Archive for February, 2005
John and Jackie Knill were vacationing in a Thailand resort December 26 when the massive Asian Tsunami hit their beach. The Knills died in the waves, but their camera somehow survived. Their pictures were published just recently and to see their pictures of the waves crashing into Khao Luk, check out the This is London site. An interview with the Knills’ son, Patrick is at the CBC Vancouver site. Very eerie. I have been moved by the devastation left behind by the tsunami. Please donate what you can to the relief effort.
Back to sports tomorrow.
ESPNews got burned Wednesday in reporting the injury to Miami Heat Center Shaquille O’Neal. The network cited a “report” from the Miami Herald’s website stating that Shaq would be out for the year. However, the website looked eerily similar to the Herald’s and even had a similar web address. But the page was made up to look like the Herald’s site and has since been taken down. The correct report was that Shaq had a strained knee.
Fox Sports.com took glee in the mistake and quickly put up the correct story.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today writes about the debut of the latest entry into the ESPN family of networks, ESPNU which sounds like a direct competitor to CSTV, a network devoted to college sports. ESPN says it will air games not normally seen on its regular networks onto ESPNU. The network debuts March 4 or 03-04-05 as the promos have told us.
Sports Business Daily reports that DirecTV and Adelphia cable have picked up ESPNU for the launch of the network. On Adelphia, ESPNU will be on the digital tier pack. Subscribers to DirecTV can access ESPNU as long as they receive the “Sports Pack” tier.
Hockey fans in Canada are sad over the fact that longtime CBC announcer Chris Cuthbert had his contracted terminated by the network. According to the Toronto Star newspaper, Cuthbert consntatly clashed with CBC Sports Executive Director Nancy Lee, but she tells the Star that the NHL lockout was responsible for his departure. Some staffers feel Cuthbert was fired. In addition to “Hockey Night in Canada”, Cuthbert called CFL Grey Cups, Olympics and other sports. It hasn’t been a good winter for CBC, there’s the NHL lockout and it lost the bidding for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Games to rival CTV, now this.
Jose Canseco is trying to take his next leap into stupidity by offering to take a polygraph test on pay per view. HBO has passed telling the New York Times that it felt like a stunt to make money.
Update: 2:10 p.m.
Boston Bruins TV announcer Dave Shea has a new gig. He has signed with the Washington Nationals, the former Expos to join their radio broadcast team. Former Washington Bullets radio announcer Charlie Slowes will team with Shea to broadcast the games.
The Washington Post (registration required) has more on Slowes and Shea.
WEEI in Boston has officially announced that former “I, Max” co-host and Boston Globe columnist Michael Holley will join Dale Arnold as mid-day co-host. The “Dale & Holley” show premieres March 1. A conference call involving Arnold, Holley and WEEI Program Director Jason Wolfe is posted on the Boston Sports Media Watch web site. This is the third partner for Dale after Bob Neumeier left earlier this month.
The NFL Network will be broadcasting live from the NFL Scouting Combines starting this week. In its second year, the NFL Network has gained access to practices and players that ESPN, CBS and Fox have not. Rudy Martzke of USA Today looks at the increase in live broadcasts from the Combines this year as compared to last.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says ESPN is thinking about dumping the NHL if it comes back next season. ESPN had contracted for 60 games on the Deuce this season, but with college basketball and other programming like the World Series of Poker doubling the ratings from last year when it carried the NHL, the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports says it may not pick up an option to show the games.
Finally, Bill Simmons of ESPN.com’s Page 2 writes about his time at the NBA All Star Weekend. Get ready for a lot of pop culture references.
I went to see this movie last night at the Avon Cinemas in Providence. I was so moved by the acts of Paul Rusesabagina, the man portrayed by Don Cheadle. To give a quick synopsis, Paul is the manager of the Hotel Mille Collines in Rwanda in 1994 when Hutu rebels begin a 100 day campaign of genocide. They attempt to wipe out the Tutsi population.
The hotel is a five star luxury hotel which catered to many rich guests. But as the violence approached Kugali where the hotel was located, the guests left and the hotel became haven to many refugees. Rusesabagina saved over 1,200 Tutsis and spared their lives. Paul was a Hutu and did all he could through bribes, pleading and phone calls to keep the Hutus from killing the refugees.
While Rusesabagina himself says the movie is 90% accurate, the portrayal of the bloodshed and the genocide is extremely moving. And the acts of kindness by Paul which comes through in the movie has stayed with me.
Do what you can to see this movie. While the awards the movie has been nominated for are secondary, the more important message of the movie is to prevent genocide. The unfortunate thing is that the Hutus moved to the Congo and are continuing their attack on the Tutsis. Hopefully, more can be done to stop the attacks.
I haven’t been posting as regularly as I should and several issues have popped up since I last wrote so let me combine a few blogs so I can get caught up.
