Astros, Indians Look To Take Weekend Series Tonight Live On ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

In just a few hours, the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians will finish their three-game weekend series, and the series’ rubber match will be broadcast live tonight on ESPN.

The American League Central-leading Indians (22 – 22) take on the American League West-leading (and defending World Series Champion) Houston Astros (29 – 18) in the closer of the teams’ series as part of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell.  Broadcast of tonight’s game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.

Matt Vasgersian will have the call for tonight’s game.  He will be joined in the booth by analysts Jessica Mendoza and Alex Rodriguez for additional commentary.  Reporter Buster Olney will be on hand for all of the latest in-game news and interviews.

Tonight’s broadcast will be preceded by Baseball TonightSunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet.  The pre-game broadcast starts at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Carlos Carrasco (5 – 2 so far on the season) is expected to get the start for Cleveland. His last time taking the mound was May 14 against Detroit. He took the loss in that 6 – 3 loss to the Tigers, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 1 home run, 2 walks (one being intentional), and four strikeouts.  While those numbers are not bad, Carrasco will be looking to get a fresh start tonight when he takes the mound for the Indians.

Lance McCullers, Jr. (5-2) is expected to start for Houston.  He was also last on the mound May 14.  In his case, his last game was against the Angels, who won that game 2 – 1 against the Astros.  McCullers allowed 2 runs on 4 hits over 6 innings in that game, as well as 2 earned runs and 2 walks. He struck out 6 batters over that time.  Since he has had time to rest up, he will be looking for his own fresh start tonight.

Tonight’s game is another one that could go either way in looking at the numbers.  the Astros have played far better on the road so far this season, going 16 – 7 on the road while the team has been more tepid at home, going 13 – 11.  The Indians meanwhile have been better at home (13 – 9) than on the road (9 – 13).

Houston has gone 7 – 3 in its last 10 games while Cleveland has gone 5 – 5 in its last 10 games, with its most recent being a win against Houston.

More information on tonight’s broadcast and all of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell games is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at http://www.espn.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.

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Cubs, Cards To Play Live June 17 on ‘SNB’

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has added another key rivalry game to its Sunday Night Baseball broadcast schedule.

Network officials announced Thursday that the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals will face off Sunday, June 17 live on Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell.  The game will be the closer in the teams’ 3-game weekend series, with first pitch set for 8:15 p.m. ET.

Matt Vasgersian will have the call for the game.  He will be joined in the booth by analysts Alex Rodriguez and Jessica Mendoza for additional commentary.  Reporter Buster Olney will be on-field with all of the latest in-game news and interviews.

The game’s broadcast will be preceded by Baseball TonightSunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet at 7 p.m. ET.

Since the game (and series) is so far out, starting lineup have not yet been announced.  Currently, St. Louis sits third in the National League Central standings with the Cubs close behind at 23 – 18.

More information on the teams’ June 17 matchup is available online along with all of the latest Major League Baseball headlines at http://www.espn.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.

Yankees, Red Sox Return To ESPN For First Regular Season Matchup Of 2018 Season Tuesday Night

Courtesy: ESPN

Let the rivalry resume!

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox continue their decades-long rivalry Tuesday night, April 10 with the first regular season meeting of the 2018 Major League Baseball season.  ESPN will have full coverage of the American League matchup, presented by Hankook Tire beginning at 7 p.m.

Jon Sciambi will have the call for Tuesday night’s game.  He will be joined in the booth by World Series Champion catcher and analyst David Ross and reported Rick Sutcliffe. Ernesto Jerez and Luis Alvarez will have the call on ESPN Deportes+.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s big game, ESPN2 will air a special edition of Baseball Tonight titled Around The Cage beginning at 5 p.m.  The special broadcast, which will be anchored by Karl Ravech, will focus on players from both teams as they take in pre-game batting practice.  It will also feature interviews with the teams’ managers.  Ravech will be joined by Jon Sciambi, Rick Sutcliffe and reporter Tim Kurkjian for the broadcast.

