‘Sports Detectives: Season One’ Is A Winning Debut For Smithsonian Channel Series

Courtesy: Smithsonian Channel/Public Media Distribution

Early this month, Public Media Distribution and Smithsonian Channel partnered to release the first season of the network’s new sports history-based series Sports Detectives on DVD.  One part History Detectives, one part 30 for 30 and one part Expedition Unknown, this introductory season will appeal to any sports and sports history buff. That is due in no small part to the sports that it covers over the course of its episodes.  The stories that are presented within each episode are just as important to discuss as the sports that are covered.  The transitions that are used in the two-part episodes round out the season’s most important elements.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the season’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Sports Detectives: Season One is, overall, a winner for any sports aficionado.

The debut season of Smithsonian Channel’s Sports Detectives is a presentation that will appeal to sports buffs of all ages.  That is due in no small part to the sports that are covered over the course of its 300-minutes.  From the first disc to the second, the series covers all of America’s major sports.  There are two stories from Major League Baseball, two from the National Football League, one from the National Hockey League and one from the National Basketball Association.  They are not the only sports that are covered in this collection.  NASCAR fans get a nod with a story focusing on the legend of Dale Earnhardt’s pink K-2 Ford driven early in his career, one for the horse racing fans out there and even one focusing on the boxing world.  Simply put, those behind the series made sure to reach out to fans of as many sports as possible with these stories  The only downside here is that there is no listing of the stories inside or outside the box.  Even with that in mind, the inclusion of stories from most of the sports world’s major arenas (yes, that bad pun was intended) is in itself plays a big part in the program’s overall presentation.  The fact that the series has yet to touch on soccer (yes, that bad pun was intended, too) gives fodder for more stories.  There are certain to be stories from the worlds of golf and tennis, too.  That is not even mentioning the college sports realm, too.  Keeping that in mind, this gives plenty of material for at least a second season.  Keeping all of this in mind, the sports that are covered and the sports that could be covered in a second season of Sports Detectives show why they are pivotal to the series’ first season.  They are, collectively speaking, just part of what makes this season so enjoyable for sports lovers.  The stories presented within the episodes are just as important to discuss in examining this season as the sports presented within the episodes.

The stories that are presented within each episode are so important to discuss because of the history that each story presents.  The stories also don’t always result in a clear answer either.  The story of Muhammad Ali’s Olympic Gold Medal supports both of those statements.  Audiences learn through this story about how he represented his country at the 1960 Olympics, only to allegedly throw it in the Ohio River upon his return to the U.S.  The alleged incident happened, according to the story, after he was denied service in his still segregated home city of Louisville.  Not to give away too much here, but the story is never fully solved despite the lengths to which the investigative team of Kevin Barrows and Lauren Gardner go to try to solve the mystery.  That the story isn’t solved actually adds to its interest, leaving one wonder if there is any validity to Ali’s story or not.

The story of Ali’s missing 1960 Olympic Gold medal is just one example of the importance of this season’s stories.  The story of Lou Gehrig’s baseball bat is another prime example of the importance of the season’s episodes.  This is one of the stories that is solved.  The investigation here finds a bat that was in fact once in the hands of the baseball legend.  The revelation that someone out there has a bat that was in fact once held (and used in a game) by the legendary figure is in itself incredible.  The history behind the bat is just as interesting.  It is just one more of the stories that shows the importance of the stories featured in this season.  There is also a story centered on famed horse Secretariat’s saddle cloth that is just as interesting.

The story of Secretariat’s supposedly missing saddle cloth is another one that results in the mystery being solved.  What is so interesting in this story is the revelation of how easily it could have and did go missing in the commotion following Secretariat’s win in one of horse racing’s biggest events.  The story keeps audiences engaged because of the twists and turns that it presents as it eventually leads to the discovery of the saddle cloth.  Those twists and turns keep viewers wondering right up to the eventual discovery if it will turn up.  Again, it is just one more example of why the episodes’ stories are so important to the season’s overall presentation.  The story of a flag brought to the ice after the famed “miracle on ice” Olympic matchup between the U.S. and Russia, the location of an NFL Champion’s ring and that of a famed basketball are a few more examples of why this season’s stories are just as important to discuss as the sports that are covered in examining the season’s overall presentation.  As important as the stories presented in these episodes are to the season’s overall presentation, they are not the last of its important elements.  The transitions used in the two-part episodes are important to note, too.

