Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ICYMI: Royals Win Best New MLB Wildcard Game Ever


This was a great baseball game with some odd decisions....

The Kansas City Royals won their first playoff game in nearly 30 years Tuesday night in one of the most improbably ways ever.

The Royals beat the Oakland A's 9-8 in 12 innings. The game was won by Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez. His single was a walk-off winner.

Part of the 40,000 plus fans at a sold-out Kaufman Stadium are probably still there celebrating as the Royals will move on to the Division Playoffs to fact the Los Angeles Angels.

The game featured the A's going up 7-3 as late as the 6th inning. And they took a 8-7 lead in the 11th inning, but Kansas City fought back.

The other feature of the game was a highly questionable decision by Royals manager Ned Yost.

When staring pitcher James Shields began to wear down and struggle in the 6th, Yost skipped his strong relief corps and brought in starting pitcher Yordani Ventura to face Brandon Moss who'd already hit a homer during the game.

Ventura threw a straight fastball that Moss parked over the outfield wall.

But the resilient Royals kept fighting and got the win. And that's all that matters.

Here's your walk off from Perez:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

FCC Ends NFL Blackout Rule

Congratulations NFL fan, you can now watch your hometown team on TV whether or not they sell out their game.

The FCC put an end to the 39-year old NFL Broadcast rule Tuesday morning with a unanimous 5-0 vote.

The ruling was put in place in 1975 to help the league which at the time got most of their profit from people going to games. It was an easy way to force people to attend if they wanted to see their teams games. The league now gets most of their profit from broadcast rights.

The vote however was a bit symbolic--it means the government no longer supports the NFL doing it. But they can still enforce it and keep the rule as a part of their TV contracts. And they more than likely will.

However legislation is already in the works that would require them to do it or lose their anti-trust exemption. And in the long run, we suspect they will cave. Essentially, this means celebrate, but realize you may not see the blackouts end for a couple of years.

The NFL has always argued that having empty seats might hurt their image and that they might have to move their games to pay TV if the blackout rule ended.

Don't bet on that happening.

The NFL already has issues with empty seats at their games. Yeah, sure, they announce tickets purchased as their attendance figures rather than butts in seats, but if you watch, most games are not exactly 100% full.

And as for TV, the ratings on free TV still dwarf anything they'd get on cable or Pay Per View. The outcry if they did that would further the already negative public image they currently hold.

That's not to say they won't try it at some point, we think they will. But there will be pushback. More than they probably think there will be.

Oh No! TBS Baseball Guy's do a "Boom Goes the Dynamite" Parody


For many of us in the world of TV Sports, this local TV sportscast by Brian Collins is arguably one of the most awkward segments in history.

In 2005, it was one of the early "Viral Videos" that now populate the Internets..

For some reason, which we guess the promo department at TBS Sports would have to explain, the folks doing the Major League Baseball playoffs decided they would spoof it with it's team of analysts including Ron Darling, Cal Ripken Jr., Gary Sheffield and Pedro Martinez.

Granted it is pretty funny, but that's because we are familiar with the original. But many of you probably aren't. And if we have to qualify or explain the set-up to the joke to you, chances are it's not that funny or missing the intended audience.

And that's our TV marketing lecture for the day...

Here's the TBS Promo, it's

NFL Admits Refs Erred on Penalty for Prayer

The NFL admits that the referees in Monday nights Kansas City vs. New England game made a mistake when they penalized Chiefs DB Husain Abdullah for praying after he scored a TD on an interception return.

Abdullah and the Chiefs were penalized 15-yards for an unsportsman like conduct penalty after he slid to his knees and bowed down in the end zone for a brief Muslim prayer.

The NFL rulebook says "Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground".

But the league also said that rule should not apply to expressions of religious freedom.

The call did not have any affect on the game, the Chiefs obliterated the hapless Patriots 41-14 in Kansas City.

Our pals at the 4-letter won't embed the highlights, so we had to search for video of said celebration. It's vertical video, but video never the less...

Monday, September 29, 2014

OTL: Jovan Belcher's Brain Had CTE Traces

((HT: ESPN-OTL/Delsohn))

Steve Delsohn's story on the two years since the death of Kansas City Chief Jovan Belcher, really, is no surprise.