Admitted steroids user Jose Canseco has been doing the rounds since Sunday, appearing on “60 Minutes” not once, but twice. He’s also had an eye-opening interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI where he not only made several contradictions to his book, but also said if he had a son and he wanted to take steroids, he would not stop him. During the interview, Canseco did not show any remorse for taking steroids nor did he feel they were illegal. In fact, he said they helped him become a world class athlete.
In his interview on “60 Minutes”, Canseco said in some cases, people could take steroids. While his allegations about certain players must be taken seriously, the way he makes his allegations is very dangerous. During his Tuesday interview on WEEI, Canseco made reference to Nolan Ryan saying that if he could throw a 95+ mile an hour fast ball at age 40, then it must be the product of steroids. The man is an idiot.
Apparently Canseco’s book, “Juiced” is doing well, but kids should stay away from it because it does not condemn the use of steroids. Canseco’s mouth could be his undoing.
As a hockey fan, I’m very sad about the cancellation of the 2004-2005 season. But I’m in the minority. Commissioner Gary Bettman’s announcement about the failed negotiations was a study in how a man has little regard for the fans.
This is all about money. The owners want to keep as much money as possible, wanting to be saved from themselves after spending so much. This about the players wanting to keep the status quo, not realizing that the game has too few revenue streams. This is about a Commissioner who expanded the game into markets that have no regard for hockey and allowed a once beautiful game to become a train wreck.
But because not enough fans care about hockey, the news about the NHL’s cancellation was covered more than last year’s Stanley Cup finals.
The issue of a salary cap is important because it is a way for the league to survive. And the NHL’s horrible television contracts with NBC and ESPN leaves the league with little money to play with. It is sad to see because since Bettman became Commissioner in 1994, the NHL has done so much to shoot itself in the foot.
“24″ and “The O.C.”
This season of “24″ continues to go like blockbusters. The storyline of the nuclear threat has my eyes glued to my TV every Monday night. I happened to talk to Executive Producer Evan Katz on the 24 fan phone that many fans have called. I told him that this was the best season yet and he appreciated my remarks. This week, we’re at a head where the head of a sleeper cell, Navi Araz has had to take his son, Behrooz as hostage. In addition, six nuclear plants are on the verge of meltdown and CTU agent Jack Bauer has to find the override to stop a catastrophe.
This Monday’s episode has a shooting and one character will die. Having read the spoilers, I know which one, but if you don’t want to know, I won’t post it here, but you can also e-mail me if you want to find out. There have been just a few scenes that have slowed the show down, but they are not enough to put a damper on the season.
And we want to know what will become of the kiss between Alex and Marissa. The problem is that Alex is leaving after a few more episodes so I hope this isn’t going to a ratings stunt by creator Josh Schwartz. Olivia Wilde has done a great job in playing Alex and a lesbian kiss is nothing new for Mischa Barton as she was in a lesbian kiss with Evan Rachael Wood in the long, but not forgotten “Once and Again”.
We’ll see where it goes.
And that is the blog for today.
We have heard this week the “revelations” that will be published in Jose Canseco’s new book, “Juiced”. Canseco admits that he took steroids, that he and Mark McGwire injected each other in the bathroom stall in the Oakland A’s lockerroom, that he saw Jason Giambi injected with steroids, that other players including Roger Clemens took the roids.
While Canseco’s admission is something that was seen for a long time, the fact that he decided to take other players down is not surprising as well. Over the past couple of years, Jose has threatened to write a book naming names and taking prisoners. Not only has he done that, but the media and fans alike are looking at Canseco as a pariah and a coackroach.
I am one of those fans who feel Canseco is a rat and a thief. While his accusations are serious and must be considered, the way he makes these accusations are alarming. The fact that they all come in a “he said/she said” manner, that there’s no third party verification, that his musings only come from his accounts shed serious doubt on his claims.
The fact that Canseco’s own agent and lawyer both stated that there were inaccuracies in the book. However, the charges in the book are so serious that “60 Minutes” will devote an entire segment to “Juiced”.
But let’s consider the source of the charges. One, Canseco raced his down a Miami highway in pursuit of his wife, colliding into the car causing damage and considerable harm to his reputation. Canseco also charged into the stands at Yankee Stadium when a fan heckled him about his relationship with Madonna. He had loads of talent, but wasted it away. His most notorious moment on the field came when he played with Texas in 1993 and he was on the head by a fly ball while trying to field it. It went over the wall for a home run. From then on, Canseco became nothing but a joke and he’s trying to turn his reputation around by writing this book.
Canseco’s charges were serious enough for Jason Giambi to call a press conference this week to apologize, but he did not say what for. We can all assume it was for taking steroids, but no admission came.
Canseco is not going to the Hall of Fame and whatever honor he might have received in the future was erased by this book. Canseco has killed any trace of goodwill that might have been left in the cupboard.
