Thursday, March 30, 2006

CurlTV: How Does It Compute?

David Nedohin told us, during our radio broadcast at The Scott, that CurlTV has about 1500 subscribers (I am guessing that number will have doubled or more by the end of next week).

Let's suppose those are all annual subscribers (very unlikely) and that, on average, the revenue from each of them is about $100 [Cdn] per subscriber. If so, the gross annual receipts for CurlTV have been running at a maximum of about $150,000 per year and could reach, say, $250,000. Add to that the advertising revenues from their website and from their shows on Rogers SportsNet, plus additional monthly subscriptions that they will pick up over the next month, and maybe their revenues might max out at $300K this year.

What are their expenses? They seem to have at least three, and maybe four or five employees during curling telecasts, but most of their employees are undoubtedly temps (albeit not all that cheap, though -- most are technicians; we know from past experience that sportscasters work cheap, though). They also seem to have several administrators. Labour expenses can't be all that low.

How much, if anything, do they pay for broadcasting rights to the various events? [Digressive rant: Surely (I hope!) Curl TV did not receive exclusive round robin broadcasting rights to the men's world championship for peanuts..... or did the CCA f&^% up again? Who negotiated this deal at The Worlds, for how much, and why???]

How much is an acceptable rate of return on CurlTV's invested capital (what economists call a "normal rate of return", the opportunity cost of their invest capital)?

Webcasting may well be the wave of the future, and Curl TV might be breaking even by now. In the future, look for them to sell tournament-based subscriptions rather than (or in addition to) annual, monthly, or weekly subscriptions.

For Curl TV to survive, though, they have to hope that curling does not catch on big-time among sports fans. If it does, then commercial tv, including ESPN2, will outbid them for the broadcasting rights. Meantime, they have a lot to offer for a dedicated niche market.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I Pick Finland to win the Men's 2006 World Curling Championship

Who will win the Men's 2006 World Championship of Curling? It was a difficult pick (and remember I, along with nearly all the other pundits, was wrong about the Brier).

Here are the probabilities I attach to each team's winning the tournament. You will see from these numbers how little confidence I have in picking Finland to win:

Finland 20%
USA 18%
Canada 17%
Scotland 16%
Sweden 14%
Germany 8%
Norway 6%
the others 1%

Menard, Skip of Team Canada, will have his hands full, I'm sure. And you can bet I'll be cheering wildly for Team Canada, even though I haven't picked them to win.

By the way, if you want to watch a dozen or so games from the round robin, via the internet, sign up this weekend for a week of CurlTv. The weekly rate makes it a pretty good deal. My wife and I subscribed last month, and it seems to work out reasonably well (see here and here). They will be broadcasting the first draw at 9am on Saturday.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Why I Love Anette Norberg

Anette Norberg, skip of the world champion Swedish curling rink, was interviewed by mediot Joan McCusker of CBC following Sweden's win in the finals [I'm paraphrasing here]:
McCusker: Anette, tell us, how important was this win after your team won the gold medal at the Olympics?

Norberg: It wasn't really very important....
I absolutely love her.

Maybe someday mediots will stop asking such stupid, cliched questions like that.

Update: It seems that back in December I foreshadowed that interview here:
[T]he Brian Williams and Scott Russell cliches, especially the latter, are worse than annoying. And I am especially offended by Russell's asking questions which contain stupidly obvious answers within them:
  • How important is this game for you?
  • Gee, Scott, I think I'd rather go for a beer than be here playing this game....

Swedish Women Repeat as World Champs,
defeating the US 10 - 9

Anette Norberg and the Swedish rink defeated Debbie McCormick and the US team by a score of 10-9 to win the 2006 world women's curling championship.

The U.S. gained a big edge in the fourth end, scoring four on a complex double. But they promptly gave up three to the Swedes in the next end, followed by a steal by Sweden to go up by a score of 7 - 5 after six ends. The teams traded deuces for the next three ends, so they were tied, Sweden with the hammer, coming home in the 10th.

According to the curling percentages at CurlCast, the US outcurled Sweden, 81% to 79%. I don't believe it for a minute. Yes, the US made some good shots, but they missed a lot of opportunities as well. I guess some of those big misses by the Swedes really hurt their overall shooting percentages.

Two notes: I know I made lots of predictions throughout the tournament, but here are two that I will herald:
  1. It was a no-brainer (though not everyone agreed), but before they started, I picked Sweden to win. They were dominant, even in their close win over the US in the final.
  2. I also asserted that the US would be one of the few teams that could challenge Norberg and the Swedish rink.
But we'll forget about all the other predictions and speculations I made that weren't correct ....

Sweden Again - World Champions in Women's Curling

Annette Norberg's team just re-expressed its dominance. Repeating as World Champion, and picking up Olympic Gold along the way! Canada must think about how to break up this Swedish dynasty!

But Canada - we have not been in the final now for a couple of years.

What - no Colleen? Now What for Me?

For me Doc's and my privileged access to this year's Scott Tournament of Hearts simply increased the respect I already had for Colleen Jones and her team.

And now the CBC tells me they will not be continuing. While there no doubt comes a time for a team to disband, their performance at this year's Scott certainly does not suggest they should quit. On the other hand, they have lives, and I respect that.

But I will miss them. It will be hard to invest so much as a spectator until I find a personality I find I can attach myself to in the same way as a fan. With this year's access at the Scott, I heard Colleen Jones' interviews after each round, and was very impressed by her thoughtfulness and spontaneity. Where many other skips spoke from well-thought-out scripts, Colleen Jones appeared to me to speak pretty freshly off the top of her head (and never foolishly). She is no fool, it is a good head, and she was always interesting and entertaining and she could always pull out more than 'Yeah, they will be a tough team, and it will go down to the last rock in the tenth end."

I will miss you Colleen, and your team. I will just have to become more devoted to the Newsworld Weather. Somehow it does not match your curling.

