Recovering after being out for a day.
A few things for today.
Against my better judgment, I bought the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight from DirecTV. I joined in the 7th round. It turned out to be a better fight than I expected. But also, I wanted to see what may be one of the last HBO assignments for Larry Merchant. On Friday, I linked to Bob Raissmann’s article in the New York Daily News regarding Merchant’s contract talks with HBO. While Merchant doesn’t have the command he once did, he still was able to hold his own with Emmanuel Steward and Jim Lampley. On the technical side, HBO’s camera work was solid and Lampley’s call showed why he’s still one of the best ever at boxing play-by-play along with Howard Cosell. My only complaint was that DirecTV on its own, ended the PPV while Merchant was interviewing De La Hoya. Lampley had not signed off. Apparently, one overeager technician at DirecTV decided to end everyone’s viewing of the night on his/her own. Thanks a lot, jerk.
I’m going to miss not having the Atlanta Braves on TBS next season. It’s nice to have the option on a Sunday or any summer day to switch to TBS and have the Braves on. Back in the 1980′s, Ted Turner decided to put his Braves on his Superstation for programming. At one point, TBS cablecast 150 Braves games. Skip Carey, Pete Van Wieren, Joe Simpson and Don Sutton have all been welcomed into the nation’s cable homes. Of the MLB teams that have national followings, you can put the Braves into that category. It’s obvious that the Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs all have national followings. Thanks to Superstation TBS, the Braves do as well. But with its new TV contract to cover the entire League Division Series and one League Championship Series each year for the next six years, TBS will drop the Braves next season in favor of carrying 26 Sunday afternoon games involving the entire MLB. The Braves will go to Fox Sports South exclusively next season and that’s too bad. The only way to follow the Braves nationally will be through the sporadic ESPN, Fox and yes, TBS pick ups. Unless you have MLB.TV through the internet or the Extra Innings package on cable or DirecTV, you won’t be able to see the Braves on a day-to-day basis. So if you’re watching the Braves on TBS this season, get ready to find another way to watch them next season.
The Sports Emmy Awards were handed out last week. NBC won 9 awards including Outstanding Live Sports Series for its NASCAR coverage, Outstanding Play-by-play for Al Michaels’ call of Sunday Night Football and Technical Achievement for the XX Winter Olympic Games in Italy. HBO won obligatory awards for journalism (Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel), ESPN had eight awards (I’m including four for its ABC Sports division which unfortunately was swallowed up before last year’s college football season). The entire list is here.
As a regular viewer of Red Sox baseball on NESN, I must say their broadcasts have improved drastically since the John Henry ownership took over the team and the network. Some of their ideas have not worked including having a rotation of studio analysts for their pre-game shows. Dennis Eckersley is the best. Bob Tewksbury wasn’t bad. Sam Horn was just plain awful. This season, NESN has added Ken Macha, the former Oakland A’s manager, and from what I’ve seen, he shows promise. His first two days on Friday and Saturday were with Jim Rice. Today, he’s flying solo. Ken was dry on Friday, but he makes good points and gives a manager’s perspective, something the others, all former players cannot. Since it’s his first weekend of work, I won’t totally review him until he has at least 10-20 games under his belt, but so far, he’s pretty decent.
We’ll have some links on Monday. I might return later today if there’s something of note. Oh, I will return with my thoughts on The Amazing Race finale. I know who wins, but I want to see how the team wins.