What a sporting weekend. Major League Baseball could not have asked for a better final weekend to the regular season You had the clinching of the American League East by the Red Sox. There was the complete collapse of the New York Mets and the charge by the Philadelphia Phillies to take the National League East. The Chicago Cubs clinched the NL Central Division. San Diego failed to clinch the Wild Card despite the opportunity to win it on its own and the Colorado Rockies won 13 of its last 14 games to force a one game playoff tonight.
For MLB, the sad note was seeing the end of the Atlanta Braves era on TBS. For 30 seasons, there was the comfortable feeling knowing that if your local team wasn’t on TV, the Braves would be. And before ESPN got into MLB, the way to watch baseball on a national level every night was either to watch the Cubs on WGN or the Braves on TBS. While TBS will still have baseball every Sunday starting next season, it will be a national package of games.
We grew accustomed to seeing Skip Carey, Pete Van Wieren, Ernie Johnson, Sr., John Sterling, then Don Sutton, Joe Simpson and Chip Carey joining Skip and Pete. Fans enjoyed the chemistry between Skip and Pete. And the rise of the Braves coincided with the cable explosion in the 1980′s and by the time the Braves started their 10 year dominance of the National League, TBS was there to chronicle it. From a high of 152 games a season to the 75 games it did this year, watching the Braves on TBS became a comfortable fit like an old slipper. Unfortunately, as times change, so do philosophies and TBS feels the Braves are no longer a good fit. This will leave a team with a national fan base without an outlet to watch the games. The Braves say they’ll look for ways to reach fans in the Southeast, but for fans across the country who can’t afford MLB Extra Innings on cable or satellite or on the internet, yesterday’s final game on TBS was a very sad day. I know I’ll miss watching the Braves.
As for the NFL, you couldn’t find a weekend that could match what we saw yesterday. Brett Favre breaks Dan Marino’s touchdown record. The Detroit Lions score a record 34 points in the 4th quarter to beat a woeful Chicago Bears team. My Cleveland Browns put a big hurt on the Baltimore Ravens and there was Oakland’s Daunte Culpepper going into Miami to show what he could do when healthy.
US golf showed it was alive and well with the Presidents Cup and raucous crowds helped the atmosphere in Montreal.
And HBO got a nice present when Jermain Taylor was upset his defense of his middleweight crown by Kelly Pavlik.
You can’t forget about the upsets in college football starting with South Florida over West Virginia Friday night, spilling into Saturday as Oklahoma was beat by Colorado, K State putting a big licking on Texas and Auburn beating defending national champion, Florida.
You couldn’t ask for a better sporting weekend. And this week, the League Divisional Series begin and they do so under some great momentum. Let’s get to the links.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand says the loss of the New York Mets from the playoffs has caused TBS to change some of its announcing team assignments. Ray Frager in his Baltimore Sun blog has highlights of comments made by Cal Ripken from a media conference call conducted by TBS.
Neil Best of Newsday says one of those changes includes TBS scooping up SNY’s Ron Darling who became available after the Mets were eliminated yesterday.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick says SNY’s Darling and Keith Hernandez criticized the Mets at the right moment.
Jim Williams of the DC/Baltimore Examiner says TBS gets its postseason underway with the Rockies-Padres one game playoff tonight. And the Padres will allow fans to watch the game at Petco Park.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune says Cubs broadcasters, both current and past, will have a heavy influence on TBS’ coverage of the League Divisional Series.
Chuck Caree in the Wilmington (NC) Morning Star talks about the end of the Braves on TBS.
From the Wilmington (DE) News Journal, Delaware viewers will be glad to know that Comcast is adding TBS HD to its lineup today. The Consumerist says even though Comcast has added TBS HD to a bunch of cities, Chicago is not one of them.
Dusty Saunders in the Rocky Mountain News says the playoff push of the Colorado Rockies gave Denver fans a dilemma whether to watch baseball or the Broncos playing against the Colts.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell discusses what the New York Mets really lost when it played itself out of the MLB postseason.
The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reviews the sporting weekend in his Four DVR’s, no waiting blog.
John Ryan in the San Jose Mercury News writes that the NFL pregame shows had a lot of love for Brett Favre.
The Multichannel News reports that the Big Ten Network signed a deal with RCN Cable giving it access to homes in Chicago, Phildelphia and parts of the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania.
Daniel Kaplan of Business First has an article on MSNBC.com about the NFL selling ads space on its teams’ websites, keeping the money while the teams keep the space.
ESPN and World Championship Sports Network have signed an agreement for WCSN to provide a 24/7 feed of Olympic sports on ESPN360.
The Toronto Star’s Chris Zelkovich writes that longtime Maple Leafs analyst Harry Neale is leaving the team to join the Buffalo Sabres’ TV team. And Zelkovich says NBC seemed to go overboard to say Canadians love hockey during the Presidents Cup coverage from Montreal.
That’s it for now.