There is a bunch of things going on in the area of TV sports that you may have missed. First of all, it seems as if the Best Damn Sports Show Period
is going to make some appearances on the FOX over-the-air network and not just on cable; so to make it a bit more "mainstream", they are changing the
name to Best Darn Sports Show Period.
Excuse me, FOX is worried that the word "damn" might be a bit outre in the midst of its other programming? That's like Rasheed Wallace criticizing a
teammate for getting a technical foul. But I guess that FOX does not want to take any chances of running afoul of the FCC and its cultural watchdogs.
But here's what I want to know:
Why aren't the "truth in labeling" laws and regulations applicable here? If they were, wouldn't FOX have to change the word "Best"?
I read that Dick Vitale has extended his contract with ESPN through the end of the 2012 NCAA basketball season. As long as I have a mute button on my
remote, Dick Vitale does not bother me at all. However, I do need to warn everyone here to check their remotes and be sure that the volume controls
and the mute buttons are fully functional and that you have spare batteries just in case. ESPN is now employing Dick Vitale AND they are giving
Stephen A. Smith his own show. That should keep all members of the National Association of Otologists at full employment...
The Stanley Cup Finals last year averaged a 2.6 rating on network TV (ABC) and a 1.2 rating on cable TV (ESPN). That was for the Stanley Cup Finals,
ladies and gentlemen. Based on a report I just read, that means that as far as TV is concerned, the NHL is not even the most popular TV show on ice
because back in December 2004, the "Brian Boitano Holiday Skating Spectacular" pulled down a 2.8 rating. Even though not all the NBA's games can beat
that "Brian Boitano Holiday Skating Spectacular" number, at least the games deep into the playoffs will beat it. But please recall this benchmark in
about three weeks when the NBA All-Star Weekend is happening and David Stern tells you that everything is blue skies and green lights for the business
of the NBA. Sorry, it's just not the case.
Arena Football started last weekend on NBC; this is the third year that Arena Football is on that network. Although its ratings are only in the 1.0
range, Arena Football can boast something that the NFL and MLB and the NBA and the NHL cannot. The network that puts Arena Football on the air is
making a profit on Arena Football while all the networks are losing money on all the other sports properties. The network had one of those "no rights
fees/revenue sharing" deals with the AFL for the last two years but the details of the television agreement for this year seem to be vague. I wonder
what will happen if the ratings change dramatically - in either direction?
I told you a while back that the Nashville Rhythm in the ABA had a young woman as its coach and that she was doing very well in the early part of the
season. In fact, the Rhythm was 10 games over .500 last time I looked. Coach Ashley McElhiney, however, was fired by the Rhythm last weekend in an
incident so bizarre that I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt by merely calling it bizarre. Sally Anthony is the CEO of the Rhythm and one of the
co-owners. Anthony and McElhiney got into an argument on the court in the third quarter of a game where Anthony reportedly tried to fire McElhiney on
the spot. Security guards escorted Anthony from the court and the game managed to find a way to come to an end - the Rhythm won by a point - and then
McElhiney got fired. Did I hear anyone ask what precipitated all of this? Glad you asked...
It seems that team management and ownership signed a player, Matt Freije, for two games and paid him $10,000. That's much closer to what an NBA player
makes instead of an ABA player but hey, that's what owners can choose to do if they want. Then, Anthony told McElhiney that he was not to play in this
game. That is not a typo, Anthony said that she called McElhiney with that explicit instruction and McElhiney ignored it and put Freije in the game.
So Anthony stormed the court and told McElhiney that she [Anthony] was the boss and Freije had to come out of the game. Evidently, it did not go down
the way Ms. Anthony wanted and McElhiney was fired.
Why would a team whose players are described by Anthony as "struggling financially" go out and sign a player for two games at $10,000 and then not
have him play to earn his money? Well, he did go to Vanderbilt; and evidently, someone thought that having his name on the roster would be a plus for
the team. Whatever. But then this thing spun out of control when the coach came up with this unbelievably wacky idea that she might actually put that
player on the bench into the game in an attempt to win the game. Wow, that's breakthrough thinking! I'm sure there is an explanation for all of this
here; I'm also sure that I would not be able to follow it the first time it was explained to me and so I'd need to have this on videotape so I can
rewind it and go through it several times -- slowly.
Meanwhile, the University of Calgary is in the midst of a pioneering study to determine why women flashed their breasts to fans of the Calgary Flames
during the NHL playoffs last year. Professor Mary Valentich is involved in this study and she says that the celebratory mood in the city at the time
may have had something to do with this behavior but she notes that not everyone did it. She also notes that beer consumption may have been a part of
the motivation felt by these women; but again, not everyone who had a beer flashed the crowd. She said that these women got a lot of publicity - some
of it very unwanted - as photos appeared all over the Internet. Dr. Valentich said that there were definitely "gender role issues here". I won't
pretend to understand all of the intricacies that will emerge from the analysis of the data here, but I'm thinking that there will be a reasonable
correlation between beer consumption and flashing. It won't be the whole story, but I'm not going to buy into any conclusion that tries to say that it
was no part of the story.
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
"Fate Patterson, convicted of jogging naked for months in West Memphis neighborhoods, has been sentenced to a year in jail and fined $1,000 by a judge
in Tennessee, The Associated Press reported. "Too late for Fate, but there's a moral to this story: 'Tis better to get a jogging suit for your
birthday, than use a birthday suit for your jogging."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon