Monday, August 17, 2009

From the weekend notepad

*I'm 50 pages into Bob Greene's non-fiction "Late Edition" - a loving look back at the newspaper business when it was at its peak. Greene, who went on to become a big time columnist in Chicago and now works for CNN, writes about his start in the mid-'60s at the "second paper" in Columbus, Ohio. Those of you who, like me, also launched newspaper careers around that time will be hooked on Greene's recollections from Page 1.

*I've been a baseball fan for over a half-century and never heard the term "pitcher's mound" described any other way than "the hill." And that wasn't often. Apparently I didn't get the memo from ESPN, whose voices have taken to call it "the bump." Why? Because ESPN seems determined to reinvent sports in its own image.

*Speaking of which - and I'm late on this - the way ESPN sanctioned its Sunday Night Baseball announcing crew to hijack a Yankees-Red Sox game by interviewing Luis Tiant for about two innings at the expense of what was going on the field was both horrible for fans and embarrassing for the network. This was no usual baseball chat by a former Yankees and Red Sox pitcher, but a glorified promo for an ESPN special on Tiant's return to his native Cuba. Yes, ESPN seems determined to reinvent sports in its own image.

*I'll give Tiger Woods this: After suffering what may have been his most humiliating defeat Sunday - blowing a big weekend lead in the final round of a major golf tournament, and then not stopping to talk to the CBS announcers - Woods spent about 10 minutes answering questions in the media room. He was calm, polite and well-spoken, as best as I can tell from my armchair viewing of The Golf Channel coverage. And you know, facing the press was probably the last place he'd rather be.

*I keep hearing and reading people calling it "Obama's health plan." No, it isn't. The president told Congress he wants health care reform. Then the ball was tossed into the courts of several Senate and House committees. Until a final bill emerges from Capitol Hill, it's not "Obama's health care plan." It's a "work-in-progress-at-the-president's-request health care plan."
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