ESPN Radio Releases Early Broadcast Schedule For 2014 MLB Season

Courtesy:  ESPN/ESPN Radio

Courtesy: ESPN/ESPN Radio

ESPN Radio has released its early broadcast schedule for the 2014 MLB season.

ESPN Radio’s 17th season broadcasting Major League Baseball includes some sixty-five plus games beginning on opening night, March 30th.  Yasiel Puig and the Los Angeles Dodgers take head to San Diego to take on Chase Headley and the San Diego Padres to open the season.  Coverage is scheduled to begin at 7pm ET.  Opening Day will see David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox on the road against Chris Davis and the Baltimore Orioles.  Coverage of that game is scheduled for a 2pm ET start time.

Along with coverage of games on Opening Night and Opening Day, ESPN Radio will also feature the farewell of Derek Jeter as he and his Yankees team mates host the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, April 13th at 7pm ET.  Other big events that ESPN Radio will cover this season include: The Chevrolet Home Run Derby and the 85th All-Star Game from Target Field in Minneapolis, MN on Monday and Tuesday, July 15th and 15th.  MLB fans can also tune in to ESPN Radio for full coverage of MLB’s post season.  This includes coverage of the: NLDS, ALDS, NLCS, ALCS, and World Series.  ESPN Radio’s current 2014 MLB Broadcast Schedule is listed below  the times listed include the one-hour Baseball Tonight pre-game show.  More games will be added to the schedule as the season progresses.

2014 MLB on ESPN Radio Schedule

 

Date Time (ET) Game
Sun, March 30 6 p.m. Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres
Mon, March 31 1 p.m. Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles
Sat, April 5 2 p.m. San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
Sun, April 6 6 p.m. San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
Sat, April 12 11 a.m. Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Sun, April 13 6 p.m. Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Sat, April 19 5 p.m. Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
Sun, April 20 5 p.m. Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox
Sat, April 26 11 a.m. Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees
Sun, April 27 6 p.m. Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees
Sat, May 3 11 a.m. St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
Sun, May 4 6 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
Sat, May 10 2 p.m. San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
Sun, May 11 6 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates
Sat, May 17 2 p.m. Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees
Sun, May 18 6 p.m. Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox
Sat, May 24 TBD TBD
Sun, May 25 6 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds

 More information on ESPN’s Major League Baseball coverage is available online at http://espn.go.com/mlb.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Starts Countdown To 2014 FIFA World Cup Tournament This Week

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The countdown to the 2014 FIFA World Cup begins this week.

ESPN will mark one hundred days to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Tuesday, March 4th with three days of special programming beginning Monday, March 3rd.  There will also be extensive digital content on ESPNFC.com and coverage of seven FIFA matches among much more coverage throughout the week.

ESPNFC.com kicks off the special three-day event with an in-depth three-day content initiative that focuses on this year’s tournament in Brazil.  That initiative includes digital video, stories, and much more.  Among the highlights from ESPNFC.com are:

  • “American Underdogs” – Part I: This is the first of Roger Bennett’s four-part series focusing on the twentieth anniversary of the 1994 World Cup.  It examines specifically the buildup to that year’s FIFA World Cup tournament in the United States.
  • World Cup injuries report Who’s in, who’s out?: As the buildup to this year’s FIFA World Cup tournament builds, John Brewin gives a report on all of the key injuries from the teams taking part in the tournament.
  • How does a country win a World Cup?: Gabrielle Marcotti investigates what it takes to be the FIFA World Cup champion.
  • Battling the elements: Teams will face not only each other in the FIFA World Cup tournament, but also Mother Nature.  Brazilian-based journalist Eduardo Alvarez gives an in-depth look at the impact of the weather on the tournament.

ESPN2 and WatchESPN will continue the ESPN family of networks’ special three-day coverage of the 0214 FIFA World Cup tournament on Tuesday with a special one-hour edition of ESPN FC on TV.  The special broadcast will include previews and discussions of this year’s World Cup tournament as well as the launch of “American Underdogs,” which focuses on the twentieth anniversary of the 1994 FIFA World Cup tournament.