Usually, stories are scarce at the Super Bowl simply due to the fact that over a two week span, they are rehashed over and over again to the point where there is hardly any news to report. But that changed on Tuesday when word began surfacing that a reporter apparently plagiarized an online column written by Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.
Ken Powers of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette was covering the New England Patriots in Jacksonville for his paper when he received a call from his bosses to return home immediately. Powers did. Then, people began to search for his story on January 30. King writes his Monday Morning Quarterback column every week for SI.com and readers of both stories found not only did they look similar, but Powers hardly changed any words.
The comparisons of the stories appear at Boston Sports Media Watch, a website that regularly links to stories by the Boston newspapers and also provides a check on the media. When you see the stories, you’ll notice that just a few words were changed.
As it stands now, Powers is on suspension. Reporters have been trying to call his house and his cell phone and both have been disconnected for the time being. The New York Times Company owns the Telegram and Gazette and it is another nightmare as the Times continues to recover from the Jayson Blair episode and another of the Times’ newspaper, the Boston Globe, had to deal with its own plagiarism scandal involving Mike Barnicle and a fabrication episode involving Patricia Smith. The Times came down hard on Blair eventually forcing him out. Expect the same punishment for Powers.
In addition, the Times is facing racism charges against a free Boston weekly newspaper that it purchased late last year.
It is hard to believe that in this day and age that Powers would stoop to lifting an online column, especially King’s which is read by many football fans. To his credit, King reportedly called the Telegram and Gazette offices asking the paper not to fire Powers. It is not known if King’s pleas will help Powers or not.
What is known is that Powers, a respected Patriots beat writer for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, is facing a professional and personal crisis. Where this will lead him is unknown, but suffice it to say that he won’t be writing for the Telegram and Gazette anytime soon.
Update: February 4, 2005, 11:20 a.m.
Ken Powers was fired by the Worcester Telegram and Gazette Thursday after meeting with the paper’s editors. Powers commented to a Boston television station that he had a “spotless record” and that the firing was a “terrible injustice”. Well, Boston Sports Media Watch has found another instance where Powers copied someone else’s work and passed it off as his own. This time, a Michael Smith column for ESPN.com where again, Powers changes a few words here and there.
In a statement, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette in a statement to the New York Times (registration required) said Powers had at least “half a dozen cases” of plagiarism.
I would hardly call half a dozen cases a spotless record and the fact that Powers would use well-known websites shows a laziness on his part.
Kudos for Bruce Allen at Boston Sports Media Watch for finding the offending articles and staying on top of the story.
Super Bowl Week has reached Wednesday, but media whining about Jacksonville and its lack of amenities has been in full force since Sunday. Living in Rhode Island and working in Massachusetts allows me to listen to sports radio stations in Boston, Providence and New York, read newspapers from both states and the internet gives me access to several newspaper websites from all over the country. The media has found so much to complain about that the game this Sunday seems secondary.
Throughout past four days, I have read or heard the complaints about the following subjects:
1. The hotel rooms are too small.
2. The hotels are too far away from the media center.
3. There are not enough restaurants in Jacksonville.
4. The hotels don’t have room service after 11 p.m.
5. Jacksonville is too small to host a Super Bowl.
6. Reporters have to, god forbid, walk from their hotels to the media center.
7. It’s too cold to go out at night.
8. There’s no parking for the media.
9. Reporters can’t find their way around the city.
10. The food in the hotels is subpar.
11. Blah. Blah. Blah.
To the reporters who are well compensated to cover the year’s biggest sporting event in the country from those of us who will be at home watching the game, SHUT THE F UP!!!! Those who complain don’t want to be at the Super Bowl anyway. Nobody cares about the hotel accomodations, the lack of transportation or the way you’re being treated by natives. You’re there to cover the game, not tell us about your personal life. Yet, reporters think readers or listeners or viewers want to read, hear or see them. No, we want news from the game and we don’t care about your problems.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal wrote Monday about the whining:
Media whining about Podunk Jacksonville is under way. “The hotel’s are dingy.” “The rides to the hotels are too long.” “It’s cold.” “My feet hurt.” “Where’s the sun?” “No free computer bags this year?”
Hey, if fate had dealt you a different hand you could have been living on the beach in Sri Lanka a month ago. Shut up about the inconveniences.
The best part is this: the Super Bowl media party is allegedly on the 17th green at TPC Sawgrass. Anyone want to bet that someone will complain how inconvenient it is to walk all the way out to the famous green on the tiny bridge?
And I’m sure someone will complain about the food for the reporters at the Super Bowl. I don’t think the media will ever get it when it comes to their readers, listeners or viewers. It’s not about them, it’s about the event, the game and the fans. Writers like Curran are more of the minority than the mainstream. Yet, the coverage has focused more on what the media can’t do, instead of what the New Engalnd Patriots or the Philadelphia Eagles will do in the game.