'Sports Soup' ingredients: clips and commentary with bite

October 10, 2008|By RAY FRAGER | RAY FRAGER,ray.frager@baltsun.com

Presenting still more sports media notes after spending part of yesterday asking your forgiveness for the past year's transgressions in print and on the Web:

* On Tuesday, Versus - motto: "We're so much more than hockey; we run movies you don't care to watch, either" - debuts a show that has been a good idea just waiting to happen. Here's hoping the execution matches the anticipation.

Sports Soup will run Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 p.m. It's a version of E!'s The Soup, which, in the versions called Talk Soup with Greg Kinnear and John Henson, and now again with Joel McHale, has replayed clips of outrageous television shows - mainly of the talk and reality variety - and offered hilariously snarky commentary. Sports Soup plans to apply that formula to sports programming.

It won't exactly be highbrow, but this is sports, after all. How un-highbrow? In a sample clip provided by Versus, host Matt Iseman (Style Network's Clean House) comments on the vicious hit by Maryland's Kevin Barnes that made California's Jahvid Best vomit: "Finally, there is something on the field that stinks worse than the Raiders."

OK, that isn't exactly the Algonquin Round Table, but let's give this show a chance.

* Of note about Sports Soup's host: Iseman gave up medicine nine years ago to become a stand-up comic. He graduated from Princeton and Columbia medical school. His parents must be so proud.

He said of Sports Soup's content: "I like to think of it as the clips you'd forward to your buddies the next day. ... It's basically going to be all of the cool stuff."

And though the footage will include embarrassing moments for athletes and broadcasters, "we're not looking to tear anybody down."

Gee, what fun is that?

* You'll probably be seeing much the same MASN crew doing Orioles games next year, and thus far Gary Thorne and reporter Amber Theoharis said their options have been picked up for next season. Others expect to return, as well.

"I'd certainly like to come back and broadcast," said analyst Jim Palmer, who added that he should be hearing from the club soon.

* I certainly enjoy the enthusiasm of Rick "Doc" Walker's commentary on Atlantic Coast Conference football. But just what does he mean by "walking the dog"? When I first heard him say a team was walking the dog, I thought it was some reference to its running game. Then, the last time I heard him say the phrase, it sounded as if he was referring simply to a team's taking over a game. Just add it to the long list of sports-related things I don't understand.

* Speaking of college football and things I don't understand, why was it during Saturday's Penn State-Purdue game that ESPN announcers Dave Pasch and Andre Ware spent about five minutes of playing time at the start of the second half almost totally occupied talking about Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno and his counterpart, Joe Tiller? Pasch and Ware discussed how long Paterno should be allowed to stay at Penn State, Tiller's love of fishing and various other coach-centric topics. I guess the game was too boring to talk about.

* Appearing on Showtime's Inside the NFL, Warren Sapp said he wasn't impressed by the performance of the Tennessee Titans' Albert Haynesworth against the Ravens - while adding a bit of a diss to a Ravens lineman. "This week, I went inside the film," Sapp said, according to highlights from the network, "because when you tell me you have the best defensive player in the game right now, you have to jump off that screen. ... When you talk about the best player in the game being dumped on his head by a guy named Ben Grubbs, are you kidding me?"

* For those who have been spinning the radio dial searching for postseason baseball: ESPN 1300 has the Baltimore rights and prefers to air its local programming, but management said that doesn't mean it won't carry some of the games. Let's see what happens when the World Series rolls around.

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