Category Archives: MMA

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 6/7-8

The first time I filled out most of this schedule, including all the comments on the French Open women’s final, the second paragraph of the UFC write-up, and all the college baseball and IndyCar stuff, I lost it all because I pre-scheduled all the posts with pre-qualified championship info, once a post is scheduled Blogger stops autosaving drafts, and the Internet connection I’m using is fritzing out all of a sudden. DSZGFJBD JGGHFXGDFMS HVCJHJXGD!!!!!!!~!!!~!!!!!

It’s moments like these that are the ONLY reason I keep strongly considering getting a job and moving out of my mom’s place and into a place where I can have my own Internet connection instead of stealing a neighbor’s.

Ahem.

As I was saying. All times PDT.

Saturday
6-9 AM: Tennis, French Open, includes women’s final, Dinara Safina v. Ana Ivanovic (NBC). Okay, I’ve heard some things about these two, but really, do you really think either one of them is really a household name in the US? Most people are going, “Dana Sana wha? Ana Vana wha?” At least it doesn’t involve 3-seed Jelena Jankovic. Who? Exactly.

9-12 PM: College baseball, NC State v. Georgia or Wichita State v. Florida State (ESPN2). Wait, is ESPN regionalizing the super regionals? And Coastal Carolina plays North Carolina on ESPNU at the same time as well!

12-3 PM: Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC 85 (PPV). It’s a bit odd for UFC to be running events every other week, and then not necessarily show the same people each week. Oh wait, this is in London. Odd schedule placement might be to be expected. Well, I’m still keeping an eye on things.

While we’re on the topic of MMA, the verdict is in from EliteXC, and, well… whether or not it outperformed the Stanley Cup Finals depends on your definition. But expect it to tumble in the future after Kimbo Slice lost his aura. Meanwhile, look for World Extreme Cagefighting – essentially UFC’s equivalent to the Nationwide Series (see below) – to potentially make an appearance in future Watchers; I missed their show on Sunday, which most MMA-heads would say put EliteXC to shame. Of course, that “cagefighting” bit can’t be good for building legitimacy.

3:25-4 PM: Horse racing, Belmont Stakes (ABC). Skip the mindless pregame and cut straight to the race. I’m not sure if they’ll be off before or after 3:30; if I had to guess, it’d probably be after, but you might want to tune in a little early just in case. WILL BIG BROWN WIN THE ELUSIVE TRIPLE CROWN OR WILL HE JOIN THE SCRAP HEAP OF A GAZILLION PREVIOUS OVERHYPED DERBY/PREAKNESS WINNERS THAT FLOPPED IN THE BELMONT JUST SINCE AFFIRMED OR HELL JUST IN THE LAST TEN YEARS?

4:30-7:30 PM: College baseball, Arizona v. Miami (FL) or Stanford v. Cal State Fullerton (ESPN). Yes, I know it conflicts with the event below. I would have done the Nationwide Series race but I’m not doing the Sprint Cup race. The nearest ESPNU games’ start times are 3 and 6 PM. Sue me.

7-9:30 PM: IndyCar Series, Bombardier Learjet 550 (ESPN2). Last week’s race was on ABC coming out of the Indy 500 in a year where ratings are up because of the merger. The ratings: .8. Did I mention that USA Today ran an article around the time of the Indy 500 saying that IndyCar could very well run down NASCAR?

Sunday
6-11 AM: Tennis, French Open, includes men’s final, Roger Federer v. Rafael Nadal (NBC). How many times have these two squared off just at the French? How about some dap for Gael Monfils making it all the way to the semis before running headfirst into FederTron 2000? I remember when he was a sensation in the boys’ tournament…

1-4 PM: LPGA Golf, McDonald’s LPGA Championship, final round (Golf Channel). WTF is the final round of a MAJOR still doing on the f’ing Golf Channel? I mean, I knew it was on the Golf Channel a few years ago, but I thought they’d corrected that injustice! Virtually every PGA Tour event has its final round on broadcast; what does it say that one of the top four women’s event is considered less important than, well, ANY men’s event? When can this come up for renegotiation? The LPGA needs to correct this injustice… back when it happened in the first place!

