In California, Jim Carlisle writes in “less than two months, Time Warner has become the TV provider to go to for sports.” Not only has TWC “cornered the Lakers, it is one of the few companies to carry the 6-week-old Pac-12 Networks and -- after a bitter, nine-year dispute -- agreed last week to add NFL Network to its lineup.” It has also “recently made CBS Sports Network more available, putting it on its Variety Tier as well as its Sports Pass tier” Carlisle: “Once, any time a new sports network was launched, DirecTV would put it on immediately and Time Warner would be leery about adding anything for which customers would eventually have to pay higher prices. Now it's the other way around” (VENTURA COUNTY STAR, 9/28).
I AM IRON MAN: Turner Sports yesterday unveiled its announcer lineup for the MLB postseason. For the first-ever Wild Card matchups, TBS will use two three-person announcing teams. One trio will include Baseball HOFer Cal Ripken Jr., who will be in the booth for the playoffs for the first time after serving as a studio analyst in recent years. Ripken will join John Smoltz and play-by-play announcer Ernie Johnson. The trio also did an Orioles-Yankees telecast on TBS on Sept. 9. Also new to Turner's MLB postseason studio show will be use of 3D hologram technology (Turner).
CALM IN THE STORM: In Boston, Chad Finn writes NESN studio host Tom Caron this season “expertly interacted with an eclectic group of analysts" including Dennis Eckersley, Jim Rice, and Peter Gammons, and they "never wavered in finding the appropriate tone” for a disappointing Red Sox season. As the team “took on water this season, anyone bracing for an all-is-well, nothing-to-see-here approach had to be pleasantly surprised.” Caron said, “This wasn’t a bland bad team. This was a bad team that had a manager who would say things that created a news cycle, and players would say things, and then the traded players who would say things. We had news to cover almost every night” (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/28).
COMINGS AND GOINGS: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick notes former NBAer Isiah Thomas is a “candidate for a studio position with ESPN.” Meanwhile, Kelly Tripucka, “a reasonable/credible MSG/Knicks’ studio man and backup in-game analyst the last four seasons, apparently won’t be re-hired” (N.Y. POST, 9/28). Meanwhile, former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said that he “won’t be joining ESPN,” contrary to a report. Van Gundy said that ESPN “decided not to hire him.” Van Gundy and the net reportedly "couldn’t agree on assignments” (MIAMIHERALD.com, 9/27).