ESPN Films Debuts Latest Addition To ’30 for 30 Shorts’ Series

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

New York Yankees star Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez recently announced to the world that he was dropping his lawsuit against Major League Baseball linked his suspension from Major League Baseball.  Now, he is the focus of the latest installment in ESPN’s 30 for 30 Shorts series.

Rodriguez is the focal point of the new 30 for 30 short The Deal.  The latest short from ESPN Films’ series of shorts examines “A-Rod’s” trade from the Texas Rangers and how he almost ended up in red and grey instead of pinstripes.  The new short debuted this week at Grantland.com.  It can be viewed now via Grantland.com at http://grantland.com/features/30-for-30-shorts-the-deal/.  It was produced and directed by Nick and Colin Barnicle.  The pair incorporated interviews with the likes of Larry Lucchino, Brian Cashman, John Hart and Theo Epstein to illustrate the story.  It shows how much changed over the course of less than two days for not just Rodriguez, but also for both the Red Sox and Yankees.

Along with its online showing, The Deal will also be broadcast this Sunday night, Feb. 16th at 8pm on ESPN.  The broadcast comes on the tenth anniversary of the still discussed trade deal.  Other films in the 30 for 30 shorts are available for viewing online now at http://grantland.com/contributors/espn-films/.

More information on ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts and 30 for 30 is available online at http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30 and http://www.espn.com/30for30.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces Spring Training Coverage, Baseball Tonight Goodyear Express Tour Schedules

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has announced the schedule for its coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2014 Spring Training games.

This year’s schedule kicks off with coverage of a rematch from last year’s World Series.  The Boston Red Sox will host the St. Louis Cardinals March 17th at Fenway Park.  First pitch is scheduled for 1pm.  The game will be carried on television on ESPN and online via Watch ESPN and ESPN Deportes+.    The ESPN family of networks’ complete seven-game Spring Training coverage schedule is available below.

Spring Training game schedule:

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Networks
Mon, March 17 1 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox

Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN,WatchESPN,ESPN Deportes +
Tue, March 18 1 p.m. Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Dan Shulman, John Kruk, Buster Olney

ESPN,WatchESPN
Thu, March 20 7 p.m. New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Dan Shulman, John Kruk, Buster Olney

ESPN,WatchESPN,ESPN Deportes +
Mon, March 24 1 p.m. Detroit Tigers at Pittsburgh Pirates

Adnan Virk, Doug Glanville, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN,WatchESPN,ESPN Deportes +
Tue, March 25 1 p.m. Atlanta Braves at Detroit Tigers
Adnan Virk, Doug Glanville, Tim Kurkjian
ESPN,WatchESPN,ESPN Deportes +
Wed, March 26 1 p.m. Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals

Steve Levy, Eduardo Perez, Doug Glanville

ESPN,WatchESPN,ESPN Deportes +
Thu, March 27 12 p.m. Washington Nationals at New York Mets

Steve Levy, Eduardo Perez, Doug Glanville

ESPN,WatchESPN,ESPN Deportes +

 

Before the ESNP family of networks kick off their coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2014 Spring Training games, the Baseball Tonight Goodyear Express Tour will hit the road.  The tour will visit a number of teams’ camps beginning next Monday, February 17th at the Red Sox camp in Fort Myers, Florida.  Karl Ravech and Buster Olney will be on hand with coverage of the team’s preps for the 2014 season.  SportsCenter will have Baseball Tonight segments beginning at 9am ET each day.  Each segment will include interviews with players and managers as well as in-depth team analysis and discussions on every major off-season story lines.  Baseball fans can get even more in-depth coverage of the upcoming season online at ESPN.com.  Buster Olney, Jayson Stark, Jerry Crasnick, Keith Law, Jim Caple, and David Schoenfield will have reports from various camps in Florida and Arizona through the online home of the Worldwide Leader in Sports.  As an added bonus, ESPN.com will also offer baseball fans a Countdown Clock to Opening Day, videos from the Baseball Tonight Goodyear Express Tour, and a blog with daily posts.  The complete Baseball Tonight Goodyear Express Tour schedule is available below.

