It may not get the attention from the television industry that the primetime Emmy Awards do but the movers and shakers of the sports world came out last week to honor their own at the Sports Emmy Awards.
Katie Nolan, who picked up an Emmy for her popular social media videos, is known for her quick wit and her vast knowledge of sports while possessing a girl next door attractiveness. When I asked her why Fox Sports executives hadn’t integrated her into either their MLB or NFL pregame shows she answered, “That may be in the works. I am happy that my career is growing in a steady manner. For me to get higher profile assignments though I may have to relocate to Los Angeles which I don’t want to do right now, if ever.”
One broadcaster who did leave New York for LA at the behest of Fox is former Mets SNY reporter Kevin Burkhardt who is enjoying life near the Pacific. Burkhardt was back in New York as a presenter and was up for best play-by-play broadcaster but lost to NBC’s hockey voice, Mike “Doc” Emerick. Kevin said that he stays in regular contact with his SNY successor, Steve Gelbs. The Mets were playing the Dodgers in LA just as the Sports Emmys were taking place here. “Believe me, I was aware of the irony,” Burkhardt said.
It was a great night for broadcasting veterans as well.
Bill Raftery is the sports version of the great CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer in that it seems like he has just recently been discovered by the masses even though he’s been around seemingly forever. Raftery is a great storyteller who never resorts to shtick or cliches.
CBS college football voice Verne Lundquist was honored with a lifetime achievement Emmy. In his acceptance speech, Lundquist discussed how rocky his early years in national sportscasting were including a stint in the late ‘70s and early ‘80 at ABC. He knew the handwriting was on the wall for him at when ABC Sports czar Roone Arledge refused to add him to their 1980 Winter Olympics coverage team. “When Al Michaels was screaming ‘Do you believe in miracles?’I was in Peoria worrying if a PBA bowler was going to make a 7-10 split!”
Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz was a presenter and he clearly aspires to be a sportscaster when his NFL career is over. The telegenic Cruz, who clearly benefits from playing in New York, has endorsement deals with McDonald’s, Nike, JP Morgan Chase, Time Warner Cable, and Alcon Dailies contact lenses. I asked Cruz if he worried that the Giants might use his endorsement deals as leverage against him in contractual negotiations. “I am sure that they keep that in their back pocket but they’ve been fair to me,” he replied.
Mets manager Terry Collins has often spoken about how baseball is a very humbling game and he reiterated that to the media on Friday night following the Mets 5-2 loss to the Rockies in Denver which proved to be another long night for Matt Harvey.
Harvey admitted that he just hasn’t felt comfortable on the mound so far this season but to his credit refused to blame the cold and frequently damp weather that seems to pop up whenever and wherever he is pitching nor did he cite fatigue. My guess is that if it’s not an underlying physical issue then he’ll be back to his dominating self sooner rather than later. In the meantime though this might be a good time to put the “Dark Knight” and “Harvey Day” hoopla to rest.
Things didn’t get any better for the Mets in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains the rest of the weekend as they were swept by the home team. As SNY broadcasters Gary Cohen and Ron Darling made clear, the Mets were victimized by bad umpire calls that may have cost them the Saturday and Sunday games at Coors Field. However Terry Collins laid the blame properly at the Mets’ flaccid offense in a place where hitters normally feast.
Just as Mets fans are concerned about Matt Harvey their Yankees counterparts are certainly fretting about their very promising 22 year-old pitcher, Luis Severino, who posted an 0-6 record before being placed on the disabled list with a right triceps strain following a dismal outing against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium Friday night.
There was a time not so long ago when Topps made a baseball card for every player and put it out at the beginning of the year and that was it. Thanks to technology however Topps is now printing cards that capture a big moment, or at least a conversational one, almost instantaneously with its Now line of cards. Its card of Bartolo Colon connecting for a homer in San Diego three weeks ago became Now’s biggest seller in its brief history.
If you enjoy reading about the business side of sports as much as I do then I heartily recommend “Players” (Simon and Schuster) by Wall Street Journal sportswriter Matthew Futterman.
The book title is a bit misleading. Athletes are certainly discussed but the players that Futterman is referring to are such titans as the legendary Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Marvin Miller; Mark McCormick the founder of the mammoth sports agency IMG; tennis impresarios Nick Bollettieri and Donald Dell; and former Nike CEO Phil Knight and others who revolutionized the world of professional sports economics.
Best of luck to new Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. He’s going to need it.
Former Yankees great Bernie Williams has proven to be as adept at playing jazz guitar as he did centerfield. Williams graduated last week with a bachelor’s degree from the prestigious Manhattan School of Music.
EA’s annual Madden NFL video games have traditionally been the biggest sellers in the sports genre. McFarlane Toys will be producing figures of select NFL players who will be featured in Madden ‘17. It will be interesting to see whether the figures are more in demand by young sports fans or by older collectors.
The New York Daily News refused to send their Islanders beat reporter, Peter Botte, to Tampa to cover the Isles-Lightning playoff series. Botte had to report on it by watching the games on the NBC Sports Network and the postgame interviews on the MSG Network. I’m not sure if that speaks more of the well-documented fiscal woes of the Daily News or the Islanders’ place in the New York sports media landscape.
The Maine Office of Tourism (visitmaine.com) was in town last week to meet media in order promote the state before the upcoming summer travel season. The state is renowned for such summer physical activities as kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, and sailing.
Maine is a seafood capital and foodies flock there in order to consume chowder, oysters, shrimp, and of course, lobster. It’s also known for its sweets thanks to Amy’s Wicked Whoopie Pies (wickedwhoopies.com) and Bixby candy bars (bixbyco.com).
Queens’ own JetBlue has daily flights to Maine’s largest city, Portland.
The topic of the civil rights of transgendered individuals has become a national news story. In a far more lighthearted gender story, Southern California entrepreneur Mike Eaton felt that men getting the short stick when it came to home cleaning products such as detergents, room sprays, and dishwashing liquids. He was tired of what he called “offense floral fragrances” and packaging that was either totally pink or featured dewy meadows.
As a way to strike back against Procter & Gamble and their ilk who he felt were ignoring the male consumer, Eaton started his own household cleaning products company, Hero Clean (hero-clean.com), five years ago and it has recently gone national.
With their big five-pointed star logo backed on an olive green label, Hero Clean products are deliberately designed to look as if they have been issued by the US Army. Eaton, to his credit, does earmark a portion of his company’s revenues to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.