Angels, Astros Face Off In AL Divisional Matchup Tonight On WNB

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

All eyes will be on the Astros and Angels tonight as the teams face off in an AL West divisional showdown on ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball.

Tonight’s matchup is the rubber match in the teams’ three-game series. It marks only the second time this season that ESPN has traveled to Houston for its MLB coverage. Lance McCullers is slated to get the start for the ‘Stros while Garrett Richards is expected to get the start for the visiting Angels. Richards’ last time on the mound was last Thursday against Minnesota. He took the loss in the game, allowing four hits, three runs, three earned runs, and three walks and one home run over eight innings pitched. He struck out five batters En route to the Angels’ loss. Mike Morin replaced Richards in the ninth, allowing only one hit, no runs, no earned runs, no walks, no home runs, and struck out two batters.

McCullers’ last time taking the mound was this past Thursday against the Red Sox. He pitched five innings in the team’s 5 – 4 win over Boston, allowing six hits, two runs, two earned runs, three walks, and one home run along the way. He also struck out two batters before heading to the dugout. While those numbers paint one picture, McCullers didn’t do too badly having faced twenty-four batters in his time on the mound, throwing fifty-two strikes in eighty-nine pitches.

The Angels currently lead the AL West division sitting near even with the second place Astros. Both teams are far better at home than on the road so far on the season with the Angels going 32 – 21 (h) and 23 – 23 (a), and the Astros going 34 – 17 (h) and 22 – 28 (a). The Angels are 6 – 4 in their last ten games versus Houston’s 7 – 3 record in its last ten games.

Dave Flemming will have the call for tonight’s NL showdown. He will be joined in the booth by analyst Rick Sutcliffe. Fellow analyst Doug Glanville will be in the outfield covering both teams’ defense while analysts Eduardo Perez and Eric Wedge will be in the Astros’ and Angels’ dugouts respectively with all of the latest from both teams. Perez is a former Astros coach and Angels 1991 first round pick. Tonight’s game will be simulcast on television and online via ESPN, ESPN3, and WatchESPN. More information on tonight’s game is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:



To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

ESPN Sets Its Sights On NL Playoff Race Sunday And Monday On SNB, MNB

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

August, for most people, is part of what is known as the “dog days of summer.” It is one of the hottest times of the year weather-wise. It is also one of the hottest times of the year for Major League Baseball. That is because things really start to get heated in the race for the playoffs. And this weekend things will definitely get hot in the Big Apple as the Mets host the Nationals on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell in a National League showdown that will definitely have playoff implications for both teams.

Sunday’s game will be the closer in a three-game series between the NL East foes. The series kicks off Friday evening at Shea Stadium. Noah Syndergaard is expected to take the mound for the hometown boys while Jordan Zimmerman is expected to start for the Nats. Syndergaard’s last time taking the mound was Tuesday against the Padres and was credited with the win in that game. He pitched eight innings, allowing only three hits, no runs, no earned runs, and no walks En route to the win. He also struck out nine batters and allowed no home runs.

Zimmerman’s last time on the mound was Tuesday against Miami. Zimmerman took the loss in Miami’s 4 – 1 win over the Nats. He allowed eight hits, three runs, three earned runs, and two walks over six innings and struck out only two batters before being pulled in the seventh.

The Nationals currently lead the National League East division with the Mets trailing in second place by only a single game. Right now the Mets sit precariously in seventh place in the National League standings only a spot ahead of eighth place Arizona, who sits right now at 48 – 51 on the season. New York currently sits 52 – 48 on the season and split its last ten games going 5 – 5 along the way. However, the team is currently in the midst of a three-game win streak that includes a win Tuesday night against the Padres in New York. Tuesday’s game is part of a three-game home stand against the Padres that wraps Thursday night at Shea Stadium. By the numbers, the Mets are much better at home (35 – 16) than on the road (17 – 32). That bodes well for the Mets as the team continues its home stand this weekend against the Nats as they, too are better at home than on the road, going 28 – 19 at home and 24 – 27 on the road so far this season.

