8:30 PM The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle notes that the Rochester Red Wings were the last American baseball team to play in Cuba before the U.S. embargo began in 1960. The July 25 game against the Havana Sugar Kings ended in a 3-3 tie after fans began firing weapons to celebrate Fidel Castro's revolution.
I think we can all agree that mankind was just pretty much creeping along in the dark until we developed the ability to project TV pundits as holograms. This idea is nothing new, of course - CNN was using it during Presidential election coverage, and Walt Disney populated his Disneyland Haunted House ride with ghost holograms in the 1960s. But now it’s ESPN’s turn.
Debuting a gimmick that they will in no way overuse and beat into the ground within a week, the WWL demonstrated its new hologram capabilities in a demonstration they dubbed “the ultimate interview,” featuring Chris Berman, Bob Ley and ESPN executive vice president of technology Chuck Pagano, all seen above. Now ESPN correspondents can be “beamed in” during live studio broadcasts, saving the networks thousands in … well, will it save anything? What’s the difference between that and a split screen? Let ESPN explain.
Big news today, as ESPN announces that as part of its 30th anniversary, it will honor long-time employees with a Walk of Fame at their Bristol campus. Just slightly less prestigious than the one in Hollywood, this Walk of Fame will feature a freshman class of 43 staffers, all of whom have been with the network since its first year. Except for that poor guy who Berman screamed at that time; he’s living in the jungle in the Philippines.
We wonder, will new ESPN employees be hazed for stepping on Bob Ley’s star? Who will clean the spit and vegetable matter from Dick Vitale’s? And what other commemorative attraction ideas were considered before the Walk of Fame was approved? Top rejected ESPN 30th anniversary ideas: Read more…
The Worldwide Leader dropped the bomb around midnight that Terrell Owens, whose given name could be Mercurial T. Owens, has been let go by the Dallas Cowboys. Clearly, anticipated chemistry issues with Jon Kitna forced the move. Kitna is on the record as preferring Sweet’n'Low while Owens is all about the Equal.
(”Ha ha ha ha… pack your stuff.”)
On SportsCenter last night, ESPN’s Michael Smith reported there would be significant financial penalties for the Cowboys to cut Owens as much of his 4-year, $34 million contract signed less than a year ago is guaranteed cash. We hope this means Owens will continue to have at least twenty million reasons to come back to camp this summer.
(Note to ESPN: Neil Everett is monumentally awful at ad-libbing. Never tell us how cool it is to be the one on the dais when news breaks. When a big story hits, break the glass on Bob Ley. Surprisingly good: Stuart Scott. Also, how did Ed Werder not break this story?)
(Note 2 to ESPN: Please remind Keyshawn Johnson that Charlie Manson comparisons may be a bit dated, not to mention a little racy.)
In brighter news, the Cleveland Cavaliers claimed the first musical chair in the Longines Symphonette that is the NBA playoffs with a 91-73 triumph at home against Milwaukee. The Cavaliers move to 48-12, which is exactly how LeBron James hopes his Knicks career starts in two years. (We kid, Cleveland, we kid.)
Then, when the Van Gundy with the honest living fussed about the sad little move, there was a Shaqhissy, captured on Miami’s 790 THE TICKET by Jorge Sedano and reproduced below in the popular MP3 format:
None of this, of course, helped the Suns win in Orlando or Miami. The Suns dropped their second Florida game in the “He Hate Me” series of former O’Neal teams last night in Miami, 135-129. No defense in here anywhere.
We feel compelled to note again that Shaq’s a complicated fellow. We recently saw him encourage his kids post-game to say hello to a fragile 7′ 6″ teen that sat near courtside after being featured on the local news the previous night. This was done under the stands with little fanfare, maybe a few dozen witnesses and none from the media.
When his young son was too shy to do so and tried to hide under Dad’s massive jacket, Shaq gently insisted until his son shook the adolescent hand. Shaq could relate to the teen’s condition better than nearly anyone on the planet and made sure that young man felt welcome. Also, Shaq showed his own son the importance of graciousness.
Shaq makes that gesture damned near every day of his life, often without credit. He’s also the same man that made the comments to the media above. He may have been compared to a meteorite by this author yesterday, but not in the most important way: Shaquille O’Neal is a force of nature. Try to comprehend him at your own risk.
Same for Terrell Owens. Same for LeBron James. Maybe not so much for Jon Kitna.
The biggest news out of the NHL trade deadline: Olli Jokinen moves from Calgary to Phoenix for a pretty bauble or three, allowing him to work for a team that has a half-decent chance of being solvent next season.