Archive for July, 2012

NBC’s Olympic coverage – or lack thereof

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) has broadcasted the Olympics 13 times since the games started being televised in 1936. Photo by: afagen / Flickr

If you’re old, like me, likely you recall how ABC Summer Olympics anchor – the late, great Jim McKay – provided the world with the most up-to-date information on the carnage that was the Munich massacre. McKay, who already had established himself as the Wide World of Sports staple, was a trustworthy, educated and informed reporter. In a sense, he was the Walter Cronkite of sports journalism.
So when Palestinian terrorists stormed the athletes’ village on that ill-fated July day in 1972, the world held its breath as McKay delivered the news – that 11 Israeli athletes and coaches had been murdered. Murdered – at the Olympics. The Games stopped for a day, to mark the passing of these poor victims. McKay, who would go on to cover 12 Olympiads, broadcast the news for 14 consecutive hours.
I was six years old at the time, still learning what the Olympics meant. My parents had a black and white, 19-inch TV. We didn’t have cable because we couldn’t afford it. Instead, we gathered around the set and watched anything and everything ABC would broadcast. It was an event I look back on as one that defined my passion for the Olympics – the same passion my wife Lisa and I have passed along to our three daughters. We watch rowing, archery and equestrian in the summer and curling in the winter.
But something about this year’s Olympics Games doesn’t seem right. It has nothing to do with London and everything to do with Bob Costas and NBC’s, dare I say, less than stellar performance in the first few days of their prime-time coverage of the  Games. In a nutshell, they have dropped the ball, taken a hop on the landing and died down the stretch.

Couch Side Podcast Episode 24: Buc Fever

BY staff

Couch Side hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul continue the podcast’s official 2012 NFL Preview, examining the NFC South (hence the title Buc Fever). The guys also recap the MLB Trade Deadline in the Big Picture and dish out some more Fantasy Football advise about NFL rookies to buy or sell in this week’s segment of Head-to-Head Honchos. And for the first time, the podcast went viral, asking FaceBook friends to send in questions while Craig and Wade recorded the show Monday night. If you want to send our hosts questions you can do so by clicking on the Mailbag Tab on the homepage of Click below to start listening:

Click here to stream/download Couch Side Episode 24: Buc Fever via iTunes

Click here to stream Couch Side Episode 24: Buc Fever via out host site, Talkshoe

Click here to download Couch Side Episode 24: Buc Fever via our host site, Talkshoe

Braves staying quiet at deadline for good reason

The Atlanta Braves still may have a chance to land Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster before the MLB Trade Deadline ends Tuesday night. Photo by: EmmyMik / Flickr


Normally it’s pretty tough being an Atlanta Braves fan when the Trade Deadline starts to heat up.

Usually the Braves will be serious playoff contenders — if not the favorite to win the National League at the time — yet the front office doesn’t make that one move that might put Atlanta over the top. The lack of activity can be frustrating and may have even cost the team playoff births in recent years.

So when it came to this year’s Trade Deadline, I didn’t get over anxious about the Braves pulling the triggers. And then it appeared that General Manager Frank Wren did just that when reports surfaced about Atlanta acquiring Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster, who led all MLB starters in ERA at the time. I was ecstatic when the story broke, but as you may know by now, Dempster vetoed the trade, killing it dead within24 hours.

While Dempster’s decision was a bit disheartening, it led me to think about what the Braves already have. Overall, Atlanta’s starting pitching can hang with just about any team’s right now if you throw Jair Jurrjens out of the conversation. A lot of that success if coming from a new face to Atlanta, Ben Sheets. The veteran righty is one of the best in baseball since signing with the Braves at the beginning of July. He may not have pitched in two years, but he looks like an ace right now with a 3-0 record and a remarkable 0.50 ERA in just three starts. (more…)

Fan Reaction: Ichiro may just shine in pinstripes


The New York Yankees aqcuired Japanese phenom Ichrio Suzuki for a couple of minor league pitchers earlier this week. Photo by: Rennett Stowe / Flickr

Earlier this week Ichiro Suzuki was traded the the AL East leading New York Yankees for two minor league relief pitchers the Yankees won’t miss. Although Ichiro is no longer the Japanese superstar who took the MLB by storm in 2001, a season in which Suzuki batted .350, notched a rookie-record 242 hits, stole 56 bases and won both the Rookie of the Year and AL MVP awards, he is still the player the Yankees have been missing since left fielder Brett Gardner‘s season ending injury.

