Alright its 1:40am and I don’t have a lot of time and I’m tired, but I’ll give this a shot.
First of all a thumbs up to TSN. Remember back in September TSN2 was supposed to have a Monday Premier League game, but they pulled out at the last-minute because they realized that ESPN2 was no longer carrying the game, so they didn’t have a feed available to them? Of course that had some people worried that any Monday Premier League game that’s not on ESPN2, won’t be on in Canada. I expected the same thing, so I was shocked that today’s Blackburn-Sunderland game remained on TSN2’s schedule even though ESPN2 wasn’t scheduled to air it in the US. So not only did TSN do a great job at picking up the game, but they paid for the HD feed (ESPN usually saves money by getting a 16:9 SD feed) and they had their own studio show with Cory Worron (I think) hosting. So great job TSN and great job to Martin Tyler, who is the best commentator around.
Another thumbs up to CBC for their coverage of show jumping coverage at the World Equestrian Games on Saturday. I don’t really watch equestrian outside of this event and the Olympics, but the commentators made the format fairly easy to understand. The coverage also looked absolutely great in HD; CBC doesn’t broadcast their Spruce Meadows coverage in HD.
The biggest thumbs down of the weekend goes to Fox who decided it would be a good idea to start using the NFL on Fox theme for their MLB playoff coverage. Now the NFL on Fox theme is just fine (even great) for football coverage, but it should not be used on MLB coverage. And the best reason for that is because the old MLB on Fox theme was one of the best on TV and certainly said “baseball” more so than any other theme. And this song is also not present this year. Once again I expect to hear it when I tune into October baseball and I was disappointed to not hear it on Saturday and Sunday not. I know some people see this as not important, but to me it shows why Fox shouldn’t touch any sports. To me they just aren’t at the level of CBS, NBC and Turner (and even ESPN) when it comes to producing sports coverage.
Now on to my good insight of the weekend. On Sunday Night Football, NBC’s Cris Collinsworth explained that Indianapolis Colts defensive players, such as Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, have to be tremoundously athletic to get around tackles and get to the quarterback. The example that Collinsworth used was that they have to get on an angle with the ground that is only comparable to short track speed skater Apolo Anton-Ohno. Collinsworth did a great job at explaining how these great big defensive players have to be very flexible and athletic.
Unfortunately I don’t actually have any bad comments. I had a busy weekend and I didn’t catch anything too bad. I did hear that NFL on CBS announcer Don Criqui said that a challenge should have been used multiple times inside the final two minutes of a half. Of course all challenges have to come from the booth after the two minute warning.
Finally I am going to give away a weekly (or semi-weekly) award for the best commentary duo of the weekend. This weekend it goes to TBS’s Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling and John Smoltz who are calling the American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. This is Johnson’s first season calling baseball and Smoltz’s first as a fulltime analyst. Darling has worked for TBS and done Mets games for SNY for the past few seasons and he is one of the best. However, nobody really knew what to expect from the newcomers Johnson and Smoltz, but they have been fantastic. TBS’s top crew is better than the top Fox crew of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, and ESPN’s top crew of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan in my opinion. Also the 3-man booth doesn’t work in many cases, but these three work very well together.
Sportsnet Ontario’s broadcast of Maple Leafs-Rangers on Friday night pulled in 920, 000 viewers. So far Leafs games this season have pulled in these numbers
Oct. 7, MTL-TOR, CBC: 1.968 million
Oct. 9, OTT-TOR, CBC: 2.251 million
Oct. 13, TOR-PIT, TSN: 1.26 million
Oct. 15, TOR-NYR, S’Net: 920, 000
I have to say that those are very impressive numbers for all 3 networks. So far the Leafs are gaining lots of interest among their fans. It will be interesting to see if they can keep playing good, which will supply the networks with high ratings.