Review: Chronicle of ESPN Secrets a Page Turner

Ever thought of trafficking in the notoriety of an exclusive group of ESPN employees whose reputations precede them?

ESPN Montage

Me neither.

Though I’m pleased to report that all the dirty little, page-turning secrets about that uncommon club of sports commentators has been unbound for you and me to discover. Read more…

When Animals Attack: Mike Tirico MNF Mosquito

Mike Tirico mosquito encounter

You’ve got to hand it to Mike Tirico; he’s a true professional. Even when attacked by a ravenous mosquito, he never loses focus on the job at hand. That insect is sucking the very lifeblood from the ESPN broadcaster; perhaps even siphoning off a microscopic percentage of his considerable talent … hey, there’s a lot about the culicidae family of insects that science has yet to understand.

But Tirico never flinches. Video of this shocking attack following the jump. Read more…

ESPN Radio Change: More Cowherd, Less Van Pelt

I started SbB in 2001 because was I was bored working in the sports talk radio biz.  I couldn’t take being hemmed in by the daily local yocal game analysis, pushover interviews, formulaic guy talk, and same ol’ fallback topics on slow days. So I created SbB to escape that noxious environment, if only for my own amusement.

Scott Van Pelt Mike Tirico

(Van Pelt’s solo show, rusty folding chair, left out in the cold)

Today if you listen to Dan Le Batard’s radio show in Miami, and plenty of others, you hear sports talk radio going in the direction of what I’ve been onto for years: Giving the visitor breaking information accented by clever commentary. That now-burgeoning trend in radio now has trained me back to the medium. And with that, I was very interested when ESPN announced changes in its national radio schedule this week.

First the good news (no, they didn’t blow out Mike & Mike): Beginning on March 16, Brian Kenny is getting a daily show, from 8-10p ET weeknights. Kenny has been the most underrated sports personality on the network for over a decade (sorry Sal Pal!), and it’s nice to see him get some recognition. I’m guessing he’ll be great listen, but those of us in L.A. will have to catch Kenny on the web, as his show will likely be covered by KSPN-AM in afternoon drive. (By my guys Mason & Ireland?)

Another underrated talent and the best radio talk host ESPN has, Doug Gottlieb, is moving his show to 4-7p ET.  Colin Cowherd, who in my estimation is the most overrated host on the net, will get another hour tacked on to his midday show (10a-2p ET). So those of you wondering about the day’s produce selection at Wegmann’s and/or menu specials at your friendly neighborhood Fleming’s, have at it.

Colin Cowherd

(Miracle! Despite disabling TMJ attack, Cowherd still menaces radio audience)

Those time changes mean the show hosted by Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt will move to 2-4p ET, with the one-hour Van Pelt solo show now a memory.

So why the elimination of Van Pelt’s show? Read more…

ESPN To Get Vitale Far Far Away From Duke Game

ESPN is being forced to resort to desperate measures and ridiculous publicity stunts to keep Dick Vitale from calling Duke games. For the Jan. 7 Duke-Davidson game, ESPN will bring in its NBA announcers, while moving Vitale and co. to the Heat-Nuggets game later that day.

Dick Vitale

So that means Mike Tirico, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are going to have to do some cramming to figure out what the hell a one-and-one is, while Vitale and Dan Shulman are going to need to get used to the 24-second shot clock. But obviously, the real benefit to viewers everywhere, other than not being forced to hear Elliot Williams called a diaper dandy ever 2 minutes, is not having to deal with Vitale having an orgasm on-air anytime Duke does anything competently.

Read more…

Michele Tafoya Is Ditching The NBA For Her Family

One of the nice parts of being a sports blogger is that you can work from your parent’s basement home, and you can do all your writing in your underwear if you like. It’s great, I’m naked right now.

Other jobs in sports media tend to require a lot of travel, which if you have a family, can be pretty rough on you. One person who’s had enough of all the wandering around the country is Michele Tafoya. Tafoya works for ESPN as a sideline reporter on Monday Night Football and the NBA, while doing a weekly gig with Mike Tirico on ESPN Radio. Well, Michelle has decided she’d rather spend more time with her husband and son than interviewing Doc Rivers about his halftime adjustments, which is why she’s dropping her NBA assignment.

Read more…

Brog: Timberlake’s Racist Joke Cut From ESPYs?