Tuesday’s hour-long ESPN FC on TV broadcast will air on ESPN and WatchESPN at 5pm ET.  It will be hosted by Dan Thomas and former U.S. Men’s National Team players Kasey Keller and Alexi Lalas.  They will be joined by analyst Alejandro Moreno, a former Venezuelan National Team player, live from Atlanta.  Moreno will call matchup of Mexico and Nigeria Wednesday, March 5th on ESPNEWS and WatchESPN.  That game can also be viewed online via WatchESPN.  It will air at 8:30pm ET.

Tuesday’s broadcast of ESPN FC on TV will include:

  • The top 10 on-the-field questions leading into the World Cup.
  • “American Underdogs – Part III: Alexi Lalas played in the 1994 FIFA World Cup tournament.  He will personally discuss the legacy of that year’s tournament.
  • A preview of Wednesday’s matchups, featuring key 2014 World Cup Teams – the only FIFA approved match date before the tournament.
  • Analysis from ESPN FC’s European football experts Gabrielle Marcotti and Raphael Honigstein on the tournament’s top European teams.
  • A “100th Day Out” countdown graphic that will appear on-screen throughout the course of the progam.  It will also be featured on programming across the ESPN family of networks.

The ESPN family of networks wind-down their special three-day coverage marking the countdown to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Tournament on Wednesday with seven international matches.  That coverage includes the last official FIFA match date before the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament.  The schedule for those games is listed below.

Date Time (ET) Matchup Network(s)
Wed, March 5 1:30 p.m. Ukraine vs. USA ESPN2 / WatchESPN
2 p.m. Romania vs. Argentina ESPN3 / ESPN Deportes
2:45 p.m. Germany vs. Chile ESPN3
3 p.m. France vs. Netherlands ESPN3
3:45 p.m. Portugal vs. Cameroon ESPN3
4 p.m. Spain vs. Italy ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes / WatchESPN
8:30 p.m. Mexico vs. Nigeria ESPNEWS / WatchESPN

 

The ESPN family of networks will offer much more content and coverage beginning today, March 3rd on the 100-day countdown to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Tournament.  More information on this week’s special three-day event is available online at http://www.espnfc.com and http://www.facebook.com/ESPNFC.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN’s Baseball Tonight Goodyear Express Tour Winds Down This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN winds down its Baseball Tonight Goodyear Express Tour this weekend.

The tour finishes off this weekend beginning this morning at 9am ET.  ESPN’s SportsCenter will feature live reports from the Cincinnati Reds’ training camp in Goodyear, Arizona.  Baseball Tonight host Karl Ravech and analyst Jon Kruk will be joined by ESPN MLB Insider Tim Kurkjian for all the latest from the Reds’ training camp.

Tomorrow—Saturday, March 1st—Kurkjian will have live SportsCenter updates from the Seattle Mariners’ training camp in Peoria, Arizona.  Coverage of both teams’ training camps includes in-depth analysis of each team and interviews with both players and managers.

ESPN’s MLB coverage picks back up on March 17th as the Worldwide Leader in Sports kicks off Spring Training telecasts that day.  Spring Training coverage kicks off with a matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox.  Coverage is scheduled to begin at 1pm ET. ESPN’s complete Spring Training coverage schedule is listed 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 +

 

More information on ESPN’s MLB coverage is available online at http://espn.go.com/mlb.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Celebrates 25 Years Covering MLB With Special Opening Night Broadcast

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN reaches a milestone this Spring.  Beginning March 30th at 6:30pm ET, the Worldwide Leader in Sports will kick off its twenty-fifth season covering Major League Baseball.  It all begins with an exclusive ninety-minute presentation of MLB’s Opening Night on ESPN presented by Scotts–Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres—on Sunday Night Baseball.  Karl Ravech will host the special anniversary broadcast.  He will be joined by MLB Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, Jon Kruk, and Curt Schilling.

The night’s special pre-game broadcast will be followed up by first pitch scheduled for 8pm ET.  Host Dan Shulman will be back for the network’s landmark anniversary season.  Also returning are analyst Jon Kruk and reporter Buster Olney.  There will be a new face joining the regular broadcast team this season.  MLB veteran and Curt Schilling also joins the team beginning this season.