UPDATED: Colleen clarified the situation on the Newsworld morning sports report. Her team is kaputt. Whether she might return with another team remains an open question. She wants to try the quiet life to see if it works for her.

Hooray! She will be back!! Our Saskatchewan correspondent even told me that!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Canada Outcurled by US in World Semi-Finals

The matchup between Canada and the US at the Ford World Championship of Women's Curling was closer than the first time they met. But the US scored two in the tenth to defeat Canada by a score of 8 to 7.

Canada gave the US a good run for their money. And after Canada's extra-end thrilling victory over Norway and their rather work(wo)manlike dispatch of Germany, I was beginning to hold out some hope for Canada to defeat the US and, dreamer that I am, possibly even Sweden. But it didn't happen.
Something I have noticed over the most recent two weeks of curling involving Kelly Scott and the BC/Team Canada rink is that this rink not infrequently outshoots their opponents, even in losses. For example, in the semi-final Team Canada's shooting percentage was 78%, for the US it was 77%.
In their previous loss (during the round robin), a 9-7 loss to Denmark, Team Canada shot 77%, Denmark 70%.

And recall that during the Olympic trials, Scott's rink outcurled Kleibrink's rink by a small margin.

The differences were small, but perhaps indicative: Either the scoring mechanism is imperfect (of course it is; see here), or Scott's rink gets out-strategized despite making their shots (see here and here) or perhaps a bit of both.

Update: It seems that many commenters at TSN also think Team Canada's strategies could use some improvement. I was especially amused by one, who (perhaps inadvertently?) said "stragedies" instead of "strategies".

Complexions at the Worlds:
Is It Just My TV Or Is It TSN's Cameras?

Remember the old song,
The object of my affection
can change my complexion
All through the TSN telecasts of the 2006 women's world championship, I kept wondering and asking, "What happened to the complexions of the women curlers? Is there something evil about the atmosphere in Grande Prairie, Alberta?"

Then I checked out the photos at CurlCast and saw the curlers have much better complexions that appeared on TSN. And now that CBC is showing the semi-finals and finals, it is clear that the curlers' complexions are not nearly so spotted, speckled, and/or blotchy as they appeared on TSN.

What is with TSN's cameras and videography?

Canada Defeats Germany;
Faces US in World Semi-Final

Kelly Scott's Team Canada defeated Germany 8 -4 on Friday night and will face the US rink skipped by Debbie McCormick in the Semi-finals this afternoon in a game telecast by CBC.

Canada appeared to be in control of the game against Germany from outset, despite being forced to take one point in the first end , and despite never moving ahead decisively in the scoring. They will likely not have such control of the game this afternoon against the US. The US outcurled Canada substantially in their head-to-head round-robin match, and their shooting percentages at lead, second, skip and overall were noticeably higher than Canada's for the round robin as a whole.

It will be interesting to see if perhaps Canada plays a less-defensive game against the US. Team Canada 's strategy has been criticized for playing too defensively on the one hand, and, on the other hand, allowing opponents to place too many rocks in the rings early in several ends.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Another Curling Broadcasting Scandal?
Are all the major media deceitful cads?

Check out the TSN broadcast schedule (if it is still available) for the Ford Women's World Championships in 2006.
Mar 24
Ford Women's Worlds - Page Playoff Game #1 6:30pm
Ford Women's Worlds - Page Playoff Game #2 9:30pm
Then look below the schedule, and you will see:
(TD) - Tape Delayed coverage
There is no TD listed after the 6:30pm time for Page Playoff Game #1.

This is scandalous.

TSN has known since the beginning of the tournament that the first page playoff was scheduled to be played at 3pm this afternoon [concluded just prior to 6pm with Sweden defeating the US 8-5]. They should not be allowed to
  1. List tape delayed broadcasts in their schedule without clearly identifying that the broadcasts will be tape delayed.
  2. Make so bloody many tape-delayed broadcasts.
Surely the CCA has messed up again in its negotiation of broadcast/media contracts. Surely they should be able to induce CTV, owner of TSN, to carry more live coverage. If they don't or won't carry the coverage live on TSN, then CTV can carry it on their other sports network; after all they own two of 'em. Failing that, they can license it to someone else.

CCA:broadcasting contracts::me:sociology

What Time Is Canada Playing in the Play-Offs?

This is no way to promote interest in a sport:
  • Curlcast and the official website for the 2006 Women's World Championship indicate that the first game of the day, the 3-4 playoff, will be at 3:00 this afternoon .

  • TSN on air last night and on their website say that game will be at 6:30 this evening.
How is a person supposed to plan when to be too sick to stay at work if they don't know when the curling is being held?

Update: Alan Adamson suggests that the match will be at 3pm EST, but because TSN will be televising a big-deal golf tournament, and because most people will not be able to watch until later, the telecast will be tape-delayed once again. 8-(


Canada Wins! No Tie-Breakers at the 2006 Ford Women's Worlds

Holy Mackerel!! We have been following the match between Canada and Norway via Curlcast (Geez, I wish TSN had shown this match live!), and Canada was down by four several times, including being down 8 -4 in the 8th. Then Canada scored 3 in the 9th and stole one in the 10th and the 11th for the win.

So now we have to stay awake to watch it unfold.

If Canada had lost, there would have been a four-way tie for fourth, but now, with no tie-breakers, Canada faces Germany at 3:00pm EST in the 3-4 playoff, and the U.S. faces Sweden in the 1-2 playoff at 9:30pm.

So the glasses, not contacts theory is still being confirmed. Let's see what Kelly Scott wears tomorrow for the 3-4 playoff game.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Kelly Scott, Contact Lenses, and Glasses:
some idle speculation

I commented earlier that sometimes Kelly Scott, skip of Team Canada, wears glasses; sometimes she wears contact lenses.

My memory may be faulty, but I think she was wearing contacts during her losses to both Sweden early in the tournament and again last night during the loss to the U.S.