Baseball Tonight Goodyear Express Tourschedule:

Date Location Team/Commentators
Mon, Feb. 17 Fort Myers, Fla. Boston Red Sox

Karl Ravech, Buster Olney

Tue, Feb. 18 Lakeland, Fla. Detroit Tigers

Karl Ravech, Buster Olney

Wed, Feb. 19 Jupiter, Fla. St. Louis Cardinals

Karl Ravech, Buster Olney

Thu, Feb. 20 Viera, Fla. Washington Nationals

Karl Ravech, Buster Olney

Fri, Feb. 21 Tampa, Fla. New York Yankees

Karl Ravech, Buster Olney

Mon, Feb. 24 Glendale, Ariz. Los Angeles Dodgers

Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian

Tue, Feb. 25 Scottsdale, Ariz. San Francisco Giants

Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian

Wed, Feb. 26 Surprise, Ariz. Texas Rangers

Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian

Thu, Feb. 27 Tempe, Ariz. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian

Fri, Feb. 28 Goodyear, Ariz. Cincinnati Reds

Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian

Sat, March 1 Peoria, Ariz. Seattle Mariners

Tim Kurkjian

 

More information on the ESPN family of networks’ upcoming MLB coverage is available online at http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Yankees/Red Sox Rivalry Returning To ESPN, Angels & White Sox Face Off Tonight On ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

One of the biggest rivalries in sports re-ignites in its latest round Sunday, June 2nd.  David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox will take on Robinson Cano and the New York Yankees will face off at 8pm that evening.  Dan Shulman will host the evening’s broadcast.  He will be joined by analysts Orel Hershiser and John Kruk.  Buster Olney will be on hand with commentary.

Tonight’s matchup pits the Los Angeles Angels against the Chicago White Sox in the “Windy City.”  Dan Shulman will host the evening’s broadcast along with his colleagues, Orel Hershiser, John Kruk and Buster Olney.  The game will be available across all ESPN platforms including:  ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app for mobile media.  Pre-game starts at 7pm tonight.  The ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Crew offered its thoughts on tonight’s games, which can be viewed right here.

Baseball Tonight analyst Aaron Boone on the C.J. Wilson- Chris Sale matchup:
With Jered Weaver down, C.J. Wilson needs to assume the head of this rotation. They need to be able to hang their hat on his starts and count on him to be close to an ace. Sale needs to get his slider down. While he’s been pretty good, he hasn’t quite been the dominant ace. I’ve seen a little bit of slider elevation from him. If he can get that pitch down, he’s an ace.

Baseball Tonight analyst Alex Cora on Wilson:
I think that the key storyline is C.J. Wilson. We’ve been talking about the Angels being a contender and Weaver being hurt. Here’s a guy that they signed last year to either be their ace or their number two and he hasn’t done it. For them to turn this around, they need him to pitch the way he’s capable of pitching.

MLB Insider Buster Olney on the Angels’ struggles this season:
Early in every season, there are a handful of teams that quickly move into desperation mode, and little more than a month into the 2013 season, that’s where the Angels stand. They cannot afford to lose more ground, and even though it’s May, this team of great stars will be playing with a sense of urgency. The Angels can turn it around, but because of the lack of depth in the pitching staff, the impetus for a comeback has to come from their offensive stars: Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo.

MLB Insider Tim Kurkjian on the Angels facing Sale:
This is a big weekend series, especially for the Angels. They are in danger of falling out of the race in the West unless they start winning immediately. Their come-from-behind win Thursday night might be the spark that finally gets this team going but they are up against Chris Sale on Sunday night. I don’t know how anyone gets a hit off of that guy.

Olney on Sale’s delivery and repertoire:
Chris Sale is a one-of-a-kind pitcher, with an unusual delivery, and a nasty slider.  I think  Orel made a fascinating comparison: Sale reminds you a lot of the former Yankees Cy Young winner Ron Guidry, because of the quality of his slider and his angular build.