The sports and stories presented throughout the first season of Smithsonian Channel’s Sports Detectives are both key elements to discuss in examining the season’s overall presentation.  They are not its only key elements to examine either.  The transitions that are used in the season’s two-part episodes are important in their own right to the season’s presentation.  The transitions used in said episodes are so important because they are so smooth. The case of the missing NFL Championship ring and the missing “Immaculate Reception” is a prime example of that statement.  Those behind the lens picked all of the right moments to connect one story to the other, thus keeping the story moving.  It is clear in watching the episode that the choices were made not only through the discussions but also through the shots.  This same approach was used in the episode focusing on Dale Earnhardt’s K-2 Ford and Secretariat’s saddle cloth and in the episode focusing on Lou Gehrig’s baseball bat and Kirk Gibson’s home run ball.  Those smart transitions will certainly keep audiences just as engaged as the stories themselves.  That is because they enhance the stories, thus making them all the more engaging.  When this element is set alongside the show’s actual stories and the sports that are featured, the whole of the elements makes this season of Sports Detectives a win for sports buffs of all ages and tastes.

Sports Detectives: Season One is a winning start for Smithsonian Channel’s new sports-based series.  That is due, as already discussed, to the diversity of sports featured in the season’s two discs and 300 minutes.  The stories at the center of each episode are just as important to discuss as the featured sports.  The transitions that are used in each episode (or more specifically, the editing in general) is the finishing touch to the season’s presentation.  Of course one could also argue the interviews, footage and pictures used in each story are important in their own right, too.  Those who point out those elements would be right, too.  All things considered, the debut season of Sports Detectives leaves no mystery why it is a winning presentation.  It is available now and can be ordered online via PBS’ online store.  More information on Sports Detectives and other Smithsonian Channel series is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.smithsonianchannel.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SmithsonianChan

 

 

 

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New York Sports Anthem Will Get NFL Fans Going At Pro Bowl, Super Bowl

Courtesy: Chris Clemence

Courtesy: Chris Clemence

Bassist Chris Clemence’s New York sports anthem ‘Let’s Go’ is about to become one of the next big national sports anthems thanks to the National Football League.

‘Let’s Go’ will air live during the NFL’s Pro Bowl later this month and early next month during Super Bowl LI. The song will play over the speakers at each game’s stadium.  Clemence originally debuted the song late last year.

The up-tempo, fist-pumping inciting composition features vocals from Cro Mags member Harley Flanagan and additional instrumentation from Madison Square Gardens organist and DJ Ray Castoldi. It went on to become an anthem of the Knicks, Giants and Rangers since its debut.

Photo Credit: Ultra Sound Studios L - R: Chris Clemence, Harley Flanagan, Ray Castoldi writing 'Let's Go' in New York City.

Photo Credit: Ultra Sound Studios
L – R: Chris Clemence, Harley Flanagan, Ray Castoldi writing ‘Let’s Go’ in New York City.

Clemence was humble as he talked about the continuously growing popularity of ‘Let’s Go.’ He said he was moved by the reaction audiences have had to the song and looked forward to see if it would continue to grow in its popularity.

“The song has had a really great response, and it’s exciting to watch it grow even bigger,” Clemence said.  “I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Audiences can download ‘Let’s Go’ now via iTunes. Audiences can also stream the song online via Clemence’s website.

Clemence said downloading the song will allow audiences to hear it whenever they want, but stressed fans who hear it live during a game will gain even more of an appreciation for the song.

“For the full effect you have to go hear it at a game,” Clemence said.

More information on ‘Let’s Go’ is available online now along with all of Clemence’s latest news and more at: http://www.chrisclemence.com.

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Dropkick Murphys Unveil ‘Paying My Way’ Video

Dropkick Murphys has partnered with the National Hockey League for the band’s video for its new single.

The band unveiled the video for its new single ‘Paying My Way’ this week.  The song comes from the band’s new album 11 Stories of Pain & Glory, which is due out Jan. 6 via the band’s own label, Born & Bred Records.

The song’s new video couples the song with NHL footage from the league’s present and past.  It includes game footage and shots of players from different teams in the locker room, too.  DKM’s hometown team, the Boston Bruins are even included in the video.  The video is streaming online now here. The song is streaming online now via Spotify.

