An interesting final in Montreal

Posted in news, tennis, tv at 7:47 pm by danvk

rogers_cup_logo.jpgNovak Djokovic upset Rafael Nadal in the Rogers Masters semifinals this evening, making up for the Wimbledon semifinals earlier this year. It sets up an interesting final with Roger Federer tomorrow afternoon (noon PST) in Montreal. Fed’s never lost to Djokovic before, (he’s 4-0) but they haven’t played since Djokovic cracked the top ten earlier this year. This is the final I was rooting for at Wimbledon earlier this year, as those elusive “astute readers of danvk.org” will recall. I’m calling Fed two sets. I don’t think Djokovic can beat him.

This week and next also mark one of the more brain-dead stretches of the ATP tour. The top players are required to enter all nine Masters Series events, which are just one notch below the Grand Slams. Tomorrow is the Rogers Masters final, and on Monday the Cincinnati Masters begins. There’s not even a one day break, but the players are all required to enter both. This makes for some really exhausted players and surprising results at the Cincy Masters. Last year Federer won the Rogers Masters, but lost to #21 Andy Murray in early round play the next week. For a sense of what an aberration this was, Fed only lost to two players last year: Nadal and Andy Murray. It’s absurd that the ATP continues to schedule the Masters Series in this way.

Update: Novak made me eat my words, winning 7-6(2), 2-6, 7-6(2). Fed came quite close to winning the first set: he botched five set points before Djokovic sent it to the ‘breaker. Mad props to him, I underestimated him. He’ll be fun to watch at the US Open this fall.


Baffled by Beckham

Posted in news, sports, tv at 8:35 pm by danvk

beckham.png I don’t get the wave of excitement about David Beckham coming to America to join the L.A. Galaxy and play in the MLS soccer league. ESPN was advertising this like mad. His wife, a former spice girl, is even getting her own reality show.

First thing I don’t get: How does an MLS team have $250 million to pay this guy? Does the entire league bring in that much money?

Second thing I don’t get: Why does anyone expect this to get American’s excited about soccer? Getting the World Cup in 1996 couldn’t do it, so how could one man? But there’s no arguing with the true believers.

The whole hysteria has made me very cynical today. If you want to get people excited about something, you don’t tell them how great it is or try to explain why they should be excited. No, you just act as though the rest of the country already is excited. I’ve often wondered if ESPN could pull this off with a lesser-known sport like disc golf. If they covered professional disc golf events on SportsCenter and brought in some talking heads for a “Disc Golf Tonight” show to analyze the week’s events, people would start to care about it.


Cut Bush Some Slack!

Posted in news, politics, tv at 11:19 pm by danvk

The crap he’s taking for this kind of bothers me:

Cut the guy some slack, already! He’s just doing the white guy dance. I’m sure all of us have done this many times. I know I have. I’d like to see Jon Stewart, Wolf Blitzer, or Jack Cafferty do any better.


Bill Moyers Journal

Posted in news, politics, tv at 12:34 am by danvk

I’ve enjoyed the few episodes of the Bill Moyers Journal that I’ve watch so far. There’s:

  • Buying the War, a look at press coverage in the runup to the Iraq War. This is pretty terrifying stuff, but what’s most interesting is that there were journalists who uncovered the truth about Iraq and WMD before the war. They were just relegated to the back pages.
  • Interview with Jon Stewart, in which they dissect Jon’s recent interview with John McCain. I remember seeing the interview, so it was interesting to hear Jon’s take on it.
  • Josh Marshall, of Talking Points Memo fame. A succinct summary of the U.S. Attorney’s scandal and the role that blogs played in it.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for new episodes in the future. Fortunately, he’s got an RSS feed to make the job easy!


A Masters Dilemma

Posted in tennis, tv at 4:39 pm by danvk

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the world’s #1 and #2 tennis players, are facing off tonight in the finals of the Monte Carlo Masters in Rome. They’ll be on at 5:26 AM Pacific Time, which is OK by me. I’ve woken up at stranger times to watch tennis matches before.

So far, so good. Unfortunately, according to the TV listings, I’d be better off if I lived in Thailand or the Middle East. It’s only being shown live on The Tennis Channel in the US. I thought I got TTC, but it must have been a teaser offer. I get it no more. My only option is to watch it on atpmastersseries.tv.

Their offer must be well thought out, because I’m completely on the fence. I can put up $7.95 and watch the match live in Windows Media Player tomorrow morning, or I can leave it. If the price point were $1 or $2, I’d do this without even thinking. But $8 is a bit steep.

I wish the calculus of live sports were different. I’m sure the ATP Masters Series would do fine if they broadcast all their matches live for free, with advertising. It’s not like you can skip the ads on a live broadcast, and sports programming loses almost all its value once it’s not live. CBS made a bold move to broadcast college basketball free online during March Madness. I wish the ATP Masters Series would do the same, so I wouldn’t have to think about paying my $8…

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