Dan Shulman will have the call for Sunday night’s game between the Mets and Nats. He will be joined by his SNB cohorts-analysts Curt Schilling and John Kruk—in the booth. Reporters Buster Olney will also be on hand with all of the latest news and updates on the game and from around the league. Broadcast is scheduled to begin at 8pm ET. It will be preceded, as it is each week, by Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet, at 7pm ET. Karl Ravech will anchor the broadcast and will be joined by analyst Rick Sutcliffe and reporter Nicole Briscoe. Those that won’t be near a TV Sunday night can still catch both broadcasts online via WatchESPN. Sunday’s game will be simulcast in Spanish via ESPN Deportes for ESPN’s Spanish-speaking audiences.

*             *             *

Monday night on ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball presented by USAA, the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates open a three-game series between the NL Central foes. This series, too has playoff implications as both teams are in the hunt for the post-season with Pittsburgh currently sitting second in the National League at 58 – 41, five and a half games back from the NL-leading Cardinals. Chicago sits sixth in the National League standings at 52 – 47. Pittsburgh has split its last ten games, going 5 – 5 along the way and has won its last two games. Before hosting the Cubs next Monday, Pittsburgh looks to finish off the Twins tonight in the teams’ two-game series before heading to Cincinnati to face the struggling Reds in a four-game series that wraps this Sunday night. While Pittsburgh is far better at home than on the road, the team’s series against Cincinnati could improve its road record if the Reds’ struggles continue. And that could play into Pittsburgh’s momentum as it opens its series against the Cubs Monday night. Dave O’Brien will have the call for Monday’s game. He will be joined in the booth by analysts Aaron Boone and Dallas Braden for additional commentary and coverage.  Monday’s game will be simulcast on television and online via ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and WatchESPN. Currently there is no information regarding who will take the mound for the Pirates or Cubs for Monday’s game. Fans on both sides of the ball can keep up with that information online now along with all of the latest baseball news at:





To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

MVC Heads Discuss New ESPN Deal In Media Conference Call

Courtesy:  Missouri Valley Conference/ESPN/NCAA

Courtesy: Missouri Valley Conference/ESPN/NCAA

Officials with ESPN and the Missouri Valley Conference announced this week that both sides had come to terms on a new deal. The deal in question gives the worldwide leader in sports media rights for the next ten years. That means that it gives ESPN increased coverage across its various platforms on television and online through the 20023 – 2024 academic year. In celebration of the announcement leaders from some of the MVC’s participant schools took part in a media conference call along with ESPN VP of College Sports Programming IIan Ben-Hanan. Among the topics covered in the call were the impact of the deal on the conference’s ability to recruit and generally puts it on par with colleges and universities in other conferences, the impact of the deal on local coverage within given markets, coverage of MVC games on ESPN’s platforms and much more. The full transcript of yesterday’s conference call is included below for all fans of the Missouri Valley Conference and audiences in general.

Transcript of ESPN & Missouri Valley Conference Media Call to Announce 10-Year Rights Extension  

Doug Elgin: Good morning, everyone. We are here in Chicago at Loyola University’s School of Communications to announce a long-term extension of the ESPN rights agreement, which clearly signals a new era for our conference. For the term of this new agreement, which runs through the ’23/’24 academic year, the MVC and its member institutions will work together to produce thousands of live athletic events that will be distributed on ESPN3. The co-branded network that will launch next month, The Valley on ESPN3, serves to recognize that our conference continues to be committed to remaining competitive in a fast-changing NCAA Division I landscape. This exponential increase in exposure will bring significant emphasis to men’s and women’s basketball and every conference-sponsored sport.   A key aspect of this campus-based television model will be the involvement of students in the production of live athletics events, and this student involvement is central and foundational to this agreement. Students majoring in broadcast journalism, communications or other areas of study will receive hands-on experience that will enhance their qualifications and opportunities for employment in television media or related fields.   I’m very proud of the commitments that our president’s council and directors are making to our student-athletes and athletic programs and the campus communities in general. We believe ESPN’s commitment to our league through this new agreement is an acknowledgment of our men’s basketball competitiveness that we can compete at the highest level. Certainly Wichita State’s rise to national power and Northern Iowa’s strong run in recent years have opened doors for us, but we’re seeing a much more competitive league in men’s basketball top to bottom.   This new network will provide opportunities to promote academic programs and showcase individuals throughout our campus communities. We are extremely grateful that the Missouri Valley’s relationship with ESPN will be stronger than ever. I think today’s announcement represents one of the biggest steps the MVC has taken in the modern era. This new network will be a game changer for our league. We are a basketball-centric league and the extension of our ESPN agreement ensures we will continue to compete on a national stage. Coaches in every sport will use this exposure to recruit more effectively.   I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Rosalyn Durant, senior vice president of ESPN’s college networks, and Brent Colborne, the director of programming and acquisitions for their hard work in helping to make this strengthened relationship with the MVC possible. I would also like to commend the MVC Associate Commissioner Jack Watkins and media consultant Rick Chryst, who played critical roles in this process.

