NL Central Foes, Chicago And St. Louis, Close Series Live Today on TBS

Courtesy: Turner Sports

National League Central foes, the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs wrap up their four-game weekend series this afternoon, and the make or break game for the divisional foes will be broadcast live on TBS.

Coverage of today’s game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. ET, with Ernie Johnson and Ron Darling on the call.  The Cubs have taken two of the series’ games while the Cards only have one win, so today’s game could mean a series split if the Red Birds Win or a series win for the Cubs if they take the “W”.

Miles Mikolas (MY-koh-lahs) (10-3) is scheduled to get the start for St. Louis in today’s game.  His last time on the mound was July 15 against the Cincinnati Reds, another NL opponent.  The Cardinals won that game 6-4.

Mikolas pitched four innings in the game, but John Gant (3-3) was credited with the win.  Mikolas allowed 3 runs, 3 earned runs and 2 walks on 6 hits while striking out two during his time on the mound.

Jose Quintana (8-6) is set to start for Chicago.  His last time on the mound was 12 days ago on July 10 against San Francisco and was credited with the win in the game, having pitched six innings and allowing only 3 hits and 2 walks over that time while striking out 3 batters.  He allowed no runs, no earned runs or even home runs either.

Looking at those numbers, today’s series closer seems to lean in favor of the Cubs.  However, a deeper look at the numbers shows either team could walk away with the win today.  The host Cubs are 30-17 at home so far this season versus 27-23 on the road while St. Louis, which sits third in the NL Central, 7.5 games back from the division (and National League) -leading Cubs, is almost as good on the road as at home, going 26-24 on the road and 24-24 at home.

The Cards’ most recent win came Saturday against the Cubs, so they’ll be looking to even out the series at two games each as it closes.  The Cubs meanwhile will look to rebound from that loss so it can improve to 7-4 in its last 10 games.

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

 

Website: http://www.tbs.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TBSNetwork

 

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PBS Distribution’s New ‘Arthur’ DVD Is A Welcome “Present” In Any Family’s Home DVD Library

Courtesy: PBS Distribution

Later next month, PBS Distribution is bringing fans of PBS Kids’ hit series Arthur a special new present in the form of the series’ new DVD, Arthur: D.W. and the Beastly Birthday.  The DVD’s release will come nearly a year after the special first aired on PBS Kids—Aug. 2, 2017.  Why PBS would wait this long to release the DVD is anyone’s guess.  That aside, it proves to be a presentation that the whole family will enjoy.  That is due in part to the story at the center of the DVD’s main feature and its companion story.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bonus companion episode included in the DVD adds its own touch to the DVD’s presentation.  Its average price point rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own way, as will be discussed here.  All things considered, they make Arthur: D.W. and the Beastly Birthday a new Arthur DVD that was well worth the wait.

PBS Distribution’s new forthcoming Arthur DVD, D.W. and the Beastly Birthday is a DVD that was well worth the year-plus wait.  That is proven in part to the story at the center of center of the DVD’s main feature.  The story takes a page from the famed children’s book Where The Wild Things Are.  In the case of this story, it’s D.W.’s birthday, but Arthur doesn’t want to get pulled into the annual celebration.  That’s because every year, Arthur has to do everything that D.W. wants.  So he gets her a card, not realizing it’s for a boy, and then goes to a show at the planetarium with his classmates as an excuse to avoid her birthday party.  However, while he’s there, the Earth goes through a wormhole, aging everyone except for Arthur’s class by four years.  Of course, the whole thing is a dream sequence, just like D.W.’s trip to Ukubonga, where Arthur’s friends happen to look just like the creatures from the aforementioned book.  Both brother and sister learn their own valuable lesson in the process, obviously.  What’s really interesting to note, in a deeper examination, is that considering this story, one could even argue that the classic Jimmy Stewart classic movie It’s A Wonderful Life was a partial influence, considering the whole thing happens as a result of two dream sequences – the realization of what life would be like, etc.  Keeping in mind the dual influences in this story, and the story that results from those influences, what audiences get here is a story that will entertain audiences of all ages and also ensure said viewers’ engagement.  Sure, it’s not fully original, but there is enough originality here that it makes the story stand easily on its own merits.  To that end, the story at the center of the DVD’s main feature is reason enough in itself for this DVD to be in any family’s home DVD library.  It builds a strong foundation for the DVD’s presentation.  The companion episode Arthur’s Birthday strengthens that foundation even more.

