1. The best NBA television analyst has some wild thoughts on how to improve the television product.
Speaking on a conference call Tuesday to promote the NBA Finals between the Heat and Nuggets, which begin Thursday night, ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy was asked what he thought could be done “to continue evolving with the modern basketball coverage and keeping consumers engaged with the broadcast?”
If you gave me a million guesses on how Van Gundy would answer, “getting rid of free throws” (for the most part) wouldn’t have crossed my mind.
“Well, the thing I would do is, I would try to get it to a two-hour window, and my biggest rule change would be to eliminate free throws until the final four minutes of the game,” said Van Gundy. “So if you’re fouled in the penalty, you’d just get the two points. If you’re fouled in active shooting, you’d get the two points or three points until the final four minutes of the game.”
Van Gundy offered another, less radical suggestion to cut down on the length of games.
“I’d also cut back on halftime. I think it’s a waste of time. Cut it down to like five minutes. Then we also wouldn’t have to hear the term ‘halftime adjustments,’ the most cliché, overused term in NBA basketball history.
“Those would be my two things. Speed the game up. Keep the window as short as you can. Try to fit it into two hours.”
There’s a lot here, so let’s go through it. First off, how can you not love Van Gundy for dumping all over the myth of halftime adjustments? Classic Van Gundy right there.
The halftime idea is solid, but the networks that use that 15-minute window to show about 14 minutes of commercials would never agree to it. Cutting back halftime cuts into revenue so forget that one.
The halftime idea is jarring but interesting. I think free throws are part of the fabric of basketball, so I’m not sure I’d like to see them eliminated until the final four minutes. But there’s also a part of me that would like to see what an NBA game would look like with Van Gundy’s rule in place. I’d love to hear what NBA fans reading this think of Van Gundy’s idea.
2. This is what propaganda looks like.
Barrett Sports Media reports that Yankees play-by-play man Michael Kay had the following to say about all the streaming nonsense on his radio show that is simulcast on the Yankees network:
“The Yankees had nothing to do with games on Apple and Peacock,” Kay said. “That’s the greed of Major League Baseball, just like the greed of the NFL putting that playoff game on Peacock. That’s the league.”
Also from Barrett Sports Media: “Kay broke it down further, explaining that 85% of Yankees games are either on YES or Prime. The remaining 17 games get divvied up between networks like ESPN and Fox and then the streaming platforms. He said people need to take their complaints to the league office and not the Yankees.”
The issue with the Yankees is not Peacock and Apple, which will air a total of three or four Yankees games this season. The issue is the Yankees putting 20 games that used to air on free TV on Amazon Prime.
For Kay to say Yankees fans need to take their complaints to the league office and not the Yankees is completely laughable.
Yes, MLB went for a total money grab with the Apple and Peacock nonsense. But the Yankees went for a more greedy money grab with their Amazon deal.
Now, I didn’t hear Kay discuss this on his show. I’m just going by the Barrett Sports Media transcript, so maybe he did call out the Yankees for screwing over its fans by making the Amazon deal. However, given he’s the Yankees’ play-by-play guy and given his radio show airs on YES, I’d be willing to bet big money he didn’t criticize the Yankees.
3. Umpire Jerry Layne should be suspended for what he did in Houston on Tuesday night. He totally provoked and instigated confrontation thanks to his short fuse. Baseball should do something here.
UMP SHOW ALERT— APOLLO MEDIA (@ApolloHOU) May 31, 2023
Umpire Jerry Layne steps into the box and gets in Jeremy Peña’s face after Jeremy disagrees with the call
The Astros dugout gets fired up and Alex Cintron gets ejected pic.twitter.com/9KhT6x8C7M
4. A lot of people who have seen this video of an A’s fan running on the fan without security chasing him down have made the same joke about everyone associated with the organization giving up. But my takeaway is that videos of a fan running on the field are a lot more boring without security chasing him and then tackling him.
5. I just discovered the Tigers’ home run celebration, and it is awesome.
View the original article to see embedded media.
6. The latest SI Media With Jimmy Traina features two interviews.
First up is WWE legend “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Austin discusses his new show on A&E, Stone Cold Takes on America, what he thinks of the current WWE story line involving Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns, and his feelings on CM Punk’s status with AEW.
Austin also reminisces about his legendary career, sharing his thoughts on the biggest pop he ever got from a WWE crowd and sharing a never-before-told story about how he ended up making so much money off his famous “Austin 3:16” shirt.
Following Austin, The Athletic's Richard Deitsch joins the podcast at the 31-minute mark for a discussion on the latest sports media news. Topics covered include flex scheduling coming to Thursday Night Football and Amazon Prime, why ESPN can never close the gap with TNT when it comes to NBA studio shows, what ESPN going direct-to-consumer means, the NBA’s possible return to NBC and much more.
Following Deitsch, Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV in New York joins me for our weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week, I give a recap of my night at the Sports Emmys before Sal and I talk about Jersey Shore, Taylor Swift and horrible experiences trying to book guests. The segment closes with Sal’s explaining why he doesn’t want to go to baseball games anymore.
You can also watch SI Media With Jimmy Traina on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: If you've watched the Succession series finale, you’ll want to watch this inside look at the episode.