Ilan Ben-Hanan: Good morning. The Missouri Valley Conference has been a significant contributor to ESPN’s college sports content since our early years, and with this deal will continue to play a key role into the next decade, nearly 40 years since our first agreement. This extension places the conference and its member institutions at the forefront of innovative sports coverage.   The MVC has been a pioneer in embracing new technology. National coverage of multiple sports that didn’t previously exist to millions of fans is the latest example.  We all see the on-campus production initiative as an opportunity for both academic and athletic programs at the member institutions, with benefits that include hands-on experience for students and unprecedented exposure for sports that might otherwise not have been shown on television.

Larry Lyons: The relationship between The Valley and ESPN is tremendous news for MVC men’s basketball. It will provide national coverage for each Valley school as we produce live events for ESPN3. Not only are we building a national platform for our teams to showcase themselves, we are extending the reach of all of our institutions to friends, family, fans, alumni, prospective student-athletes and prospective students. I’m confident that each campus will strive to produce the highest quality of live content and use the creative talents of students and staff to tell the story of inside each contest.

David Wright: This is an exciting day for Drake University and our production. For 28 years we’ve been doing sports production at Drake. We are incredibly excited about the expertise that ESPN will give us and the infusion of excitement of students getting involved in more and more production. This is a new era. What I really am excited about it is it will put athletes and academics together at a greater level than we’ve ever before had at Drake. We are very excited about this.

Gregg Marshall: It obviously gives us an opportunity to play on national television and many different stations across the ESPN brand. We had GameDay here last year. I thought it was tremendous the way they were received as well as the way the league presented itself with the Northern Iowa team coming in as a top-10 team, we were top-10. It just made for great theater with the regular-season title on the line. I know we have the mandate from the league that our teams are supposed to try to participate in the exempt tournaments that are showcased on ESPN over the holiday season. We’ve been doing that for several years. We’re just excited and ecstatic to be able to showcase our league and our program at Wichita State on ESPN.

  1. Coach Marshall, how do you think this agreement maybe puts you closer, or more on par with, other conferences that you not only compete against but recruit against?

Marshall: Well, I think any time you can appear on ESPN, it helps you with not just your regional but national exposure. You can go anywhere and get ESPN channels, and now with ESPN3 from your laptop, which I’ve learned how to do myself. We have an Apple TV. We can watch just about any game now. The Valley is going to be able to talk about how many times you’re on television.   I think every game we played last year was on television. If it wasn’t on ESPN or CBS, then it was on statewide in Kansas. That was only a handful of times. We were on regionally and nationally 20-something times last year, which is great.  Now the other schools will be able to say the same thing. I think it really helps us from a recruiting standpoint, as you mentioned.

  1. Doug, what does it mean to the brand to have your Olympic sports more exposed to a larger audience? Secondly, you’ve been the commissioner for 28 years. There have been a lot of historic moments as commissioner. How does consummating a deal with the number one brand name in the world, how does that rank among your many accomplishments as the commissioner?

Elgin: It’s right up there at the very top. We’ve never underestimated the promotional power of ESPN. When you think about networks that you can partner with, you certainly look to the worldwide leader. I think through the years we’ve had probably seven or eight different contracts with ESPN. This one kind of fills in all the cracks, all of our sports programs are going to benefit. I think the programs that are going to gain the most are those that have been exposed the least. Those would be the Olympic sports. Baseball has been great. We’ve had three teams in the baseball tournament this year, and many years in past history.   I do think this is going to help our recruiting, our coaches, and every program will have the opportunity to tell recruits and their families they’ll be able to watch their sons and daughters play every game of their college careers essentially at home.

  1. Doug, I was curious, what is the financial benefit for the schools out of this deal?

Elgin: Unfortunately, we’re not in a position to talk about the finances of contracts that we have with media companies. I can’t really expound upon that.

