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Posts Tagged ‘Cam Newton’

Jags Coach Visits Ailing Bills Reporter

Allen Wilson of The Buffalo News has been battling chronic leukemia for more than three years. The longtime Buffalo sports columnist is being treated at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, where he’s awaiting a bone-marrow transplant. He was recently visited by an unexpected guest: Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio.

Del Rio was in Buffalo for a preseason game against the Bills, and when he heard about Wilson’s condition through a mutual friend, he paid Wilson a surprise visit. Bucky Gleason, a fellow reporter for The Buffalo News, said Del Rio’s gesture was much appreciated, and he thanked him in his Sunday column.

I planned to wait around for Del Rio after his news conference Saturday night to tell him how much he meant to several people, but work pulled me away. Deadlines are deadlines. What can I say?

Well, Jack, thank you for your care and class. Thank you for being one of many sports figures who visit hospitals or volunteer their time without asking for anything in return. Thank you for being much like the person you visited, a big man, a kind man, a teddy bear.

You don’t know me, but I think the world of you no matter your record. Guys like you deserve a Super Bowl. We’re rooting for something greater.

And it just a got a little dusty in here.


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Fiesta Bowl Moved Up To Jan. 2

With the NFL lockout resolved, the 2012 Fiesta Bowl has been moved up from Jan. 5 to Jan. 2.

The BCS originally left the evening of Jan. 2 free in case the NFL had to push their season back due to the lockout.

The Fiesta Bowl will now be played right after the Rose Bowl, which is on Jan. 2 next year because New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday.



Kalas Statue Unveiled in Philly

A statue of the late beloved Philadelphia sportscaster Harry Kalas was unveiled Tuesday evening near the restaurant bearing Kalas’ name at Citizens Bank Park. His son, Kane, was on hand for the unveiling, which took place when Phillies icon Steve Carlton and current Phillie Jimmy Rollins pulled away a maroon cloth. The statue shows Kalas with a big smile, microphone in hand.

“The statue is perfect,” Kane Kalas said. “With the loafers and the sports jacket, and the detail, and the precision on it…When they unveiled it, I could not believe it. It’s such a beautiful thing.”

After the unveiling, Eddie Bruce sang “High Hopes” by Frank Sinatra, the song Kalas used to sing after momentous Phillies victories. Kalas died on April 13, 2009, just hours before the Phillies were to play the Nationals in Washington.

(Photo: The Daily Record)

Kovalev Arrives in Russia and Criticizes Ottawa Hockey Writers

Former Ottawa Senators right wing Alexei Kovalev has bolted the NHL and decided to ply his wares in Russia’s KHL. During an interview with journalists in his native Russia, Kovalev had some choice words for hockey writers who’ve covered his career. The highlights: Kovalev said many Ottawa hockey writers make up stuff because they’re underpaid. Oh, and they pack their suitcases with beer.

Q. You have a reputation that Kovalev may be excellent in one game, and the next game you cannot see him.

KOVALEV: “One journalist wrote it when I was still playing in New York, and then it all started. There are such reporters, who don’t watch hockey, don’t understand it – but they will still say that Kovalev doesn’t give his all. That he plays whenever he wants. They are short on their own opinion.”

Obviously this meaning of “short on their own opinion” is lost in translation. At any rate, we feel safe in saying it’s not a compliment.

What do you remember from your years in the NHL?

“A lot has happened – there were falls and rises… Sometimes you sit down and play back your career in your head. In principle, I am happy.

“And the fact I am criticized… There are different journalists. My opinion of Ottawa journalists is that they don’t watch hockey at all. When they fly with the team and go through the [metal detector] at an airport, their bags are filled with beer. You realize right away what these people do when they write about the NHL.

Busted with beer at the security screening? That’s kind of awesome.

“Let them make up nonsense about me. But I am happy with what I have done. I have played not for myself but for the team and fans. Teammates have never said a bad word about me. Fans are happy. I am approached on the street in Montreal, New York and told one thing: ‘Don’t take the bad to your head. We always support and love you. You’re the best.’