In 2012, Belcher would kill his wife and child in the early morning hours of December 1st. The ensuing investigation after the exhuming of his body yielded the possibility of the Tau protein in his brain that is an indicator of CTE.

The hook from Delsohn:

If it can be shown that Belcher did have CTE, Belcher's daughter and mother, together, would be eligible for up to $4 million under the proposed concussion settlement between the NFL and former players. Furthermore, the lawyers representing Belcher's daughter have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Chiefs on her behalf. Belcher's mother, with different attorneys, filed an almost identical suit.

Here's discussion of the lawsuit at the time
((HT: KCPT))

Word was that Belcher's mother had the idea that her son's brain should be examined to determine if concussions could have been a cause or "the" cause in the behavior Jovan Belcher exhibited in, eventually, killing Kasandra Perkins and his 3-month-old daughter.

Scott Pioli was the Chiefs GM at the time and was standing in front of Belcher when he committed suicide. He addressed the subject at the Roman Numeral Classic after the year was over.
((HT: Dan Patrick Show))

Dwyer Formally Charged With Hitting His Wife

Arizona Cardinals RB Jonathan Dwyer has been charged with 9 counts- involving assaulting his wife in two separate incidents in July. The final tally is felony aggravated assault and eight misdemeanors, including assault, criminal damage and disorderly conduct.

Investigators say Dwyer broke his wife's nose with a head-butt during the first argument and he allegedly punched his wife and threw a shoe at his 17-month-old son the next day.

Dwyer was booked September 17th on "suspicion of aggravated assault" against his son, but the indictment didn't have any charges related to any incident with him- just the nine with his wife.

Police in the Phoenix area also think that the first incident involving Dwyer and his wife centered around the notion that she didn't like apparent contact between Dwyer and another woman.

Lester Munson discusses the legal stuff
((HT: ESPN))

The next hearing involving Dwyer is set for October 6th in Phoenix.

Tony Stewart Speaks Publicly For 1st Time Since Ward Incident

NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and team owner Tony Stewart spoke publicly Monday morning for the first time since the August incident that changed his life.

Stewart has been mostly a recluse since a dirt track car he was driving collided with driver Kevin Ward Jr. who got out of his car after a spin out at an upstate New York track.

There were tons of questions as to whether Stewart deliberately hit Ward or if it was just an accident. Ontario County, New York prosecutors investigated what happened and presented their evidence to a Grand Jury and that Jury came back just last week and said they could not move forward with charges.

A subdued Stewart sat alone at a podium and took questions from a large group of assembled media types:

--Stewart: "I know what happened and I know it was an accident"

--Stewart said he would like to talk to the Ward family, but does not think he needs to because he has closure in the matter. Though he added he would make himself available at any time if the family wants to talk.

--He described the awkward feeling of not doing anything other than going from the track to his track motorhome to his office and his home and nothing else. And that he ran the smaller tracks for fun, it helped keep him energized and he misses that.

--He's not done any fan appearances or corporate appearances since the incident, though he does feel like he will begin to do some in the near future.

--He also talked at length about realizing there is more to life than just racing and that he needs to round things out and do more of things he's put on hold because of his devotion to racing.

--Stewart said he avoided reading reports of what happened for a long time but has eventually started reading. He talked about the wrongness of "picking sides" at what happened. He said it's about an accident that cost a man his life adding "picking sides" takes away from Ward and himself.

--"There's been nothing normal about my life the past 7-weeks". Stewart describing what he's been doing and his interaction with his race team and others.

--Stewart was asked his thoughts on toxicology reports stating Ward was "under the influence"--"It didn't matter to me a young driver lost his life and that's all that mattered".

No huge revelations in the press conference and we did not expect any. A somber Stewart related what he's been going through and it's VERY clear this has made a huge impact on his life.

While he says what happened has not impacted the back half of his race season, the fact is it had to have some impact.

It's very clear, at least to us, Stewart has been struggling with this. He's also having to deal with Ward's family calling for more action and insisting that what happened was intentional.

Coming out and addressing the issue at hand at one time was perhaps the best thing he and his team could have done. We know he's been avoiding having to talk about it, and doing it with everyone in the building limits him having to be chased and asked about it in perpetuity.

It was very interesting to see...and hear.