The companion episode included in D.W. and the Beastly Birthday, Arthur’s Birthday strengthens the DVD’s presentation even more as it presents its own birthday-themed story that boasts its own identity separate from that of the DVD’s main feature.  Taken from very first season of Arthur, this story sees Arthur having to navigate some difficult waters when it turns out that Muffy is having her birthday party on the same days as his.  The problem comes when Muffy announces that anyone who doesn’t come to her party isn’t her friend anymore.  Obviously the whole thing has a happy ending after a compromise is made.  That lesson about compromise is in itself key to the episode’s whole from which the whole family will benefit in taking in.  Add in the fact that this episode comes from the series’ debut season and that not even one season of the hit series has been released to DVD or even Blu-ray in whole to this day from PBS Distribution, and the episode proves even more ,a present in itself for audiences. Maybe PBS’ people will read this and take this to heart.  A lot of people would like to see this series start getting proper full season releases from PBS Distribution.  That aside, just having this episode included as a thematically complimenting piece is a bonus.  Having a piece of the series’ origins adds to its positive.  Having noted all of this, the bonus birthday episode is still not the last of the DVD’s positives.  Its average price point rounds out its most important elements.

The average price point of Arthur: D.W. and the Beastly Birthday sits at $6.24.  That price was obtained using the DVD’s listing at PBS’ online store and online listings from Target, Best Buy and Amazon.  It didn’t seem to be listed at Wal-Mart’s online site.  Even with this in mind, a 70-minute presentation between the two features at $6.24 is not a bad price at all.  It’s actually quite affordable.  And considering that 70-minute run time, it’s a price that will more than pay for itself as families will enjoy the DVD time and again whether together or if younger viewers watch by themselves.  To that end, the DVD’s average price point proves truly critical in its own right to the DVD’s whole.  When this is considered along with the content in the features and the features themselves, what audiences get here is a DVD that, again will is a welcome present in any family’s home DVD library whether on birthdays or other days.

PBS Kids’ new Arhur DVD, D.W. and the Beastly Birthday is a welcome present for any family whether on a birthday or other day of the year.  That is due in part to the DVD’s main feature, which entertains audiences while presenting some valuable life lessons.  Much the same can be said of the DVD’s companion Season One episode, Arthur’s Birthday.  That episode is also a welcome look back at the history of Arthur since the series still has yet to get a proper full-season release from PBS Distribution.  The DVD’s fully affordable average price point proves to be another positive to the DVD.  Each element is key in its own way to the whole of this DVD.  All things considered, they make Arthur: D.W. and the Beastly Birthday a welcome present for the whole family whether on a birthday or any other day.  It will be available August 14.  more information on this DVD is available online now along with plenty of games, printables, activities and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/arthur

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

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory To Re-Issue ‘Saved By The Bell’ This Fall

Courtesy: NBC/Shout! Factory

It’s time to go back to Bayside!

For the first time in almost five years, NBC’s classic Saturday morning series Saved By The Bell is getting a full-series set on DVD, and it’s all thanks to Shout! Factory.  Saved by the BellThe Complete Collection is scheduled to be released Oct. 2, and for true devotees of the timeless series, this set gets right what the show’s previous series offerings have gotten wrong.

Whereas previous sets — including the most recent from Lionsgate — omitted the college years, this set includes those episodes and the previously omitted “Good Morning, Miss Bliss.”  The full, 86-episode series run spans 2,790 minutes across 16 discs and even includes the rare Saved by the Bell movies as an added bonus. They were previously omitted from the series’ most recent release.

Pre-orders are open now for the set at Amazon.  More information on Saved by the BellThe Complete Collecion 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

 

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Paul Finebaum Signs Multiyear Extension With ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN
Tampa, FL – January 7, 2017 – Curtis Hixon Park: Paul Finebaum on the set of SEC Now during the 2017 CFP National Championship Game Presented by AT&T
(Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

ESPN personality Paul Finebaum will remain with the network for the foreseeable future.

That’s because Finebaum, who serves as an analyst on the SEC Network’s SEC Nation and as host of The Paul Finebaum Show on ESPN, signed a multi-year contract extension with ESPN this week.

Specific terms of the deal were not announced, but it is known that with the extension, he will continue his noted duties on both networks, and have other additional appearances on the ESPN networks. Finebaum said he was looking forward to his future with ESPN and the SEC Network.

“I’m thrilled to be a member of the ESPN family and look forward to continuing our show on the SEC Network,” Finebaum said.  “I consider myself incredibly blessed to do this every day, and I’d like to thank everyone at ESPN, as well as all of our loyal listeners and viewers, for their support.”