Suzuki today, is probably faster than Gardner, even if his numbers don’t show it. Many scouts and analysts are saying the decline in Ichiro’s numbers aren’t due to age, but he was playing down to the basement level of the Seattle Mariners. I’ll go ahead and say it’s a mix of the two. The Mariners have been nowhere near sniffing the playoffs, so this change of scenery is long overdue. While Ichiro isn’t going to be hitting .350, he can flirt with .300 hitting in the bottom of the Yankees’ order for the remainder of the season. Suzuki puts the ball in play, and some time with hitting coach Kevin Long will help his approach at the plate. (more…)

Suns say goodbye to Lopez, hello to draft picks and financial flexibility


After spending four season with the Phoenix Suns, center Robin Lopez was traded to the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday. Photo by: Road Warrior / Flickr

Multiple sources are reporting that the Phoenix Suns will be involved in a three-team trade with the New Orleans Hornets and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Suns will send Robin Lopez to New Orleans (where he’ll sign a three year, $15 million deal) along with Hakim Warrick. In return, the Wolves will send a lottery-protected 1st round pick and Wesley Johnson to Phoenix. The Wolves will get two 2nd round picks from New Orleans, along with the cap room to sign Andrei Kirilenko to a two year, $20 million deal.

Like with the Nash trade earlier in the summer, this deal cannot be viewed as a straight up transaction of Lopez for Johnson and a 1st. Lopez, a restricted free agent, is more or less being sent away in a sign-and-trade deal.


If the price for Lopez is correctly reported, it seems to be fair-to-good market value for a 7-foot-0, back-up center. After all, Omer Asik — like Lopez, a young back-up center — received three years, 25 million from the Houston Rockets.

Clearly, the Suns just didn’t see Lopez being a part of their future core — or being content sitting on the bench behind Marcin Gortat. Lopez has shown promise in the past, though, and as much as he tends to still be his own worst enemy on both ends of the court, he’s a lengthy big man who can run the floor and make good defensive plays. Last season was the worst of his professional career: he shot only 46 percent from the field and averaged only 5.6 points-per-game and 3.3 rebounds-per-game, all while watching his minutes erode due to the great play of Markieff Morris and Gortat. (more…)

From Ochocinco to Johnson again: Athletes playing the name game

The Ochocinco era is over after NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco legally changed his name back to Chad Johnson earlier this week. Photo by: Clay Seal / Flickr


When I read that a certain out spoken NFL wide receiver was changing his legal name back to Chad Johnson, I couldn’t resist doing a little research.

That’s right folks the Ochocinco era is officially over and perhaps the shenanigans that came with the name are coming to an end, too. Johnson made the name swap Monday morning so his brand new wife wouldn’t be burdened with any sort of silliness attached to the Ochocinco title, which proves that Johnson just might be growing up. Does that mean we should expect a new level of maturity from Johnson next season?

I won’t put my foot in my mouth and say Johnson will return to his old football form and his off-the-field antics will completely come to a screeching halt. But I have to believe we will see a new and improved Johnson next season. Consider what Johnson has been through for the past year. He had his worst season ever statistically and wasn’t exactly the most sought after wide receiver in the free agent market this offseason. In addition to those eye openers, Johnson also tied the knot with Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada. With the name change and what could be his final year to prove himself, I think we will see a Johnson that we’ve never seen before. 

Johnson definitely isn’t the only notable athlete to change his name, either. There are actually a surprising amount of  jocks that have re-identified themselves legally. Most did it because of religion while others — like Johnson — probably did it for attention. Johnson said he did it to honor Hispanic Heritage Month, but I’m certianly not buying that. So after finding some other more famous name changes, I have formulated an opinion about a chosen few that have nothing to do with religion. Here’s a look at those particular athletes:

• Dominic Williams aka Dominic Davis: This is actually a name change that is touching. The former Houston Texans running back did it to honor his mother. You also have to like the literation in his new name, which is also why I can’t argue this decision one bit. You’ve heard of people naming their children after their grandparents or even the popular junior, right? This is no different. (more…)

Couch Side Podcast Episode 23: Head-to-Head Hanchos

BY staff

After an entre week off, Couch Side hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul make an epic return, continuing our official 2012 NFL preview that examines the NFC North. Out hosts also discuss the British Open and for the first time they dish out Fantasy Football advice in a new segment entitled “Head-to-Head Hanchos,” which includes players to stay away doe your 2012 draft. Click below to steam, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast — now airing in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming only on KNWT 89.1 FM every Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Click here to stream/download Couch Side Episode 23: Head-to-Head Hanchos via iTunes

Click here to stream Couch Side Episode 23: Head-to-Head Hanchos via out host site, Talkshoe

Click here to download Couch Side Episode 23: Head-to-Head via our host site, Talkshoe

Couch Side’s MLB mid-season awards

Editor’s note: About a week before the All-Star break, Couch Side blogger Brandon Smith included his mid-season MLB awards for both leagues as part of our MLB Power Rankings. We couldn’t let his spot on picks go to waste, so here they are, repackaged, in a blog of their own. Enjoy!