Courtesy: Born & Bred Records/NHL Network

Courtesy: Born & Bred Records/NHL Network

Band founder/vocalist Ken Casey explained the song’s lyrical theme, saying it is about trying to be the best that a person can be, and looking long term at the importance of trying one’s best.

‘Paying My Way’ is not just about paying your bills,” Casey said. ‘It’s about doing what you have to do in order to be a good person, but at the end of the day, never losing sight of the fact that doing the next right thing may lead to great things one day.”

Pre-orders for 11 Stories of Pain & Glory are open now via iTunes.  Audiences who pre-order the album now will get ‘Paying My Way’ as an instant download.  Limited edition CD and vinyl pressings of the album can be placed online now here.

Dropkick Murphys will hit the road in support of 11 Stories of Pain & Glory beginning Feb. 21 in Bethlehem, PA.  The band’s tour winds down on St. Patrick’s Day Week with a string of hometown shows in Boston.  Tickets for the band’s tour are available now.

More information on tickets is available along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.dropkickmurphys.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DropkickMurphys

 

 

 

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ESPN Announces MNF Pre-Season Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Spring is one of the greatest times of the year for sports fans. The NHL and NBA are both headed into their respective playoffs. MLB is just getting started. The auto racing world is in high gear. And in the world of football, many universities are planning their annual spring football scrimmages ahead of the annual NFL draft. It also means one other thing for sports fans. It means the annual announcement by ESPN of the network’s pre-season football coverage. And make that announcement is exactly what the worldwide leader in sports did Thursday.

ESPN announced Thursday that it has two games on tap for its 2015 Monday Night Football schedule. The first of those games is a matchup of the Browns and Bills on Thursday, August 20th in Cleveland. It will be the first chance for new Bills coach and former Jets coach Rex Ryan to put his team, which now features All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy, on display. On the other side of the ball, it is believed that Johnny Manziel will be fighting for his career as the Browns host the Bills in the AFC matchup.

The second matchup on ESPN’s Monday Night Football pre-season schedule will see Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, August 24th. The Bucs struggled mightily in the 2014- 2015 season and will have the #1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft as a result of those struggles.

The MNF broadcast team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will have the call for both games. They will be joined once again by sideline reporter Lisa Salters. Both games are schedule for an 8pm ET start time and will be preceded by an hour-long edition of ESPN’s weekly NFL pre-game show Monday Night Countdown. ESPN’s Spanish-speaking audiences will be able to catch both games on television on ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s 24-hour Spanish-language domestic sports network. ESPN Deportes will also have coverage of every regular season MNF broadcast.

Along with coverage on television via ESPN and ESPN Deportes, every MNF broadcast can also be seen online through a number of outlets including: Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One via WatchESPN. WatchESPN is available in more than 93 million households across the country to fans who get ESPN’s networks as part of their video subscription.

More information on ESPN’s upcoming MNF broadcast schedule is available online along with all of the latest NFL headlines at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl.mnf

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

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.

PBS To Release Special FIFA World Cup Tournament Tie-In

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS will release a special documentary this summer in celebration of the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Tournament.

American Pharaoh will be released on DVD July 8th. The documentary, helmed by Egyptian filmmaker Hossam Aboul-Magd, follows the Egyptian National Soccer team—the Pharaohs—and the team’s former American coach, Bob Bradley. It documents the team’s attempt to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup for the first time in more than twenty years. Aboul-Magd and his crew filmed the documentary over the course of more than two years. The team’s struggle to qualify is set against the unrest in the team’s home nation.

Bardley is only the third American to ever manage a foreign soccer team.   Along with the struggles of the team as a whole, American Pharaoh follows Bradley’s journey and that of his family, staff and players. It offers coverage of the Pharaohs’ games in Africa and shows the team’s fight to reach its lofty goals despite everything going on around the team.

Aboul-Magd explained in an interview that his documentary is more than just a sports-themed documentary. He explained that this documentary is about the team and its fight to succeed as an example of how Egypt as a country can also overcome its own struggles. “This is not just a film about soccer,” he said. “This is about my country, my team, a coach I respect and the dream of capturing the World Cup in spite of enormous challenges.  I see the goal of developing a strong team, in the middle of a revolution, as a metaphor for the rebuilding of Egypt.”