Stephanie Druley, Senior Vice president ESPN Events and Studio production, shared Finebaum’s positive thoughts on the extension.

“Paul is one of the most compelling personalities on the SEC Network and ESPN,” Druley said.  “His passion for the SEC and its fan base is evident every day on the Paul Finebaum Show.  Over the years on the SEC Network Paul and his callers have delivered daily with captivating debate and light-hearted humor.  We look forward to enjoying The Paul Finebaum Show, and Paul’s varied and valued contributions to our studio show programming, as we head yet again into another jam-packed football season.”

Finebaum will be a part of the SEC Network’s special summer edition of SEC Nation this Sunday, July 15 from SEC Summmerfest.  It will be presented by Regions Bank.   The special college football pre-season broadcast kicks off 45 hours of live coverage from Atlanta ahead of next week’s SEC Kickoff.

More information on Finebaum is available online now along with more ESPN headlines at:

 

Website: http://www.espn.com/

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espn

 

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ESPN Announces Extensive Broadcast Coverage Schedule For T-Mobile Home Run Derby

Courtesy: ESPN

It’s almost time again for Major League Baseball’s annual All-Star Game, and with its return next week is also the return of its heavy hitters showcase in the annual Home Run Derby.  ESPN will carry exclusive coverage of the exhibition competition live, Monday, July 16.

Coverage of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.  Karl Ravech will anchor Monday night’s showcase.  Former World Series Champion and current ESPN analyst Marx Teixeira will join Ravech in the booth for additional commentary.  Jessica Mendoza will be on the field with all of the latest interviews with this year’s field of hitters while reporter Buster Olney will have all of the latest news from the field.

While coverage of the competition starts Monday night, ESPN’s networks will have on-site coverage starting Monday afternoon at 3 ET.  It all starts with a special 90-minute edition of Baseball Tonight, Baseball TonightAll-Star Media Day from 3 – 4:30 on ESPN live from Nationals Park.

Baseball TonightHome Run Derby — Around The Cage follows from 4:30 – 5:30 on ESPN.  The broadcast will include interviews with the competitors.  Adnan Virk will anchor the broadcast.  He will be joined by David Ross, Tim Kurkjian and Eduardo Perez for additional commentary.

Pardon The Interruption continues the afternoon’s coverage live from Nationals Park from 5:30 – 6.  Over on ESPN2, Chris Rose and Kevin Miller will be have even more coverage on Intentional Talk from 5 – 6.  The anticipation keeps building at 6 p.m. on an hour-long edition of SportsCenter on ESPNwith Keith Olbermann and Karl Ravech co-hosting.

The Home Run Derby Preview Show leads into the “big game” at 7 p.m. on ESPN.  Adnan Virk, David Ross, Tim Kurkjian and Eduardo Perez will have broadcast duties during the hour-long broadcast.

Those who won’t be near a television during the derby can still catch it online as it will be simulcast online via the ESPN App.  Over on ESPNEWS, viewers will get a first-of-its kind broadcast of the derby — a graphics intense broadcast loaded with data from Statcast. Jason Benetti and Eduardo Perez will partner for the broadcast.

ESPN Radio , ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio will also simulcast Monday night’s showdown.  Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton will have the call while Marc Kestecher and analyst Tim Kurkjian carry pre-game coverage.

Coverage on ESPN Deportes starts at 7 p.m. with a on-hour edition of SportsCenter.  Ernesto Jerez will anchor the broadcast of the derby itself.  He will be joined by analyst Luis Alfredo Alvarez for additional commentary.  Reporter Guillermo Celis will be on the field for all of the latest interviews and news.

Over on ESPN Deportes Radio, Eduardo Ortega will have the call for Monday night’s matchup of hitters.  He will be joined by analyst Renato Bermudez for additional commentary while reporter Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez will be on the field for all of the latest interviews and news.

More information on the ESPN networks’ coverage of the 2018 T-Mobile Home Run Derby is available online now along with all oh the latest Major League Baseball headlines at:

 

Website: http://www.espn.com/mlb

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

Twitter: http://twitter.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.

 

 

ESPN To Offer Full Day Of MLB All-Star Game Coverage Tuesday

Courtesy: ESPN

Major League Baseball’s annual All-Star Game is returning to ESPN Radio again this year.

