Saturday, July 09, 2011

Weekend Links

I'm always fascinated by the headlines that Rand chooses for my posts. For example, the headline he chose for today's edition - which is below, but appeared first on RandBall - is "What makes a good color commentator + Matt Capps' struggles". Which is fine, except that the post also includes British automotive shows, hockey, and Canadian football. I feel bad for poor Mr. Rand - he has to try to come up with a headline that will draw people in to my goofy collection of links. He has a hard job.

Happy Saturday! I've been thinking about Rand's post about Tom Kelly in the broadcast booth, which touched off a discussion about what makes for a good color commentator. Near as I can tell, there are two things that make for a decent color guy on a sports telecast: first, less than ten games of experience in a broadcast booth, and second, a distinct inability to filter the content of what you say. Every person who becomes a color commentator for more than ten games eventually gets polished and bland, and starts saying the same things over and over again. Meanwhile, you stick somebody like Kelly in the booth - who knows baseball, and who couldn't care less about anybody hearing what he says - and it's gold. Another example: when FOX put Al Leiter in the booth for the NLCS while he was still playing, he was a joy to hear as a broadcaster. Now that he does regular work on the MLB Network, he can put you to sleep in three seconds flat. Lack of experience and lack of a filter - that's the key.

But that's not why you called. On with the links:

*First, I'm not sure that automotive "journalism" fits into the sports category. Second, I'm pretty sure I've cajoled you on behalf of this show before. Nevertheless: Jalopnik put together a viewer-curated list of the ten best episodes of "Top Gear", a British automobile-related television show that includes equal parts wildly inexpensive cars, stunning film photography, and British people running into each other and falling down. (Think Benny Hill, but in a Bugatti Veyron.) I find the show delightful

*At least one person thinks that hockey's about to be America's winter sport again, and not just because the NBA might not play again for awhile. The post strikes me as a bit over-optimistic, but he's right about one thing - the NHL is a lot more fun to watch than it was fifteen years ago, the last time it was poised to "break through."

*Since Parker Hageman examined Matt Capps's extremely hittable fastball, the portly righty has finished two games in a row without allowing so much as a hit. That said, this was mostly due to Chicago's hitters only blasting the ball as far as the warning track, rather than out of the park, so it's not as though the problems are over for Capps.

*And finally: if you want to know why the Twins have beat the White Sox nine times in a row, this picture might sum up the whole thing. And if you're just getting into the "planking" craze, I have some unfortunate news for you: when Canadian football players start using something as a touchdown celebration, that particular fad is probably over.

That'll do it for me - stay cool out there. I'm already sick of the heat. When will fall be here?

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