June 13, 2005 -- SPORTS TV's
bird- brained application of technology should not be blamed
on the technology, but on the applicator. ESPN and ABC put a
radar gun on 11-year-old Little League pitchers, and TV
never had trouble showing goal line plunges until this past
Super Bowl, when Fox put a camera in a pylon.
Ahh, but the discriminating application of technology can
be marvelous. To that end, you're not likely to see a more
telling, fascinating or memorable replay the rest of the
Shortly after Afleet Alex ran away with the Belmont,
Saturday, NBC aired tape of the stretch from a blimp, a shot
from directly overhead. Minimally, it wordlessly told a
story worth one thousand words. And it told a story worth a
maximum of one word: Wow!
We saw Derby winner Giacomo pound to a short lead when,
suddenly, very suddenly, Afleet Alex just flew past and kept
going. And going.
Occasionally, sports' most worn clichés sound fresh. And
the racetrack cliché for Afleet Alex's stretch run, "It was
as if the other horses were standing still," could not be
This shot from directly overhead, did make it
appear as if the other horses were standing still. And the
judicious application of technology, compared to its usual
application, can make TV look as if it's going backwards.
From the sublime to the absurd: ABC was all over an
unusually ugly episode in the PGA event from Congressional
yesterday. Tempestuous Rory Sabbatini, a fast player
who was clearly upset with playing partner Ben Crane
for slow play, showed Crane his rude side, putting out of
turn, then storming off the 17th green.
Commentator Paul Azinger, shocked by what he was
watching, said what all viewers were thinking: It would be
interesting to see if the two shook hands after the round.
But as they finished the 18th, ABC, incredibly, cut to a
crowd shot, returning to the 18th green as their handshake
Tom Seaver's weekend work on Ch. 11's Mets
telecasts continues to be tough to take. He says something —
anything — to sound as if he's on top of things.
Yesterday, after home plate ump Eric Cooper tossed
Mike Piazza, and after admitting that he had no idea
what Piazza had said to Cooper, Seaver continued to insist
that Cooper was completely in the wrong. And he reasoned
that Cooper's six years in the majors weren't enough to
correctly respond to such situations.
Later, after David Wright scored on a tag play,
Seaver dismissed the Angels' gripe, claiming that Wright had
scored "easily," when the live and taped evidence showed the
play to be close. And you get stuff like that from Seaver,
every few minutes.
On HBO's "Costas Now," Friday, Bob Costas led a
chat among Phil Simms, Tom Brokaw and Mark
Cuban about how sports talk radio has elevated
incivility among hosts and callers, and how, said Costas, it
is predominated by a simple-mindedness that stresses
"glorification or vilification."
Simms agreed, telling of how sitting in the stands at a
Rutgers football game last year opened his eyes and ears to
how vulgar and hateful fans had become.
But as CBS's highly respected lead NFL analyst, Simms has
the clout to exact changes. He could urge CBS to stop
displaying every drunken showoff in the stands, to stop
promoting the biggest idiots as the best fans.
Brokaw agreed with Costas and Simms. Times have changed,
and for the worse, he said. Yet, Brokaw frequently
volunteers to be on Don Imus' radio show, one that,
long before the proliferation of sports talk radio, relied
on vulgar name-calling, vilification and defamation.
And Cuban, whose attention-starved misdeeds have made him
stand out among all team owners, agreed with Costas, Simms
Even the most learned sportscasters allow stats to
destroy reality. Howie Rose, during Saturday's
Angels-Mets on WFAN, reported that the Red Sox scored twice
in the top of the ninth, but lost to the Cubs, 7-6.
After noting that closer Ryan Dempster got the
save, Rose said that Dempster "has really solidified that
Pitching the ninth, Dempster had allowed three hits and
two earned runs.
Nunziato, on the outrageously inaccurate portrayal of
Max Baer as a murderous creep in the movie Cinderella
Man: "I wonder how Ron Howard will feel if they make
him out to be a coke-snorting whore monger, for the sake of
dramatic purposes, in 'The Erin Moran Story?' "