The Worldwide Leader in Sports announced Thursday that for the 21st consecutive year, ESPN Radio will serve as the national radio broadcast home of the league’s annual mid-season spectacular, which is scheduled to be played July 17.  Broadcast of Tuesday’s All-Start showcase is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET.  The broadcast will also stream online via the ESPN App.

The ESPN Radio broadcast team of Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton will have the call for Tuesday night’s game.  Reporters Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian will also be on hand for all of the latest in-game news and interviews.

While coverage officially starts at 8 p.m., ESPN’s coverage of the All-Star game starts early in the day with live coverage on SportsCenter AM with host Pedro Gomez.  Coverage continues at 4 p.m. ET with a special 90-minute edition of Baseball TonightAround The Cage anchored by Karl Ravech.  He will be joined by analysts Marx Teixeira David Ross, Eduardo Perez and Tim Kurkjian for additional commentary.

Pardon The Interruption and SportsCenter continue ESPN’s pre-game coverage from 5:30 – 7 with PTI up first from 5:30 – 6.  It will broadcast live from Nationals Park.  Keith Olbermann and Karl Ravech will co-host SportsCenter from 6 – 7 on ESPN live from Nationals Park.

A half-hour Baseball Tonight2018 All-Star Game Preview Show airs at 7 p.m. with Ravech hosting and Teixeira and Ross serving as analysts once again leading into Tuesday night’s game.

More information on ESPN’s 2018 MLB All-Star Game coverage is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

 

Website: http://www.espn.com/mlb

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

Twitter: http://twitter.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.

 

Viewers Of All Ages Will Enjoy “Diving” Into PBS Kids’ Debut ‘Nature Cat’ DVD

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Kids’ animated series Nature Cat is one of the network’s newest shows with now just two seasons under its belt.  The series’ second season officially wraps in just two weeks on July 16 with the show’s new “movie” The Return of Bad Dog Bart.  In the short time that the series has been on the air, it has also quickly become quite popular among audiences.  It’s become so popular, in fact, that early last month (June 5 to be exact), it saw the release of its debut DVD, Onward & Pondward.  The DVD’s title is a toss of the hat to Nature Cat’s catch phrase — “Onward and yonward!” – and also hints at the DVD’s central theme, that of all things water.  That theme and the connection of said theme to the DVD’s seven (technically six episodes, as the final episode is a two-part episode) forms the foundation of the DVD’s presentation.  The lessons tied into the stories are collectively just as important to discuss as the stories, and will be discussed a little later.  The disc’s pricing rounds out its most important elements.  Each element plays into this debut DVD offering from Nature Cat in its own way.  All things considered, they make Onward & Pondward a fully successful first effort and hopefully just the series’ first collection.

Onward & Pondward, the debut DVD offering from PBS Kids’ hit animated series Nature Cat is a fully successful first collection of episodes from said show.  Hopefully it is just the series’ first episode compilation, too.  The stories featured in this collection are, collectively, a big part of the DVD’s success.  By and large, the episodes – all of which are lifted from the series’ first season — follow the DVD’s water-themed title with each tale taking Nature Cat and his friends Hal the dog, Squeaks the mouse and Daisy the bunny on new, unique adventures each time.  “Welcome to Vernal Pond’ takes Nature Cat and company to a pond that appears every spring and is gone by fall.  In that span of time, dozens of creatures use the seasonal pond to spawn, including salamanders, toads and even fairy shrimp of all things.  “Puddle Pool Party” takes the group to a special pool party, only to find out that it can only happen under a certain circumstance – a circumstance that leads to an easily accessible lesson about the water cycle, which will be discussed later.  “Stream and Shout” takes Nature Cat and his friends on a journey to find where streams start and end (making for another easily accessible lesson) while “Swamp Thing” is a fun story that families will enjoy especially on Halloween while also learning yet another key lesson.  “There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills” finds the group panning for gold in a stream (again, the water link is there, although it’s slightly lesser than the other episodes).  “Earth Day Today” links the water theme as the group tries to retrieve a water bottle floating in a river.  Again, it is a loose connection, but a connection nonetheless.  That episode’s companion, “Earth Day Every Day” doesn’t touch on the water theme, but being that it is part of the overall Earth Day episode, it gets the pass.  Keeping that in mind, it’s good to see here that the episodes in general follow that noted central theme while also making their lessons just as original and accessible.  It creates a solid foundation for the DVD’s presentation.  The lessons tied into the stories strengthen that foundation even more.