I presume she thinks she sees better wearing contacts and wears them on the days when she is expecting to face her toughest opponents, and that's the reason for the correlation. But the causation could go the other way. Perhaps she is more comfortable with glasses and should wear them all the time on the ice.

Update: She wore glasses for the game with Norway. It didn't seem to help much for the first eight ends. But see this!

Canada Was Simply Out-Curled by the U.S.

I wrote earlier that I thought Anette Norberg and the Swedish rink at the 2006 Ford Women's World Curling Championship would be unstoppable. After watching Debbie McCormick and the U.S. rink defeat Kelly Scott and Team Canada by a score of 6 to 2 last night, I have to say that the U.S. team looks mighty good too.

Kelly Scott had a bit of an off night, misjudging the weight on several of her own shots. All through the match, Ms. Eclectic and I argued about how much of the difference in the game was due to strategic errors and how much was due to shooting errors by Canada.

Regardless of the reason, Team US looked very good: good game plan, good strategies, and good shot-making.

And Team Canada looks now as if it will struggle. Canada has better than even odds of making the playoffs, but they could even miss the playoffs. This morning, Canada, at 6-3, plays 5-4 Denmark, and this evening (tape delayed again!!!???) Canada plays the wily veteran, Nordby, and the Norwegian rink (4-5).

Meanwhile, Sweden squeaked past China for 6-5 win last night. China, at 5 -4, still looks better than their W-L record and stats would indicate. Watch out for them to be spoilers or long-shot winners.

And where did Germany come from to be 6-3??? Talk about your real sleepers!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Canada Down 2-1 vs. The U.S. after 5 Ends

When the round robin game between these two teams began at the Ford Worlds, it looked as if Kelly Scott was really hot, as she had three counters in the first end, forcing Debbie McCormick to draw for one. But then Team Canada cooled off, gave up a steal of one, and struggled.

In the third end, however, Scott pulled off a raise take-out that was very well executed, to blank that end before being forced to take one in the fourth.

With the score 2-1 for the U.S. after five, the U.S. is clearly out-curling Canada. Surprisingly, even though the score is low, the game has been fascinating.

Scott is not out of this game by any stretch, but she needs to strategize better and shoot better if she hopes to win.

Call the Cops!
The Americans are Stealing the Worlds!

Check out the number of stolen ends and points from stolen ends during the 2006 Women's World Curling Championship games. Through seven games (11 draws), the U.S. team has stolen 23 points on 16 stolen ends [update: 27 points on 18 ends after eight games]. Those numbers mean that, on average, the U.S. steals more than two ends per game and gets more than three points per game from steals. The U.S. leads the field in these categories.

Wow! That's pretty impressive and indicative of a very strong front end that can set up these steals [addendum: and a very good skip, who can cash in on the opportunities].

At the other extreme, it looks as if the Netherlands team is being stolen blind.

These stats are from a section at Curlcast. Click on "Reports" across the top, and then click on "Scoring Analysis" to see more.

I think I'll take a nap this afternoon (lucky thing I have a flexible work schedule!) so I can be sure to stay awake for the U.S. - Canada match, which begins at 9:30pm tonight, although the telecast may be delayed a bit by a hockey game.... grrr... 8-(

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Norberg vs. Gushue?
What would that match be worth?
Who would win?

Watching the rink of Anette Norberg from Sweden at the 2006 women's Ford World Curling Championship, I am absolutely blown away by how good they are. After 8 draws, they are tops in curling percentage as a team, and they rank 3rd, 1st, 1st, and 1st, respectively, as individual curlers. Unless Team Canada starts curling as well as they did at The Scott, the only teams that look likely to challenge Sweden are from the U.S. and from China.

Suppose you were a sports promoter. What would a match between Anette Norberg's rink and Brad Gushue's Olympic rink be worth? How many people would be willing to pay to see it? How many would watch it on television? Would it be able to attract sufficient sponsorship to cover all the costs?

And, finally, who do you think would win? I know, I know, the men throw the up-weight better, and I've even written previously that, on average, men are better curlers than women at the top levels; but I'm not convinced Gushue would be able to beat Norberg.

How about a best two out of three match between those two? Or how about a World Championship in which the six best men and six best women teams are invited?

Monday, March 20, 2006

CurlTv: Not Great but Not Horrible

Ms. Eclectic and I just signed up for a month's worth of CurlTv so we could watch the extra ends of the Women's Worlds and so we could watch all the round robin draws from the Men's Worlds in a couple of weeks. The price is $27.08 U.S. for a one-month "subscription" [which translates to about $329 Cdn, I think]. We figure we're going to get a lot of curling for the price (but we would much rather watch these matches on TSN or even, gulp, CBC). Tonight we watched Italy and Switzerland at the Women's Worlds (digression: the curling by these two teams was not particularly good).

The picture from CurlTv is pretty good for webcasting -- somewhat herky-jerky at times, but not tooo bad. We're viewing it on a 15" Toshiba laptop, and we have to shut down everything else to try to cut down on the jerkiness. I must say, it is somewhat unnerving to have the picture herk or jerk right at the end of a crucial shot.

[Update:: I have no idea why the picture was so jerky during that match. The folks at CurlTv helped me run some tests, and it seemed everything should be fine. And, indeed, during the Wednesday game between China and the Netherlands, there was no jerkiness. Also, the sound levels were a bit better this time, but they still need work (see below).]

The coverage of what is going on in the arena is pretty decent, too, with the skips of the two featured teams apparently miked [It was amusing to hear a couple of curlers singing along to a national anthem during the opening ceremonies before the first end].

One big drawback is that there are no slo-mo videotape or digital replays -- I expect they could add this feature with little difficulty (we had it with local telecasts of baseball that I did ten years ago). Another drawback is that there are no graphics showing the score and the number of rocks left; they have some graphics, but surely they can do a bit of programming to provide a bit nicer graphics. Also, this is pretty minor, but I miss the telestrator, showing us the options the teams are considering.

