Speak For Yourself?

According to a report in the Washington Post, Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock are going to team up on FS1 to do a “debate show” akin to ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption. The working title for the new show is Speak for Yourself and it is supposed to hit the air sometime this month.

The time slot for the new show was not mentioned but I would think that FS1 would find a way not to put its new show up against Pardon the Interruption directly. According to ratings, PTI is ESPN’s most popular program other than game telecasts. Moreover, Colin Cowherd does a radio/TV simulcast program for FOX from noon to 3:00 PM every weekday and the reports are that he will continue to do that program. That being the case, it would seem logical that the new program would best start several hours after the radio program ended in order to allow for prep time with Whitlock for the program.

Interestingly, both Cowherd and Whitlock used to work for ESPN and both of them left recently “under a cloud”. Cowherd made some remarks on his ESPN program that many folks took as derogatory toward baseball players from the Dominican Republic. Whitlock was supposed to be the guy in charge of ESPN’s site TheUndefeated.com but problems arose in that enterprise supposedly related to Whitlock’s managerial style. All of that is water under the bridge; these two commentators will try to re-create the style that makes PTI so successful. [Aside: It has been on the air for 15 years now.]

I will tune in to sample the program once it is on the air. I realize that some folks will tune in to see these two innately polarizing figures collide with one another. Both of these guys have loyal followers/acolytes and both of them have dedicated antagonists who would find fault with either one even if he announced that he had a cure for cancer. In my case, the reason I want to tune in is that both Cowherd and Whitlock are interesting figures for a very simple reason:

    Both of them make me think about events in the sports world beyond the initial reaction that is governed by emotion. Often, they can each provide a viewpoint that reminds me that thinking is best done by one’s brain and not by one’s glands.

Having said that, the bar for success here is rather high. The reason PTI is so entertaining is that there is a long-standing and genuine friendship between Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon going back to their days as columnists at the Washington Post for about 35 years. That friendship comes through in the midst of their “debates” and it is noticeably absent when either of them is replaced on the program by some other ESPN figure. The challenge for Cowherd and Whitlock will be to create a similar atmosphere such that their “debates” do not appear to be contrived.

You probably read reports from last weekend that Broncos’ CB, Aqib Talib, had been shot in the leg outside a nightclub in Dallas and had been taken to a hospital. As of this morning, the Dallas police do not have a suspect in custody in the case and there are reports that Talib has not been particularly helpful. According to a TV station in Dallas, Talib told the police that he was too drunk to recall any details of the incident and that he was shot in a park and not outside a nightclub. Whatever…

    [Aside: Let us hope that he had a designated driver with him or was sober enough to call a cab for his transportation home that night…]

Surrounding all of this fluff are some hints that Talib may have shot himself in the leg. If that is true, that would put him in an exclusive NFL club joining Plaxico Burress in the Self-Inflicted Wound Society. The Dallas TV station also reported that the bullet took “an interesting path”; given that the venue is Dallas, the idea of a bullet taking an “interesting path” is hauntingly familiar. Supposedly, this bullet entered the rear of Talib’s thigh and exited through his calf. He has been released from the hospital and is expected to recover fully; this is not going to be career threatening or life threatening. However, the matter is not yet ready to conclude…

Also over the weekend, the Chicago White Sox acquired pitcher, James Shields, from the Padres in exchange for two minor league prospects. The White Sox started the season like gangbusters and were on pace to win more than 100 games this season for a while there. The recent weeks have not been nearly as kind to Sox fans; as of this morning, the team is at .500 and they sit in 4th place in the AL Central. The reason they are not in 5th place is that the Twins have already staked their claim on that position in the standings for 2016.

The Sox can use help in the rotation. Mat Latos started the season looking as if he would contend for the Cy Young Award; he allowed only 2 earned runs in his first 4 starts. However, he has regressed to the mean and has an ERA of 4.62 as of this morning. Miguel Gonzales has only pitched 34.1 innings in 7 games this year; that puts the bullpen for the Sox in play and the fact is that they do not have a great bullpen. The addition of Shields should help because he is an “innings eater”. Since 2007, he has thrown more than 202 innings in every season and he carries a career ERA of 3.76.

There is an interesting angle to the trade beyond the help the Sox hope to get from it. One of the minor league players they gave to the Padres is Fernando Tatis, Jr. His father is also named Fernando Tatis, Jr. and “Father” Fernando holds a distinction in baseball history. “Father” Fernando did something that I suspect will never happen again.

    In 1989, playing for the Cardinals, “Father” Fernando hit two grand slam homeruns in the same inning off the same pitcher, Chan Ho Park.

    “Father” Fernando had an 11-year career in MLB as a shortstop hitting .265 with a career OPS of .785. More than likely, the Padres hope that “Son” Fernando can duplicate “Father” Fernando’s accomplishments.

Finally, here is a comment from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald:

“Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander is engaged to Kate Upton. Just when you think a guy who’s paid millions of dollars to work every five days couldn’t get luckier.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………