The Media Learning Curve: June 26-July 3

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Our first Fourth of July as a nation with a president who doesn’t look much like the previous 40-something.

That’s USA, first class.

Our pledge of allegiance is to make sure we cover as much of the sports media topics as our brain will allow for the day.

We never take a holiday from learning. Such as:

== Remember when Michael Jackson performed at halftime of NBC’s Super Bowl WhateverItWas in 1993 at the Rose Bowl? We tried to forget it (linked here)

== Will Leitch wonders: Which sport death would affect us like MJ’s? Would it be … MJ’s? (linked here)

== Murray Chass wonders: Can there be guidelines set for sportswriters voting on baseball’s Hall of Fame? (linked here). “Contrary to what some people think, baseball writers can make intelligent decisions,” Chass writes. … “Furthermore, if writers need someone to tell them how they should vote, they shouldn’t be voting. It is a difficult task with which voters are faced, but we can each decide for ourselves what our guidelines should be.”

== Ironic that money issues are what seems to have killed the Hollywood version of the book “Moneyball”? (linked here)

== Do you ever watch the FX channel? Especially since it dropped NASCAR? (linked here) Did you know TNT still did NASCAR, before reading this story? (linked here)

== ESPN’s plans for the 2010 World Cup are … what you’d expect from the world-wide leader in sports (linked here)

== Paul Maguire … you can take a break (linked here)

== Steroid guessing … another (delayed) take (linked here)

==AND FINALLY:

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== A reader email worth presenting, as is:

“Tom, you tell it like it is. How about writing about the MLB network coverage and how it’s progressing. In my opinion, it leaves a lot to be desired. They repeat over and over the same information until I want to change the channel. On tonight’s Yankees-Mets telecast, Harold Reynolds tells viewers about the Alex Rodriguez steroid “allegations” – when we all know ARod confessed his sins already. Was Harold on vacation that day? These guys on the MLB network laugh at their own jokes even though they’re not funny. They make Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler look like candidates for the Broadcasters’ Wing at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Maybe if you write something about it, the network will try to get its act together? My young sons (huge baseball fans like myself) watch their crap and shake our heads over and over again. Thanks for listening …”

There, it’s been said. Well done.

And what the MLB Net does do well?

Today at 2 p.m., it airs a roundtable with Costas, Reynolds, Matt Vasgersian and Tom Verducci, covering the All-Star Game, Donald Fehr’s legacy, interleague play, the economics of baseball and the impact of performance enhancing drugs on the game. This is the first roundtable MLB Network has conducted outside of its live, nightly studio show “MLB Tonight.”

And the analysts don’t pull punches when it contradicts what commissioner Bud Selig has in place for the game’s future.

Such as, on whether the All-Star game outcome should affect World Series home-field advantage: “I’ve always viewed the All-Star Game as an exhibition, whether I was a kid or whether I was a player,” said Reynolds. “To have the stakes of the World Series Game 7 on the line is too much.”

Adds Verducci: “You say it’s ridiculous that there is something of importance of a World Series home field advantage on the line. I don’t think it’s anymore ridiculous than how it was before. Odd year, American League gets it. Even year, National League gets it.”

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