On a different level, the announcers are more boring than Mike Harris was when he first started [Alan and I could do at least as well], and the audio technician needs to listen to what is happening because the "colour" announcer can barely be heard, but the miked curlers are, by comparison, way too loud.

Is it worth the money? Maybe, if you are addicted to watching curling on tv the way we are; but there is considerable room for improvement. Ms. Eclectic thinks it's a deal despite all the drawbacks; I'm much more critical/skeptical.

Draw Seven:
Beauty and the Beast

Canada defeated Scotland 7-6 in Draw 7 with a steal of one in the 10th end.

As with the morning draw, Team Canada found itself in trouble often, with many missed shots all through the rink. But this time there was also some absolutely fabulous curling.

In particular, in the third end, Canada set up the end well and Kelly Scott made a beautiful draw through a port to the button. But then Kelly Wood (Scottish skip) followed her down and tapped her just a bit off the button. The only shot left for Team Canada was an in-off from a Scottish guard way off to the side, to come into the button and just bump the Scottish shot rock back a bit and score two. A fantastic shot.

And then in the tenth, Sasha Carter, who curled only 70% in this draw, made a fabulous draw around guards, right to the button and Canada managed to maintain the guards to protect the shot rock for the rest of the end.

It was nice to see some really good shots.

Where is Brigitte Jones?

Watching Canada play Scotland, all that comes to mind is the remarkable resemblance between the movie Brigitte Jones, and either Scottish Wood sister, but especially the skip.

Does anyone know where Renee Zellweger is this week?

Kelly Scott and Corrected Vision:
What's the Decision Rule?

I noticed at The Scott that sometimes Kelly Scott, skip of Team Canada, wears contact lenses; other times she wears glasses.

In the opening draws of the The Worlds, she was wearing contacts; but since then I think she has been wearing glasses.

However, I haven't paid really close attention to when she wears which. Does anyone know why or how she decides to wear which when?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Maybe RDS or the French CBC will Show the World's!

Now that Quebec has (justly) won the Brier, maybe we can watch it on our French networks!

There would be a delightful perverse justice to this given the apparent lack of interest of the standard broadcast venues. Or perhaps the CCA has already made some stupid contractual arrangement that bars this?

UPDATE: As a data point - I could not find that this final was being covered on any French-language station in Canada. It would be great if Menard has changed that for the future.

Quebec defeats Ontario in the Brier

Menard and the Quebec rink defeated Howard and the Ontario rink at the Brier by a score of 8 to 7.

The key to the game was a steal of three given up by Ontario in the second end, and they just couldn't recover from that disaster.

Menard and his rink looked much better tonight than they did against Dacey yesterday. It will be interesting to see how they do at the world championships.

Speaking of the worlds, I can imagine subscriptions to Curl Tv would have been much higher next week if Ontario had won.

Doc has the right question

Doc asked about one shot in last night's match against Sweden. (And Mrs. Doc was eually perplexed.) I was also baffled.

In fact that shot meant I tended to watch the rest of the match only in breaks from a tape of one of the still-unseen German Krimis we still have on tape.

I'm not sure how crucial that shot was. Everytime I tuned in for a bit the Swedes were hitting shots, choosing sensible strategies (easier, granted, if you have scored 4 in a n earlier end), doing everything that took Kelly Scott's rink to The Scott championship.

Amy Nixon said it in the media reception with the Kleibrink rink during the Scott - Norberg's team is very good. Be scared.

Something to look for tonight

Our correspondent in Saskatechewan reports:
Team Quebec was in the Brier Patch on Thursday night, and the whole team made Eric Sylvain take his shirt off for one of the big screen TV cameras there and this guy has arms like a bodybuilder. Francois Roberge said they only keep him on the team for the brushing.
Maybe we need a men's curling calendar too?

Who Will Show the Men's World Championship
from Lowell, Massachussetts?

CBC has the semi-finals and finals, but I've searched the sites of both TSN and World Championship, and I see no evidence that round robin matches of the Men's World Championships will be shown on commercial television. CurlTv appears to have the exclusive rights to the round robin matchups. From the Lowell site:

Can't get to Lowell to see the Championship? That's ok because CurlTV has you covered. They will exclusively be webcasting the Round Robin Draws of the championship
Phhttt. Is this more of the doings of the CCA? Or is someone else responsible for this decision? Who paid how much to whom for this arrangement? I can't believe it is more valuable than a non-exclusive deal that would allow commercial telecasting as well.

As nice as David Nedohin [owner of CurlTv] seems, and as helpful as he was when Alan Adamson and I were broadcasting one draw from The Scott, I'm not thrilled.

If I were to sign up for the one-month fee of $27.08 [US] right now, I could receive the morning draws from the Women's Worlds plus all the round robin matches from the Men's Worlds. But the web is no way to watch curling, especially when Ms. Eclectic and I would both have to watch a tiny picture on one of our small laptops.

Maybe I'll get some day-job work done during that week after all.

What Was She Thinking?

Team Canada lost to Team Sweden last night at the 2006 Women's Curling World Championship round robin by a score of 8-4.

Shooting uncharacteristically low percentages, Team Canada was out-curled at every position, but especially at 2nd, 3rd, and Skip. In fact, I don't remember when those three curlers combined to shoot such low percentages.

But the real setback in my eyes came in the second end. Kelly Scott was facing three Swedish stones in the rings and tried a tricky in-off double. Her shooter didn't curl as she expected, so she removed only one Swedish stone, losing her shooter in the process. On her final rock, then, Anette Norberg had an easy split to score four.

We're probably missing something, but why didn't Kelly Scott go for the freeze with her last shot? Both Ms. Eclectic and I were puzzled at the time: if she had made the freeze to the shot rock, which was behind the t-line, she would have forced Sweden to draw for one. And if she missed the freeze, Sweden would have had a hit for, at most three (assuming they would not have been able to keep their shooter in the rings, which seems like a plausible assumption if the miss of the freeze had not been too egregious).

