. BEST Q/WORST A
Norah O’Donnell (CBS) to Roger Goodell, about the Ray Rice case: How is it that the NFL couldn’t get its hands on the second tape but TMZ could? Goodell, in a nutshell: Um. . . .
. WORST Q/BEST A
Erin Andrews (Fox) asked the Giants’ Hunter Pence about his World Series pregame speech. Pence corrected Andrews—he wasn’t the orator—and even apologized for the awkwardness.
. BIGGEST FAIL
While doing a radio interview from his car, former pro golfer Mark Allen informed listeners, “Oh, I’ve just crashed.” Kids, don’t do interviews and drive.
. BEST MOMENT
During an interview with Lisa Salters (ESPN), Clippers guard Jamal Crawford named all 17 NBA coaches he’s played for, in order, without a pause. (Even Isiah Thomas!)
. LEAST INFORMATIVE MOMENT
In gifting a Chevy Colorado to World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, Chevy regional manager Rikk Wilde said the new truck has “you know, technology and stuff.”
. STRANGEST MOMENT
After scoring 20 points in the NBA Finals, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard got all philosophical with Stuart Scott (ESPN). Scott: Who are you, man? Leonard: Kawhi Leonard.
. NFL PLAYOFFS
Beats by Dre: “Hear What You Want”
. WORLD CUP
. MLB PLAYOFFS
Chevrolet: “Throw Like a Girl”
. NFL REGULAR SEASON
State Farm: “Trainers”
. NBA REGULAR SEASON
What we learned from Twitter in 2014:
. Derek Jeter fears felines.
In a Q&A with fans, the longtime Yankees captain dropped a stunner.
. Penn State is big on punctuality.
Life is tough with a web-savvy coach; after tackle Chance Sorrell tweeted he was cutting it close getting to class, coach James Franklin fired back:
. Justin Timberlake is not to be trolled.
Accused of jumping on the Grizzlies’ bandwagon, the pop star served up a history lesson.
. Jim Tressel is a Makaveli disciple.
The former Ohio State football coach draws inspiration from an unlikely source.
. Tweeting at your favorite pitcher has its benefits.
A Royals fan looked to K.C. reliever Brandon Finnegan for free tickets— and it worked.
. Tweeting at your celebrity crush does not.
Sixers center Joel Embiid hollered at Kim Kardashian, and then Rihanna. Still no response.
. Grammar is important.
After one admirer told Evan Mathis, “your my hero,” the Eagles’ guard gave his fans a good schooling.
Saying goodbye to the hashtag
The humble hashtag connected our online thoughts and turned personal conversations into global dialogue on topics as diverse as # polarvortex, #cat and #Brazil2014. Alas, the hashtag passed away last month. The cause of death: p.r. failure. It was seven years old.
The hashtag endured a long struggle with Twitter. In April, an ESPN radio show asked listeners to submit questions for NCAA president Mark Emmert using #AskEmmert. “Did it hurt when your soul was removed?” came the typical response. Weeks later the NFL put Roger Goodell on the line with #AskCommish. Typical topics: gay rights, sexual abuse and racism. On the heels of an English soccer title, Manchester City implored its supporters to #AskJesus, meaning midfielder Jesús Navas—not the Lord Almighty. Typical query: “Why [can] you walk on water but dive on grass?” The end was nigh. One tweeter replied to the Mets’ #IamAMetsFanBecause campaign with “I’m an idiot.” Finally, in November, the Cowboys cut out the middleman. Why leave it up to the Internet to insult your team? they seemed to be asking their British supporters when they declared that #CowboysUK.
The # is survived by @, :) and the selfie.
. No No
On June 12, 1970, Pirates ace Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter while on LSD. This nonfiction retelling of the late eccentric’s gonzo triumph achieves a bizarre sort of grace and makes the case for Ellis as a troubled civil rights maverick.
. Happy Valley
Director Amir Bar-Lev’s doc about the Penn State–Jerry Sandusky scandal goes beyond the lurid headlines and examines the fallout on a once proud community where football is religion.
. Ice Warriors
Like the 2005 documentary Murderball before it, this rousing story about the U.S. sled hockey team’s prep for the ’14 Paralympics turns triumph-through-adversity clichés on their heads.
. The Battered Bastards of Baseball
This delirious doc about the rise and fall of baseball’s last outlaws—the Class A Portland Mavericks, a 1970s island of misfit toys armed with Louisville Sluggers—is a groovy reminder that every athlete, deep down, is a naughty kid at heart.
. Draft Day
Sure, it isn’t Bull Durham (or even Tin Cup), but it’s always nice to see Kevin Costner in a sports pic. As a frenzied NFL GM whose fate rides on his first-round selections, Costner reminds us why he was once synonymous with the jockflick genre.
. Million Dollar Arm
Is this Disney tale— two Indian athletes are brought to America to be molded into major league pitching prospects— shamelessly sentimental? Sure. But so was The Rookie. Just because you know something’s schmaltz doesn’t mean you can resist it.
. Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir
Colorfully honest (and colorfully dressed) commentators were the stars of the Sochi Olympics.
. Second-career hard-liners
Execs-turned-analysts Louis Riddick and Amy Trask are two of the brightest NFL minds on TV.
. Jay Bilas
No broadcaster battles NCAA hypocrisy with more savvy and smarts than ESPN’s college hoops guru.
. Rebecca Lowe
Sensational as host of NBC’s Premier League coverage; extended that as a rookie Olympic anchor.
. Ray Hudson
Paraphrasing Hudson (on Lionel Messi), the beIN Sport announcer is “pure football magic that belongs in a different galaxy.”
. Lou Holtz & Mark May
College football commentators’ faux-fighting stopped being funny around the time of moon landing.
. First Take blowhards
Stephen A. Smith still traffics in tripe. The nadir: suggesting some women provoke domestic violence.
. Mike Ditka
Da Coach was once a charismatic old-school figure. Today his takes are far more predictable, less interesting.
. Twitter suspensions
Putting an adult in a social media time out (see: ESPN, Bill Simmons) feels toothless—and very junior high.
. Harold Reynolds
Fox’s lead baseball game analyst is a pompom waver; he would be better serving as Derek Jeter’s PR man.