Bill Gardner, VP of Programming and Development with PBS, also shared his thoughts on the documentary. He noted in his comments what led PBS to take on American Pharaoh. “When Hossam approached PBS with this idea, we were immediately on board,” he said. “This film not only tells a compelling story, but also provides a unique window into Egyptians’ ongoing struggle to define themselves during a time of national unrest. The journey of the Pharaohs on the road to the World Cup with the perspective of their American coach make this a truly unusual and intimate film.”

Hossam Abou-Magd is an award-winning filmmaker. American Pharaohs is not his first film for PBS. He has helmed previous works for PBS, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, History Channel, BBC, ABC, CNN, NHK and Al-Jazeera.

American Pharaoh will be available on DVD Tuesday, July 8th. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=35620216&cp=&sr=1&kw=american+pharaoh&origkw=American+Pharaoh&parentPage=search. More information on this and other documentaries 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 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.

30 For 30 Series Continues With NHL Documentary “Big Shot”

 

Courtesy:  ESPN/ESPN Films

Courtesy: ESPN/ESPN Films

 

The next film in ESPN’s Peabody Award winning series, 30 for 30, airs next Tuesday.  Big Shot is the next film in the hugely popular series.  It is directed and narrated by Kevin Connolly. Mark Ciardi (Million Dollar Arm, Secretariat) and Ted Schillinger (Benji) produced the film.

Big Shot follows the issues that plagued the NHL’s New York Islanders after the team was bought by Dallas businessman John Spano in 1996.  Spano bought the beleaguered team for $165 million.  His purchase of the team looked like a good thing on the surface.  But, not everything was as it seemed for the Islanders and the team’s fans.  Big Shot presents as part of its presentation, the only interview that Spano ever gave about the Islanders deal.  Audiences will see in this film just how the scam went undetected by so many for so long.  A trailer for the film is available online at http://espn.go.com/30for30/film?page=bigshot.

Each film in the 30 for 30 series will be available online via iTunes and Amazon Instant Video the day after its broadcast.  A special collectible six-disc DVD set featuring the first fifteen films from 30 for 30 Volume II will be available in stores and online November 26th, 2013.  The remaining films in this season of ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 are listed below.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 22, 8 p.m. – Big Shot (Director: Kevin Connolly)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 29, 8 p.m. – This is What They Want (Directors: Brian Koppelman and David Levien)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 5, 8 p.m. – Bernie and Ernie (Director: Jason Hehir)

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

ESPN’s 30 For 30 Series Returns This Fall

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has officially announced the schedule for the return of its hit 30 for 30 film series.  The Peabody Award-winning series will return this Fall beginning Tuesday, October 1st with the tragic story of Hawaiian surfer Eddie Aiku in Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aiku.  The film (and all new films in the series) will broadcast at 8pm on ESPN with a new film debuting each Tuesday from October 1st to November 5th.  The story of Eddie Aiku is just the beginning in the return of ESPN’s award-winning series.  Also included in this Fall’s schedule are stories of the John Spano Islanders scandal in Big Shot and Jimmy Connors’ unbelievable run in the 1991 U.S. Open in This is What They Want.  It’s all capped off with a look at one of the most infamous rivalries and moments in modern sports history in Tonya and Nancy.  This film documents the rivalry between skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan and how it led to the brutal attack on Kerrigan.

Connor Schell, ESPN Films Vice President explained the motivation behind bringing the network’s famed series back with more new films in a recent interview.  “We continue to see an insatiable appetite for well-told sports stories that both tap into nostalgia and allow for discovery of new insight and detail.  We are proud to be the destination for fans looking for high-quality films that take them inside the worlds that they love,” he said.  “Sports hold an increasingly prominent place in American culture, and our new slate of films exemplifies our ongoing goal of telling cultural stories that last.”

Fans can download each new film the day after its broadcast via iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.  And for those that want the physical object, ESPN will release a special six-disc set titled 30 for 30 Volume II on November 26th, just in time for the holidays.  The set will feature the first fifteen films in the new, upcoming slate of films.  It will be available online at ESPNShop.com and in stores.

The current listing of upcoming films is available below:

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 8 p.m. – Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 8 p.m. – Free Spirits

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 8 p.m. – No Mas

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 8 p.m. – Big Shot

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 8 p.m. – This Is What They Want

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 8 p.m. – Tonya and Nancy

 

Fans can keep up with all of the latest updates on the 30 for 30 series online at http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30 and http://espn.go.com/30for30.  And 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.