Big Tuna salad

Employer ESPN serves story with Parcells on side

Food for thought

December 21, 2007

Wrapping up another week's sports media notes while wondering why I don't hear Allan Sherman's "God Bless You, Jerry Mendelbaum" along with other seasonal favorites on the radio:

Didn't it seem a bit odd Wednesday while ESPN was reporting the twists and turns of Bill Parcells' apparent return to the NFL that we didn't actually see Parcells himself? After all, he does work for ESPN.

It speaks to the way some sports figures end up moving between being part of the media and the subject of media reports. This can be particularly true of former coaches who move into commentator roles while not being clearly retired. Parcells, Bill Cowher and Terry Bowden are the latest examples.

When another ESPN analyst was in the news on a completely different matter, he addressed the issue on the network, though several days after the fact. Baseball commentator Fernando Vina was cited as a user of performance-enhancing drugs in the Mitchell Report, which was released Dec. 13. On Monday, he said in an ESPN interview that he used human growth hormone while recovering from injury but denied having purchased steroids from former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski.

Baltimore sports fans get the gift of nostalgia from WHFS (105.7 FM) and ESPN Radio (1300 AM), starting on Christmas Eve at 5 p.m. The stations will air broadcasts of the 1958 and 1959 NFL championship games between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants.

Starting at 9 a.m. Christmas Day, the stations will carry Cal Ripken's 2,130 and 2,131 games, followed by the 2004 Atlantic Coast Conference basketball title game between Maryland and Duke. Then it's the two NFL championship games again.

Later on, you can hear the Texas Rangers' 30-3 victory over the Orioles.

OK, I made up that last one.

In the top six highest-rated non-Ravens NFL games in Baltimore this season, the New England Patriots - not surprisingly - show up four times. Baltimore's second favorite? The Philadelphia Eagles, who were in three of those games.

Stuart Scott returns to ESPN tonight during NBA coverage after needing an emergency appendectomy late last month. However, cancerous tissue was found during surgery, and, though doctors feel they got it all, Scott will undergo chemotherapy during the winter. Mark Jones will fill in when Scott has to miss NBA telecasts.

You noted all those empty seats in Miami when the Ravens played the Dolphins? It probably wasn't because the fans were staying home to watch on television. The game drew a 24.9 rating in Baltimore but only 18.5 percent of the audience in Miami.

This could be the biggest high school wrestling media splash since the movie Vision Quest. In October, ESPN will carry a documentary on the team from Brandon High in Tampa, Fla., which has a winning streak of more than 450, dating 34 years. The executive producers are husband and wife Mark Consuelos (Missing, All My Children) and Kelly Ripa (Live with Regis and, well, you know).

I hadn't watched a simulcast of John Riggins' radio show on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network for a while, so I thought I'd give it another little shot this week. The day I watched, Riggins looked quite natty in a tie and suit coat, and he noted that he would look better than his more casually dressed on-air colleagues even if he had been picking his nose. Jamie Lynn Spears came up, along with somebody's disparaging remark about Jessica Simpson's looks. Guess I don't have to watch again for a while.

The use of a "rundown" graphic, listing the topics to be discussed in order, spread from Pardon the Interruption to the next morning's repeated SportsCenters and now is on Jim Rome's ESPN show for his opening remarks. (Hey, I was flipping the channels one afternoon and caught his program by accident.)

ray.frager@baltsun.com

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