MLB Intentional Talk leads off the afternoon/evening’s events at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.  Anchor Chris Rose will be joined by Red Sox player and World Series Champion Kevin Millar for the broadcast.  The hour-long broadcast will lead into Baseball TonightAround The Cage.

More information on Tuesday night’s game is available along with all of the latest MLB headlines at http://www.espn.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.

 

 

Rodriguez, Vasgersian To Replace Shulman, Boone On ESPN’s ‘SNB’ Broadcasts

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN will have some new, but well-known new faces this spring when its Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts return.

The worldwide leader in sports announced this week that Yankee great Alex Rodriguez and Matt Vasgersian will join the program’s broadcast team.  Jessica Mendoza will return, too.  Vasgersian will be the program’s new play-by-play announcer, taking the place of Dan Shulman while Rodriguez will serve as analyst, taking over from Aaron Boone.

ESPN announced last summer that Shulman would be leaving the program after last season.  While he stepped away from ESPN’s flagship MLB program, he is still working with ESPN covering Major League Baseball on its ESPN Radio broadcasts.  He is also busy covering college basketball for ESPN.

Boone meanwhile will go from the broadcast booth to the dugout after being named the Yankees new manager during the off-season. Both Rodriguez and Vasgersian said in interviews that they were looking forward to joining ESPN’s MLB broadcast team.

“I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my broadcasting career,” Rodriguez said.  “It’s an exciting time in baseball, and now I get that front row seat to tell that story every Sunday night on ESPN as well as calling my fourth post season on Fox where I started this journey.”

Vasgersian agreed.

“Jon and Dan set the bar super high for Sunday Night Baseball play-by-play, so it’s a real thrill for someone who still remembers his first Minor League bus trip in 1991 to have a chair like this one,” he said. “I know firsthand how passionate both Alex and Jessica are about baseball, and I can’t wait to get started with them.”

Mendoza said she was looking forward to working with her new broadcast partners.

“I am incredibly excited to work with both Alex and Matt,” Mendoza said.  “Matt has been a friend for a long time and someone whose work I’ve long admired. Alex’s achievements as a player speak for themselves, and I’ve been greatly impressed by the passion and dedication he has put into his broadcasting career. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Stephanie Druley, ESPN Senior Vice President of events and studio production said the new broadcast team was the right fit for ESPN because of its collective experience.

“Alex is one of the most recognizable personalities in all of sports, and he’s made a well-documented impact on the sports media landscape. His dynamic personality and incredible baseball knowledge, combined with Matt Vasgersian’s expertise, enthusiasm and poise, make for terrific additions to Sunday Night Baseball, with existing commentators Jessica Mendoza and Buster Olney,” Druley said.  “We’re excited about the potential for this team and we’re appreciative to our MLB Network and Fox Sports counterparts, as all parties were more than willing to collaborate in order to serve Major League Baseball fans.”

ESPN’s current Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule is noted below.

Schedule:

Date Telecast
Apr. 1 San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
Apr. 8 New York Mets at Washington Nationals
Apr. 15 Texas Rangers at Houston Astros
Apr. 22 Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Apr. 29 New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels** – Olney’s Pick!
May 6 Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
May 13 Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks
May 20 Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros
May 27* San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs
July 1 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
July 22 New York Mets at New York Yankees
July 29 Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
Aug. 19 MLB Little League Classic

*Telecast to air on ESPN2.

Additional Sunday Night Baseball selections for June through September will be made up to two weeks prior to the dates.

This year marks the 29th year of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.  Each game will be preceded at 7 p.m. on ESPN by Baseball TonightSunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet.

More information on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at http://www.espn.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.

