Weekly media column version 08.03.12

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(AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater)
NBC primetime host Bob Costas is the man in the middle, joined by U.S. gymnasts Kyla Ross, Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas after their Tuesday night set interview to get their thoughts on winning the team gold.

What’s included in this week’s media column (linked here):

What’s not included:

== Ed Sherman of the ShermanReport.com uncovered this fake NBC commercial by Jest.com:

== A headline from OnionSports.com (linked here): “Bob Costas About 2 Seconds Away From Comparing Badminton Scandal To 1919 Black Sox”

The story:

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LONDON — Speaking in measured, purposeful tones, NBC Olympic sportscaster Bob Costas is at this moment very close to comparing the current badminton match-fixing controversy to the 1919 Black Sox scandal, sources have confirmed.

“As sports fans, we’ve come to expect greatness from our heroes, and the present badminton scandal reminds me of how, at times, those heroes can fail us, and fall short of our expectations,” said Costas, his unbreaking gaze fixed directly on the camera.

“Why do we watch sports? Why are we drawn to the sights, the smells, the larger-than-life personalities? The sound of the hot dog vendor, the crack of the bat, the call of ‘strike three’ after an Eddie Cicotte knuckleball has sailed into the catcher’s mitt, a perfectly hit shuttlecock, the roar of the crowd at old Comiskey Park.

“We cherish our athletes. In some sense we hold them to a higher standard than we hold ourselves. They become the measuring stick for all we strive to be. They play, not on some sandlot on the outskirts of Chicago or some backyard badminton court in Beijing, but in cathedrals built in their honor. Cathedrals where they stand at the altar of greatness while we look up to them and say, ‘Show us. Show us the grace and poise and raw talent it takes to track down a shot to left center or perform a backhand net kill.’

“However, sports isn’t just about poetry in motion, or the physical ballet of jump shots, double plays, and forehand smashes. It’s about our heroes serving as torchbearers–no pun intended–not only for the sport they represent, but for the fans who look up to them. Lou Gehrig, Bill Russell, Bobby Orr, Casey Stengel, Walter Payton, Wayne Gretzky, Jim Thorpe, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Han Jian, Larry Bird, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Rod Laver, Joe Lewis, Roy Campanella, Roberto Clemente, Arthur Ashe, Zhao Jianhua, and Muhammad Ali–people who played their respective games with integrity.

“The unfortunate events that took place here in London are an example of what happens when our heroes falter and break our hearts. Imagine the face of the 10-year-old badminton player who just realized that everything he’s come to believe in isn’t true — that his heroes are just people, people who aren’t perfect, who disappoint, who don’t always live up to our ideals.”

At press time, Costas continued to speak.

== Why Will Ferrell likes to see “little Russian girls cry”:

== Sorry, but one more Pat O’Brien riff on his work during the Bravo Olympic tennis coverage, from Bruce Jenkins of SI.com (linked here):

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“His work in general, regrettably, has been a catastrophe.

“Names have been a puzzler. He introduced SI.com’s Jon Wertheim as “Werheim,” and about 20 seconds after getting it right, he came back with “Werthum.” Similarly, after correct stabs at Andy Roddick and analyst Rennae Stubbs, O’Brien went with ‘Roggitt’ and ‘Hobbs.’ Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was boldly announced as ‘Tonga.’

“Some of O’Brien’s comments were downright baffling. Here’s how he introduced the coverage of Serena Williams’ first-round match:

” ‘There were 12 Americans in the tennis field, 11, one of the ones still in the field now, it’s actually 9, one left, Serena Williams…with…Jelena Jankovic, down on Centre Court’.”

“On the typically bad weather of an England summer:

” ‘If you’ve never been to London, think Seattle, or Miami’.” (Three times he said this. It’s safe to say that never, over the course of centuries, has London reminded anyone of Miami.)

“After engaging Lisa Raymond in a bit of 80s rock-music trivia: ‘All right, what happened on June 9, 1987?’ There was silence, and he snickered, ‘My son’s birthday.’

“And the topper, regarding Roger Federer’s appearance in a red shirt:

” ‘Well, Federer wore the Tiger Woods red, but Tiger Woods has won 75 matches in a row, Federer 74, so he’s gotta win one more to be honored with that, uh, red.’

“I think I speak for everyone when I say, ‘Whaaat?’

“As the tournament concludes, some order will be restored. (Mary) Carillo will work the women’s final, with (Ted) Robinson and (John) McEnroe teaming up for the men’s final.”

== Doug Gottlieb said having a Southern California-based family has led to him leaving ESPN and its Bristol, Conn., studios to join CBS as a colleague of another former ESPN guy, Jim Rome, in having his own CBS Sports Network show, plus hosting a three-hour afternoon radio show starting Jan. 2 and also serving as a college basketball studio analyst during the regular season and NCAA tournament. Gottlieb, a former Oklahoma State basketball standout after a freshman year at Notre Dame, grew up in Orange and set many school records at Tustin High.

== Another residual effect of joining CBS Sports Network: Rome appeared on CBS’s iconic “Face the Nation” last week as part of a panel discussion the Penn State football scandal. It sure dances circles around what ESPN is trying to still do all these years later with the Sunday morning “Sports Reporters.”

== The NFL Network has Saturday’s Hall of Fame enshrinement (1 p.m.), as well as Sunday’s New Orleans-Arizona Hall of Fame exhibition game (since NBC is buried in the Olympics) at 5 p.m. with Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock. Part of the coverage: Dave Dameshek has a behind the scenes tour of Hall of Fame Weekend.

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