The Media Learning Curve: We’re reaching here

Following up on today’s media column, focused on Game 1 of the Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals and how ABC covered it (linked here), we have more, if Phil Jackson is done yelling at Doris Burke:

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== John Brenkus’ “Sport Science” property, incorporated now into ESPN “SportsCenter” newsworthy segments rather than as the half-hour series that it used to be on Fox Sports Net, helped explain before Game 1 of the NBA Finals how Celtics guard Rajon Rondo may have a physical advantage over those trying to defend him that goes back to Leonardo Da Vinci’s study of human proportions.

Brenkus’ point: Rondo’s wingpan of 6-foot-9 is 11 percent longer than what a normal 6-foot-1 person should have, and his hands (9 1/2 inches long and 10 inches wide), are 2 inches longer and 3 inches wider than the average man’s hand, and are proportionate to someone taller than 7-foot-6 Yao Ming.

As a result, when Rondo goes on a fast break and is able to whip a 180-degree behind-the-back pass with his right arm, he does it in a five-foot arch to the tune of 0.283 seconds — comparable to what an NFL quarterback can do with an overhand pass.

More on the Burbank-based Brenkus’ Twitter account linked here, and a link to his company, BASE Productions, linked here.

== Best headline of the week, from Deadspin.com (linked here), which went with this picture:

Dario Franchitti Shows Off His Trophy, Wife

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Adding with text: Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti would like to take this opportunity to remind you that his life is slightly better than yours. Heck, his dogs’ lives are probably better than yours.

By the way, you think Ashley Judd shops at Target?

If viewers had known Judd would be at the finish line — this time, not in a wet shirt from the rain — more may have watched. As it’s turning out, this was the lowest rated Indy 500 since it started going live in 1986, down 10 percent from last year’s previous all-time low. SportsMediaWatch.com (linked here) says that it is the first time that the race has drawn fewer than 4 percent of U.S. television households. It was also, again, outdrawn by the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the Coca-Cola 600, shown on Fox later that Sunday.

== Following tonight’s Game 4 on Versus, NBC adds Dan Patrick as the host of its Stanley Cup final coverage when it resumes Sunday (5 p.m., Channel 4) in Philadelphia. He’ll also host Games 6 and 7 if necessary.

== To find the series on “I Scored A Goal” that ESPN has pulled together on tracking down the 34 living men who scored a goal in a FIFA World Cup final, go to this link.

== Jeff Pearlman isn’t the first and won’t be the last (linked here) to question why Fox’s Jay Glazer has been allowed to be a personal trainer for some NFL players while he also reports on them (linked here). Pearlman: “This, journalistically, is a joke. An embarrassing, pathetic, worst-of-its-kind joke.”
We’re on board with that.

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== Coming off Versus’ coverage of Stephen Strausburg’s last minor-league start — Thursday morning, when pitched five shutout innings for Syracuse against Buffalo in a Triple-A game — the MLB Network will have the major league debut for the Washington National’s 2009 first-round draft pick when he throws Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Bob Costas, Jim Kaat and John Smoltz will be on the call (4 p.m.).

MLB Net will also replay Roy Halladay’s perfect game from last Sunday at 9 a.m. today.

== Ted Robinson and John McEnroe have NBC’s call of the French Open tennis men’s final (Channel 4, 6 a.m.), which comes after it has the semifinal today (11 a.m., delayed), without Roger Federer, who lost in the quarterfinals and had his streak of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinal appearances snapped.

“Watching Roger Federer fall to Robin Soderling made me wonder if spectators on July 17, 1941 understood the significance of Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak ending,” said Robinson. “Federer’s streak is the DiMaggio of tennis. Twenty-three straight Slam semis — we will never see anyone approach, let alone surpass, that record.”

Live coverage of the women’s final (Francesca Shiavone-Samantha Stousur) is at 6 a.m. Saturday.

Today’s Soderling-Tomas Berdych semifinal match will be on at 4 a.m. on Tennis Channel, with the Rafael Nadal-Jrgen Melzer match live at 11 a.m. on the East, but delayed here.

== ESPN gets another practice match before the World Cup, having Martin Tyler call the U.S. friendly against Australia from Roodeport, South Africa (Saturday, 5:30 a.m., ESPN2). Tyler, joined by John Harkes and Rob Stone, will do the U.S.-England game on Saturday, June 12 for ABC.

== ABC takes over the final Triple Crown race, Saturday’s Belmont Stakes (Channel 7, 2 p.m. pre-race, 3:12 p.m. post time) with Joe Tessitore, Jerry Bailey, Randy Moss, Jeannine Edwards, Jay Privman, Steve Cyphers, Tom Rinaldi and Caton Bredar, plus handicappers Kenny Mayne and Hank Goldberg.

== TNT returns to NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage from Pocono (Sunday, 10 a.m.), with new race caller Adam Alexander joined by Wally Dallenbach and Kyle Petty.

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== FoxSports.com has added the media critiques of Variety’s Brian Lowry, making the site (according to its information, “the first affiliated with a TV network to engage in active criticism and analysis of the industry.” That’s kind of a fancy way of saying it’s different from what ESPN.com ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer and his predecessors have done for that website with a staff critic. Lowery’s “From the Couch” column is exted to bring “analysis and criticism of all the major players in the industry, including our own,” said Ed Bunnell, Senior Vice President of Programming for Fox Sports Interactive. Lowry, at Variety the last nine years, is a UCLA graduate who spent seven years at the Los Angeles Times as a reporter and columnist covering the TV industry.

In his most recent column (linked here), Lowery discusses why ABC’s NBA team of Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson “epitomizes much of what’s wrong with modern announcing,” especially when compared to the hey-day of Chick Hearn.

AND FINALLY:

What does the sale of TheBigLead.com mean to anyone?

The site explains as much as it knows (linked here), so any other speculation seems redundant. As for the big picture, The Sporting News has some ideas (linked here).

As for everyone else trying to make a go of it, we’ll see about the buzz in Chicago this weekend.

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An event that has those who type all a twitter is the Blogs With Balls third annual convention set for Saturday at Wrigley Field in Chicago, put on by HHR Media Group and Modern Hombre. Sports bloggers, journalists, media industry leaders and technology innovators will be speaking on a bunch of topics related to the activity.

“We are proud that over the course of the year, BwB has evolved into an industry leader in bringing together all facets of the online sports media community,” said event co-founder Don Povia. “The continued involvement of not only independent bloggers, but also representatives from companies like ESPN, Bleacher Report, SB Nation, Yahoo! Sports and Yardbarker, shows that collectively online sports media is working and growing together.

“But it’s the fact that more and more members of the newspaper, academic and marketing fields; and tech leaders like Gowalla are participating, that evidences BwB’s growth in size, scope and voice.”

According to the BleacherReport.com (linked here), participants include Big League Stew, The Basketball Jones, Michelle Steele (Bloomberg), T.K. Gore (CSN), Andy Ellwood (Gowalla), Amy K. Nelson (ESPN), Michael Calderon (Big Ten Network), Michael Rand (RandBall), Scott Reifert (Chicago White Sox) and Mike Germano (Carrot Creative).

Topics to be discussed: The evolution of the local sports media market in the digital age, the pursuit of advertising dollars, a review of legal and ethical issues for 2010, the use of podcasting and video, and what today’s technology and innovations mean for tomorrow’s fan.

Wish we could be there. No way to follow this somewhere on the Internet machine?

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