  1. Commissioner Elgin, can you speak to the role that the students will have in this production? Is it the full scope of it? To what extent? Is there any concern or consideration for how this would impact quality since you’re lining that up against perhaps some more veteran, more experienced crew members?

Elgin: I’d like to kick that question to associate commissioner Jack Watkins who has been out in the field.

Jack Watkins: ESPN has been largely involved in this process even when we did not have a contract. There have been production professors, if you will, that have been involved with conference calls that have actually made trips to campuses to meet not only with athletic staff, but individuals like Professor David Wright at Drake, to help convey what ESPN expectations are, that production guidelines are met.   To answer your question about the involvement of students, it can be from either running cameras to directing or producing.  The long-term is to have as many students engaged and involved. This whole process with the build-out on campus began in earnest in September of 2014. As Doug communicated earlier, we are looking for a launch date on ESPN at or around September the 4. Our institutions as well as ESPN personnel have been in consistent dialogue to move forward and to produce the very best product we can on air.

Ben-Hanan: In addition to all the benefits and procedures and plans that Jack has described, the opportunity for a deal like this to help deepen and diversify our talent pool, find future people that can work for us or other media companies, is a great asset and part of this deal, something we’re excited about.

  1. Doug or Jack, I want to make sure I understand right. In previous years I could watch Valley games on ESPN3.  Educate me how this is different going forward. Secondly, I noticed in the release, there was a buildup, because it talks about a minimum of basketball games in the six-year agreement. Explain how this is going to roll out. What will fans notice different than in past years? 

Elgin: As Gregg Marshall pointed out, people are becoming much more comfortable accessing live content through mobile apps and WatchESPN. That’s going to be the biggest change. Every game we play in conference in men’s and women’s basketball will be televised in the early years of this agreement. We’re going to start with the court sports, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball. There’s going to be an eagerness by our conference institutions to produce as many events as they can. They will have a blank page to write on. They can produce as many outdoor sporting events as they can capably handle in the early years. But we’re going to peak at literally 800-plus events a year in the final six years of the agreement.   We’re stair-stepping up to that with numbers that we’re capable of achieving. This is going to be a big endeavor for our schools. I think there’s going to be a lot of excitement on campuses. We’re going to tell stories that couldn’t be told on linear networks. We’re going to have opportunities to talk about individuals on campus, faculty members, students that are achieving in the classroom. I just think there’s going to be a whole new wave of opportunity to market and sell our schools.

  1. What does it mean for local packages then, like in Wichita?  Does that go away? 

Elgin: It does not. I think this contract very carefully protects our institutional packages at levels of production in past years, most recent years. We also have protection of our regional syndication. That’s been very important to us, the opportunity to produce games and put them on the regional networks. The best part of that is outside of our five-state footprint, ESPN3 will continue to carry all these games nationally. Again, I credit ESPN for allowing us to spread our games across multiple networks and platforms. We couldn’t be happier with the state of our television operation.

  1. Mr. Ben-Hanan, you talked about the student involvement with the ESPN3 product, with the involvement of each respective Missouri Valley Conference school. I guess on-air is going to be included with that student help. If that’s the case, is there any worry from the on-air quality you are going to get from your student broadcasters?

Ben-Hanan: Thanks for the question. I think all of these things are a process. I think we have had experience with other students involved in our productions at other schools and conferences. So we’re going into this with some expertise and some knowledge of that. Generally speaking, what we’re talking about here from student involvement does not always extend to on-air. Oftentimes we’re talking about the ability to help run cameras, the production truck, run graphics, and the ability to build up and ramp up to production and direction roles.   Certainly there could be an opportunity here or there for students to have some on-air roles. We’ve done things in past years literally involving students embedded in the student section, which gives you a perspective you can’t get otherwise. I think, generally speaking, anyone who rises to that role, we have an expectation of professionalism.  There would be rehearsals and opportunities that hopefully will allow for a level of quality. Having said that, there certainly will be a learning curve. I think we have an expectation that if fans are tuning in to a game, no matter how it’s produced, that it’s credible, that it’s professional, and that it is functional and allows fans to enjoy the game every bit as much as they would otherwise.

  1. Mr. Wright, I know from the Indiana State University campus, there’s a lot of talk about the students being involved primarily with the on-air stuff. From the Drake perspective, what are you planning on doing with your students? 