ESPN MLB Insider Pedro Gomez on the Angels’ struggles:
The Angels cannot afford to continue to spin their wheels and expect to remain in the AL West race. They need pitching to really start to shine and they absolutely need more production from their two cogs in the middle of their order, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

Cora on Hamilton’s plate discipline:
He needs to take a step back. We get it, he’s an aggressive hitter. But right now, he’s getting 0-2 pitches in the first pitch of the at-bat. They know he’s swinging. They aren’t even trying to get ahead of him. They are going to the put-out pitch on pitch one because he’s swinging. He needs to be more patient. He has two home runs in last few days but still he needs to take some pitches. The whole league knows that he’s been very aggressive and chasing a lot. He must take a step back and see some good pitches.

ESPN MLB Insider Jim Bowden on keys for the Angels to improve:
The Angels can turn it around but they have to stay healthy. There is not enough depth to withstand injuries, as we’ve seen to date. Hamilton and Pujols must get back to MVP form. The key to the team will be the starting rotation. Blanton and Hanson have to be good enough to win 12 games and pitch 180 innings. A trade for more pitching is a must. Hamilton’s not loading and his timing is not in sync. If he corrects those two flaws he will hit. His bat speed is still there. He also must improve his strike zone awareness and cut down at swinging at balls out of the zone which is at a poor rate of 49%.

Boone on the struggling power hitters in both lineups:
If these teams are going to live up to expectations, their big guys in the middle have to get it going. We need to see production from Konerko and Dunn for the White Sox and Hamilton and Pujols with the Angels.

Cora on White Sox Manager Robin Ventura:
It’s Robin’s second year, so right now it’s his team. Obviously last year he had a great season. They made some changes and lost A.J. So, I think now he’s settled in. It has been a tough month for them, so let’s see what kind of manager he is. Last year, they kind of lost it at the end in September and they seem to be in the same pattern now. We need to see what kind of manager he will be.

Next Sunday on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, the Tigers head to the Lone Star State to take on the Rangers.  The latest Sunday Night Baseball schedule is available below.

Upcoming Sunday Night Baseball schedule:

Date Game
May 12 Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox
May 19 Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers
May 26 Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
June 2 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
July 14 St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
July 21 New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
   

*Additional games for June and July will be announced three weeks in advance, while games for August and September will be made two weeks in advance.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

MLB All-Time Bloopers Offers Audiences Nine Innings Of Laughs And More

Courtesy:  A&E Entertainment/MLB Productions

Courtesy: A&E Entertainment/MLB Productions

The old year is almost out and the New Year is nearly here.  For those who aren’t much for sports that just means it’s the start of a new year.  For those who are lovers of the game, that means something completely different.  It means the end of one sport’s season and the start of another.  Any true lover of sports has noticed that as the old year comes to its end, the news surrounding the baseball world has been increasing once more.  Right now, it’s mostly about some major trades.  But as the calendar turns from one year to the next, the news will turn to America’s pastime even more.  That means every baseball fan across the country will be counting the days until opening day.  In celebration, MLB Productions and A&E Entertainment have given fans one more offering as they wait for the big day.  That offering is the new single disc collection, MLB All-Time Bloopers.

MLB All-Time Bloopers is a laugh riot from start to finish.  This near hour long presentation offers baseball’s legions loads of laughs.  It offers audiences some of the game’s funniest moments both on the field and off.  That also includes some of the most interesting antics not just from the players but the fans and even animals.  Yes, even the animals make the blooper real in this brand new collection.  Perhaps one of the funniest of the collection’s moments comes not from the players and animals, but from one certain celebrity.  Fans even get some hilarious sound bites from the players own mouths from the sounds of the game.  It all combines to make for plenty of laughs for those wanting to get their baseball fix during the offseason.

MLB All-Time Bloopers is separated nicely into about four different segments.  It starts off with some of the funniest on-field moments from across the league and its history.  From players hitting the outfield wall to running into each other and even making some really wild plays, it shows that for all the training that these professional athletes go through, even they are capable of making some of the game’s funniest moments.  From there, it moves on to some of the funniest players in the game through the twentieth century.  Prince Fielder gets some love, as do a number of other veteran athletes.  One of the funniest moments comes when said veterans are profiled for their fan favorite rainy slip and slide moments.  Others get their own moment in the limelight not so much for what they do on the field but for their clubhouse antics.  One of those is a certain player streaking through an interview with his teammates.  Thank goodness that was blurred out.  Think that’s a wild blooper moment?  Try the segment featuring the mascots of the game.  That’s right, even the mascots get their own segment in this collection.