What was she thinking?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Brier Semi-Final:
Does Anybody Want to Win It?

I'm writing this during the 7th end and have been singularly unimpressed with the quality of the curling. Quebec leads 6-3 over Nova Scotia, and looks set to score more, despite numerous mistakes by their own team as well.

Neither one of these teams, curling like this, looks as if they will provide much of a challenge to Howard and Ontario.

Update: Dacey made a great shot to save one in the 7th end and trails 6-4 going into the 8th end. What is with the tension between Dacey and Lohnes (3rd for Nova Scotia)?

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Right Mark Dacey Showed Up

See below for the key observations - but no question Dacey's last shot makes sense of it all. I feel sad to see Martin go, as he had great moments during the week.

But I really look forward to what is coming.

Another Fine Feature of being on the Media Bench at The Scott

... was getting to know our bench neighbour, Steve Green, of the London Free Press.

He was a master of trying to figure out how many teams could be tied and how many rounds of tiebreakers we could suffer (with delight) as a result.

He produced a series of wonderful weird questions - he observed that no PLAYER had a birthday during the Scott, and that even included alternates. He trusted me to calculate the probability of that, and it was a disappointingly probable event.

He was great at literary references and sent us off on some Google searches to make sure of them. Check out our interviews for a few.

He was refreshing in the interview scrums; all the rest of us were holding some electronic technology as he scribbled responses onto his (paper and pen) notebook.

He is also the czar of finding snappy titles for blog posts. We just need him to start blogging!

I felt I was with a Philip Marlowe of the sports reporting fraternity.

Here's a link to his article on the final - but once there dig in and read some more of his excellent material on the week.

Neat Curling Ad:
Tim Horton's Coffee Pot Rock

Isn't this a neat ad?

Dacey Defeats Martin

Well, I guess I can't get 'em all right. Martin has been eliminated from the Brier. His team seemed flat for the past two or three days and, quite frankly, didn't look good enough to win the Brier these past few games.

Not that Dacey's Nova Scotia team looked all that great. But I must say, Dacey's last shot, a long double in which he had to save the shooter in the full 12, was a great shot.

Picks for the Ford Women's World Championships

The Women's World Championship of curling begins tomorrow. This will be Kelly Scott's first trip to the Women's World Championship. She won the Canadian and World Junior Championships eleven years ago, in 1995, so she has competed and won at the world level. Also, she has shown over the past year or more that she and her rink have the ability to beat the best.

But is she good enough to defeat Anette Norberg and the Swedish rink? As much as I will be cheering for Team Canada, I pick the Swedes to repeat as World Champions.

Addenda: Watch for Japan and Norway to be spoilers. And, as before, I have a soft spot for the Danish team.

At the same time, you have to like the Swiss team -- the skip has a Master's Degree in Economics.

And Then There Were Four

No tiebreakers at this year's Brier! Jeff Stoughton's Manitoba rink fell to Glenn Howard's from Ontario last night, and may have violated some more rules:

With the win well out of reach in the eighth end, Stoughton sent the crowd home entertained with his signature 360-degree delivery, in which he slides out of the hack and does a complete revolution before he releases the stone. He did it once for a draw, another for a takeout and then his team shook hands and were saluted by the Brandt Centre.

"I hope Glenn wins it," Stoughton said. "We're good buddies. They played well. He's never won it as a skip and the team has never won it."

Ontario finished at 10-1, having lost only to Alberta, who finished third at 8-3 and play Nova Scotia in the Page 3-4 playoff. Ontario play Quebec, who finished second at 8-3. It seems the right Mark Dacey showed up this year; the big surprise was the Quebec rink. My feel at the start was that hte ifnal four would be as they are except for that Quebec team; I had picked Manitoba.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Stoughton Behaves Outrageously (irony alert)

He engaged in some physical expression of his annoyance with himself in a match where his sinking prospects sunk faster largely because he gave up a score of four in the end.

And for this is fined $1000!

Now I can see fining someone for what is truly unsportsmanlike behaviour, like insulting your opponent, but
Stoughton added that he had commended Grattan for his shotmaking that earned his team four points.
Now he did try to provoke the official who came out on to the ice

Stoughton, a former world and national champion, was admonished by an official.

''He came out, `Don't do it again' so I did it right in front of him just to piss him off,'' Stoughton said with a laugh. ''He said ''there's a lot of people here watching, maybe you shouldn't do that' and I said `they love it. I don't think they're complaining.'

I confess I side with Stoughton here. And I am by no means alone.

Ontario skip Glenn Howard said the fine was unwarranted.

''I totally disagree with that,'' Howard said. ''We're just a bunch of guys out having fun. We're not making a living at this game. We're trying to put on a show for everybody. If he wants to vent a little bit, I don't see a problem with that.

Howard makes a great point. If the CCA had managed to turn this into a serious tournament with serious money at stake it would make sense to enforce some rules with stiff fines. But the CCA have done no such thing.

China has a team at the World Championships!

The world is changing! And OK this is not new news as pointed out here.

But I am very exicted about the prospects for this team in the future.

Anyone who watched the Japanese rink in the Olympics playing Canada should look forward to the competition - 10 ends, 20 hits for the skip!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What - Martin Shooting at 50%!?

Sadly, I am not seeing this on TV (see previous posts and comments). The numbers are after 2 ends of draw 14.

But this does stand out on CurlCast (you can link from here) as Martin has been utterly stunning this week.

Some Brier Pictures from our Foreign Correspondent

Here's the symbol of what it is all about.

And it is not just the Scott that has the pageantry (though I don't see the mascot).

There is party time too.

Yeah there is curling too.

And let me also ask what happened to Manitoba

Early in the competition it seemed three teams were running away in the Brier. Since then Manitoba has been moving backward, now at 4-4.

