Typing up sports media notes while wondering why the pope is visiting the stadiums that are home to the Nationals and Yankees but not the Cardinals:
There is no consensus among TNT analysts Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller and Kenny Smith on the major NBA awards, except for Sixth Man of the Year - the San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili. For Most Valuable Player, Barkley goes with the New Orleans Hornets' Chris Paul and Miller with the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant. Smith wimps out and names them co-MVPs. Barkley and Miller agree on the Atlanta Hawks' Al Horford for Rookie of the Year, while Smith goes with the Seattle SuperSonics' Kevin Durant. Barkley and Smith take the Hornets' Byron Scott as Coach of the Year, and Miller selects the Utah Jazz's Jerry Sloan.
Speaking of the NBA, there is no blackout of network coverage for the Washington Wizards-Cleveland Cavaliers series, so if for some reason you don't enjoy the play-by-play stylings of Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier on Comcast SportsNet, you can watch the versions on ESPN (Dave Pasch and Rick Carlisle for Game 1) or TNT (Marv Albert and Miller for Game 2, Dick Stockton and Mike Fratello for Game 3).
Former Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone joins Fox's Saturday Baseball Game of the Week tomorrow, paired with Matt Vasgersian for the Cleveland Indians-Minnesota Twins game. We won't see the Rockin' Man, however, because Fox is sending Philadelphia Phillies-New York Mets to WBFF/Channel 45 and WTTG/Channel 5.
Hockey fans of Baltimore, you're not alone. Comcast SportsNet reports its biggest overall audience for a Washington Capitals game in five years with its telecast of Game 3 of the Capitals-Philadelphia Flyers series Tuesday. In the Baltimore market, the game drew 13,200 households. That's about four times the average during this regular season. Craig Laughlin will be going door-to-door to thank you.
ESPN's coverage of the second round of the Masters was cable television's most-watched golf telecast ever. The network said the Friday program averaged about 3 million households. ESPN broke the golf record held by Bravo, for that special show featuring Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi and Project Runway's Heidi Klum playing Putt-Putt.
And speaking of the Masters (please note the way the column just flows, kind of like Padma from one set to the next), the animation package CBS unveiled last weekend was impressive. Designed to show off the contours of each hole - which look flat on TV - the animation was so well-done that it was hard to tell at first that we weren't looking at a live picture.
For its coverage of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Talladega, Fox is starting its pre-race show a half-hour earlier, at 1 p.m., giving it an hour before the race telecast. The show will feature a live concert by Toby Lightman, who sings Fox's theme, "NASCAR Love."
In the latest move of the we're-rooting-for-both-to-lose battle between Comcast and the NFL, yesterday the NFL Network gave formal notice to Comcast of its intent to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission over Comcast's refusal to put the NFL Network on a basic tier of service. The NFL Network charges a discriminatory practice because Comcast puts sports channels that it owns, such as Versus and The Golf Channel, on the basic lineup while making customers pay extra to see the NFL Network.