The players make for more than their share of entertainment throughout a season both for audiences and sports analysts.  But the team mascots also make for their own share of laughs.  And few have the resume of the one and only Philly Phanatic.  This legendary mascot has more than enough material to make his own blooper reel.  What fans do get to see here though, is a few snippets of the long running love/hate relationship between the Phanatic and Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda.  Apparently, there was one incident initiated by the Phanatic of which Lasorda was no fan.  Fans will have to check out this DVD to find out what exactly that incident was.  It’s an incident that will keep audiences laughing and talking even after watching it.  The same thing applies for watching the fans and even “fan mascots.”  Wait.  Fan mascots?  That’s right.  While they’re not the official team mascots, the teams have their own “fan mascots” in the stands.

Football isn’t the only sport with “fan mascots.”  Even baseball has this dedicated legion of fans.  They will get out on top of the dugout and entertain the fans in order to get them worked up, cheering for their team.  Some come just as themselves.  Others come dressed to the nines in their full homemade regalia.  And they all come with their own moves that get fans both at the games and watching on TV equally charged up thanks to their moves.  Baseball fans will get to see all of that and so much more throughout the course of this laugh-a-minute presentation.  As if what’s on this disc isn’t enough, fans will note in watching it that there are sure to be more volumes to come as the seasons roll on.  That’s because even the show’s narrator notes it’s only the first volume.  That’s not noted on the DVD’s case.  But being that it is noted, fans can be sure that the 2013 season will bring its own share of bloopers.  Until it starts though, this collection will put smiles on any fan’s face for nine innings and more.  MLB All-Time Bloopers is available now.  It can be ordered online direct via MLB Productions’ online store at http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=13235967&cp=2366583.706121.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Rangers Fans Have Two More Reasons To Rejoice This Post Season

MLB Productions/A&E Home Video

The Texas Rangers, once the Washington Senators, have no Major League Baseball championships.  But after this season, that could change?  The Rangers are currently in a tie with the Oakland Athletics for this year’s American League West Division title only days from the start of the 2012 MLB post season after last night’s game.  That means they’re officially in the playoffs again this year.  The Rangers have come so close many times.  Fans can only hope that this year will be the year for the Rangers.  While they root for the home team (yes, that pun was intended), fans can now enjoy some of the Rangers’ greatest games courtesy of MLB Productions in the form of the new box set, The Essential Games of the Texas Rangers.

One of the finest moments that Rangers fans can re-live in this four-disc box set is Game Six of the team’s ALCS matchup against the Yankees from October 22, 2010.  The Rangers struck first in the bottom of the first inning.  The Rangers first inning drive started when Elvis Andrus hit a double to Center Field.  Josh Hamilton would hit a single to Left Field after Michael Young struck out at the hands of Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes.  Hamilton’s single allowed Andrus to move to third.  Vladimir Guerrero followed with a ground out, allowing Andrus to score the inning’s only run on either side.  Both sides went scoreless in a hard fought battle for the next three innings.  But the Rangers’ bats got heated again in the bottom of the fifth.  First baseman Mitch Moreland went up to bat first and hit a ground ball single to second.  Both Andrus and Michael Young grounded out.  But while they did, Moreland was able to make his way to third.  Hughes walked Hamilton, but then allowed a line drive double from Guerrero.  That double brought in both Hamilton and Moreland.

That apparently didn’t sit too well with Yankees Manager Joe Girardi.  Girardi came in and replaced Hughes with David Robertson.  That change-up didn’t make much difference for the Yanks as Nelson Cruz would score a home run off of Robertson, bringing in both himself and Guerrero.  The Rangers’ bats would keep moving after that with hits from Ian Kinsler and David Murphy.  The Rangers played some tough defense throughout both the sixth and seventh after that four-run round in the bottom of the fifth.  They would keep the Yankees scoreless in both innings to follow, while bringing in what would be the game and series winning run by Michael Young after Kinsler hit a sacrifice fly off of Kerry Wood.  Young made his score after first hitting a ground ball double.  Woods walked Hamilton.  That play was followed by Guerrero, allowing Young to move to third and Hamilton to second.  Wood went on to walk Cruz.  A sacrifice fly by Kinsler to Left Field allowed Young to score that last run, sealing the fate of both teams.  Both teams would go scoreless in the game’s last two innings and the Rangers would move to the World Series to face the San Francisco Giants.  Sadly though, the Rangers would come up short in that last step towards what would have been the team’s first ever title.

