Some notes and other thoughts as we get ready to say good-bye to the college basketball season and hello to baseball.
u The Major League Baseball season starts Sunday, with my World Champion Philadelphia Phillies hosting the Atlanta Braves at 8 p.m. on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD. Monday is the big day, when most of the major league teams begin play.
One of those teams is the New York Yankees.
The Yankees spent nearly a half-billion dollars on three free agents: pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, and first baseman Mark Teixera. They are opening a new stadium that cost over a billion to build.
So, why couldn’t the Yankees spend a few more dollars to hire new radio announcers?
Once again, we will be subject to another season of listening to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman call the Yankees’ games on WTMM-FM (104.5).
When will the Yankees’ brass wake up and realize that Sterling and Waldman are awful? I’m tired of Sterling’s home-run call, “It is high, it is far, it is gone!” The call is especially embarrassing when the ball goes off the wall instead of over the fence.
But it could be a bit hilarious early on in the new Yankee Stadium, because who knows how the baseball will travel. I can just hear Sterling now, saying “It is high, it is far, it is . . . caught in shallow left field!”
As for Waldman, I give her credit for being one of the few female analysts in radio or TV. But it seems she has gotten more and more whiny as the years go on. And she lost me a couple of years ago when she screamed in delight as Roger Clemens announced his return to the Yankees at the old Yankee Stadium.
Since Waldman doesn’t do play-by-play, Sterling has to talk more. When Michael Kay was his partner, Sterling shared the play-by-play duties. Maybe that made him a little more tolerable.
Now, it’s almost impossible to listen to him.
If the Yankees fail to make the playoffs again this year, maybe they will clean house. New manager, new coaches and new radio announcers.
— There will be five games on TV Monday.
SNY will have the New York Mets at Cincinnati Reds at 1 p.m, while YES had the Yankees-Baltimore Orioles game at 4 p.m. On the radio, WOFX-AM (980) and WIZR-AM (930) will carry the Mets, while WTMM-FM (104.5) and WENT-AM (1340) have the Yankees.
ESPN2 will televise two games: Tampa Bay at Boston at 2 p.m., and the Chicago Cubs at Houston at 7. ESPN has three games, but only one will be seen in the Capital Region: Oakland at the Los Angeles Angels at 9 p.m. ESPN is televising the Mets-Reds and Yankees-Orioles, and those games will be blacked out here.
— ESPN has added Dave Winfield as a studio analyst for “Baseball Tonight,” while John McEnroe will be on ESPN2’s U.S. Open tennis coverage.
— The college basketball season winds down over the next four days.
The men’s Final Four is on CBS (WRGB Ch. 6) and WOFX. Today’s semifinals, starting at 6 p.m., has Michigan State against Connecticut, and North Carolina against Villanova. The final is at 9 p.m. Monday.
ESPN has the women’s Final Four, starting with the semifinals at 7 p.m. Sunday. Louisville plays Oklahoma in the opener, and Connecticut faces Stanford in the second game. The final is 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
— “Sound-Off with Sinkoff” will air at a special time Monday on WTMM.
The show, normally on from 3-7 p.m., will air from 1-3:30. There are two reasons for the move. First, the Yankees open the season against Baltimore, with the pregame show starting at 3:30. Second, ESPN Radio is carrying the Tampa Bay-Boston game, starting with the pregame show at 1:15. and the game staring 45 minutes later. ESPN Radio no longer provides secondary programming to its affiliates like WTMM.
“We just felt that we shouldn’t start the Red Sox-Rays game, knowing that we’d only be able to run about an hour of it before cutting away to my show and the Yankees game,” Sinkoff wrote in an e-mail.
— The Sports Emmy Award nominations are out. Here is the breakdown of how many nominations the various networks received: ESPN 42, NBC 28, Fox 18, HBO 18, Turner 14, Fox Sports Net 12, CBS 11, NFL Network 10, ABC 8, ESPN2 3, Showtime 3, A&E 1, BackOnTopps.-com 1, Big Ten Network 1, DirecTV 1, ESPN Classic 1, Golf Channel 1, PGATOUR.com 1, VOOM 1.
Here are the nominations for the major categories.
Outstanding Sports Personality: Studio host: Bob Costas, NBC/HBO; Bryant Gumbel, HBO; Chris Berman, ESPN; Ernie Johnson, TNT/TBS; James Brown, CBS/Showtime.
Outstanding Sports Personality: Play-by-play: Al Michaels, NBC; Dan Hicks, NBC; Jim Nantz, CBS; Joe Buck, Fox; Mike Emrick, NBC.
Outstanding Sports Personality: Studio analyst: Cris Collinsworth, NBC/Showtime/CBS/HBO; John Kruk, ESPN; Steve Mariucci, NFL Network; Terry Bradshaw, Fox; Tom Jackson, ESPN.
Outstanding Sports Personality: Sports event analyst: Cris Collinsworth, NFL Network/NBC; Doug Collins, TNT; John Madden, NBC; Johnny Miller, NBC; Ron Jaworski, ESPN; Tim McCarver, Fox.
Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Sports Emmy Awards will be presented April 27 in New York.
— ESPN2 will televise the NCAA hockey tournament Frozen Four semifinals Thursday, starting at 5 p.m. The first game features Miami (Ohio) against Bemidji State. The second contest has Boston University against Vermont.