 

 

2017 World Series Box Set Hits It Out Of The Park On Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Family Box Sets List

Courtesy: Major League Baseball/Shout! Factory

Family programming.  What does one think of when one hears the term?  One probably thinks of stuff that appeals more to kids than it does grown-ups, right?  I.E. cartoons and other programming aimed at younger viewers.  The reality of family programming is that it can include programs that grown-ups can watch with their younger counterparts, whether it is something new or perhaps even something older such as the classic television shows that today’s grown-ups watched when they were children.

Keeping all of this in mind, one might ask what does that have to do with anything.  It is important to note in setting up Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 New Family DVD/BD Box Sets.  This year’s list features titles that will appeal to children and grown-ups alike.  Some of the material might even appeal to both audiences at the same time (E.g. Cook’s Kitchen Season 10 and America’s Test KitchenSeason 17).  Both titles are included in this list alongside the ninth season of Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Squarepants and even the 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition, which the whole family can watch together.  For those families who already enjoy baseball, it’s a great watch.  For those parents perhaps hoping to connect with their children over a common interest, it’s just as critical.  Add in everything in its presentation, and it proves an important release all the way around.

Also included in this year’s list are new Peanuts collections from Warner Home Video as well as the “new” Real Ghosbuters DVD set, which was released this past October.  It features “over 100 episodes” of the series.  That still is not the entire series, but it is more cost efficient than buying each of the standalone collections separately.  Originally aired in France, the programs included in those box sets definitely stand out from their American counterparts, but could still be entertaining for the whole family.  For older youths, this list also features recent releases from Saban’s Power Rangers universe.  Even Green AcresThe Complete Series has been pulled over as it might not wholly appeal to younger viewers, its content is appropriate for the whole family.  It is a family friendly sitcom — something that is sadly missing from television today.

Between the titles noted here and the others that make up the rest of this list, audiences will see that there is plenty out there for the whole family — just as much as there is solely for grown-ups.  As with every previous list, this list features this critic’s Top 10 new Family DVD/BD Box Sets alongside five additional titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 new Family DVD/BD Box Sets.

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVD/BD BOX SETS

  1. 2017 World Series Collector’s EditionHouston Astros
  2. Green AcresThe Complete Series
  3. C.O.P.S.The Animated Series
  4. Cook’s CountrySeason 10
  5. America’s Test KitchenSeason 17
  6. Spongebob SquarepantsThe Complete Ninth Season
  7. Sports DetectivesSeason 1
  8. PeanutsSnoopy Tales
  9. PeanutsGo Team Go
  10. PeanutsSchool Daze
  11. Power Rangers SPDThe Complete Series
  12. Power Rangers Mystic ForceThe Complete Series
  13. Power Rangers Jungle FuryThe Complete Series
  14. The Secret World of Alex MackThe Complete Series
  15. The Real GhostbustersVol. 1 – 10

That’s it for this list.  Now we’ve got the top new box sets for grown-ups and for families.  Again, some of the grown-up sets are just as viable as family entertainment as they are for grown-up audiences.  That is a testament to the ability of their content to reach a wide range of viewers.

While this list is now done, there’s still work to be done.  There is still a list of the year’s top new Children’s DVDs as well as potentially the year’s top new independent movies, theatrical releases and overall movies to wind down the year.  It can’t all be guaranteed before the year ends tomorrow, but this critic will try nonetheless.  So stay tuned!

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Burns & Novick’s New Vietnam Miniseries Doc Is A Must See For Everyone

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Year in and year out, PBS proves that it is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming left on television.  In comparison to the programming put out by History, Discovery and even Science Channel, PBS’ programming stands solidly above those networks.  The documentaries put out by PBS and Public Media Distribution this year are proof positive of that.  They make up the majority of this critic’s list of 2017’s top new From the true history behind what was nearly one of America’s worst nuclear disasters in American Experience: Command and Control, to the hard-hitting (and fittingly titled) documentary The TalkRace in America, which focuses on relations between law enforcement and minorities, to even the Mythbusters-esque NOVASecrets of the Shining Knight and beyond, PBS has put out another strong crop of new documentaries this year.