The Rangers came close in 2010 to earning the club’s first ever title.  It wouldn’t be the first or last time the team came ever so close.  The Rangers followed up the team’s 2010 success the very next year with another of its definitive essential games with its Game Six showdown against the Tigers.  Things really got moving for the Rangers when the team slammed in a total of nine (yes, nine) runs in the bottom of the third inning.  The Tigers would go through four pitchers in the third inning alone in the team’s efforts to stop the Rangers.  But it obviously wasn’t to be.  While the Rangers and Tigers both went scoreless in the fourth, the Rangers would be relentless throughout the rest of the matchup.  The Rangers would bring in six more runs between the fifth and seventh innings on two more Tigers pitchers, bringing the total to fifteen runs.  That decimating run would finish off the Tigers and see the Rangers move back to the World Series for the second year in a row.  Yet sadly again, the Rangers would come up just short, losing the World Series four games to three against St. Louis.  So maybe this will finally be the year for the Rangers.  Regardless, Rangers fans now have another wonderful set of memories to re-live anywhere and anytime as they follow their team through the post season and while they wait for the first crack of the bat in 2013.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

A&E, MLB Productions hit a home run with new blu-ray/dvd set

Baseball season is back in the air.  Can you feel it?  The weather’s getting warmer and baseball parks nationwide are coming back to life.  The TV networks are running pre-season games and opening day promos seemingly every other day.  And as an added measure to get baseball fans in a gametime mind, A&E  and Major League Baseball Productions are relasing the newest piece of baeball history to the masses.  The pair will release “Baseball’s Greatest Games:  2011 World Series Game 6″ on April 17th.

Every baseball fan remembers the St. Louis Cardinals meteoric rise from the depths of the baseball basement last year to take the World Series Championhip.  The Redbirds trailed ten and a half games out of the Wild Card race last season when the team suddenly surged and made its way into the playoffs, and eventually the hearts of nearly every sports and baseball fan across the country.  The Cards eventually made it to the World Series.  And it was Game Six that really defined last year’s MLB Championship series.  Now, fans will get to relive the entire Game Six experience whenever they want with the release of the entire game on a special blu-ray/dvd package.

The entire Game Six of the 2011 series is presented here on both discs, exactly as it appeared last year on Fox.  It’s shown in its entirety without the worry of having to sit through commercial breaks, too.  Though the commercial break moments are there.  This especially allows fans to re-live the game at their leisure.  Viewers can get together and have a party any time during the season, re-living this magical moment as they want.  All in all, it’s one of those moments that reminds fans that even despite the black eyes that baseball has endured, it’s still one of the nation’s greatest sports.

The game’s full on, no frills presentation is only part of what makes this new release so impressive.  Another bonus to the package is that it includes the whole game both in standard def dvd and blu-ray.  Doing this allows audiences to watch the game in its entirety whether they own a blu-ray player or not.  Even viewers with both a dvd player and blu-ray player can watch the game anywhere thanks to the inclusion of both formats in this set.  There’s no denying though, the clarity of the game on an HDTV with blu-ray player.  Although most blu-ray players can automatically upconvert standard def dvd’s.  So again, kudos to A&E and MLB Productions for going to such lengths for baseball fans.

The pair is also to be commended for placing the full 9-inning score summary on the back of the set’s box.  The rundown shows the intense back and forth battle of these “boys of summer.”  Even before watching the game, it reminds audiences of the importance of this series changing showdown.  That anticipation alone is enough to get any sports nut’s adrenaline pumping.  Add in the full Game Six experience in two formats, and audiences get a great reminder of last season’s closing moments all while getting set for a whole new exciting 2012 MLB season.