ESPN Kicks Off 2015 MLB Post Season Coverage Tonight

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The 2015 MLB Playoffs are here!

In only a couple of hours, ESPN will kick off its coverage of the 2015 MLB post season. It all begins with a live broadcast of the American League Wild Card Game presented by Hankook Tires at 8pm ET tonight. Tonight’s AL wildcard game will pit the New York Yankees, who are no stranger to the post season, against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. Whoever wins tonight’s game will go on to face Kansas City in the ALDS. That series kicks off October 8th. While both teams come into the post season on equal footing–NY is 45 – 36 at home while the Astros as 45 – 36 on the road–Houston would seem to have at least a little bit more of an advantage having gone 6 – 4 in its last ten and taken two of three against the D-backs over the weekend. NY meanwhile finished off the regular season on a three-game skid after having been swept by the Orioles over the weekend. The Astros will be hungry to keep the wins coming while the pinstripers will be looking heavily to get back on the winning track.

Jessica Mendoza will have the call for tonight’s game on ESPN. She will be the first-ever female analyst to call an MLB post season game. She will be joined in the booth by fellow analyst John Kruk and his Sunday Night Baseball co-host, veteran play-by-play man Dan Shulman. ESPN MLB Insider Buster Olney will also be on hand for tonight’s game with all of the latest in-game news. Baseball fans not near a television need not worry about missing tonight’s broadcast. That is because the game will be simulcast on ESPN Radio stations across the country. Dave O’Brien and Aaron Boone will have the call for ESPN Radio. It will also air live online via WatchESPN and on ESPN Deportes for ESPN’s Spanish-Speaking audiences. And tomorrow night, ESPN Radio will also have full coverage of the National League Wild Card Game between the Pirates and Cubs. Coverage begins at 8pm ET. Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton will have the call and commentary for the game. More information on ESPN’s MLB coverage is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

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

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

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.

Red Sox, Yankees Renew Their Rivalry Once More This Week On ESPN’s WNB

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Tomorrow night on ESPN, one of the longest-running rivalries in sports will see its latest chapter written when the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees face off once again.

The Bosox and Yanks will face off live August 5th on ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball live from New York in the rubber match of a three-game series between the AL East foes that kicks off tonight. Jon Sciambi will have the call for Wednesday night’s game. He will be joined in the booth by analysts Rick Sutcliffe and Doug Glanville for additional commentary. Luis Severino is currently slated to take the mound for the pinstripers in his major league debut while Steven Wright is expected to start for Boston. Wright’s last time on the mound was last Thursday against the White Sox. He was credited with the win in Boston’s 8 – 2 route of Chicago having faced twenty-nine batters over seven innings. Over that time, he struck out eight batters, allowed only six hits, two runs, two earned runs, two walks, and one home run. And out of his one hundred sixteen total pitches, he threw a total of seventy-seven strikes, which is a roughly sixty-seven percent strike rate.

New York currently sits atop the AL East, leading second place Baltimore by five and a half games while Boston sits at the bottom of the division thirteen games back. Currently, New York is 59 – 45 so far on the season and 6 – 4 in its last ten games. Considering Boston’s struggles this year and New York’s 30 – 17 home record so far this season, the odds are in New York’s favor in not only Wednesday night’s game but in the series in whole. Boston, on the other hand, is 47 – 59 so far on the season and 5 – 5 in its last ten games. It is 20 – 31 on the road verses and 27 – 28 at home.

Tomorrow night’s game will be available both on television and online via ESPN, WatchESPN, and ESPN3. Coverage begins at 7pm ET. More information on Wednesday’s AL East matchup on ESPN is available online along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

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

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

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 Looks Back At Jeter’s Career With Special Programming This Week

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Derek Jeter is officially counting down his final days wearing pinstripes. In celebration of the Yankee great’s career, ESPN is offering special programming documenting his career throughout this week. ESPN’s week-long coverage of Jeter’s career begins today as the Yankees host the Orioles in the second game in a four-game series that kicked off Monday. New York won yesterday’s game, blanking the Orioles 5 – 0. Game two is expected to begin tonight at 7:05pm ET. Jon Sciambi will have the call for the game. He will be joined by analyst Rick Sutcliffe and analyst/reporter Doug Glanville for additional commentary.