Of course PBS is not the only company represented in this year list, despite its once again strong presence.  Smithsonian Channel and even MLB Productions are also represented here, too.  Leading off this year’s list of the top new documentaries is the The Vietnam WarA Film By Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.  This mini-series documentary presents both familiar and not so familiar information about the war as well as footage that is impacting in its own right.  Musical work by Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor and his friend Atticus Ross add even more to the documentary series.  Also included in the list, as noted already, is American ExperienceCommand and Control, which focuses on what was nearly one of America’s worst nuclear disasters.  If that isn’t enough, there is also a history of the evolution of subway transportation in American ExperienceThe Race Underground.  MLB Productions gets a nod with its new 2017 World Series Documentary, which tells the full, in-depth story of this year’s World Series.  Smithsonian Channel’s nod comes in the form of the WWII documentary Hell Below, which focuses on the submarine conflict both in the Atlantic and Pacific theater.

As with every previous list, this list features this critic’s Top 10 titles in their category alongside five additional titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2015 top 10 New Documentaries.

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW DOCUMENTARIES

  1. The Vietnam WarA Film By Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
  2. The TalkRace in America
  3. American ExperienceCommand & Control
  4. American ExperienceRace Underground
  5. Hell Below
  6. American ExperienceThe Great War
  7. Secrets of the DeadNero’s Sunken City
  8. NOVASecrets of the Shining Knight
  9. Secrets of the DeadGraveyard of the Giant Beasts
  10. Secrets of the DeadLeonardoThe Man Who Saved Science
  11. Secrets of the DeadAfter Stonehenge
  12. NOVAGhosts of Stonehenge
  13. 2017 World Series ChampionsHouston Astros
  14. Farewell Ferris Wheel
  15. NOVAKiller Volcanoes

That’s it for this list.  It’s not the end for the DVD and Blu-ray titles, though.  There is still more on the way including the year’s top new Family DVDs and BDs, best new DVD and DVD re-issues, and hopefully a couple of box set lists.  Stay tuned for all of that!

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.

‘2017 World Series’ Doc Is An Excellent Companion Piece To The ‘2017 World Series Collector’s Edition’ Set

Courtesy: Major League Baseball/Shout! Factory

The Houston Astros’ run to the 2017 World Series Championship is an historic part of Major League Baseball’s history. When the city that the team calls home was inundated by flood waters from Hurricane Harvey, the team became a beacon of hope for its residents. The team took that mantle and literally ran with it, giving its all from one game to the next, eventually finishing the regular season with 101 wins before advancing steadily but surely through the post season and on to the World Series Championship. Now thanks to Major League Baseball Productions and Shout! Factory, baseball fans nationwide can relive the Astros’ unlikely season, from the devastation of Harvey this summer to the final out of the World Series’ seventh game in the new 2017 World Series documentary. That story is told through the doc’s bonus material and its roughly 90-minute main feature, both of which are key elements of the doc’s presentation. The doc’s availability on DVD, Blu-ray and digital on one platform is also key in that it allows viewers to take in the story in all three platforms through just one setting. Each element is important in its own right to this forthcoming documentary, which is currently set to be released Tuesday, Dec. 5. All things considered, they make this documentary a solid companion piece for the 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition: Houston Astros.

Major League Baseball Productions and Shout! Factory’s upcoming 2017 World Series documentary is a solid companion piece to the companies’ also soon-to-be-released 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition: Houston Astros. That is due in no small part to the story told through the pairing of the doc’s bonus material and its main feature. The main feature, which runs roughly 90 minutes, takes audiences through the entirety of the 2017 World Series, one game at a time, while also acknowledging the motivation that the Astros had to play so hard. It is told through the words of the men who took to the field on both sides of the ball game-by-game and through footage recorded during each game. That footage includes pre-game warmups by both teams. The frank words from the players does plenty to enhance the series’ importance because it lets audiences know firsthand what they must have been feeling in each game. The original broadcast audio from both teams’ radio networks adds even more emotion to the story. While there is some extraneous narration from Morgan Spector, his verbiage is kept to a minimum, making the experience all the more enjoyable. That minimization allows the teams and announcers to tell the story, again making for plenty of enjoyment. That enjoyment more than ensures viewers’ maintained engagement from beginning to end. Of course the story told through the doc’s main feature is only one way in which the story told here proves so solid. The story told through the bonus material also plays into that strength.

