People & Personalities: Dick Vitale To Call Final Four Games For ESPN Int'l
ESPN yesterday announced that analyst Dick Vitale will call Final Four games this year for ESPN Int'l, working with play-by-play announcer Brad Nessler. Vitale will work one semifinal and the championship game telecast, which will be broadcast in 150 countries and territories outside the U.S. Jay Bilas will be the analyst on the other semifinal. The assignment marks the first time Vitale has called the Final Four (ESPN). Vitale said, "I'm on cloud nine. It's the last chapter of my life, or my career. They just called me ... and it blew me away" (USA TODAY, 2/6).
ON SECOND THOUGHT: CBSSPORTS.com's Mike Freeman wrote Ravens LB Ray Lewis "won't be good on television in the role executives will want him to play." Lewis speaks the "language of inspiration, not the language of coach-speak." Freeman: "Diagramming the cover-two isn't what Lewis does. Talking about Green Bay covering the spread isn't Lewis." Lewis also "isn't a polished speaker, he's a raw one." What Lewis "can do, more than anything, is save football careers. Maybe even save lives." The NFL should "hire Lewis, not a network." Freeman: "Give him a position in the league office" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/5).
BLUE SKIES: Former MLBer Jack Morris will be an analyst for Rogers Sportsnet's Blue Jays broadcasts in '13. Morris will join CJCL-AM for radio broadcasts and also will make appearances on Sportsnet game telecasts and "Blue Jays Central" (Sportsnet). In Toronto, Brendan Kennedy notes Morris will "replace Alan Ashby" in the booth. Sportsnet also announced that it will be "broadcasting all of the Jays' spring-training games by one medium or another, including six telecasts" (TORONTO STAR, 2/6).
SMOOTH OPERATORS: The Chicago Tribune's David Haugh said it is a "good sign" that White Sox announcers Ken Harrelson and Steve Stone are working out their differences, as viewers "did sense some uncomfortable moments and there ... was some sort of friction there." Comcast SportsNet's David Kaplan said, “If you’re doing one game a week you’ll get through it because you call the game. ... If you are doing 150, you better really get along” ("Chicago Tribune Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 2/5).