NewYyork Mets pitcher R.A. has eaily been Major League Baseball’s story of the year at 37 years old and with a 2.72 ERA and 13-1 record. Photo by: Paul Hadsall / Flickr

• NL MVP: Joey Votto — No argument here, he’s the most valuable offense force on a team that happens to be a contender.

Runner up: David Wright

• AL MVP: Mike Trout  The numbers have been outstanding, and he’s easily the most exciting young player in the game outside of Harper. His production has been nothing but phenomenal on the offense and defensive side. I’m sure it would be a tough call between him and Hamilton.

Runner up:  Josh Hamilton

• NL CY YOUNG: R.A. Dickey  The journeyman knuckleballer has been the biggest individual surprise of the season, and has an impressive 12-1 record on a shockingly decent Mets squad. He also has two straight 1-hitters to his resume and a league leading 0.88 WHIP, at this point he’s the best choice.

• Runner up: Zack Greinke  (more…)

Knicks, Lin crazy for offseason decable


The Houston Rockets took a gamble, signing one-year phenom point guard Jeremy Lin to a back loaded contract this week. Photo by: Scott Beale / Flickr

Not many players capture the attention of the entire league, or arguably the entire nation for months on end, especially during the regular season.  But last spring, amid injuries to superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the New York Knicks managed to find a player to not only save a season in doubt, but rejuvenate a franchise moving forward.

That man, Cinderella-story Jeremy Lin, brought upon a wave of Linsanity not seen since the days Michael Jordan would regularly dominate the headlines.  Yes, I’ll admit guys like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are superstars and generally dominate the world of highlights and news clips, but for a good month or two, no one was talked about more than Lin.  The guy went from a bench player to a star overnight, on one of the biggest stages no less.

Still, many doubted the 23-year-old from Harvard due to his limited success after the return of Anthony and new head coach Mike Woodson.  After all, 26 (brilliant) games aren’t enough to bank on a future point guard and a back-loaded salary now is it? (more…)

The Déjà vu summer for the Suns

BY KEVIN BERTRAM, blogger     

The Phoenix Suns have acquired a handful of players this offseason perhaps lef by former Houston Rockets power forward Luis Scola. Photo by: Jeff Balke / Flickr

For Phoenix Suns fans, the way this offseason has played out has to feel somewhat familiar: a superstar leaves Phoenix for a larger market, and the front office uses nearly all the cap space to sign decent-to-good starters to “affordable” contracts. This was how things played out in 2010, and it is how things are playing out in 2012.

Of course, the superstar then leaving Phoenix was PF Amare Stoudemire, who picked the New York Knicks after they offered him a max contract with no injury clauses (The Suns, hesitant about what the state of Amare’s surgically-repaired knees would be at age 34, when his contract expired, refused to sign him to a contract without stipulations on how many games he could play in the final years of the deal). The front office letting Amare go was a hard move to understand at the time. The Suns had just come off of a brilliant postseason where they nearly toppled the Los Angeles Lakers to reach the NBA Finals. To replace their All-Star forward would be an impossible task that was made harder by the resignation of then-GM Steve Kerr and the transition to a new management team, headed by Lon Babby and Lance Blanks.  (more…)

Why should we care: Vick launches clothing line

Bloggers from are constantly reading some pretty silly headlines from all across the wide world of sports. Whether it’s about an athlete being seen at a mall or an irrelevant trade, the fact is, someone has written about it. Sometimes these “stories” are annoying. Sometime they are entertaining. So we’ve decided to take a look at three of these headlines and make a weekly blog: “Why should we care?” Enjoy part two of the ongoing series … 