MLB fans can catch all the Opening Night festivities across the ESPN platforms, including ESPN, ESPN Radio (with Jon Sciambi, and Chris Singleton), ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, and online via WatchESPN.

ESPN’s Opening Day schedule will feature five matchups, highlighted by a matchup of the 2013 MLB World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles.  That game is scheduled for a 3pm start time.  The complete ESPN Opening Night/Opening Day schedule is listed below.

 

ESPN’s Opening Night and Opening Day Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sun., Mar. 30 8 p.m. Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres telecast presented by Scotts ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, WatchESPN
Mon., Mar. 31 1 p.m. Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates telecast presented by Scotts ESPN, WatchESPN
Mon., Mar. 31 3 p.m. Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles telecast presented by Scotts ESPN2, WatchESPN
Mon., Mar. 31 4 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds telecast presented by Scotts ESPN, WatchESPN
Mon., Mar. 31 7 p.m. Colorado Rockies at Miami Marlins telecast presented by Scotts ESPN2, WatchESPN
Mon., Mar. 31 10 p.m. Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim telecast presented by Scotts ESPN2, WatchESPN

 

ESPN offers audiences fully in depth MLB coverage online at http://espn.go.com/mlb.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN College Football Analysts Announce Picks For BCS Bowls

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The holiday season is said to be the most wonderful time of the year.  For college football fans, it’s not Christmas, but the days after that are the most wonderful time of the year.  That’s because the biggest games of the college football season are played in the days after Christmas.  And fans can catch all of the action across the ESPN family of networks and online.  It all starts off New Year’s Day with the 100th Rose Bowl and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.  Number Four Michigan State will face off against Number Five Stanford in the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio at 5pm.  Number Six Baylor and Number Fifteen UCF follow at 8:30pm in the annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

The new year football celebrations continue Thursday, January 2nd with a matchup of Number Three Alabama taking on Number Eleven Oklahoma in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.  That game is slated for an 8:30pm start time.  The Discover Orange Bowl follows the next night at 8:30pm with Number Twelve Clemson taking on Number Seven Ohio State.  That games is also set for an 8:30pm kickoff.  Wrapping up the week of football festivities is the Vizio BCS National Championship next Monday, January 6th.  The one-loss Auburn Tigers will take on the undefeated Florida State Seminoles in college football’s biggest game.

As college football fans across the country get ready for their most wonderful time of the year, ESPN’s college football analysts have made their own predictions as to the winner of each game.  Their picks are listed below.  It should be noted that the analysts in question did not pick the games that they are calling.

ESPN Analysts BCS Picks

Analyst Rose Bowl

#STANvsMSU

Fiesta Bowl

#UCFvsBAY

Sugar Bowl

#OUvsBAMA

Orange Bowl

#CLEMvsOSU

Championship

#FSUvsAUB

Anthony Becht Stanford UCF Alabama Ohio State Florida State
Mike Bellotti Stanford Baylor Alabama Ohio State Florida State
Kevin Carter Stanford Baylor Alabama Clemson Florida State
Todd Blackledge Stanford Baylor Clemson
Ed Cunningham Stanford Baylor Alabama Clemson Florida State
Joey Galloway Michigan State Baylor Alabama Clemson Florida State
Rod Gilmore Stanford Alabama Ohio State Auburn
Brian Griese Stanford Baylor Alabama Ohio State Florida State
Brock Huard Michigan State Baylor Alabama Ohio State Florida State
Danny Kanell Stanford Baylor Alabama Clemson Florida State
Tom Luginbill Stanford Baylor Alabama Clemson Auburn
Brett McMurphy Stanford Baylor Alabama Clemson Florida State
Jesse Palmer Stanford Baylor Alabama Ohio State Florida State
Chris Spielman Michigan State Alabama Florida State
Matt Stinchcomb Stanford Baylor Alabama Clemson Auburn
Andre Ware Michigan State

 

More information on all of the week’s upcoming BCS games is available online at http://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN, http://espn.go.com/ncf/index, and http://twitter.com/espncfb.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces Information For Friday Night Fights Season Premiere