(Incidentially, it appears to technically be the “McDonald’s LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola”. That’s as bad as the “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim”. Also, what the hell is with the sports news cycle acting like the US Open is THIS weekend?)

6-8:30 PM: NBA Basketball, LA Lakers @ Boston (ABC). Obviously, I shouldn’t have to say anything more.

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 5/31-6/1

All times PDT.

Saturday
9-2 PM: College Softball, College World Series, second round action (ESPN). Quick format explanation: Teams that lose in round 1 play a second first round game, then play the second round loser from the other half of the bracket. Then they move on to the semifinal tomorrow, but if the team that lost a game wins the first game, they play a second game. It’s really simple! The best-of-three final gets played over the next three days.

5-7:30 PM: NHL Hockey, Detroit @ Pittsburgh (CBC/NBC). For a while there were reports that NBC was decreasing its Stanley Cup Finals commitment so low that some potentially deciding games would be cut. Buf if you cut a deciding game, make it Game 4. If it’s 3-0, it’s a sweep if it ends and that’s boring. If it’s 2-1, well, it’s not a deciding game, is it?

In fact, if this year’s Finals has shown anything, it’s that if you’re going to cut any game, in any sport’s best-of-seven series, deciding or non-deciding, from broadcast, make it Game 3. After the first two games, everyone was thinking the series would have little suspense and would be done quickly. I have to imagine that depressed viewership for Game 3, despite the currently-reported relatively strong ratings. Now viewership will pick back up again for Game 4. I think a structure putting the first two games on broadcast, priming the pump for everyone to watch, and the last two or three games on broadcast, makes sense.

9-11 PM (both coasts): EliteXC Mixed Martial Arts, Saturday Night Fights (CBS, both coasts). The only place this doesn’t interfere with hockey is on the West Coast; otherwise it’s merely an honorable mention. This thing better knock my socks off in the ratings or it will not get any sort of a protected spot in future Watchers.

Sunday
2-10 PM: French Open, 3rd round action (Tennis Channel). I write this a day in advance. I have no clue what to expect.

10:30-3 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, Best Buy 400 (FOX). I will be watching the IndyCar race starting at 1, but I’m sure you’ll go gaga over this without me. I’m a bit distressed at the most logical reasons why ESPN still doesn’t cover NASCAR as much as its popularity suggests it should, that is to say, on shows like Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption.

5:30-8 PM: NBA Basketball, Detroit @ Boston, if necessary (ABC). Hey, Detroit residents don’t need to decide between basketball and hockey anymore!

If Boston wins Game 6:
5-8 PM: MLB Baseball, LA Dodgers @ NY Mets (ESPN). Because I have to make some mention of OMG JOE TORRE’S COMING BACK TO NEW YORK EVEN THOUGH HE ISN’T PLAYING HIS FORMER TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!!1111!!1111!!!!eleven!

Can I mention that in my hunting around the world of sports, looking for something, ANYTHING to fill any conceivable hole in the schedule, the Sports Watcher is still a labor-intensive excersize that still drains a lot from me, even with the ability to finish it a day or so in advance? I may abandon it again in August or so when the Little League World Series dies down.

I have an inkling of an idea to do a rundown of EVERY sporting event on TV, not just one for each timeslot. But of course that would be MORE work. A part of me wants to refer people who want that sort of thing to HD Sports Guide, but a) it doesn’t include end-of-time-slot info and b) it only includes HD stuff. And if I do that, I might as well do a schedule of EVERY SINGLE SPORTING EVENT BEING PLAYED ANYWHERE EVER. That would be beyond my capacities and would probably mean a whole other web site. You might find Sports TV Insider or DirecTV’s My Game Schedule useful, though.

