When FOX Sports announced a couple of weeks ago that Gus Johnson was going to call Wednesday’s Manchester United-Real Madrid soccer match in the UEFA Champions League, a collective groan was registered across the country.
People took to Twitter wondering how FOX Sports could put Johnson on a soccer broadcast. After all, if you listen to him call college basketball and college football games, Johnson tends to get a little excited. OK, he screams lot.
Plus, Johnson had very little knowledge of soccer, something he readily admitted.
“No doubt that the followers of this sport are among the most passionate, knowledgeable fans in the world, and I’m a newcomer,” Johnson said. “The effort to learn the sport and absorb its nuance has been a humbling experience. While I’ve put a lot of time into my preparation thus far, it’s definitely going to take a lot of reps before I’ve mastered soccer’s rhythm and pace, but I am determined to do so, and with all the support I’m receiving I have no doubt that I will.”
I imagine many soccer fans were ready for the worse Wednesday, waiting for Johnson to scream with excitement.
But, surprisingly, Johnson was very understated with his call of the match. He was in control of his play-by-play call. He got excited at the right times. He didn’t get excited just because it’s his reputation.
I bet many soccer fans were shocked. Heck, I was shocked that I actually was watching FOX Soccer. It was the first time I had the channel on for more than five seconds.
I’ll probably be back on March 5, when the two teams meet again.
ROAD TO DERBY
NBC Sports Group will televise six races in four weeks on its “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series, it was announced Tuesday.
Race coverage starts at 6 p.m. March 30 with the Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby on NBC Sports Network. On April 6 at 6 p.m., NBCSN has the Wood Memorial (from Aqueduct) and the Santa Anita Derby.
NBC Sports will televise the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at 4:30 p.m. April 13. NBCSN carries the Arkansas Derby at 6 p.m. April 20.
NBCSN will have a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” preview show at 6 p.m. March 23.
There were several announcements involving baseball television coverage.
Let’s start with FOX Sports. It will televise five games between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox during its Saturday coverage this season. The first game will June 1. The other dates are July 20, Aug. 17, Sept. 7 and Sept. 14.
FOX Sports will also have eight straight weeks of prime-time coverage, starting May 25.
Here is the FOX Sports MLB schedule, which is subject to change. There will be days when the Yankees, Red Sox and New York Mets won’t be on. For those games, the games that FOX has scheduled are listed.
April 6 — New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers, 4 p.m.
April 13 — Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox, 1 p.m.
April 20 — Washington Nationals at New York Mets, 3 p.m.
April 27 — Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets, 1 p.m.
May 4 — Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels, St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers or Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates, 4 p.m.
May 18 — Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels or Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies, 4 p.m.
May 25 — Atlanta Braves at New York Mets, 7 p.m.
June 1 — Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees, 7 p.m.
June 8 — Los Angeles Angels at Boston Red Sox, 7 p.m.
June 15 — New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels, 7 p.m.
June 22 — Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers, 7 p.m.
June 29 — New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles, 7 p.m.
July 6 — New York Mets at Milwaukee Brewers, 7 p.m.
July 13 — New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7 p.m.
July 16 — All-Star Game at Citi Field, 8 p.m.
July 20 — New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox, 4 p.m.
July 27 — New York Mets at Washington Nationals, 3 p.m.
Aug. 3 — Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics or Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies, 4 p.m.
Aug. 10 — Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Dodgers or Baltimore Orioles at San Francisco Giants, 4 p.m.
Aug. 17 — New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox, 4 p.m.
Aug. 24 — Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers or Detroit Tigers at New York Mets, 4 p.m.
Sept. 7 — Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees, 1 p.m.
Sept. 14 — New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox, 1 p.m.
Sept. 21 and Sept. 28 — Games to be determined, 1 p.m.
The YES Network will televise 19 New York Yankees spring training games. The first game will be Feb. 24 against Toronto.
Here is the schedule:
Feb. 24 — Toronto, 1 p.m.
Feb. 27 — Baltimore, 1 p.m.
Feb. 28 — Toronto, 1 p.m.
March 1 — Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
March 2 — Detroit, 1 p.m.
March 3 — Boston, 1:30 p.m.
March 5 — Atlanta, 7 p.m.
March 6 — Dominican Republic, 1 p.m.
March 9 — Atlanta, 1 p.m.
March 11 — St. Louis, 1 p.m.
March 13 — Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
March 15 — Miami, 1 p.m.
March 16 — Philadelphia, noon
March 20 — Boston, 1 p.m.
March 21 — Minnesota, 7 p.m.
March 24 — Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
March 26 — Houston, 7 p.m.
March 29 — at Washington, 2 p.m.
March 30 — at Army, 2 p.m.
SNY will televise 12 New York Mets spring training games, and CW15 (WCWN) will carry four, it was announced Thursday.
SNY’s first game will be Feb. 23 against Washington at 12:10 p.m. CW15’s first telecast is March 2 against Florida.
Here are the schedules:
Feb. 23 — Washington, 12:10 p.m.
Feb. 25 — Washington, 6:10 p.m.
Feb. 27 — St. Louis, 1:10 p.m.
March 1 — Detroit, 1:10 p.m.
March 4 — Atlanta, 1:10 p.m.
March 7 — Miami, 1:10 p.m.
March 9 — Houston, 1:10 p.m.
March 14 — Detroit, 1:10 p.m.
March 16 — Miami, 1:10 p.m.
March 21 — St. Louis, 1:10 p.m.
March 26 — St. Louis, 1:10 p.m.
March 27 — Houston, 6:10 p.m.
March 2 — Miami, 1:10 p.m.
March 17 — Atlanta, 1:10 p.m.
March 23 —Washington, 1:10 p.m.
March 24 — Detroit, 1:10 p.m.
TNT and TNT HD have the NBA All-Star Game Sunday at 8 p.m. The game will also be on the radio on WTMM-FM (104.5). . . .
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel has a Syracuse college lacrosse double-header Sunday. At 1 p.m. the Syracuse women take on Maryland. That will be followed at 4 with the Syracuse men facing UAlbany. . . .
NBC Sports Group celebrates Hockey Day in America on Sunday with three games. NBC Sports will televise two games — Pittsburgh at Buffalo at 12:30 p.m., and Los Angeles at Chicago at 3. Those games can be seen on NBC13 (WNYT) and NBC13 HD. At 6, NBC Sports Network and NBCSN HD carries Washington at the New York Rangers.