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona is returning for its seventeenth season.  The Worldwide Leader in Sports has announced that FNF will begin its new season on Friday, January 3rd live at 9pm ET on WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes+.  The show’s seventeenth season will kick off with a bang, too.  Season Seventeen will open with a twelve-round IBF title bout between Junior Lightweight titlist Argenis Mendez ( 21 – 2 – 1,  11 KOs) and undefeated Rances Barthelemy (19 – 0, 12 KOs).  Also slated for the season premiere of Friday Night Fights presented by Corona will be a ten-round co-feature featuring up-and-coming Middleweight contender Caleb Truax (23 – 1, 4 KOs).  As an additional note, ESPN Deportes will re-brand its broadcasts with the new name, Noche de Combates.  The newly re-branded broadcast was previously branded as Viernes de Combates.

The season opening bout, the first of the 2014 season’s twenty-six total fights, will be broadcast live from the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN.  It is co-promoted by former Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson and his promotional company, Iron Mike Productions.  Tyson also promoted the final bout of FNF’s 2013 season, which featured Argenis Mendez in the world title main event.

Brian Kweder, ESPN Senior Director of Programming and Acquisitions, expressed expectations for the 2014 season in a recent statement.  He also  noted changes being made for the upcoming season of FNF.  “We are eagerly anticipating the upcoming season of Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates,” he said.  “We start the season just as we finished last season with a world title fight co-promoted by Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions. The biggest change for 2014 is that we are assigning dates to promoters with as much advance notice as possible to allow for even better fights and bigger crowds.  We’ve partnered with a group of promoters who have always delivered in the past and are committed to upping the ante even further for 2014. Having a world title fight and names like Kendall Holt, Zsolt Erdei and Arash Usmanee early this season show that the strategy is already paying dividends.”

Long time FNF broadcast team Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be back again for all of the ringside action each week.  Tessitore will call the matches and Atlas will have in-match analysis for every match broadcast on ESPN2.  Both men have been awarded the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in  Broadcast Journalism.  Teddy Atlas won the award in 2001 and Tessitore in 2010.  Studio host Todd Grisham will be back for his second full season on FNF.  He will fill in for Tessitore in ESPN2’s season opener and will have all of the latest boxing news and highlights.  Also back again will be Bernardo Osuna.  Osuna will contribute to broadcasts both on FNF and Noche de Combates. 

Pablo Viruega and Delvin Rodriguez will have the call for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+.  The will be joined live by studios hosts Leopoldo Gonzalez and Claudia Trejos.  As a new addition to the studio show for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+, Hall of Fame referee Joe Cortez will join Gonzalez and Trejos in studio throughout the season.  Osuna will contribute reports and interviews each week.  The latest slate of fights is available below.

 

Date Time (ET) Main Event Location Networks
Fri, Jan 3 9 p.m. Argenis Méndez (21-2-1, 11 KOs)  vs. Rances Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs) —12-rounds, IBF Junior Lightweight Title Target Center, Minneapolis, Minn. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 10 9 p.m. Arash Usmanee (20-1-1, 10 KOs) vs. Juan Antonio Rodríguez (25-4, 23 KOs) — Junior Lightweights Emerald Queen Hotel & Casino, Tacoma Wash. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 24 9 p.m. Javier Molina (14-1, 6 KOs) vs. Kendall Holt (28-6, 16 KOs) —10-rounds, Junior Welterweights Little Creek Casino, Shelton Wash. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 31 9 p.m. Zsolt Erdei (33-1, 18 KOs) vs. Elvir Muriqi (40-5, 24 KOs) —10-rounds, Light Heavyweights Codey Arena, West Orange, N.J. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN

 

More information on the latest from FNF and Noche de Combates is available online at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf, http://twitter.com/ESPNBoxeo, and http://twitter.com/ESPNFNF.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Bears, ‘Boys Face Off Monday Night In Pivotal NFC East Battle

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

This week’s broadcast of Monday Night Football on ESPN is going to be another big one as the regular season nears its end.  This week, the Bears and the ‘Boys will face off for control of the NFC East.  Both teams come into Monday Night’s game on their own MNF winning streaks.  The Cowboys’ own a five-game MNF win streak and are second all-time in MNF appearances (74) and wins (43) coming into Monday’s game.  The Bears won their last four home games that aired on Monday Night Football.  Making the night even more special for the Bears is that they will honor Bears legend and current NFL analyst Mike Ditka by retiring his number during the games halftime festivities.