I may do a Watcher-like rundown of just stuff on each sport’s own network. If you have any suggestions for how to reform the Watcher, leave a comment and I may have a poll up next week, running until I finally do end the Watcher again in August.

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 5/24-25

Read this post to get introduced to Sports Watcher. Basically, I run down what a sports fanatic would watch if he wanted to watch as many sports as possible over the weekend. That means only one sport in a given timeslot, as many sports as possible, and as important a contest as possible. All times PDT.

Saturday
9-11 AM: College lacrosse, Syracuse v. Virginia (ESPN2). In one of my previous stint of Sports Watcher posts, I noted that the Frozen Four seemed to be the biggest college sport that wasn’t football or basketball. If ESPN is any guide, baseball, softball and lacrosse may give it a run for its money. Of course, that may just be ESPN looking for any spring championships to fill time. The final, incidentially, isn’t until Monday. The second semifinal, Johns Hopkins v. Duke, is out because otherwise I get no baseball.

12:30-4 PM: MLB Baseball, regional action (FOX). Mets/Rockies, D-Backs/Braves, Angels/White Sox. The Rockies stink after making the World Series last year, and the Mets having a .512 record (as of Wednesday) would be more impressive if they weren’t second-to-last in their own division. The other two games are more interesting, especially Angels-White Sox which pits two division leaders (again as of Wednesday) against each other, but I doubt as many people will get D-Backs/Braves as should.

5-7:30 PM: NHL Hockey, Pittsburgh @ Detroit (CBC/VS.). The NHL’s dream Stanley Cup finals for American dominance starts.

7-10 PM: Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC 84 (PPV). Yes, there’s an overlap. It’ll start with dull undercard matches anyway, it’s not much of an overlap. Besides, I bet you can’t afford it anyway.

Sunday
10-1:30 PM: IndyCar Racing, Indianapolis 500 (ABC). Or as ESPN is calling it, “The 92nd Indianapolis 500 telecast presented by GoDaddy.com”. First of all, it’s not the 92nd TELECAST, TV not being arouns 92 years ago and all, and secondly, this is what they’re calling it on their ticker even when referring strictly to the race itself! But who cares? It’s all about unification, baby! And Helio winning Dancing with the Stars! And Danica winning her first race! Wait, the latter already happened on a race on ESPN Classic that wasn’t Indy?

Honorable Mention: 12-3 PM: Champions Tour Golf, Senior PGA Championship, final round (NBC). Sheesh. I once created an imaginary system where all the championships could be scheduled on one imaginary network, because usually there’s no more than one at a time (this later evolved into Sports Watcher). Key word, usually, because in 2006 the MLS Cup interfered with the Chase for the then-Nextel Cup. Now I’m considering having two tracks of Sports Watcher. Get more high-profile sports onto the main Watcher, you know?

2:30-5 PM: College softball, super-regional action (ESPNU). If you’re not familiar with college baseball or softball, super-regionals appear to be pairs of regionals. 8 teams advance from the super-regionals to the College World Series and get placed into a bracket only once they get there. Regular ESPN actually airs softball during the Indy 500!

Honorable Mention: 4-6 PM: College lacrosse, women’s championship (CBS College Sports). It’s not because of the softball that I bumped this, violating my all-championships policy in the process. It’s so early in the softball tournament that I wouldn’t cry to lose it. It’s because it just barely interferes with…

5:30-8 PM: NBA Basketball, LA Lakers @ San Antonio (TNT). A Celtics-Lakers final would be heaven for NBA brass and ratings, as much of a godsend as Pens-Red Wings is for the NHL; a Spurs-Pistons final would be hell. Keep a very, VERY close eye on the officials in both series.

Sports Watcher for the weekend of 4/14-15

All times PDT.

Saturday
1-3 PM: MISL Soccer, Detroit at Milwaukee (VS.). Did you know the Detroit Ignition are an expansion team? You wouldn’t be so impressed if you knew four teams make the playoffs… out of a six-team league.