With baseball at a standstill, the NBA offseason somewhat stealing headlines and Football still months away from its opening kick off, the mainstream media doesn’t have much to write about. So when Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick released his new clothing line Wednesday afternoon, I wasn’t surprised to see that the Associated Press picked up the story. Three years after being released from prison, Vick expanded his brand by releasing new threads with his clever brand name “V7.” At least that’s appropriate. But the rest of this “breaking news” doesn’t make sense to me. Only the elite of the elite should release their own clothing lines. Michael Jordan obviously has his own clothing line rightfully called Michael Jordan brand; Shaquille O’Neal sells clothes at Wal-Mart or K-Mart, I can’t remember; and Venus and Serena Williams have “Eleven.” Those types of athletes have the star power behind them to push clothes onto the public. Vick’s case to do the same is arguable, especially because of his run in with the law. But I guess if you have the money, you can throw it away however you want. I hope Vick has as much luck as Sacramento Kings forward John Salmons, who surprisingly has a line called Salmons & Brown. Ever heard of it? No? That’s OK, neither have I.


Couch Side Podcast: Episode 22 — Silva the Spider

BY staff

In this week’s episode Couch Side hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul begin their eight-part series that previews the 2012-2013 NFL season. In Title Talk our hosts discuss how good of a fighter Anderson Silva is. And in Quick Snippets, we break down the possible Dwight Howard trade to the Brooklyn Nets and the MLB Homerun Derby.

Click below to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side podcast, which now also airs on 89.1 FM every Wednesday at 4 p.m. across the Big Horn Basin.

Click here to stream/download Couch Side Episode 22: Silva the Spider via iTunes

Click here to stream Couch Side Episode 22: Silva the Spider via out host site, Talkshoe

Click here to download Couch Side Episode 22: Silva the Spider via our host site, Talkshoe

Who’s to blame for Phillies’ disaster?

BY WAYNE CELLA, syndication

Philadelphia Phillies Manger Charlie Manuel may be the reason why his team is in last place in the NL East. Photo by: WEBN-TV / Flickr

The answer to the headline: Philadelphia Phillies Manger Charlie Manuel

The first half is over. Thankfully. The Phillies have had their worst start since 1997 and nothing this season has really gone to plan. The questions of why have been asked now for 3 months. They’re only intensifying now, after a 9-25 performance in the last 34 games.

Who is to blame? Charlie Manuel? Ruben Amaro? Injuries? The players?

Frankly, I think there’s enough blame to go around. The fact that this team’s talent level is not good enough to win is a function of the person who put the roster together. In this case, it’s Ruben Amaro. By splurging on Jonathan Papelbon, Amaro left himself short of cash for the rest of his bullpen.

Having the best closer in baseball is only effective if you can get the ball into his hands on a regular basis. That hasn’t been the case thus far. Either the Phillies have been behind or too far ahead for Papelbon to see regular work. That has hurt in a couple of instances now, when he was in a save situation but wasn’t sharp. (more…)

Nets overpay for mediocrity in hopes of making playoffs

The Brooklyn Nets traded for former Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Joe Johnson (right) in hopes to have enough star power to possibly make the NBA Playoffs next season. Photo by: truthaboutit / Flickr


In the opening days of the 2012 NBA free agency the Brooklyn Nets have managed to stay on the headlines with the signing of point guard Deron Williams — labeled savior of a new era — trading garbage for what some fans considered garbage, Joe Johnson and the $89 million he’s owed over the next four season.

Nets general manager Billy King for some reason showed Gerald Wallace the money, a move no other franchise would have done, and inked him for $40 million over the next four seasons. All that is left to do, is to re-sign Brook Lopez and I mean, if there is some spare change in the sofa the Nets can pony up to re-sign Kris Humphries, by doing so will push Brooklyn into the luxury tax though.

Bam. There is it. The moment all New Jersey, I mean, Brooklyn Net fans have been waiting for since the 2010 free agency period. They were able to sign an actual star in Deron Williams, well, talent-wise, not personality. By securing Williams the Nets can now focus their attention of winning. Now, I’m not stoked on the Johnson trade (I didn’t want him in 2010, don’t want him now) but, this is a sign that management is determined to put a winner on the court. For once, the Nets made a decision based on winning games, and not how many new fans they can get, although this will help there chances. Johnson’s game can fit very well in a Nets system. Williams has proven to be one of the top point guards in the league, and Johnson could be a big contributor in the regular season, as for the playoffs, no promises. (more…)

Suns draft pick Marshall will have big shoes to fill quickly

BY KEVIN BERTRAM, contributor

The Phoenix Suns selected point guard Kendall Marshall with the No. 13 pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Photo by: Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet / Flickr

In last Thursday’s NBA draft, the Phoenix Suns surprised many by taking North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall, 20, ahead of other, more alluring talents, such as collegiate teammate John Henson, Iowa State’s Royce White or Baylor’s Perry Jones III.

