1. Longtime readers know we love a good sports media feud here, so we need to thank Stephen A. Smith for channeling his inner Tony Soprano on Monday’s First Take.
Smith was responding to New York radio host Tiki Barber, who name dropped the ESPN personality last week while discussing the lawsuit filed by Brian Flores against Barber’s old team, the Giants.
“I can’t sit here, with conviction, like Stephen A., who doesn’t know anybody in the Giants’ organization, and claim that they’re a racist organization,” Barber said on WFAN. “I would never do that. The only reason I would do that is because I’m trying to make a point, and my point is that Brian Flores is trying to make a point.”
Apparently that one line was enough to set off Stephen A., who gave us Serious Stephen A. when he responded to Barber on Monday morning.
“Tiki, you don’t know who the hell I know. I’ve been a journalist for almost 30 years. I know a few people within the Giants organization. I know a lot of stuff about you, my brother, that I would never say because I’d have the decency not to say those things. Chill out. Watch yourself. And know who you’re talking about. That’s all I wanna say."
Damn! That line about knowing a lot of stuff about Barber will raise a lot of eyebrows. ESPN probably isn’t thrilled with it, either, but Stephen A. is untouchable right now.
But this is a total win for Barber. When a national host goes after a local host, it gives that local host publicity he can’t get anywhere else. If Barber were smart, he would respond and keep this feud going.
2. “Everyone’s a critic” may be a cliche, but it’s also true.
And the place where critics thrive the most is social media. That brings us to this very funny story that took place over the weekend.
It all started with this tweet and four-second video posted by a former MLB hitting coach.
Even though the video just included one swing by the batter, one person—who happens to coach a travel baseball team in Indiana—had a lot to say about his technique.
The coach was questioned about his critique of said hitter, but doubled down.
And then reality hit him like a ton of bricks. The person in the video just happened to be the best baseball player on the planet.
Even Mike Trout got in on the fun.
In fairness, the coach ended up handling the whole fiasco pretty well.
3. Raiders punter A.J. Cole gave one of the greatest in-game interviews in the history of sports during yesterday's Pro Bowl.
4. These 30 seconds were by far the best part of ESPN's latest 30 for 30, Tuck Rule.
5. Jeff Van Gundy is the best.
6. This week's SI Media Podcast features a conversation with Bryan Curtis of The Ringer.
We covered all the latest sports media news including the entire saga of Tom Brady's retirement announcement and news break, Tony Romo's rough day in the booth for the AFC title game between the Bengals and Chiefs, why Troy Aikman has become the best NFL analyst on television, Al Michaels’s future, the ridiculousness of Radio Row and much more.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: The anniversary of this memorable WWF moment from 1988 was over the weekend. It was watched by 33 million people on NBC on a Friday night.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.