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News, views and inappropriate thoughts on sports television


These are 23 (more) facts, tried and true, about the widening world of sports television:

1. This is a non-Olympic year. Cherish it.

2. Do you know how many times I have fallen asleep watching a Braves game on TBS and, when I awaken, Chipper Jones is still at bat?

3. I called DirecTV and asked why I had Fox Soccer Channel. The guy apologized and took it off my package.

4. I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Any time I hear NFL draftniks, it becomes Even More Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

5. The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay is going to close. There goes another Versus home.

6. He might be the best golfer ever, but almost every time I look up on Sunday, Tiger Woods is dueling some guy who was standing in line next to me at Target last month.

7. I understand Japanese TV is developing Survivor: New York, in which a dozen Tokyo twentysomethings try to survive on the Upper East Side on $600 a month.

8. With the success of ESPNU, ESPNMe can't be far behind.

9. The best thing about Hockey Night in Canada? It's in Canada.

10. There's an old expression, "Everyone talks about the weather, no one does anything about it." So how come The Weather Channel doesn't have a nightly Around the Horn-style show on its schedule?

11. I hate three-man booths, but ABC's NBA team of Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy is too good to hate.

(Column Intermission: Sri Lankan native Suresh Joachim recently broke his own world record for nonstop TV viewing, clocking 72 hours in Stockholm. He watched three seasons of 24 with Kiefer Sutherland, which is the non-sporting equivalent to watching three basketball games with Hubie Brown.)

12. A friend of mine refers to ESPN as "The Poker Channel," as in, "I heard you the other night say something really stupid on The Poker Channel ... "

13. If porn had play-by-play, Kevin Harlan would be terrific.

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14. Odd historical nugget: When the Christians were fed to the lions in ancient Rome, local cable TV used sideline reporters.

15. I still cry every time I see the end of Rudy.

16. If Russia were wired for cable in the 1870s, I'd bet you Dostoevsky never writes The Brothers Karamazov.

17. If I were Animal Planet, I'd program Mister Ed and Lassie reruns every night at 7 p.m. ET for a blockbuster hour.

18. When I watch a live golf tournament on Golf Channel, why does it appear they are never showing any live golf?

19. Max Kellerman is replacing Larry Merchant on HBO boxing. I guess Merchant talked too much.

20. Friday Night Lights is my favorite show, but I guarantee you there's not a single actor under the age of 25 playing one of those high school kids.

20a. Incidentally, I believe Tim Riggins is a seventh-year senior at Dillon High.

21. You can now watch a basketball game on your cell phone. I'm old school: I'd rather play Tetris on my cell phone.

22. What exactly was Melba thinking the first time she made Melba toast?

23. If Paul Revere were alive in 2009, he'd ride through the streets of Concord, Mass., shouting, "Tim McCarver is coming, Tim McCarver is coming!"

Q. In a word, can you describe Charles Barkley? (Andrew Linden, Chicago)

A. No. While he is wildly entertaining on TNT's NBA coverage -- when he's not on leave due to one of his myriad vices -- I don't understand why he opines on issues far and wide. Heck, on BobCostas's HBO show, Costas treated Barkley and John McEnroe like they were William Buckley and Christopher Hitchens. I mean, how did the self-proclaimed non-role model and the insufferable tennis brat morph into leading social critics?

Q. What do you think your profession might have been if you hadn't become a sportswriter? (Les Tolt, North Olmsted, Ohio)

A. I once worked part-time at a hospital chasing runaway mercury from broken thermometers.

Q. I would like to build a new house but cannot afford to do so in these tough economic times. If I promise to hold 81 neighborhood pickup baseball games, do you think I could get public funding? (Dave Noyes, Sewickley, Pa.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. How much wood would Kerry Wood carry if Kerry Wood could carry wood? (Jay Roseman, Lyndhurst, Ohio)

A. Pay this fella, too.