Monday November 9th, 2009

1. Fox Sports right-field pole camera: After Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez bonked a drive to right field off a Fox camera overhanging the fence at Citizens Bank Park in Game 3 of the World Series, the camera became a leading player in the drama. Major League Baseball officials said the camera should have never been hanging over the fence and ordered it beyond the fence.

"Get it back and keep it back," Jimmie Lee Solomon, baseball's executive vice president for operations, told Fox after the incident.

Before Game 4, Fox said it moved the camera back so that the edge of the lens was completely in line with the top of the wall, prompting Yahoo! Sports' cheeky Big League Stew baseball blog to offer this headline: SHAMED TV CAMERA SLINKS IT WAY BACK BEHIND RIGHT FIELD FENCE. tried to confirm whether Fox's camera was invited to the Yankees's championship parade but was unable to do so at press time.

2. Chelsi Moy, feature writer, The Missoulian (Montana): Late last month, Montana coach Bobby Hauck finally put an end to his misguided, month-long boycott of the university's student newspaper, The Kaiman. Hauck's actions were in response to a story about an assault allegedly involving two Montana football players. The content of the story has not been questioned.

When student journalists face situations of intimidation or unprofessional behavior from adult educators, it's up to professional journalists to bring their plight to a larger forum. So kudos to ESPN's Pat Forde and's Jeff Pearlman -- along with a number of student newspapers across the country -- for publicizing this nonsense. This column also made mention of it last month. But the reporter who deserves the most credit for shining a light on the situation is Moy, a feature writer for The Missoulian. Moi's even-handed and thoughtful coverage, including here, here and here, by intention or not, made it difficult for Hauck to continue with such nonsensical tactics. Bravo to her.

3. Jesse Liebe, Favre Cam operator: Follow Brett Favre everywhere he goes. That was the assignment Fox Sports gave Liebe the last week of October in preparation for Favre's return to Lambeau Field for a Nov. 1 game against the Packers. A 33-year-old freelance cameraman based in Milwaukee, Liebe operated the network's Favre Cam, which meant tracking the quarterback's every move from the time he came on the field at 2:28 p.m. until he exited shortly before 8 p.m. His work provided viewers an additional element of the game within the game.

"Every once in awhile you'll isolate a player for a series of plays, but to do it for the whole game was something I've never done before," said Liebe, who often shoots the Bucks and college basketball for Fox Sports Midwest.

Liebe attended nearby Pilgrim Lutheran School in Green Bay as an elementary school student, and classified himself as a Packers fan.

"When we had recess and played in the parking, you could actually see Lambeau," Liebe said. "It was just four blocks away. Growing up there, I was pretty honored to have the assignment. It was a pretty good day for me."

4. Jimmy (The Greek) Snyder, former CBS Sports employee: Twenty-one years after he was fired for racially insensitive comments, The Greek makes a triumphant return as the subject of the dark and interesting The Legend of Jimmy Greek, another entry in ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series (it airs on Tuesday night). Director Fritz Mitchell worked as a researcher on The NFL Today from 1984 to 1986 and clearly has an affinity for his subject. The documentary offers archival footage as well as candid interviews with former NFL Today co-hosts Brent Musburger and Phyllis George.

"I think his story is tragedy," Mitchell said. "It's my opinion that he met his fate through hubris."

5. Martin Tyler, ESPN World Cup announcer: The hiring of Tyler, the venerable Sky Sports commentator, amplifies ESPN's soccer evolution from using American announcers with limited experience with the sport to seasoned international broadcasters. ESPN senior vice president and executive producer Jed Drake said he expected the network to name Tyler's broadcast partner around the Dec. 4 World Cup draw. We imagine that will also be an international broadcaster, though the hope here is that JP Dellacamera, an excellent American game caller, is included in some part of the coverage from South Africa.

6. World Series Ratings: That backslapping sound comes from the Fox Sports offices in L.A. The Yankees-Phillies matchup was the highest-rated and most-watched World Series in five years, averaging an 11.7 final rating and 19.4 million viewers. That was up 39 percent from the Phillies-Rays in 2008, the largest single-year increase in Series history. It was the most-viewed baseball championship since 2004 (25.4 million viewers), with Philadelphia topping all markets with a 41.0 six-game average. The Series averaged a 30.4 in New York, which beat the averages of both the 2003 (26.6 for Yankees-Marlins) and 2001 (27.7 for Yankees-Diamondbacks) World Series.

7. Basketball Books: If an author is traveling through your town this month, chances are he or she has written a basketball book. Among those with hoop (and financial) dreams: Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard (The Art of a Beautiful Game); former Boston Globe columnist Jackie MacMullan (When the Game Was Ours, with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson); ESPN's Bill Simmons (The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy); North Carolina coach Roy Williams (Hard Work: My Life On and Off the Court, with Tim Crothers); and UCLA legend John Wooden (A Game Plan for Life, with Don Yaeger). Williams also wrote the forward for One Fantastic Ride: The Inside Story of Carolina Basketball's 2009 Championship Season.

8. Michael Irvin, NFL Network: It's always fun to list Irvin's hyperbolic and ridiculous opinions, but my personal favorite came Oct. 19 when he declared on NFL GameDay Morning that the 2009 Giants were "better than the New York Giants team that won the Super Bowl" and "this is the next team that we use the word dynasty around." Since Irvin's proclamation, the Giants have lost to New Orleans (48-27), Arizona (24-17), Philadelphia (40-17) and San Diego (21-20).

9. Steve Phillips, former ESPN analyst: In a remarkable career implosion, Phillips was released by ESPN last month following a very public affair with a much-younger production assistant. The network said in a statement that "his ability to be an effective representative for ESPN has been significantly and irreparably damaged, and it became evident it was time to part ways."

Will Phillips work again? It's hard to say, but the likelihood is if an opportunity does come -- and that's unlikely in the near term -- it will be from a regional network or radio (where Phillips was particularly good).

The lasting effect on the broader media landscape centers on what becomes of the now-frostier-than-International Falls relationship between ESPN and To briefly recap: Contending the network's communication staff had misled him on the Phillips story, Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio responded by unloading his in-box through postings of rumors of sexual liaisons and other assorted debauchery among network employees. His actions prompted both Time magazine and The New York Times to examine the story, as well as the rules of Internet play. (It also gave Deadspin a traffic day to remember.) Worth linking again is a measured and intelligent take by AOL FanHouse's Clay Travis, a lawyer-turned-sportswriter who briefly worked at Deadspin. 10. Chris Rose, Fox Sports pre- and postgame host: The broadcaster was excoriated on Twitter and sports blogs after one of the chummiest post-World Series interview sessions in history. In a Rashadian burst of sucking up, Rose referred to Derek Jeter as "Jeets" and provided viewers with such gems as asking the Yankees' shortstop whether he had his car GPS programmed for the Canyon of Heroes.

Fox is high on Rose -- and you can debate whether that judgment is sound -- but if Rose wants the respect of any baseball fan with an IQ over 53, he needs to bring more than the hipper-than-thou attitude that played on The Best Damn Sports Show Period. Of course, based on this interview with Jeter earlier in the year, during which Rose makes another "Jeets" reference before slapping five with his man, you might not have needed a GPS to predict the broadcasting nonsense after New York's World Series victory.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.