Wright: Excellent question. We’ve been doing video production for about 28 years in my time at Drake, starting from a delivery truck where we had folding tables. We train our students in a number of the production classes, but now we also have a production division that’s doing work for our steaming and scoreboards. We’ve already made investments in equipment in our production area in the journalism school that are actually very similar to the switcher, a little more powerful than the switcher we will be using in the athletics area. So we are starting to infuse that technology.   What we’re really excited about is the expertise ESPN brings on the graphics side, on the ‘look’ side, and also on the on-air talent side. We’re using a lot of students for on-air talent for some of our cablecasts streaming now. I think the initial thing will be working on the packages, behind the scenes, really understanding what’s going on in the different sports that would be hard for a crew that was coming in from out of town to really know that insight.  That’s where I see that coming eventually. I hope with training, the recruiting is going to change. We’re excited about releasing this to prospective students to say, Look at the opportunities you have to start working towards this.  Hopefully by the time they get to their senior year they’ll be up to snuff. My background says we can do this; we can produce the quality to be on ESPN.

  1. Doug, what is a good audience for the ESPN3?  What are kind of the projections since more and more people are cutting the cord on cable a little bit?  Is this a move towards the future? 

Elgin: I think we’d like to kick that question to our friend in Los Angeles, Ilan Ben-Hanan.

Ben-Hanan: For us a good audience is fans can see the game. We’re really not as concerned with the individual game metrics and trying to determine on a game-by-game basis the total size of the audience. A deal like this is both qualitative and quantitative in nature. And the ability to get these games on in a form that wasn’t even possible just a couple years ago, the ability to not have to worry about the shelf space concerns that have always been limiting for the amount of total games that can be on. That’s what is game-changing about a deal like this. Ultimately our hope is that for the student-athletes, their families, the fans of these schools, the fans of basketball in general, even for the selection committees in the various sports to see these teams, I think that has an impact, not just how many people are tuned in to a given game, but a team’s quest for championships.

  1. – Question regarding current access and the games moving to ESPN3 –

Watkins: Part of this deal, the commitment in the first year is to the core sports of volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball. But the long-term viability and sustainability of this network is to add more sports as the years go on. As part of the deal, those previous sports that were webcast will now be the exclusive property of The Valley on ESPN3.

  1. What kind of investment has The Valley estimated most schools are going to have to put into this to pull this off?

Elgin: I think that varies at each institution. As Professor Wright pointed out, Drake has long made investments in their infrastructure. They’ve been leaders in institutional telecasts. I think that commitment will continue.

  1. For ESPN, has the network ever done anything like this before with any other conference or any league? Is this completely groundbreaking in its nature? 

Ben-Hanan: We have had some experience working with some individual schools in doing these kind of what we call ‘school production deals’. We’ve had some conversations with some conferences that have kind of opened the door for the opportunity to do this. I think something like this done at the conference level with the support of both the academic and athletic sides of the house from the very beginning of the deal, that I think is what makes this very unique. We’ve had some experience, but doing something this comprehensive from the very beginning is something we’re really excited about.

  1. On the investment question. What about the actual equipment, cameras, things like that? Is ESPN going to be involved in helping foot that bill or is that up to the schools? 

Watkins: Any cost will be between the conference and the schools as it relates to the production build-out for our institutions. Again, it’s an initiative. Each school is different in terms of the equipment needs and the infrastructure. Any costs to acquire that equipment or those amenities to make the network viable will be between the conference and our 10 member institutions.   I think it’s important to recognize from the Missouri Valley Conference’s perspective that we have a co-branded channel mark in The Valley on ESPN, that the conference has a mark of which it’s proud. It’s a co-branded mark as a leader in the industry. I think that really becomes our calling card from this point forward.

Elgin: One other thing that differentiates our deal from the others is the tonnage, the sheer number of events that are going to be produced by our campuses and by The Missouri Valley for distribution on ESPN3. More information on ESPN’s coverage of Missouri Valley Conference athletics is available online along with all of the latest sports headlines at:



  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

ABC Gets New NBA Broadcast In 2016

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The 2014 – 2015 NBA season is officially wrapped. The NBA Draft presented by State Farm is done. But that doesn’t mean that things have cooled down in the NBA.