Arash Markazi of SI.com and FAN NATION has the easily the only most interesting thing to come out of the ESPYs, which was taped I think sometime in February - and aired on ESPN for the first time last night. (And subsequently re-broadcast an upchuck-inducing 10,000 times today.).

Justin Timberlake hosting the ESPYs at David Beckham's feet

Markazi notes that host Justin Timberlakewas teasing Paul Pierce about his “injured” knee in Game 1 of the NBA Finals during his opening monologue. In describing how quickly Pierce came back after being taken off on a wheelchair, Timberlake joked that Pierce was quickly back on the court, ’shucking and jiving.’ The comment, which was cut out of the broadcast that aired Sunday night, was met with silence from the crowd when the show taped on Wednesday before Timberlake transitioned into his next joke.

Apparently some of the suits at ESPN thought the joke was too racial in nature to air. If the joke was racist, how did it get by dozens of ESPYs writers? And we also know that if a black, or even latino host had said the same thing, everyone probably would’ve laughed and it would’ve been part of the promo highlight package for the show. I’m not saying it wasn’t racist, just food for thought.

Ozzie Guillen, who played for the White Sox from ‘85-97, on wearing throwback jerseys from ‘83 during yesterday’s Chisox affair with the Royals: “This is the first time I’ve worn this uniform that I wasn’t hung over.”

(New photo of brand-new SbB Girl Allie after the jump) Read more…

Moss Makes It w/Miss KY; Eight Belles’ Revenge

SbB’s back from the Virgin Islands to the not-so-virgin South Beach.

Randy Moss has his own dirty Derby with Miss Kentucky USA.

Randy Moss Alysha Noel Harris

• Meanwhile, Mike Tirico gets the runaround from a PETA spokesperson when trying to ask a question about the Eight Belles tragedy.

• But the fallen filly is getting her revenge, thanks to this heavy horse in England.

• A Chicago columnist blows up over blow-up dolls in the White Sox clubhouse.

• That writer needs to relax. May this baby buy you a beer?

Read more…

PETA Kooks Now Legit Thanks To Eight Belles?

I have to laugh when I see PETA continually being cited by numerous main media outlets when it comes to the heated debate over Eight Belles. It’s a great example of what happens when money and celebrity get behind something - logic goes out the window.

Pam Anderson Eight Belles PETA Extremists soil debate

(No meat, no milk, no pets, no hunting or fishing … no problem!)

We all know about the kooks running PETA, and their laughable approach to animal rights. Actually, forget laughable, sometimes their views are downright insane. But the organization has plenty of cash and Hollywood star power behind it, so when it rushed out a press release in an attempt to weigh in first on measures that should be taken to protect racehorses, suddenly the MSM treated PETA like it was a well-measured consortium of animal lovers.

Mind you, this is the same PETA that believes in “no meat, no milk, no zoos, no circuses, no wool, no leather, no hunting, no fishing, and no pets (not even seeing-eye dogs).

And teaches schoolchildren that, “everyday behaviors, such as eating a diet that contains meat or animal products, are unmistakably, unequivocally acts of animal cruelty.

So now thousands of outlets are printing PETA’s views on Eight Belles and horse racing at large. And ESPN has cited PETA hundreds (thousands?) of times on its numerous platforms this week.

If PETA didn’t have major celebs like Pam Anderson (in quasi-porn ads for the cause), Tony LaRussa and Alec Baldwin in fold, do you think that would all be happening?

But all that isn’t the worst in the PETA-Eight Belles fiasco. Thanks to the Tirico & Van Pelt show on ESPN Radio yesterday, we now know that the organization is a complete fraud when it comes to understanding the very basics of horse racing.

Read more…

Blog-O-Rama: Paxson’s Son Joining The Marines

• Ten-hut! MARINE CORPS TIMES reports that John Paxson’s son Ryan is leaving the college court and joining the Leathernecks.

Ryan Paxson Marines

• The experts have already done it, so now it’s your turn to try your hand at the SPORTING NEWS’ 1986 Strat-O-Matic season.

• FOOD COURT LUNCH gives us/poetry of star athletes/in lovely haiku.

Al Iannazzone of the BERGEN (NJ) RECORD believes John Calipari should play it smart and stay in school.

Read more…