The Suns were in an unenviable position heading into the draft, with early every position — beyond center, manned by the still-improving, near-star Marcin Gortat — in need of an upgrade, and with serious question marks surrounding Steve Nash’s future in Phoenix. So, as many analysts asked, why did the Suns take Marshall ahead of other, more-talented players?

The simple answer is that Marshall is a talented player. He’s arguably the best pass-first point guard to enter the league since Ricky Rubio in 2009. In 33 minutes a game at UNC, he scored 8.1 points-per-game and dished out 9.8 assists per-game. He averaged 2.8 turnovers-per-game. These statistics placed him second in the NCAA for assist-to-turnover ratio with 3.5, a useful metric for measuring how efficient a passer is. Overall, he finished second in the NCAA in assists-per-game by a hair to Iona’s Scott Machado, who had less talent on his roster to work with, but also faced less-threatening defenses. (more…)

Nash to Lakers sparks uncertainty and anguish


NBA point guard Steve Nash was traded by the Phoenix Suns to the Los Angeles Lakers on July 4 for four future draft picks. Photo by: geomediainc / Flickr

In the summer of 2004, there were two premiere NBA free agents in the class: Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. The Phoenix Suns, who much like this summer had boatloads of cap room, had a decision to make about who to chase. Eventually, the front office geared their efforts toward Nash, the perennial All-Star who was being absurdly let go by the Dallas Mavericks.

Nash would go on to win back-to-back MVPs and revitalize a franchise in a way rarely seen before in the league. He guided the Suns to four straight playoff appearances (five out of eight total) and three trips to the Western Conference Finals, but never played in an NBA Finals.

His last appearance in the West Finals, a six game series loss to Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers, saw the Black Mamba explode for 37 points in the clincher.

Now, inexplicably, the backcourt duo will unite in Los Angeles, via a sign-and-trade deal that sent Nash to the purple and gold in exchange for multiple draft picks and 3.1 million dollars.

The sudden news brought on a wide range of emotions, from disappointment and shock to anger and heartbreak. For so long, Suns fans have clung to Nash as the reason for hope in a town that loves its basketball team, a team that has yet to win a title but has come so close so many times. Nash resembled a person we looked to when we needed to find loyalty, perseverance and dedication. He represented everything a franchise player should be — outstanding on the court, having a good rapport with the media and making good relations with the community. (more…)

100-meter run-off gives USA another athletic black eye

BY VIN CAPPIELLO, contributor

American sprinter Allyson Felix will compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics after tying for third with Jeneba Tarmoh in a dead heat during a qualifying race. Photo by: Doha Stadium Plus Qatar / Flickr

Americans always have been the top sprinters in the world. Hence, a spot on the Olympic team is as a coveted as the last Twinkie on a camping trip.

So don’t act surprised that Jeneba Tarmoh’s walked away from a tie-breaker run-off. Instead, blame USA Track and Field and the US Olympic Committee for its ineptitude in not handling the 100-meter third-place tie, which ultimately resulted in Tarmoh bowing out to veteran Allyson Felix after the two finished in a dead heat for the final spot in the 100 at the recently competed Olympic trials.

Tarmoh and Felix had been given about a week to determine the solution, finally deciding on Sunday they would get together Monday night for a run-off – a woman vs. woman 100-meter dash to ascertain which talented sprinter would earn that third spot.

This never should have gotten to this point, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Tarmoh thumbed her nose at everyone, refusing to run and conceding the spot to Felix, who absolutely smoked the field in the 200-meter dash final, which included Tarmoh, who placed fifth. (more…)

Couch Side Podcast Episode 21: All-Star Action

BY staff

The Couch Side podcast comes at you a day earlier with the Fourth Of July coming up. Host Wade McMillin rolls solo to discuss the NBA offseason and break down the MLB All-Star teams’ rosters. The NBA offseason topics include Roy Hibbert joining the Portland Trailblazers, the Brooklyn Nets and where Steve Nash might land. In the Big Picutre, MLB All-Star edition, Wade closely examines almost every single player on the American and National League All-Star teams. Click below to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side podcast, which now also airs on 89.1 FM every Wednesday at 4 p.m. across the Big Horn Basin.

Click here to stream/download Couch Side Episode 21: All-Star Action  via iTunes

Click here to stream Couch Side Episode 21: All-Star Action via our host site, TalkShoe

Click here to download Couch Side Episode 21: All-Star Action via our host site TalkShoe