ESPN President John Skipper announced alongside Disney/ABC TV President Ben Sherwood today that the ESPN networks will expand their NBA coverage in the New Year. The pair announced that beginning Saturday, January 23rd, ESPN on ABC will present a new Saturday night NBA broadcast. Dubbed Saturday Night NBA on ABC, the broadcast will run for a total of eight games on ABC. Tipoff for each game on the schedule is expected for 8:30pm. NBA Countdown will precede each week’s telecast at 8pm ET. Sherwood was ecstatic in announcing ABC’s partnership with ESPN for the broadcasts saying, “Through our great partnership with ESPN, we’re thrilled to be able to bring the best in basketball to our prime-time viewers on Saturdays beginning this January while building on our great Sunday afternoon NBA lineup.” Skipper noted the importance of the new program in regards to its impact on the relationship between ESPN and the NBA noting that “The creation of Saturday Night NBA on ABC is an important moment in the long, successful relationship between ESPN and the NBA. The NBA’s massive popularity continues to open doors for new, collaborative opportunities, and this new series demonstrates ESPN’s commitment to showcase the NBA as often – and across as many platforms – as possible.” He expanded on that thought explaining the expectations of having some of the biggest rivalries on ABC as well as some of the most talked about story lines in the NBA among much more. “Saturday night games will be highlighted by the NBA’s biggest stars, top rivalries and most compelling storylines,” he said. “We expect to establish this series as a big-game destination for NBA fans, along the lines of what we’ve accomplished in college football with Saturday Night Football on ABC.”

The complete Saturday Night NBA broadcast schedule is listed below along with ESPN’s weekly prime-time games and ABC’s NBA Sunday Showcase games.

NBA on ABC schedule – 2015-16 regular-season

Date                 Time (ET)                    Broadcast
Fri., Dec. 25       2:30 p.m.            NBA on Christmas Day

Fri., Dec. 25       5 p.m.                 NBA on Christmas Day

Sat., Jan. 23       8:30 p.m.           Saturday Night NBA

Sat., Jan. 30       8:30 p.m.           Saturday Night NBA

Sun., Jan. 31      3:30 p.m.           NBA Sunday Showcase

Sun., Feb. 7        2 p.m.                NBA Sunday Showcase

Sat., Feb. 20       8:30 p.m.          Saturday Night NBA

Sun., Feb. 21      3:30 p.m.           NBA Sunday Showcase

Sat., Feb. 27       8:30 p.m.           Saturday Night NBA

Sat., Mar. 5         8:30 p.m.           Saturday Night NBA

Sun., Mar. 6        3:30 p.m.           NBA Sunday Showcase

Sat., Mar. 12       8:30 p.m.          Saturday Night NBA

Sun., Mar. 13      3:30 p.m.          NBA Sunday Showcase

Sat., Mar. 19       8:30 p.m.          Saturday Night NBA

Sun., Apr. 3         3:30 p.m.          NBA Sunday Showcase

Sat., Apr. 9          8:30 p.m.          Saturday Night NBA

As an additional note for fans, ABC’s NBA Sunday Showcase will be preceded in each of its broadcasts by NBA Countdown at 3pm ET. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Curry, Rousey Take Top Honors At ESPN’s 2015 ESPYS

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The 2015 ESPYS Awards broadcast is officially in the books. For those that missed all of the events from the big night, all the results can be found right here. One of the night’s biggest winners was UFC star Ronda Rousey, who took home two awards—Best Female Athlete and Best Fighter. This year marks the second time that Rousey has received the award for Best Female Athlete. NBA star Stephen Curry also took home two awards—Best Male Athlete and Best NBA Player. Both awards are the first ESPYS that Curry has won. Curry, the 2015 NBA MVP, led the Golden State Warriors to the NBA Championship this year and a league-best 67 – 15 record. The Championship is the team’s first in forty years. On the baseball side, Mike Trout took home the award for Best MLB Player. The award comes fresh off the heels of his second MLB All-Star Game MVP Title earlier this week. Thanks to earning the 509th touchdown of his career this past season, veteran NFL quarterback Peyton Manning took home the trophy for Best Record-Breaking Performance. It is the second consecutive year that Manning has taken home the trophy for Best Record-Breaking Performance.