Jon Sciambi will also have the call Thursday night for what will be Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees close out their four-game series against the Orioles on ESPN Radio. He will be joined by analyst Chris Singleton for additional commentary. Coverage of Thursday night’s game begins with pre-game coverage at 6pm ET. Freddie Coleman will have a full wrap-up of the game immediately following its conclusion on The Freddie Coleman Show.

SportsCenter Special: Derek Jeter will air this Friday, September 26th at 7:30pm ET. Karl Ravech will anchor the special broadcast. He will be joined by ESPN MLB analysts Curt Schilling, Aaron Boone, Mark Mulder and ESPN MLB Insiders Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian, and Keith Law. They will look back at Jeter’s storied career and examine his place in the pantheon of both baseball history and that of the Yankees.

On Sunday, ESPN’s look back at Jeter’s career continues with two more special broadcasts. Sunday morning at 8am ET, Chris Connelly will take a look at reaction by Yankees fans on Jeter’s retirement on Outside The Lines. That’s on ESPN2. Sunday night, Jorge Sedano (ESPN’s Sedano & Stink) will host an ESPN Radio special focusing on Jeter’s career. That will be Sunday night at 7pm ET.

The special programming across the ESPN networks and ESPN Radio is accompanied by additional coverage online via ESPN.com and in print via ESPN The Magazine as well as through ESPN New York. The content will focus on Jeter’s farewell to the game and his legacy and impact on the world. The additional coverage from ESPN The Magazine and ESPN New York is listed below.

  • Contributions from ESPN MLB Insiders Buster Olney, Jayson Stark and Jim Caple;
  • An examination of the marketing and merchandizing of Jeter from reporter Darren Rovell;
  • A Numbers column from Peter Keating exploring Jeter’s ‘marquee value’ rating from the Fansourced issue of ESPN The Magazine, currently on newsstands;
  • An exploration of Jeter’s role in American life from J.R. Moehringer for the Cleveland issue of ESPN The Magazine, which hits newsstands on Friday, Oct. 3;
  • ESPN New York content from Andrew Marchand and Ian O’Connor exploring Jeter’s relationship with umpires and his future after baseball;
  • Social media integration across platforms utilizing the hashtag #FarewellJeter

ESPN.com will offer photo galleries of some of the biggest moments in Jeter’s career as well as his various Topps baseball cards. There will also be an interactive SportsNation ranking of Jeter’s top 10 plays and a quiz asking which retirement gifts were given to Jeter by the league’s teams.

More information on ESPN’s coverage of Derek Jeter’s retirement and the network’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’s 30 for 30 blu-ray reissue is the best box set of the year

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN is known as the worldwide leader in sports.  There’s a good reason for that.  The release of the network’s “ESPN Films Volume 1” box set last year is an excellent example of what makes ESPN truly the worldwide leader in sports.  Now with the recent release of the “30 for 30” Limited Edition Collector’s Set on blu-ray, ESPN has proven its reputation even more than ever.  This collection includes all thirty films from the original DVD and blu-ray sets released in 2011, and adds in a nice piece of memorabilia to sweeten the deal.  All together, they make up what is easily the best box set of the year.

