Monday, May 29, 2006

They're Finally Starting To Get It

Pardon the Interruption, ABC, But Nice Work!

First, they announce that Tony Kornheiser will be in the booth for Monday Night Football on ESPN this year, now they've put Michael Wilbon in the studio for the ABC broadcast of tonight's Pistons-Heat game. This is good news because:

• Everyone loves the guys from PTI. We can't get enough of them. Unlike many analysts or experts, they actually have well thought out opinions, and can back them up. For example, Patrick asked Wilbon whether he'd pick D-Wade or LeBron, if given the chance; Wilbon picked D-Wade, citing his defense and greater ability to adjust in-game. I'm not sure I agree, but I find that to be a perfectly acceptable justification.

• People crave analysts who talk about the actual game. Too many times we get stuck with former players who fail to put their Communications majors from college to work and provide platitudes instead of meaningful insight. As a journalist, Wilbon has devoted his career to following the game, and it shows.

• Kornheiser and Wilbon are nothing if not entertaining, and we can always use more entertainment from the booth.

A tip to the other networks. We care more about the informed opinions of guys who have made a career out of following sports. If you're going to continue to shove former players down our throats (NBC, I'm looking at you for the Jerome Bettis signing), then at least instruct them that what we want out of them is insight into what the players are thinking. That's not too much to ask, is it?

A few more game-day thoughts:

• The Pistons appear to be fighting, with players calling out each other and their Coach. Normally not a good sign, but keep in mind they played through the Larry Brown distraction last year and fell mere minutes short of their second straight title.

• Props to ABC for using some more contemporary music (Will Smith, Biggie) to balance out the dated Tom Petty soundtrack that the league chose for the playoffs.

• Props to Dan Patrick for saying how Big Ben Wallace, defending Shaq tonight, needed to "man him up" tonight - the phrase 'man up', which I hear almost exclusively on ESPN Radio, has become one of my favorites. It works in so many situations.

• I love the Heat, mostly because of the Diesel, but I have to think the Pistons take this one. In-fighting or not, they know that their backs are against the wall, and they have too much pride to go out without a fight. I still think we're looking at a Miami-Dallas final, though.

Enjoy the game, and a Happy Memorial Day to our American readers!


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