of play-by-play after the unexpected death last January of the much-respected Rory Markas. Rojas offered an elegant tribute to Markas.
“It goes without saying, every member of the Angels family will miss Rory tremendously,” Rojas said. Analyst Mark Gubicza added, “If Rory were here he’d want to be talking about the guys on the field.”
And so, that’s what Rojas and Gubicza did.