“Words like that warm your soul.”

I can see that you are fed up with Canadian media.

“I am annoyed when people write [nonsense]. Figuratively speaking, to earn half a hundred dollars they are ready to make up some garbage. But they show that they’re doing their job.”

Half a hundred bucks? Are they hiring?

I understand that you don’t read any sports media…

“Only sometimes. If you’re interested in an athlete. Or you know the journalist who wrote something and who you trust. And it Ottawa they liked to channel their anger on hockey players. Regardless of how you played, they will certainly dump dirt on you and the team.”

Kovalev, 38, won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994 and was the MVP of the 2009 NHL All-Star Game. He was the first Russian player drafted in the first round of the NFL draft (1994).

(H/T to Puck Daddy)

Biopic Planned on Life of MMA Fighter Rich Franklin

Rich Franklin transformed himself from family man and high school math teacher into one of mixed martial arts best fighters, and Franklin’s rise to the top of the UFC will now serve as the basis for a Hollywood movie, American Fighter.

Eric Eisner‘s Double E Pictures and Motion Theory have optioned the life rights to Franklin’s story, and hired David Hollander (The Cleaner, The Guardian) to write the script. Eisner will produce the movie with Motion Theory’s Sean Sorensen. The biopic will also trace the rise of MMA as a billion-dollar, worldwide sports phenomenon.

“I’m excited to see the story of my career as a fighter brought to the screen, and I feel confident that the team assembled will do a great job in telling this story,” Franklin said.

Eisner said, “This is a truly inspirational story that we are excited to tell.”

Rogers Launching National Canadian Sports Mag

Rogers Communications Inc., the Toronto-based media conglomerate whose holdings include the Toronto Blue Jays and numerous print, electronic and cable television involvements, announced Thursday it is launching a national, twice-monthly sports magazine.

Sportsnet will tap the resources of Rogers’ all-sports television channels and radio stations while calling on its experience in magazine publishing, which includes such titles as Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Flare and Canadian Business.

“You need a certain amount of scale,” said Ken Whyte, executive vice-president of consumer publishing with Rogers Publishing. “I wouldn’t want to be a stand-alone publisher trying to launch a sports magazine.”

Sportsnet will debut in the fall with a circulation of 100,000 copies, and will be available by subscription and on newsstands. It will focus on major professional leagues and top amateur events. Among some of its big name hires: Toronto Star columnist Damien Cox and the Globe and Mail‘s Stephen Brunt and Jeff Blair.

(Source: The Toronto Star)

Pro Football Talk: ESPN wrongly claims Locker cost himself $50 million

In an E:60 story about University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker, ESPN claims Locker would have been the surefire No. 1 pick in 2010 if he’d left school a year early, a decision E:60 correspondent Lisa Salters says cost him $50 in guaranteed money.

“Last year he was projected to be the No. 1 pick, but in one of those rare moves, he decided to go back for his senior season,” Salters said. “That worked out OK for Sam Bradford, because he ended up being the No. 1 pick.”

The producer of the segment, Andy Tennant, added, “Bradford got $50 million guaranteed last year. This guy left $50 million on the table, and there’s no way possible that he doesn’t regret this decision.”

Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk says the narrative ESPN has created here is disingenuous. Smith notes, “the NFL’s draft advisory board didn’t even give Locker a first-round grade when he inquired about where he might have gone in the 2010 draft.”

But why let that tidbit get in the way of a good story? Kid, you cost your family $50 million! Hope you had fun playing another year of beer pong.

“ESPN apparently thought it was making its E:60 profile more dramatic by portraying Locker as a man who gave up a surefire $50 million, but the reality is just the opposite: ESPN weakened its own story by portraying Locker as something he’s not.”

NBA Playoffs Viewership Up On ESPN, ABC

Coverage of the NBA Playoffs on ABC has averaged 5,844,000 viewers through three postseason broadcasts, an increase of 27 percent over 4,601,000 for the same time period last year, according to Nielsen.