The good part of this is it opens the competition for the playoffs up significantly.

Friday and the weekend could become quite exciting.

Congratulations to Labatt Brewery

I am delighted that Labatt Brewery has stopped showing those disgusting ads of a Scotsman yelling at people in a bar about Alexander Keith's Pale Ale. He was obnoxious and the ads were obnoxious. Too bad this was the real reason for canceling the ads.

At the same time, isn't the Panasonic ad fun, in which two guys "curl" drinks toward a woman sitting at the bar?

But nothing matches the Labatt ad of several years ago in which some folks sweep in front of a sausage wagon as it slides down an icy slope.

Live from the Brier

While Doc and I are not able to be at the Brier and provide the same level of coverage as we did for the Scott, we do have a foreign correspondent on site Nick*Nick, who is providing us behind-the-scenes reports. One interesting one concerns the home team at the tournament from Saskatchewan:

Well, I can tell you that prior to today, Ben Hebert was leaving the Brandt Centre without his team and there seemed to be a bit of a rift between him and the rest of the team. I caught the vibe myself, and then heard some stories yesterday too. ... Today, though, everything looked to be back in working order, and there was some great team chemistry. My girlfriend actually saw the whole team at the Keg here in the city, and they were having a great time.

And also some sartorial observations (fashion is a key element in curling these days) and signs of the party life.

Team Quebec is wearing some interesting curling pants that I haven't seen before...they look almost like a sleak cargo pant. They also seem to be the crowd favourites beside Sask, and are quite interactive with the crowd when they play on the outside sheet.

They packed 6800 people into the Brier patch on Friday-Saturday night, and there were probably about 4000 people there for the 9am draw this morning, and that has been the least amount of people they've had.

Thanks, Nick. We look forward to passing on more news from rinkside. We also have some pictures to post when the day job allows it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Brad Gushue on CBC Radio tomorrow

"Sounds like Canada" will feature Gushue and crew on Wednesaday March 15. From my CBC hotsheet for the day,


Shelagh Rogers talks with Brad Gushue and his Olympic Gold Medal-winning Canadian Men's Curling Team. They talk about their Olympic victory, their determination to become the world's best at their sport, and the massive outpouring of support from the team's home province, Newfoundland and Labrador. That's Sounds Like Canada, this morning at 10 (10:30 NT) on CBC Radio One.

Tune in! Unfortunately I have meetings to run. I'll have to try to tape it.

Watching the Brier in Ontario

For some unfathomable reason, TSN will be showing hockey instead of live curling from The Brier this evening in the Trono Maple Laughs broadcast area (They will show the curling via tape delay, starting at 10PM).

We discovered last week, however, that at least some satellite transmissions of TSN showed curling, and not the hockey game, during The Scott, and we are hoping the same thing will happen tonight with The Brier.

We have cable, not satellite in our home. But there are several sports bars in our area that have satellites. We will probably be searching out one that will show curling on at least one of their tvs. So we will be out, bar-hopping this evening.... 8-)

[and on the weekend, Ms. Eclectic and I will stack one tv on top of another so we can watch both The Brier semi-finals and finals on CBC, and the opening draws from the women's world championships on TSN. What joy!]

Monday, March 13, 2006

Brier now Really Picking Up

Stoughton prevailed over Martin this afternoon in a wonderfully mixed game. All I can say is 'Wow!'.

What makes this really entertaining is that Ontario play Manitoba in the last round of the round-robin, and Alberta will face Ontario tomorrow.

Well, Yeah

Provoked once again by my blogging partner, let me say, clearly, that women are 'different' curlers from/than/to (depending on your upbringing) men.

And I think he hit on two key reasons.

One is that men are on average bigger and stronger. This creates many options for them compared to women in choosing shots. In fact, Dave Nedohin, joining us for commentary on the game we broadcast from the Scott, at one point identified a shot available to Kelly Scott were she able to throw the needed weight (and she was not).

The other likely is commitment. Go look at the World Curling Tournament revenues. Neither the men nor the women can make the money needed for a fully professional career in the sport, but the men can get a significantly greater reward. And discussions on TSN about practice during the coverage so far have indicated that the men's teams respond to this incentive with a lot more practice.

I suspect the strength/weight is the most decisive factor.

I recall a recent comment somewhere on curling asking why there are not simply mixed teams, since it was obvious to the commentor that men had no advantage. I think he/she was confusing curling with shuffleboard.

I like watching both men's and women's competitions. But I know watching the women not to expect to see some of the wonderfully insane hit combinations that teams like Kevin Martin's make part of their basic artillery.

[Why] Are Men Better Curlers Than Women?

I don't know if I am correct, but it certainly looks to me as if the men's curling at the Brier is higher quality than the women's curling was at The Scott. On average, I would expect these men's teams to defeat the women's teams taht competed at The Scott. Why is this?

  • Perhaps it is just perception. Perhaps the men don't curl any better, but they curl differently in ways that make it look as if they are better. Perhaps they try too many long-shot shots and throw more up-weight (faster) shots, which are exciting and look good when the shots are made, but perhaps the men aren't any better at all.
  • Perhaps it is a question of strength. Men tend, on average, to be stronger than women, and can attempt up-weight shots that women do not even consider. This ability increases their options and allows them to curl better, on average, overall. If this hypothesis is correct, look for more women to work out more to become stronger so that they, too, will have these increased options in the future [digression: it is really easy to "throw" up-weight shots with a stick!].
  • Perhaps it is a question of practice and practice time. I don't know if men practice more or more intensively than women, but this is a possible explanation.

Overall, I enjoy The Scott just as much as I enjoy the Brier, but I don't think the women curlers are, on average, as good as the men.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Who WIll Win the Brier (Part Two)?

Martin is my pick (despite his rink's play in the last draw - though he was stunning). Who would I want to win? I think Stoughton.

