On this August 8th, 2011 (well probably August 9th by the time anyone reads this), I think it is a good idea to look back, before I look forward for Monday Morning Commentator. Enjoy.
- It was 3 years ago today that the Beijing Olympics began with a spectacular Opening Ceremony. I remember waking up at 7:00am to watch the Ceremony at 8am. I still hold the opinion that it was one of the best Olympic Games I’ve ever seen, tied with Sydney 2000. A lot of late nights, early mornings and all-nighters during Beijing 2008 for me. CBC and TSN combined for spectacular TV coverage as well. It will be interesting to see what London (and CTV) can counter with next year. London didn’t look too interesting to me at first, but after seeing some of the venues, I’m a bit more excited.
- Now on to the present day. The 2011 Rogers Cup began in Toronto and Montreal today. This is truly an historic year for Canada’s national tennis tournament. The two events in Toronto and Montreal are virtually combined, taking place in the same week. Sportsnet is showing coverage of both of them at the same time. Tomorrow afternoon East, Ontario and Pacific will focus on the women’s tournament, while One and West will focus on the men’s. I’m really enjoying the ability to flip back and forth. ESPN plans on a similar idea using ESPN and ESPN2 during the second week of Wimbledon beginning next year.
- I’ve also been quite impressed by Sportsnet’s commentators. Gerry Dobson and Rob Faulds are more than serviceable play-by-play commentators. To me, Dobson doesn’t shine calling soccer. However, he reaches his full potential when calling sports like alpine skiing and rowing. The same applies to Faulds, who, in my opinion, isn’t a very good hockey commentator. However, he was spectacular doing sliding sports in Vancouver and has been very good so far calling tennis in Montreal. The only TSN commentator who I liked on their tennis coverage recently was Brian Williams. Rod Black was terrible.
- Faulds has already been given the job of calling rowing and canoe/kayak sprint at the 2012 London Games. I expect that Gerry Dobson and RJ Broadhead will be among those Sportsnet personalities in London next year as well. Sportsnet has put their top guys, aside from Jamie Campbell who is busy with baseball, on the Rogers Cup. Brad Fay, who is hosting the Rogers Cup, will host Sportsnet’s Olympic Primetime next year. I hope Dobson gets a prime sport like cycling or triathlon.
- It looks like CTV’s canoe/kayak crew of Rob Faulds and Larry Cain will get a trial run for London at the World Canoe/Kayak Sprint Championships in Szeged, Hungary in a couple weeks’ time. This year’s Worlds are the main qualifying event for London 2012. Sportsnet will show coverage on Friday August 19 from 7-8:30pm, Saturday August 20 from 3-4pm ET and Sunday August 21 from 2-3pm ET (the Sunday broadcast on Ontario only, delayed in other areas). In other amateur sports, CBC will provide coverage of the World Athletics Championships and World Rowing Championships in coming weeks. More to come on those later.
- Many have been asking why Farhan Lalji called the Roughriders-Lions game on Friday night. A family member of Chris Cuthbert’s passed away, forcing Cuthbert to miss the game on short notice. That put Lalji in the tough situation of calling a game on short notice. I thought he did an okay job everything considered. Of course my thoughts are with Chris and his family in what I know must have been a tough weekend.
- Ex-Tiger Woods caddie Steve Williams made himself look like one of the biggest assholes in recent memory Sunday afternoon. He completely took the spotlight away from Adam Scott, you know, the guy who actually won the World Golf Championship event at Firestone County Club. Some people are blaming CBS for interviewing him. I see no problem with CBS interviewing him. My problem was with the things he said the second he had the opportunity.
- Setanta Sports Canada, including the HD channel where available, will be on free preview for the first month of the Barclays Premier League season. The preview will begin on Friday August 12 and end on Tuesday September 13. Included in the free preview will be 12 live Barclays Premier League Games, 5 live UEFA Champions League ties, matches from the Scottish Premier League, Football League Championship, National Rugby League, Super League, ITM Cup, Currie Cup and rugby friendlies in advance of September’s World Cup.
- Sportsnet One will show the final of the Canadian Little League Baseball Championship this weekend. Saturday afternoon at 4pm ET.
- You may have noticed that TSN doesn’t have any Barclays Premier League or UEFA Champions League matches listed on their website, even though their deals for both properties extend through the end of this year. I assume it is just a typo, albeit a massive one. I’ll have an update later this week. RDS has Barclays Premier League matches listed, but no UEFA Champions League. I believe they lost those matches to TVA over the summer.
- As I mentioned, 3 years ago today CBC began coverage of what was their final Olympics to date. Here is the spectacular montage they played during their Closing Ceremony coverage. Brings back many good Olympic memories for all of us.