Stuart Scott will anchor Monday night’s pre-game show, Monday Night Countdown.  The broadcast will come live from Soldier Field in Chicago at 6:30pm.  He will be joined by analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis, and Steve Young.  Contributor Rick Reilly will also be on hand alongside the Monday Night Football team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, and Lisa Salters.  Chris Berman will head up the studio portion of the show.  He will be joined by ESPN NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, and insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.

Monday Night’s game is scheduled for an 8:25pm ET start time on ESPN.  Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will be in the booth to call the game.  Lisa Salters will be on the sidelines for all of the latest in-game reports.  More information on Mondays game and all things Monday Night Football is available online at http://www.facebook.com/MNF, http://espn.go.com/nfl.mnf, and http://espn.go.com/nfl.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN’s Annual “Jimmy V. Week For Cancer Research” Begins Today

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Today, December 3rd, is an important day in the sports world.  The reason for the day’s importance is that it begins the annual “Jimmy V. Week for Cancer Research.”  It all kicks off tonight with a simulcast of beloved former NC State coach Jim Valvano’s  famed 1993 ESPYs speech across the ESPN family of networks.  It will also run on the ABC SuperSign in New York’s Times Square.  Good Morning America host and winner of the 2013 Arthur Ashe Courage Award, Robin Roberts, will introduce the simulcast.

Roberts and a handful of athletes, coaches, celebrities and ESPN faces will share Valvano’s words through public service announcements.  The announcements in question and “Jimmy V Week” content will air on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, NBA on ESPN games, and college football games on ABC.

The week-long memoriam wraps up with the “Jimmy V. Women’s and Men’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona.”  The games will be broadcast Tuesday, December 17th at 7pm ET on ESPN2.  Number 1 Connecticut will face off against Number 2 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina on the Women’s side.  On the men’s side, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati will take to the hard court at 7pm ET.  That game will be followed up by a matchup of Number 16 Florida and Number 11 Memphis at 9:30 ET.  Both games will run on ESPN and ESPN Radio live from Madison Square Garden.

The “Jimmy V. Week for Cancer Research” raised $1.6 million in 2012.  Last year’s success brings the fundraising effort’s six-year total to more than $6.5 million.  More information on this and more from ESPN is available online at http://www.espn.com and http://www.facebook.com/ESPN.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

League of Denial Is A Shocking Look At NFL Injuries

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

When one thinks of PBS, one doesn’t typically associate the network with football. But in one of the latest episodes of its news program Frontline, PBS “tackles” the NFL’s recent scandal centered on the battle over whether current and former NFL players suffer from a condition known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE. This shows how big the scandal had become ever since the discovery of CTE in the late 1990s. Whether one is a PBS fan or a fan of the NFL, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis is a program that both audiences will want to watch. Audiences on both sides will want to watch this as it provides an in depth discussion on the scandal showing where it started and the eventual effect of the findings on the league as a whole. Audiences will find interesting, the interviews with both medical professionals and those with the league that paint the whole picture. The addition of vintage video of games helps to illustrate the subject matter even more.  Audiences are also presented with visual imagery of the brains that were studied by the noted medical professionals.   The imagery in question may be unfamiliar to most audiences.  But in its own way, it helps to illustrate the arguments made by those arguing that CTE does in fact affect NFL players.  This video, along with the vintage NFL game footage and the interviews on both sides make this episode of Frontline all the more intriguing for anyone with any interest in either the medical field or just the NFL.