As noted already, the stories included in this DVD present lessons that are both accessible for young viewers and are original from one to the next.  The term “original” means here that they don’t repeat from one episode to the next.  Case in point, the lesson presented in the DVD’s opening episode, “Welcome To Vernal Pond.”  This episode is essentially a story that teaches a basic biology lesson about ecosystems.  The very use of the seasonal pond in itself explains that ecosystems can exist seasonally.  On the slightly deeper level, it teaches about the animals that live within the given ecosystem.  In the case of the vernal pond, the seasonal pond was used by toads, ducks, salamanders and even fairy shrimp.  The shrimp themselves are good to note in that most adults (this critic included) probably have never heard of them.  Apparently they do in fact live in vernal ponds, and are even eaten by birds (in this case, likely ducks).  So to that end, including these tiny creatures might catch older viewers’ interest just as much as younger viewers and could, in turn, lead to family research.  In other words, it could be a catalyst for family learning and by connection, family togetherness.  Considering this, having such a seemingly simple lesson that clearly has a farther reach shows quite clearly the importance of the stories’ lessons.  It is just one way in which the lessons prove so important.  “Puddle Pool Party” presents an accessible lesson about the water cycle through the use of Squeaks’ attempt to have a pool party.  When it’s found that the puddle she saw was gone, this leads to the discussion about evaporation and condensation, and how the two are key parts of that cycle.  It’s a great and easily accessible lesson that is sure to stick with the series’ young viewers thanks to fun and easy way in which it is explained.  The geology lesson presented in “There’s Gold In Them Thar Hills” – one has got to love how the show’s writers used that old-time phrase for the episode’s title – centers on Squeaks’ discovery of gold in a stream.  This leads everyone to return to the stream to pan for even more gold.  At first, they find what’s known as “fool’s gold,” and determine it to be so because of certain classifications.  Those classifications are in fact the lesson.  They tell the difference between real and false gold.  Of course, it leads to the fun story that finds Nature Cat having to get the gold back from Ronald in the process.  Yes, it has a happy ending.  But again, the originality and accessibility of the lesson presented here shows yet again the importance of the stories’ lessons.  The lesson about waterways presented in “Stream & Shout,” the lesson centered on swamp life in “Swamp Thing” and the equally key lesson about ecology in the two-part Earth Day episode each show in their own ways, too, the importance of the stories’ lesson.  They cannot be ignored in discussing that importance.  When they are considered along with the lessons more directly noted here, the whole of the lessons proves without doubt the importance overall of the lessons tied into each episode’s story.  When the stories and lessons are joined together, they make for plenty of reason for elementary educators and families alike to own this DVD.  Of course they still are not the DVD’s only positives.  Its relatively affordable average price point also proves to be a positive.

Using the nation’s four major retailers – Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Amazon – alongside PBS’ own pricing, the average price point of Nature Cat: Onward & Pondward proves to be approximately $9.70.  That makes the unit price approximately $1.39 per episode.  Given, that’s a little more expensive than the cost of PBS Kids’ recently released Dinosaur Train DVD, Meeting New Friends, but is still relatively affordable at under $10 overall.  The noted unit price for one episode is less than the cost of a single-night DVD rental from Redbox, by comparison.  That shows how affordable this DVD is in the bigger picture.  As if that isn’t enough positive, buying this DVD also supports PBS.  That is more than enough reason for any family that values education and entertainment to own this DVD.  When all of this is considered along with the lessons, which are clearly valuable for a young person’s education (and entertainment), and the entertaining stories themselves, the whole of the elements makes Onward & Pondward a DVD into which any family will want to dive.  Yes, that terrible pun was fully intended.

Onward & Pondward is a wonderful first home offering from PBS Kids’ animated series Nature Cat.  It is an offering that audiences familiar and not so familiar with the show will all enjoy.  That is proven in part through seven stories that stand out from one another in their originality and that entertain audiences of all ages in the process.  The lessons tied into the episodes are just as engaging as the fun, family-friendly stories.  They strengthen the foundation of the DVD’s presentation even more.  The DVD’s relatively affordable average price point puts the finishing touch to the collection.  Given, even when tax is added, the price point does top $10, but only barely.  To that point, seven episodes at only $1.39 per episode is affordable.  This cannot be denied.  When this is considered along with the entertainment and education offered through the disc’s 88-minute run time, one can’t deny that this first home Nature Cat release is a successful debut DVD from the series.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on Onward & Pondward is available online now along with plenty of Nature Cat activities, games, printables and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/naturecat

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

 

 

 

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.