The 3.7 rating is a 23 percent improvement over last year’s 3.0 rating and the 4,236,000 household impressions are up 22 percent as well (3,463,000 in 2010).

The corresponding 4,236,000 household impressions are up 22 percent compared to 3,463,000 in 2010 and the 3.7 rating is a 23 percent improvement over last year’s 3.0 rating. Read more

Mushnick: ESPN’s K-zone is ‘insulting’

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post really pulls no punches when it comes to ESPN, of whom he says, “(T)here is no bad-to-awful idea that is so bad or so awful that the Worldwide Leader In Sports won’t embrace it — then hammer it to death. ”

His latest source of vitriol is the K-Zone feature, which ESPN uses during baseball telecasts to show whether or not a pitch was in the strike zone. This apparently is going too far.

“The K box serves the dual purpose of being annoying and misleading. It asks us to consider balls and strikes as seen in one, faulty dimension. This isn’t stickball, you geniuses! Yet, ESPN’s has painted a strike box to a virtual handball wall to help us grasp big league baseball!

Stop wrecking these telecasts! Please! If fans wanted to watch pitches thrown toward a box in front of the catcher, teams would dangle one from a hook behind home plate. Let us watch the games. That’s all we’ve ever asked.”

I don’t know, count me among the viewers who actually likes to know if an umpire is making the right calls. Oftentimes my initial impression of a pitch is incorrect. I haven’t watched every ESPN baseball telecast this season, but I don’t remember them using the K-zone on every pitch – only the borderline pitches. This bears further study.

ESPN set to honor 50th anniversary of Wide World of Sports

Long before ESPN came to dominate the sports television landscape, the weekly catnip for sports enthusiasts was ABC’s Wide World of Sports, with its “thrill of victory and agony of defeat.” Starting Friday ESPN will honor the Wide World of Sports with a week-long, wide-ranging series across ESPN’s many platforms, most notably ESPN Classic, which will air 29 consecutive hours of classic WWOS clips starting Thursday, April 28.

ESPN and ABC are both owned by Disney.

“Two generations of sports fans grew up on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, were introduced to the broad diversity that is sport and will never forget the opening words and visuals that defined its mission,” said John Skipper, ESPN executive president, content. “The legacy of Wide World also lies in the blueprint that became ESPN and lives on in what we do every day, serving fans and a broad range of tastes with innovation.”

Highlights of the series are below. Here is a full listing of programs.

Mon., April 25

7 a.m. Â   Arnold Schwarzenegger wins Mr. Olympia, mountain climbing with Bobby Kennedy.

10 p.m. Â   A review of daredevil Evel Knievel’s famous motorcycle jumps.

11 p.m. Â   Howard Cosell and Muhammad Ali discuss the boxer’s career.

Tue., April 26

9 p.m. Â   Displaying the show’s variety, highlights include track & field from Russia, U.S. volleyball in Cuba, gymnastics in China, soap box derby in Akron, Ohio, rattlesnake roundup and cutterhorse racing

11 p.m. Â   More with Ali, his 1975 fights w/Chuck Wepner, Ron Lyle and Joe Frazier in the last of their trilogy.

Wed., April 27

8 p.m.   More from the “constant variety of sports” – hydroplane racing, skateboarding championships and ice boat racing.

Thurs., April 28

9 p.m.   1968 Dune Buggy Championships, 1965, ’66 and ’68 Reno Air Races, with a crash by the “Red Baron,” Steve Hinton

11 p.m.   A series of interviews with Howard Cosell talking to Ali, Wilt Chamberlain, Pete Rozelle, Joe Namath, Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Fri., April 29

12 a.m.   The first Wide World of Sports – Drake Relays and Penn Relays

9 p.m.   WWOS 30th Anniversary Special, hosted by Jim McKay

10:30 p.m. WWOS 35th Anniversary Special, hosted by Robin Roberts