On the other hand, Martin is no longer the Martin I really did not like 10 years ago, who blamed his team for team failures, and seemed strung out badly. He has become someone I can quite take to.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Who Will Win the Brier?

I picked Martin and the Alberta rink; Ms. Eclectic picks Stoughton and Manitoba. Who do you think will win?

(I must admit, though, that Howard and Ontario looked mighty impressive in their first draw).

A Mystery from the Scott

As the Brier starts today with Doc and me exiled here in the eastern part of the country and dependent on the media, I have one remaining mystery from the Scott.

What was this conspiratorial meeting (the picture IS fuzzy, as this was a clandestine meeting out on the ice) between Dave Merklinger, head ice technician (see our podcast interviews), and Oscar, aka Eric Peterson (about whom I have recently blogged in my other life)? It is unsettling to have these worlds come together.

Does anyone know what came of this consultation?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Two Things That Impressed Me about the Scott

There were two things at the 2006 Scott Tournament of Hearts that really impressed me. One I would have seen on television anyway, but the other I think I had to be there to figure out (though anyone else with half a brain probably already had this cased).

  1. Colleen Jones' performance. She was ranked 16th in Canada last fall, but at The Scott, she finished third and truly seemed that good. Her rink seemed rejuvenated during the round robin, and seemed to be having a lot of fun as they won most of their matches.
  2. How hard the curlers work and how little spare time they have during a tournament. With practices and matches and media sessions, they put in a minimum of ten hours per day. And often their time off when they have a bye is committed to community projects, media sessions, etc. They must be in good condition to withstand all these demands for the entire week.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Please don't rename George Street!

George Street in St. John's is a remarkable institution; it seems to have the highest concentration of bars per footage and population that I have ever seen.

St. John's is apparently planning to rename several streets to honour the Olympic champion curling rink of Brad Gushue.

Deputy Mayor Dennis O'Keefe said Monday a road in St. John's will be renamed Gold Medal Drive.

Several streets branching from the drive will be named after each of the curlers _ Gushue, Mark Nichols, Russ Howard, Jamie Korab and Mike Adam, as well as their coach Toby MacDonald.

OK - George Street is not under threat.

I think it would be fun to wander on streets locally named Werenich Ave, Darte/Bodogh Alley, Howard Blvd.

World Championship Picks

Given the performance of Kelly Scott's rink this last week, I have to pick them to win the Worlds. Working on what Amy Nixon said in the media reception last week, I will predict it will be Kelly-Norberg at the end.

The Playdowns in the US

The battle for positions in the World Championships continues.

I do not see a Team Johnson so we can only hope that the Spandex/Lycra thing has spread past the Olympic team.

Scottish Team Selection for the Worlds

It seems the social engineers who created the unsuccessful UK teams at the Olympics have their hands off the Scottish selection process for the World championships. The Scotsman reports on the Scottish championships- this is quite a rigorous schedule for those who also played in Turin:
[David] Murdoch's team of Euan Byers, Warwick Smith and Ewan MacDonald now go on to represent Scotland at next month's World Championships in the USA. Last year, they won silver at the worlds, so once again they travel as real medal contenders.

In the women's final, Stirling's Kelly Wood successfully defended the title she won last year, beating Rhona Martin from Greenacres by 6-3.

Wood and her team of Lorna Vevers, Kim Brewster and her sister Lindsay will now represent Scotland at this year's the World Championships in Canada.
It's time now to start getting excited about the World Championships!

Will the Loud Music Drive Fans Away from Major Arena Events?

I got frazzled by the noise at the 2006 Scott Tournament of Hearts. For at least an hour before each draw began, the public address system played really REALLY loud music. The music was painfully loud.

The organizers of championship curling events should look around at the audiences and ask themselves how much these patrons appreciate hearing music at such a high volume. Most folks who attend championship curling, even if they like the genre of music being played, do not like music anywhere near as loud as it was being played at The Scott. Why on earth was the music so &^%*$#&^ ing loud?

I expect to be accused of just being an old fogey about this. After all, I mentioned the same problem to an executive with the Toronto Blue Jays some time ago, and he replied something to the effect,
Quite frankly, Doc, we're not targeting your demographic group.
Let me add that I don't think stupid giveaways and audience involvement games between ends are necessary to bring fans out to championship curling events. They demean the sport, reminding me of the desperate strivings from minor league baseball to increase attendance above 200 paying customers. They're loud and annoying, and they, too, detract from my enjoyment of the curling event.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Pictures of the Politburo

Scott Paper's version of the Scott Tournament of Hearts main webpage features this odd picture. Why is it odd?

It's odd in that this is NOT the team that won the 2005 Scott Tournament of Hearts. h/t to Nick*Nick for pointing this out - I am curious to know whether this is a promo shot done during the last few months or a Photoshop job removing Cathy Gauthier and adding Georgina Wheatcroft.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Our Blog Called It Right:
B.C. Won The Scott 8-6

Before the 2006 Scott Tournament of Hearts began, I posted here that the British Columbia rink, skipped by Kelly Scott, would win the tournament.

[A]fter the way Kelly Scott and the British Columbia rink played in the Olympic playdowns, and given her rink's consistently good play over the past several years, I am picking her team to win The Scott.
Others up and down the media benches disagreed with me. They picked one of the Joneses or Cathy King.

B.C. had 9 wins and only 2 losses during the round robin, and (percentagewise) outcurled Saskatchewan in their extra-end defeat in the first draw of the tournament. And the B.C. victory over Nova Scotia in the first round of the play-offs was much more decisive than the score indicated, mostly because Kelly Scott significantly outcurled Colleen Jones.

For more discussion between Alan Adamson and me on our pre-tournament picks, and our general reflections on The Scott (recorded before the championship match), you can listen here.

What We Did While Waiting for the Scott to Begin

I went for Diet Pepsi and muffins (thanks to the CCA, the Scott, and the media volunteers for such warm hospitality) and took this picture, while Alan watched Naked Gun and surfed the internet.

