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Behind the Mic: Sports Media Grab Bag

Strasburg, Seinfeld, YE$, Devils coach hiring, Ratings

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Instead of a big main story, we have a bunch of little stories in this week's column. Enjoy.

'That Is One Magic Loogey': Seinfeld and Hernandez Reunited

Jerry Seinfeld is the Mets most famous fan, and provided the franchise with their greatest pop culture moment: When former Met first baseman (and now SNY commentator) Keith Hernandez appeared on a 1992 episode of Seinfeld's legendary, self-titled sitcom as himself in a two-part episode called "The Boyfriend". In Seinfeld's DVD extras, he calls it his favorite episode ever.

So, why not 18 years later, have a reunion special?

According to the New York Post, Seinfeld will join Hernandez and Gary Cohen for "at least" three innings of Wednesday night's Mets-Tigers broadcast from Detroit. The appearance is a Father's Day gift from Jerry's wife, Jessica, who sent Seinfeld's request to SNY's Gary Apple ... as if Jerry Seinfeld needs to sheepishly ask to appear on SNY. The network will air clips of "The Boyfriend" as the two reminisce and take you behind the scenes. 

SNY VP of production says of the appearance: "Jerry is scheduled for the top of the third inning, for at least three innings, and more if he wants to do more . . . There's no set script".  In the spirit of this, I hope we can somehow get Jerry Stiller to call a Yankee game on YES with Michael Kay, where he can constantly criticize the trading of Jay Buhner.

Strasburg Fever Hits the Big Apple

He won't make an appearance in New York's Citi Field until the final weekend of the season, but the Mets' first tilt against the most heralded pitching phenomenon since Dr. K took over the city will be young Stephen Strasburg's first national network television experience.

After TBS and MLB Network shared the first few starts of the kid, his scheduled outing vs. the Metropolitans on July 3rd has been flexed in to FOX's schedule. It'll replace a planned Milwaukee-St. Louis telecast, and likely will head out to most of the nation: While Rays-Twins and Marlins-Braves (the other regional games FOX has slated for that date) feature first place teams and good matchups, Mets-Nats features an on-the-rise New York club against the game's biggest name in pitching.

Devils Come Up Short on Coach Hiring

We've written enough about the actual hockey strategy of the Devils hiring new head coach John MacLean, so let us relate to you a disappointing experience we had on Thursday. 

We turned on MSG and MSG Plus and started flipping around both channels to see if they would show MacLean's introductory press conference at the Prudential Center. Instead, there was air racing and darts on the two channels. I recalled SNY airing Claude Julien and Brent Sutter's press conferences, so I decided to check out the Met TV network. A rerun of the Mets-Indians game from the night before.

I checked the Devils website. Surely, they'd be streaming the thing live with the availability of technology in this day and age. Nothing. It was a good few hours before video of the presser was on the team's website, which makes it more disappointing. The Devils have a long history of being media unfriendly, and giving them only a few hours between the announcement of a press conference and it actually happening doesn't make for an easily produceable telecast.

That said, MSG and MSG Plus have a duty as rightsholders to get a couple of cameras and Stan Fischer (who was there) to Newark and show this for Devil fans. You put together a telecast no matter what. I've long felt the Devils made a mistake by tying themselves way long-long term to MSG's money and stability instead of joining up with YES or particularly SNY, who would have more resources and dedication to the team as their only winter tenant.  When the Devils signed a seemingly endless pact with Cablevision, they confirmed their spot as being the second or third (or even fourth) most important winter team on their networks.

YES, MSG, SNY Make Big Money on ... Almost Everything

The three New York sports networks will surely not be calling for a bailout anytime soon.

According to MediaPost, YES Network made nearly $64 million in advertising revenues and $417 million (that's right) in total revenue, the most among any regional sports network in both categories. MSG came in second with $49 million in advertising and $308 million in total revenue. SNY is in fourth in ad money with nearly $40 million and third in total monies gathered with $254 million.

So next time the Yankees or Mets say they don't have the money to go after a player, point them to this article.

He Said What?

(Found something weird, inane or just plain wacky your announcers have said?  E-mail your own "He Said What?" to 

During the FOX broadcast of the Dodgers-Red Sox game on Saturday, the two pitchers were knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, and Vicente Padillia - who was employing an ephus pitch. After he threw one in the sixth inning, play-by-play man Joe Buck commented that David Ortiz had to keep "from laughing at that lollipop". Analyst Tim McCarver responded by saying "reminds me of that old song: 'lollipop, lollipop ... oh, lolly, lolly". Completely straight-faced, without any singing. Ladies and gentlemen, this is MLB's No. 1 analyst.

Later on, Buck and McCarver were discussing the Dodgers money troubles, and got into setting the example of LA's former millions by mentioning that owner Frank McCourt had hired Russian physicist Vladimir Shpunt to send "positive energy vibes" to the team. Buck and McCarver proceeded to have a banal, borderline idiotic discussion of energy vibes, and whether or not Shpunt's firing could mean he'd send the Dodgers negative energy vibes. Fortunately, Buck seemed to understand how painstaking this was at the commercial break, saying "I've never wanted an inning to end so badly". 

The aforementioned Keith Hernandez, calling Saturday's Subway Showdown at Yankee Stadium on Channel 11, described Mariano Rivera as being "like Steve Carlton" when coming in the 9th inning. Uh, Keith, I'm pretty sure at this point in history ... Mariano Rivera is kind of like Mariano Rivera. We're not exactly looking for a basis of comparison anymore. 

One thing that has been a credit to the mostly British announcers ESPN/ABC have employed is that - unlike the usually reserved American counterparts - they are unafraid to go after poor officiating. Particularly, ESPN's Ian Darke was out and out calling the USA-Slovenia refereeing on Friday "a nightmare". Can you picture any American network announcer doing that?

Top 5 Regional Sports Networks, Advertising Revenue

1. YES Network - $63.9 million

2. MSG Network - $49.4 million

3. Fox Sports West - $40.1 million

4. SNY - $39.8 million

5. Fox Sports Southwest - $29.4 million

Top 5 Regional Sports Networks, Total Revenues

1. YES Network - $417.1 million

2. MSG Network - $308.8 million

3. SNY - $254.6 million

4. Fox Sports Southwest - $252.1 million

5. Fox Sports West - $241.4 million

Recent New York local sports ratings


World Cup Soccer: USA vs. England (ABC) - 9.4/23

World Cup Soccer: Germany vs. Australia (ABC) - 5.7/13

NBA Finals, Game 5 (ABC) - 11.1/16

NBA Finals, Game 6 (ABC) - 10.8/18

MLB: NY Yankees vs. Philadelphia (My 9) - 5.6/9

NBA Finals, Game 7 (ABC) - 14.7/24