ESPN’s “30 for 30” Limited Edition Collector’s set on blu-ray boasts all thirty films from the originally released sets.  Choosing just one film from the set as the best is impossible.  Each viewer will have his or her favorite film from the six disc set.  There are, however, at least a few films that that stand out to this individual as standing out as some of the set’s best.  One of those films jumps into the world of baseball, in “The House of Steinbrenner.”  “The House of Steinbrenner” follows the final days of the old Yankee stadium and the early days of the new stadium.  Along the ride, audiences are given a history on the man who brought the Yankees and their historic stadium to prominence.  The stories shared by players and fans alike of the old Yankee Stadium show a true love of the structure.  It was more a living, breathing museum than just a stadium.  It was a place where cultures crossed and everybody lived in harmony.  That’s because they were all one.  They were all Yankee proud.  The reactions to its final days make the mixed reactions to the new Yankee Stadium that much harder hitting.  The mixed views on Steinbrenner are just as interesting.  One former Yankee player worded it best in saying that in regards to Steinbrenner, “you loved him and hated him in the same breath.”  Interviews with players, fans, journalists, and even Steinbrenner himself give an unexpected view of “The Boss.”  The interviews shared in “The House of Steinbrenner” show a man who understood business and who also understood the fans.  They show that perhaps Steinbrenner’s only true flaw was that he cared too much about his team.

The George Steinbrenner presented in this film was a very shrewd business man.  He was also a devoted fan among fellow fans.  He wanted the team to win.  He wanted it for the fans and for himself.  That inability to ever fully balance business and fandom was ultimately why he was such a polarizing figure.  Despite his bad reputation among countless legions, just as many were and are still devoted to him today.  Love him or hate him, George Steinbrenner has forged not only his legacy, but that of the Yankees, too.  He will never be forgotten for that.  That’s especially the case now, with this incredible film.

George Steinbrenner was polarizing, to say the least.  But he’s not the only figure of such stature featured in the new “30 for 30” blu-ray re-issue.  Another of the interesting figures featured in the set from an entirely different world.  His name is Tim Richmond.  In the film, “Tim Richmond:  To the Limit”, director Rory Karpf follows the life of NASCAR legend Tim Richmond. Richmondwas obviously polarizing.  He was polarizing in that he was the immediate antithesis of NASCAR’s old guard.  He was the rock star of the racing world at that time.  He had an innate ability to drive the wheels off of any race car, both in open wheel or stock car.  He proved that he could have been the future of NASCAR.  Sadly, after being diagnosed with AIDS, his meteoric rise was cut short.  Fans are reminded in this film of the stigma attached to AIDS because of the lack of knowledge surrounding it at that time.  It shows just how far the world has come since then.  Unluckily for him, the world didn’t have that knowledge that people have today.  As a result, viewers learn that he was forced to cover up the illness, in hopes that he’d be able to return to racing one day.  That obviously didn’t happen.

In the time since the passing of Tim Richmond, the reputations of both NASCAR and AIDS victims has greatly changed.  There is no denying that Tim Richmond played at least some role in that change.  And it’s thanks to this film that his role in both the AIDS and NASCAR community will always be remembered.

The films included in the new “30 for 30” blu-ray re-issue focus on many famous figures in sports.  But they also focus on who teams.  And just like George Steinbrenner and Tim Richmond were polarizing figures, so was the SMU football team a polarizing unit.  It was thanks to the Mustangs’ infamous 1987 “death penalty” that the NCAA established the reforms that govern college sports today.  In “Pony Express”, director Thaddeus D. Matula takes viewers into the scandal that rocked the sports world as a whole.  It killed not one, but two of the university’s football seasons in a row.  The film does note that the second dead season was self-imposed by the university.  And it all started thanks to one player.  One might think that by the film’s end, the story’s over.  That’s anything but the truth.  Video footage from ESPN, along with voice snippets, show that even today, universities have either not paid attention to the SMU scandal or have forgotten it.

It is interesting to note that one individual interviewed in this film states that the NCAA would likely never use the “death penalty” again on another team.  But considering that recent number of scandals that have rocked universities across the country, maybe the NCAA should reconsider using it.  After all, it was once said that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. 

The documentaries featured in this blu-ray re-issue are just a drop in the bucket of what makes it a great set for any sports fan.  Combined with the remaining films in the set, and the bonus ESPN hat, this new “30 for 30” blu-ray re-issue has easily made itself the best box set of the year.  It can be ordered online now at http://ESPNshop.com.  

To keep up with all the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.