PBS doesn’t typically delve into the world of professional sports with its programming.  So when producers decided to take on the issue of CTE in NFL players, one knew instantly that the subject was far more wide ranging than just what was going on with the players.  Audiences will see through the interviews culled for this episode of Frontline that CTE affects both current NFL players and those hoping to one day reach the ranks of the NFL.  The interviews provide a clear, unbiased look at the situation and how important it is as not just a sports issue, but a health issue, too.  Viewers will see how medical science was used to break open a scandal that continues to play a role in the NFL even today after the league paid out almost $800 million to former players and the families of former players that were found to have suffered from CTE as a result of their time in the NFL.  Dr. Bennett Omalu is the first medical professional interviewed during the program’s two-hour run time.  It was his autopsy of former Steelers legend Mike Webster that started the ball rolling in the case against the NFL covering up brain injuries to players.  On the other side, an interesting argument is made that if CTE does in fact affect players, why is it that it only affects some players and not others.  That’s not to say that it’s a strong argument.  But it is an interesting one nonetheless.

The interviews used throughout this program are hard hitting to say the least.  No pun intended.  Just as powerful is the companion video used to illustrate the arguments being made.  PBS uses footage from NFL films to show just how hard football players hit one another in the course of a normal game.  One interviewee shares that when players hit one another in a normal game, it’s equivalent to hitting a brick wall at thirty-five miles per hour.  This illustration combined with the provided footage from NFL Films puts quite well into perspective just how hard players hit one another again and again throughout just a single game.  One can’t help but lean more towards the side of CTE as a cause of players’ brain injuries over their careers, despite what certain groups might have people believe.  The footage of the dissected brains may not be the easiest thing for some viewers to handle.  That should be noted right now.  But much like the other video that accompanies the program’s interviews, it helps to illustrate even more the arguments being made by those that investigated them.  Not everybody will fully comprehend or appreciate what is shown.  Even this critic views the dissections as Latin so to speak. But for those that have any interest or experience in the medical field and/or forensic science, they play an extremely large role in the grand scheme of the program.  In simple terms, they add that much more value to the presentation.  And that added value makes this piece even more worth watching whether one is a hardcore NFL fan or not.  League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis is available now and can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=24432136&cp=&sr=1&kw=league+of+denial&origkw=League+of+Denial&parentPage=search.  More information on this and other releases from PBS is available online at http://www.pbs.org and http://www.facebook.com/pbs.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN To Air NASCAR SCS, NNS Finales This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

And then there was one.  This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ 2013 series comes down to a winner take all race that will decide who takes the Sprint Cup Championship.  Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson have been locked in a head to head battle since the start of the annual “Chase for the Championship.”  But Kenseth has fallen off track in recent weeks.  He trails Jimmie Johnson by almost thirty points as the series heads into its season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend.  Allen Bestwick will anchor this weekend’s broadcast.  He will be joined by analysts and NASCAR veterans Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree.  Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Vince Welch will have all the latest in-race news live from the pits.  ESPN’s NASCAR Countdown will be anchored by Mike Massaro.  He will be joined by NASCAR veteran Rusty Wallace, former crew chief and Evernham Racing head Ray Evernham, as well as team owner Brad Daughtery for analysis.

The Ford Econoboost 400 closes out the Sprint Cup Series’ 2013 season.  It will be broadcast live this Sunday beginning with a special two-hour edition of NASCAR Countdown beginning at 1pm ET.  The green flag is currently scheduled to drop at 3:15pm ET.  ESPN will have also air practice and qualifying live this Friday at 1:30pm and 6pm ET respectively.

Along with its broadcast of the Sprint Cup Series season finale, ESPN will also have full coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ finale Saturday afternoon.  Austin Dillon and Sam Hornish, Jr. will take it right down to the wire Saturday for the series’ championship in the Ford Econoboost 300.  Broadcast of the race begins with NASCAR Countdown live at 4pm.  The green flag is expected to drop at 4:46pm ET.

ESPN will build up to this weekend’s championship battle by embedding reporters Ryan McGee and Shannon Spake with Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth’s teams respectively today and tomorrow, November 12th and 13th.  They will bring reports from both camps on ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter.  NASCAR fans can also tune in to ESPNEWS this Thursday, November 14th for a special hour-long program that will come live from the NASCAR Championship Contenders news conference.  That broadcast will kick off live at 12pm ET from Miami.

More information on this weekend’s races is available online at http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news, 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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.