The Media Learning Curve: More criticism, less value, fewer replays

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Enough said.

Today’s version in the yes-we-still-have-one newspaper (same as the one online) is (linked here).

In other words, more media notes:

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== More than just window dressing, ESPN should have pleased many kickball fans with the announcement this week that it has hired Martin Tyler as the play-by-play man for its network coverage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He starts Friday, June 11 with a 6:30 a.m. opening match call. His credentials: He was voted the “FA Premier League Commentator of the Decade” in 2003 by fans and a panel of football experts, He has been with the London-based Sky Sports since its launch in 1991 and, according to ESPN executive producer Jed Drake, Tyler is “one of the top English-language soccer commentators in the world; his experience, authentic style and in-depth knowledge of the game will help elevate ESPN’s presentation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.” The fallout: Perhaps this finally means Dave O’Brien is no longer in the loop, and more time will be also given to JP Dellacamera, Tommy Smyth and Andy Gray.

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== HBO says it has started production on a documentary about Magic Johnson and Larry Bird that will connect them starting 30 years ago in the NCAA championship game and carried over into the NBA and beyond. It will debut in March, 2010, on the eve of March Madness. Interviews already done include Pat Riley, Kevin McHale, Michael Cooper and Bryant Gumbel, who worked for NBC on that NCAA game as the pre-game host.

== NBA TV, the league-operated network with TNT’s production muscle, will hit 45 million homes this season after announcing new deals with Time Warner Cable (on a digital basic tier), Cablevision (on its iO digital package) and Dish Network (in its Classic Silver 200 package), after having already been on DirecTV, Verizon, Comcast and Cox. TWC, Cablevision and Dish will also have subscription based NBA League Pass.

== On the 10th anniversary of Payne Stewart’s passing, Golf Channel has a one-our special in its Sunday pre-game show (9 a.m.) hosted by Kraig Kann, Steve Sands and Charlie Rymer, with Rich Lerner paying tribute with a closing essay. At GolfChannel.com, senior writer Rex Hoggard has an interview with Stewart’s son and Lerner will have something on an interview he had with Stewart at his home in 1999 just prior to his U.S. Open victory.

== Another segment on the next HBO “Real Sports” (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) has Frank Deford revisiting an interview he did in 2002 with former Detroit Tigers broadcasting legend Ernie Harwell, who, at 91, was recently diagnosed with inoperable cancer.

== Major League Soccer commish Don Garber will be on “Fox Football Fone-In” with Nick Webster and Eric Wynalda (Monday, 4 to 6 p.m. live, Fox Soccer Channel, repeated at 8 p.m.).

AND FINALLY:

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== TBS studio guys said it before Game 5 of the NLCS between the Dodgers and Phillies, on the whole Manny Ramirez needs an early shower story:

Dennis Eckersley: “First of all, Manny isn’t really Manny this year when you look at the stats. He’s not the same guy. But he’s probably the same guy in the clubhouse. If I played with Manny, it wouldn’t bother me at all. I think they made more out of this than they should’ve because it’s Manny. I don’t think the (Dodgers) players care.”

David Wells: “I was teammates with him in Boston and he did the same thing. I’ve done it throughout my career. The media is probably bored and they need a story.”

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