Cowherd's opinion rings true, but facts are off the mark

The Baltimore Sun

Serving up another week's worth of sports media notes, crunchy as matzo from a new box, though somewhat easier to digest:

* ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd was just doing what a sports talk host is supposed to do - stir it up - when he went on a little rant Tuesday about how Orioles fans reacted to Mark Teixeira at Monday's opener. His opinion about how Teixeira's choice between less money and the Orioles and more money and the New York Yankees really wasn't a difficult choice has been offered in lots of places, and many fans surely weren't upset by it.

However, when he was saying Teixeira would face six years of not contending by signing with the Orioles, he betrayed a lack of knowledge. Baseball observers from outside Baltimore have been highly complimentary of the Orioles' young pitchers waiting in the minors, and almost everyone agrees catcher Matt Wieters will be an All-Star.

One part of Cowherd's little monologue was kind of silly, though. To focus on a few signs that said fans "hate" Teixeira as proof of an immature outlook sounded like Cowherd was going an extra step just to sound provocative. Fans toss "hate" around a lot - even on talk shows.

* The Orioles' opener Monday drew more than twice the television audience of last year's Opening Day. The combined households watching Channel 13 and MASN on Monday numbered 135,000. Last year, that number was 63,000. In 2008, however, the opponent was the then-still-lowly Tampa Bay Rays instead of the Yankees, and that game started an hour earlier than Monday's, which ran into prime time.

* MLB Network, which began carrying Thursday night games last night, announced it will also televise Saturday night games, starting this weekend with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks at 8. MLB Network games are blacked out in the home markets of the two teams.

* Fox's baseball games of the week will feature a new pre-game, hosted from one of the network's game sites by Chris Rose, who then becomes a sideline reporter during the game telecast. Rose is scheduled to work the game Fox is sending to Baltimore - Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels (4 p.m., Channel 45).

Fox's Ken Rosenthal, who formerly graced these pages as a columnist, picks the Rays and Philadelphia Phillies to return to the World Series, with Tampa Bay winning this time.

* On Monday, ESPN televises the first official game from the New York Mets' new stadium, Citi Field, when the Mets host the San Diego Padres at 7 p.m.

* Yes, you know this is the case, but here are a couple of numbers to illustrate what Tiger Woods' absence from last year's last two majors did to the ratings. According to Nielsen, the last day of the 2008 British Open was down 13.3 percent from the year before, and the final round of the PGA Championship - won by Woods in 2007 - fell 57.6 percent in 2008.

* At and, you can again get bonus coverage via streaming video. Amen Corner Live covers the 11th, 12th and 13th holes, 15 & 16 Live has those two holes, and Masters Extra covers the entire tournament an hour before each day's telecast begins.

* On Tuesday at 7 p.m., ESPN's E:60 includes what is described as an in-depth look at pro wrestling mogul Vince McMahon. Maybe ESPN could bring in Bob Costas for McMahon to yell at.

* Competing for your attention at the same time, however, will be the release of the 2009 NFL schedule during a two-hour show on the NFL Network (while you still can get it, Comcast customers).

* Most of the time in the office, our TVs are on with the sound down. What I've noticed lately is that, without hearing him, ESPN's original draft expert, Baltimore's Mel Kiper Jr., looks very angry when he's talking. Could it be the Todd McShay factor?

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