In one of the night’s more memorable moments, Cincinnati Bengals star Devon Still accepted the Jimmy V Award For Perseverance. The award, named after the late North Carolina State basketball coach, was given to Still and his daughter Leah for their courage and personal strength throughout Leah’s battle with cancer. And in what remains one of the night’s most talked about moments, Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) was presented with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Jenner was presented with the award for going public with the story about the decision to become a woman, having kept hidden for years the feeling that she had always been a woman trapped in a man’s body. The Pat Tillman Award for Service was given out for just the second time this year. The award, named after NFL standout turned soldier Pat Tillman, was presented to Notre Dame Basketball player Iraq war veteran, and Purple Heart recipient Danielle Green for her service to the nation and commitment to both her service and her education.

Best Moment Award was posthumously presented to the late Mount St. Joseph University basketball player Lauren Hill while New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter took home the Icon Award. The awards noted here are just some of the awards passed out at this year annual ESPYS Award broadcast. The complete list of this year’s winners is noted below.



Best Record-Breaking Performance: Peyton Manning

Best Breakthrough Athlete: Mo’ne Davis

Best Championship Performance: LeBron James

Best Comeback Athlete: Rob Gronkowski

Best Female Athlete: Ronda Rousey

Best Play: Odell Beckham Jr.

Best Male Athlete: Stephen Curry

Best Team: USWNT

Best Game: Super Bowl

Best Upset: Ole Miss over Alabama

Best NFL Player: Aaron Rodgers

Best NBA Player: Stephen Curry

Best Fighter: Ronda Rousey

Best Female Action Sports Athlete: Kelly Clark

Best Jockey: Victor Espinoza

Best Male Athlete with a Disability: Krige Schabort

Best MLS Player: Robbie Keane

Best Coach: Steve Kerr

Best International Athlete: Lionel Messi

Best MLB Player: Mike Trout

Best NHL Player: Jonathan Toews

Best WNBA Player: Skylar Diggins

Best Driver: Kevin Harvick

Best Male Golfer: Jordan Spieth

Best Female Golfer: Lydia Ko

Best Male Tennis Player: Novak Djokovic

Best Female Tennis Player: Serena Williams

Best Male College Athlete: Marcus Mariota

Best Female College Athlete: Missy Franklin

Best Male Action Sports Athlete: Ryan Dungey

Best Female Athlete with a Disability: Becca Meyers

Best Bowler: Jason Belmonte



Jimmy V Award for Perseverance: Devon and Leah Still

Pat Tillman Award for Service: Danielle Green

Best Moment: Lauren Hill

Icon Award: Derek Jeter

Arthur Ashe Award for Courage: Caitlyn Jenner


More information on this year’s ESPYS including video clips from last night’s broadcast and much more is available online now at:



To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Red Sox, Angels Face Off This Week On SNB; Mets, Nats Follow Monday On MNB

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Home Run Derby is done. Home field advantage for the World Series is set. All that being done, it’s time for the boys of summer to get back to work and buckle down as Major League Baseball makes its way toward the homestretch. That work includes a matchup of the Red Sox and Angels this Sunday on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell.

This week on Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell, ESPN will present a showdown of two American League opponents as the now two-time All-Star Game MVP Mike Trout leads the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at home against the visiting Boston Red Sox. The game is the third in a four-game series between the teams. Curretly no details have been announced in regards to who will take the mound for either team in Sunday’s game. Currently, the Red Sox sit in last place in the American League East at 42 – 47, six and a half games back from the division leading New York Yankees. Boston is 6 – 4 in its last ten games and 20 – 24 on the road versus the Angels’ 25 – 18 home record so far this season. The Angels currently lead the AL West at 48 – 40, but leads second place Houston by only half a game. L.A. is 7 – 3 in its last ten games.

Dan Shulman will have the call for Sunday’s game. He will be joined in the booth by analysts Curt Schilling and John Kruk. Reporter Buster Olney will also be on hand for all of the latest in-game news and more. Sunday’s broadcast will be preceded, as it is each week, by Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet. Karl Ravech will anchor the broadcast and will be joined by analyst Aaron Boone and ESPN MLB Insider Tim Kurkjian. Those that won’t be near a television Sunday night can still catch the game and Sunday Night Countdown online via WatchESPN.