The bonus material included in the 2017 World Series documentary includes two short yet impacting segments — “Houston Strong” and “How They Got There” — that tell the story of the Astros’ motivation to play hard for Houston and the impact of that drive. The prior tells the story in short but concise fashion, the story of Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston and of the Astros’ desire to be there for the city’s people. The latter tells the story of how the team’s efforts got it through its highs and even the lows of mid-season injuries, eventually giving way to the acquisition of Justin Verlander and the return to form for the Astros. The whole thing culminates with the Astros’ ALCS win over the Yankees. Given, it’s an extremely brief mention, but is there nonetheless. The bonus “Clenching Moments” and “Regular Season Highlights” reels add to the story told through the two main bonuses, making for even more engagement and entertainment for audiences. When all of this additional bonus material is set alongside the doc’s main feature, the end result is, for all intents and purposes, an in-depth story of how the Astros went from starting over from 2016’s struggles to taking on the mantle of Houston’s guiding light (so to speak) to Major League Baseball Champions. It is a story that every baseball fan will appreciate regardless of team loyalty, and is just one more reason that the doc in whole proves such a solid companion to the 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition: Houston Astros. The availability of the program on three separate platforms in one single setting puts the finishing touch on the program’s presentation.

Major League Baseball Productions and Shout! Factory have made it possible for audiences to enjoy the 2017 World Series documentary on DVD, Blu-ray and digital platforms in one single combo pack. That’s nothing new for the companies’ World Series documentaries. What is really great for audiences is that they have made it possible for audiences to enjoy the program on all three platforms in one single setting, rather than forcing them to choose between platforms. The average price point of $22.78 ($23 and change with tax) gives audiences all three platforms in one, allowing them to enjoy the program at home and on the go. For those wanting just one platform, the program is also being made available on standalone DVD at an aver age price point of $20.22. That’s not a bad price point, and is cheaper on the surface than the price point for the 3-platform combo pack. However in a 24/7 digital world, the slightly more expensive combo pack that includes a digital download code makes more sense. Not only that but it also allows audiences to watch the program on any platform or even lend one of the discs to family and/or friends without worry. Keeping that in mind, the availability of this documentary on both multi-platform setting and a single platform setting shows how much thought was put even into this aspect of its presentation. MLB Productions and Shout! Factory are to be commended just as much for this as for the product presented through the program’s central and bonus content. When all of this is considered along with the story told through the noted content, the result is a presentation that is just as enjoyable to take in as the actual World Series and that expertly completes the presentation of this year’s Fall Classic.

MLB Productions and Shout! Factory’s upcoming 2017 World Series documentary program is a solid companion piece for the companies 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition: Houston Astros. It takes the presentation in that program and builds on it by giving audiences an even deeper look into the World Series from the mouths of the men who took the field. It also takes audiences through the Astros’ regular and post season with separate highlights reels. Those reels, while short, come together in whole to paint a relatively full picture of Houston’s road to the World Series. The availability of that full story on three platforms in one setting (DVD/BD/digital combo pack) strengthens the program’s presentation even more. Each element is clearly important in its own right to the presentation’s whole. All things considered, they make the 2017 World Series documentary a solid companion piece for the 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition: Houston Astros and certainly another program that every baseball fan will appreciate regardless of team loyalty. It will be available Dec. 5 and can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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.