As per custom, the 2017 Sports Emmy Awards attracted the A-listers in sports broadcasting industry.
Alex Rodriguez, who now does occasional work for Fox Sports, was a presenter this year. He will continue to work on select baseball telecasts but one gets the feeling that he wants to emulate Michael Strahan’s career which has a big non-sports component.
A good example of that was A-Rod’s surprise appearance as a co-host on a recent episode of ABC’s “The View.” “My mom and my sister love that show. It’s not everyday that they ask ugly guys like me from the sports world to come on,” he said with self-deprecating humor. “I had a great time but I have to admit that I got nervous and tried to stay clear of all political discussions!” he added with a smile.
Brent Musburger, who retired from broadcasting earlier in the year , received the Lifetime Achievement Emmy. It’s safe to say that Musburger and his colleagues at the time, Phyllis George, Irv Cross, and Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder put NFL studio shows on the map when they were the “NFL Today” team on CBS.
“People ask me about that show everyday. The key to our success was Phyllis George who was a recent Miss America. She brought a huge female following to the show and she could handle herself with the guys,” Musburger told me.
Astoria native Bob Costas collected yet another Emmy for best studio host and joked to the audience at Frederick Rose Hall that the next time he gets one will be the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bob is a fan of “Brockmire,” the IFC adult televison show about a fictional baseball radio announcer that was created by and stars Forest Hills’ own Hank Azaria. Hank got Fox Sports top voice, Joe Buck, to appear in a couple of episodes this season. “I have a feeling that I will be in at least one episode in the second season,” Costas said smiling.
NBC hockey voice Mike “Doc” Emrick won the Emmy for best play-by-play broadcaster for the third straight year. When asked about the possibility of an Edmonton Oilers-Ottawa Senators Stanley Cup, Emrick waxed poetic about the 2006 meeting of two-small market teams, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Edmonton Oilers. “It was a wonderful Stanley Cup Final,” he said.
What he didn’t say was that a test pattern would have drawn higher TV ratings.
At the time that Emrick was getting his Emmy at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, the Rangers were down 2-0 to the Ottawa Senators at the Garden and were facing likely playoff elimination. I joked with Emrick that NBC Sports CEO Mark Lazarus was probably on the ledge of the roof of the Time Warner Center. Doc was clearly uncomfortable discussing the business side of sports broadcasting but he did crack a smile.
Many sports TV network executives make themselves available in an informal way at the Emmys.
An ESPN official privately admitted to me that the company wanted to wait until after its Upfront presentation to advertisers in mid-May before it laid off 100 air personalities but the problem was that leaks were springing up and its employees were on edge.
CBS replaced Bart Scott with Nate Burleson on its “NFL Today” show but company executives told me that they like Scott and want to find a way to retain his services. A return for Scott to the underrated “That Other Pregame Show” on the CBS Sports Network is a possibility.
Former PGA Tour star and humorist David Feherty was a presenter at the Emmys. David is the host of “Feherty” and the irrepressible Irishman hosts a talk show, “Feherty,” which airs Monday nights at 9 PM and is the highest rated show on that Comcast cable network.
Feherty is famous for being an iconoclast when it comes to his sport. He told me that it would be a good thing for golf if the crowd could make noise at an event the way that fans of team sports routinely do at games.
The Mets were decimated by injuries in 2016 but last season is starting to look like the good old days seeing how the first seven weeks of the 2017 season have gone. Jeurys Familia, the team’s most important relief pitcher, was diagnosed with a blood clot in his shoulder and underwent surgery last week. There is a possibility that he will return late this season.
The New York tabloids have had a field day with Matt Harvey this month. Harvey apparently drank too much 36 hours before his scheduled start against the Marlins on May 7 and thus did not feel well enough to get to Citi Field to chart pitches which is what starters do during the game before they take the mound.
According to the gossips, it wasn’t because he was overly celebrating Cinco de Mayo but rather because the latest model he was dating, Adriana Lima, was publicly seen being squired by New England Patriots wide receiver Justin Edelman. After the Brewers battered Harvey around last Friday night, the backpage headline of Saturday’s New York Daily News read “Too Many Brews.”
Former Mets outfielder Jeff Francouer quietly announced his retirement last week and he accepted a part-time broadcasting job as a Braves broadcaster on the team’s cable television outlet, Fox Sports South. He also is taking an active role in farming and has just launched the cleverly named, Major League Berries.
It’s not hyperbole to start that Jeff is one of the most popular players in recent baseball history. He bought Kansas City fans who were sitting in the bleachers of Kauffman Stadium pizza when he was play for the Royals. Fans renamed the section “The French Quarter” in his honor.
Jeff is also one of the few professional athletes who I have ever met who not only takes the time to learn the names of reporters but to actually care about how they and their families are doing.
In short, he is the polar opposite of Matt Harvey.
Sensational Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge will now face the hardest challenge of his career. He is on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. While being on the SI cover is obviously a great honor, it has frequently come with a price known as the Sports Illustrated jinx. Too often athletes either get injured or go into slumps after gracing its front page.
Now that the Yankees have retired Derek Jeter’s #2 it’s time for Nike to retire “RE2PECT.” I like Derek. He was always accommodating to me whenever I spoke with him but I can name a lot of other athletes who were both respected and liked. Nike’s hero worship marketing always rubbed me the wrong way.
The annual Get Outdoors trade show that was held last week at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Pavilion is where retailers show off their latest wares to the media. The emphasis in the past has been on camping and canoeing but this year there was a shift towards regular everyday life based on the exhibitors that I saw.
Tuesday Cycles is a competitor to Schwinn and Huffy. The bikes that they had on display were designed for regular folks who enjoy riding around Flushing Meadow Park or along the Rockaway boardwalk and not for Lance Armstrong wananbes.
Aetrex displayed its latest line of orthotic inserts, flip-flops, and sandals. Wolverine exhibited their newest hiking, and work boots, as well as oxford dress shoes. Staying on the feet front, two fairly new sock companies, ScentLok and and Drymax, are hoping to take on Hanes and Gold Toe with their lines of odor-fighting, antiperspirant dress and athletic socks.
Timepieces were also surprisingly big at Get Outdoors. Little Neck’s own Armitron was displaying its line of solar powered watches which make batteries obsolete. Casio was promoting its PRO TREK Smart Watch which not only tells time but acts as a GPS that can show maps.
Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, CBS All Access, Cennarium, Seeso, and Hulu (which in my opinion gives the best bang for the subscription buck) are getting a new competitor. Boomerang, the cable network run by Turner Entertainment and Warner Brothers, has started a premium on-demand service that will show baby boomer classic Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera cartoons on all digital devices. Of course it could be argued that watching what is going on these days in Washington on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News is akin to watching real life cartoons.
As most of us know, ready-to-serve foods that you just throw into the microwave oven for a few minutes are convenient but can’t compare in taste to cooked foods that you have to spend more time preparing.
Perhaps the passing of time and better technology may finally be changing things. A good case in point is Victoria Chef Collection’s Penne Alla Vodka and Penne Marinara which come in 24-ounce jars yet have a gourmet taste even if you use a microwave.