Following Sunday night’s broadcast, the Nats will host the Mets in an NL East faceoff on Monday Night Baseball presented by USAA that could potentially have playoff implications. The game first of a three-game series between the divisional foes. As with Sunday’s game between the Angels and Red Sox, no details have been announed as of yet in regards to who will take the mound on either side. The Mets currently sit second in the NL East, two games back from the Nats, who currently sit at 48 – 39 on the season. The Nats are 5 – 5 in their last ten games, having won their last two games. The Mets are 47 – 42 on the season and 7 – 3 in their last ten games. They are currently in the midst of a four-game win streak as they prepare to face the Cardinals in a three-game series beginning this Friday, July 17th. The broadcast is scheduled to begin at 7pm ET on ESPN and WatchESPN. It will be anchored by Dave O’Brien. He will be joined by Aaron Boone and Dallas Braden.

More information on ESPN’s MLB coverage is available online now along with all of the latest MLB news at:



To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

ESPN Family Of Networks Kick Off The Countdown To College Football Season Monday, July 13th

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The countdown is officially on to the beginning of football season once again. That is because ESPN’s College Football Live returns Monday, July 13th.

ESPN’s College Football Live returns Monday, July 13th with a jam packed show already on tap. It kicks off with a broadcast from the SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama. It will air each day live from SEC Days from July 13th – Thursday, July 16th at 2pm ET on ESPN. Thursday’s broadcast will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Joe Tessitore will anchor each broadcast. He will be joined at the desk by analysts Joey Gallaway and David Pollack for additional commentary and insight. After its kickoff week, College Football Live will broadcast a half-hour progam each day during the college football regular season at 2pm ET on ESPN or ESPN2. Beginning with Monday’s broadcast, those fans that miss the broadcast won’t have to worry as each broadcast will also be available after the fact as an ESPN podcast.

Along with the upcoming season premiere of College Football Live, officials with the ESPN family of networks have also announced the details for its networks’ college football coverage both on television and online. ESPNU will carry coverage of Media Days for the ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big 10, and Pac 12 from July 13th – 31st in a three-hour broadcast for each. The complete broadcast schedule for ESPNU’s Media Day coverage is noted below.


Date                 Time (ET)    Conference

Mon, July 13    3 – 6 p.m.      SEC

Tue, July 14     1 – 4 p.m.      SEC

Wed, July 15    1 – 4 p.m.      SEC

Thu, July 16     1 – 4 p.m.      SEC

Mon, July 20     1 – 4 p.m.     ACC and Big 12

Tue, July 21      1 – 4 p.m.     ACC and Big 12

Thu, July 30      1 – 4 p.m.     Big Ten and Pac-12

Fri, July 31        1 – 4 p.m.     Big Ten and Pac-12

ESPN’s SportsCenter will offer its own coverage to complement that of both ESPNU and the SEC Network with four days of SportsCenter on the Road broadcasts from the SEC’s Media Days. Reporters Joe Schad and Brett McMurphy will have coverage along the way.

ESPN3 and will also offer their own extensive coverage with ESPN3 offering coverage of the Media Days for the Sun Belt Conference, Mountain West, Mid-American, Big South, Southland, and American. will preview each and every media day, provide daily news and analysis, and produce pieces that will center on each of college football’s major conferences. ESPN Now will complement the coverage of ESPN3 and with its own additional content including: photos, commentary, quotes and more from each conference’s media day. Each outlet’s broadcast schedule is noted below.


Date                Time (ET)                Conference

Mon,July 20    2 – 4 p.m.                  Sun Belt

Tue, July 28    TBD                          Mountain West

Wed, July 29   Noon – 3 p.m.           Mid-American

                        TBD                          Mountain West

                        4 – 7 p.m.                  Big South

                        8 – 10 p.m.                Southland

Tue, Aug. 4     TBD                           American

Conference    Reporters

ACC                Andrea Adelson, Matt Fortuna, David Hale and Jared Shanker

Big 12              Brandon Chatmon and Max Olson

Big Ten            Adam Rittenberg, Brian Bennett, Josh Moyer, Dan Murphy, Mitch Sherman                          and Austin Ward

Pac-12            Ted Miller, Kevin Gemmell, Chantel Jennings and David Lombardi

SEC                Mark Schlabach, Edward Aschoff, Alex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf

Audiences can keep up with all of the latest college football news and information on the ESPN networks’ college football coverage online at:



To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at