Brog: ABC Might Want To Freshen Up NBA Display

I’m happy to report that I’m back in Los Angeles for the summer, after five delightful days driving from Miami. First day back, I was at Game 5 of the NBA Finals, which extended the inevitable Boston series triumph by at least one more 48-minute epoch (has a team ever looked worse in a win than Sunday @ Staples?)

Brooks Bill Walton Stephen A Smith

Before the game, I waited for Jerry Buss to pull up with a limo-full of teenie strippers drank in the *electric* atmosphere outside the arena, which featured a chance to admire an embarrassingly outdated display of ABC NBA broadcasters. Best part: Getting to let Stephen A. know how the vast majority of respirating, bipedal NBA fans felt about his past on-air contribution.

Mike Tirico Jeff Van Gundy

The fan photo-op broadcast desk was part of an RV-display that featured cutouts of ABC’s NBA broadcast team, which as you can imagine had passing fans bursting with excitement. One small detail: Smith and Bill Walton aren’t on ABC’s coverage of the NBA Finals.

Staples Center Parking

It’s also nice to see the (Celtics-operated?) Staples-area parking guys weren’t in a mood to gouge Game 5 attendees. Let’s see, buy a quarter-tank of gas, or park for the game?

I traveled around Los Angeles (Pasadena down to Venice) quite a bit yesterday to acquaint myself with how my town was feeling before the game. I was surprised. No car flags, no lines outside of sports bars, no buzz. I know it was Father’s Day, and the Lakers were down 3-1, but I expected at least some excitement around town. But it’s been exceedingly flaccid, especially compared to the early ’90s championship Shaq-n-Kobe era.

Apparently, the country is similarly laissez-faire. The ratings have been better than last year’s putrid numbers, but as Barry Horn of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS wrote, “(ESPN/ABC and the NBA) dreamed of a return to double-digit ratings with Lakers-Celtics, but the numbers have been a disappointment. America knew Michael Jordan. Apparently, Kobe Bryant is no Michael Jordan.

Rocco Mediate as a poker player, from WICKED CHOPS POKER:

Rocco Mediate Poker

More golf coverage after the jump …

Some random thoughts about the golf today:

The AP reports that were no additional tickets sold for Monday’s U.S. Open playoff round at Torrey Pines. Only holders of the weekly ticket package were allowed on the course for the playoff round. The USGA estimates about 42,500 people bought these tickets - with the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE reporting 20,000 showed up for today’s round.

For perspective, “a crowd of 11,600 attended the Retief Goosen-Mark Brooks U.S. Open playoff in ’01 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Funny, I don’t seem to remember that one.

How haggard did Bob Costas look as he pissed off welcomed-in soap opera viewers to NBC’s coverage at 2p ET (ESPN covered the front nine)? And why did he host the trophy presentation? Is NBC trying to tell Dan Hicks something?

Nice to see Rocco Mediate today ditched the flame retardant, Formula One driver-look on Sunday.

After a loud Tiger expletive on the 10th (for which Johnny Miller apologized), you would’ve thought NBC would’ve learned. Nope. Tiger drops a loud G-D coming out of a fairway bunker on the 12th hole.

Notice that NBC gleefully aired commercials during Rocco’s shots, but never missed a Tiger stroke?

It was funny to hear the NBC announcers, on three different occasions, fall all over themselves to point out that the medication that Tiger was taking for his knee - and had referred to himself - was over-the-counter.

Did we really need Hicks telling us every five minutes about the historical significance of Rocco’s ramble?

Who’s asleep at the switch in the NBC truck? First we get no audio from Mediate’s pre-round interview. Then a commercial misfires in the middle of the 18th hole.

Because of Rocco’s advanced age, and in the way NBC covered it, you would’ve thought Mediate died on that last playoff hole. It reminded me of seeing a great movie, and not wanting it to end. Wanting to continue to follow the characters.

I remember wondering recently why people were giving so much run to the comments made by Tampa radio host Steve Duemig about DUI-addled Buccaneer Jerramy Stevens.

Today, Mike Florio of PFT reports that Duemig’s number came up over the weekend - as he was popped for DUI himself.

Dude, no one cares about your new cellphone. Really. I’d actually rather hear about the injuries you’ve endured with your fantasy league team.

I’m the first person to observe that the internet, and blogs, have lead to much-improved coverage of all our favorite sports. Except in the case of Chad Johnson. Completely. Out. Of. Control.

MDS from the too-much-information file on Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall: “I’m Still Wiping My Butt With My Left Hand.

Let’s just hope Alexander Ovechkin, who in a Friday DC ceremony was given the keys to the city, doesn’t hand them over to Putin.

Peter Gammons on Tim Russert: “He didn’t scream. He didn’t interrupt. He allowed those people he interviewed to speak their minds, and then he asked the appropriate questions, and he did so with respect and dignity, and knew too much to argue or to judge.

Russert was the best. But the whole “screamer” cliche about the media, sports and otherwise, is getting tired.

Help me, just who are these screamers? Chris Russo of WFAN is about the only guy who comes to mind now. Maybe Stuart Scott or Chris Berman. And of course, those three are enthusiastically embraced by their main media brethren. And don’t tell me Scott isn’t. He wouldn’t be hosting the NBA Finals coverage if he was an outsider.

Of course, there’s a double standard in how sports media members are evaluated. If you’re a blogger, you’re automatically a irresponsible loose cannon. And if you’re a radio host in a market outside of NY and L.A, you’re automatically a *screamer*. But if you scream on ESPN?, then everything’s peachy.

The man standing between the Yankees and the additional $350M in public funds for their stadium? Dennis Kucinich.

Phil Mushnick of the NEW YORK POST reports:

Last week some Yankees ticket subscribers were surprised to pick up their phones to hear a taped message from Voice of the Yankees, and now head Yankees bill collector, John Sterling: “Hello, Yankee fans, this is John Sterling. . . . According to our records, your ticket license invoice for 2008 All-Star events is past due. If payment is not received immediately, your All-Star tickets will be cancelled.”

But many of those calls were made to patrons who hadn’t ordered tickets. So another Sterling voice mail call was made:

“On behalf of the Yankees organization, I’d like to apologize for a phone message you received in error. Please disregard it.”

An intrusive call that misses the mark? Sounds like Sterling’s “THE Yankeeeeeeeees WINNNN!”

I always chuckle at blogs that merely reprint entire MSM stories and pass them off as posts. The NEW YORK TIMES reports today that the ASSOCIATED PRESS is now objecting to the practice. And Matt Drudge is one of the earlier targets.

I wonder what the AP will do when athletes (and bloggers) break news on their sites and refuse to allow the news service to quote the post?

Congrats to PRO FOOTBALL TALK on being cited as one of TIME’s Top 50 websites. How has a major site or network not offered that guy a big money gig?

Remember Kevin Slaten, the St. Louis sports radio host who was canned for airing live audio from Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, without Duncan’s knowledge?

Slaten is now suing the station that fired him, KFNS, for wrongful termination.

Dan Caesar of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH has some of the bizarre details:

his producer’s attention deficit disorder might have led to confusion before a controversial interview with Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan aired.”

But former KFNS-AM producer Evan Makovsky, who also was fired after the incident, in a recent deposition said, “I don’t believe I misremembered. My ADD had nothing to do [with the situation].”

I actually knew Evan a little when he was a sports radio update anchor in L.A. He was a guy who was always looking to move up in the business. Not sure if this is going to help.