4-6:30 PM: NHL Hockey, Tampa Bay at New Jersey (CBC). Folks in Canada are incenced the game between the Pittsburgh Penguins (w/Sid the Kid) and Ottawa Senators (only Canadian team in the Eastern Conference Playoffs) is not in prime time, and they have to watch an all-American game on CBC, solely to appease NBC. But the worst part is, the game CBC is airing isn’t available nationally in the States! Personally, I blame NBC for not showing any hockey in primetime other than the Finals. If you really want to grow the game so much in the States by force-feeding us Sidney Crosby, would it really hurt to put it in primetime on by far the weakest night of the week, which the Big Four hardly bother to program anyway?

(Before you think “Is that a sign they’re adding insult to injury by throwing CBC a game no one on either side of the border cares about?” consider that the game on Versus pits the 8-seed Islanders “versus” the 1-seed Sabres. Talk about a squash.)

(Incidentially, while CBC recently locked up a long-term deal with the NHL, NBC only re-upped for one more year with an option for a second… which at first glance appears to be a retread of the previous deal, which was similar, until you note that this coming year is also the last year of the NBA on ABC.)

Sunday
10:30-3 PM: NASCAR Racing, Samsung 500 (FOX). Three drivers have over 900 points out of five with 800. It’s lonely at the top of NASCAR.

5-8 PM: MLB Baseball, San Diego @ Los Angeles (ESPN). It’s Jackie Robinson Day in MLB and Bud Selig is allowing any player to wear his number; the Dodgers, the team that first put him in the big leagues, is one of a few teams doing it for everybody (Mike Cameron is the only one for the Padres). Expect more 42’s than even Douglas Adams could have ever dreamed. Clearly that day will be the day our planet is obliterated for a freeway bypass.

Baseball and hockey pre-empt boxing, TNA wrestling, and BodogFight MMA from the Watcher, but I did find out that my local cable system now shows exactly THREE PPV channels (outside the porn-only channels), which show porno in lighter hours than you’d think. Is “on demand” creating a new world, one which could force boxing, wrestling, and MMA to re-think their strategies as they increasingly become the only reason for PPV’s existence (alongside porn, but that might be headed for “on demand” as well once parental controls are advanced enough to allow it)? Spike TV will carry UFC 70 for free in the States next week in what could be the most watched (by network executives) and most pivotal sports event on television in recent memory. It could be a test that could establish, once and for all, the viability and popularity of MMA, could be a “test of the waters” for boxing and MMA, to determine if cable is financially viable, to determine if it’s time to come out of the PPV shelter and possibly on the road to respectability, and if that part’s successful, it could be one final nail in the coffin for PPV. (What it would do to professional wrestling, for which PPV is an integral part of the business model to the point where a “big event” happens once a month, not once a year, is anyone’s guess.)

Sports Watcher for the weekend of 4/7-8

All times PDT.

Saturday
12:30-3 PM: MLS Soccer, Colorado at DC United (ABC). Finally, the MLS season opener doesn’t compete with the Final Four pre-show. Of course, now it’s up against the first round of the Masters…

4-7 PM: College Hockey, Michigan State v. Boston College (ESPN). The third-biggest championship the NCAA administers. Of course, it’s light years behind even women’s college basketball and isn’t really that far from last place.

7-10 PM: Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC 69 (PPV). I could write reams on why UFC is whipping boxing’s ass right now, but I’ll save them for a later date. (But a word of advice: If you want to become really mainstream and not elicit comparisons to illegal cagefighting or pro wrestling, dump the steel cage. I don’t know of any fighting organization of any kind that doesn’t use anything more than the classic ropes.)

Sunday
11:30-4 PM: PGA Golf, The Masters Final Round (CBS). You know, if that Tiger Woods gets a few more major wins, maybe, one day, if he’s really lucky, he’ll be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

5-8 PM: MLB Baseball, Boston @ Texas (ESPN). Even though Curt Schilling will be Boston’s starter, we’ll still be caught up in Dice-K mania.

Next weekend: Hot NHL playoff action! (cue crickets)