Scott Russell, Curling Commentator

Scott Russell does the sheet-side interviews for the CBC during the semi-finals and finals of major curling events in Canada. [That's roughly what Cathy Gauthier does for TSN's telecasts of curling events -- hence the remark in this posting].

Scott was a student of mine back in 1985. I taught a course in economics for journalists in the Masters' degree programme in journalism at The University of Western Ontario, and he was one of the 40 students in the programme that year.
Update: I've been told that during the fifth end break, he complimented Jennifer Jones on her consistency here at the Scott. Huh? Check this (macroflashyaddawhatever required). Here were JJ's shooting percentages during the round robin:
  • 63, 69, 71, 83, 85, 76, 58, 54, 88, 63, 59.
  • Overall, she ranked 8th out of the 12 skips, during the round robin (if you believe the stats).
Perhaps he was talking about something else?

Scott Russell has a book out on curling, called Open House.


will the Real Mike Harris Please Stand Up?

I just spoke with Scott Russell (CBC's version of Cathy Gauthier?) who tells us that the people at CBC think curling commentator, Mike Harris looks like Peter in "The Family Guy":

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Curling for Columbine

Michael Harris, curling analyst for CBC and Michael Moore, political dissembler.

Separated at birth? Have they ever been seen together at the same time?

[h/t to Steve Green, curling analyst for The London Free Press, for the title]

Another Fashion Question: Tights

I'm basically a shy kind of guy.

I'm too shy to ask Colleen Jones these questions, but maybe I'll work up the courage.

In case I don't, here are the questions: When curlers for the Nova Scotia rink (or any others not playing in The Scott but who wear kilts and tights) come out of the hack, they slide on the ice. Since they are wearing kilts, does this sliding wear holes in their tights? Do their knees get cold? How often do the curlers have to replace their tights?

Curlers from other rinks wear very slick, durable pants that appear to made of kevlar or something; like good curling pants, they hold up to incessant sliding. [see here for photos of the different garb] But what happens with those tights?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Can't Wait for the Result of the Draw?

Or maybe you will be in the Amazon on an eco-tour, and the locals don't keep up with curling?
There is now a service to send you the results on your cell phone, from a number of major tournaments. Take a look.

Egg (McMuffin) on the Face of Kansas City Star Reporter: UPDATE

Remember this? That's not the way Mike Harris remembers it. I just spoke with him, and he said,
I remember being in McDonald's -- a lot -- and I talked with some people about curling. But I didn't think I was being interviewed, and I don't remember saying that.

Some time with the Kleibrink Rink

The Shannon Kleibrink rink held a media reception today. We have posted the question and answer session at the podcast site. We also have some pictures.

The whole team, Christine Keshen, Glenys Bakker, Amy Nixon, and Shannon Kleibrink, before the photo-op, with their Olympic medals

Glenys Bakker

Amy Nixon and her Medal

Nixon and Kleibrink

Shannon Kleibrink

Absolutely No Truth to the Rumour

There is absolutely no truth to the rumour that TSN has asked Doc Palmer to change where he sits at The Scott Tournament of Hearts because the glare from his head causes flares in their camera lenses.

And contrary to popular opinion, that is not why he was wearing a hat in this photo.

Please Turn Off Your Cell Phones at The Scott

Before every draw at the 2006 Scott Tournament of Hearts, the master of ceremonies asks everyone in the crowd to turn off their cell phones.

I have considerable sympathy with asking people not to use their cell phones in any public place. I hate listening to people talking on the phone, especially on buses or trains or in restaurants or other public places where I can't easily avoid listening to them. People with cell phones simply should not subject others to their arrogance and self-centeredness. In economics jargon, we refer to this as a negative externality

But if the m.c. announced that (courtesy toward others) as the reason for asking people to turn off their cell phones, my guess is that fewer people would comply. Instead, the m.c. asks people turn off their cell phones so as not to disturb the curlers.


There are hoots, yells, cowbells, and cheers going off all the time that would be much more distracting to someone coming out of the hack, especially when there are four games at the same time, as during most of the round robin.

  • The m.c. doesn't ask people to hold their applause or cheers until there is nobody in the hack;
  • The m.c. doesn't ask people not to cheer, lest they make it difficult for skips to be heard by the sweepers down at the other end of the ice.
  • The m.c. doesn't ask people not to do the wave, even though the noise level during the wave makes it impossible for the sweepers to hear the skips' sweeping calls.
This request that people turn off their cell phones is just a rant from some control freak(s). I agree that people should not be intrusive with their cell phones, but why doesn't the arena management just announce,
Ladies and Gentlemen, if you feel you must leave your cell phone turned on, please reduce its volume; and should you receive a call, please go to the lobby to carry on your conversation -- the others around you do not want to hear what you have to say.
Either that or ask everyone to programme the ringers on their cell phone rings to sound like cowbells, airhorns, cheers, or people doing the wave...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Thanks to the Canadian Curling Association and to CHRW Radio

Once again, Alan Adamson and I would like to thank the Canadian Curling Association and CHRW Radio at The University of Western Ontario for their innovative and creative encouragement to bring you the radio play-by-play of the 15th draw of the Scott Tournament of Hearts. If you missed it live, the broadcast has been archived here.

Is the Kilt Dead?
Colleen Jones Says Not for Her Rink

After the 16th draw at The Scott Tournament of Hearts, Colleen Jones was asked whether the kilt is dead. For those of you who don't know, her rink (the Nova Scotia team) is the only rink wearing kilts -- all the others are wearing tough, polished curling pants.

Click here to listen to Jones' response.

The F-Word in Curling

Where we sit in the media section, we have Cathy Gauthier behind us providing some commentary for the TSN broadcasts. She just did a quick report on the ice, she made reference to a discussion with the head ice technician about the possibility of seeing "the f-word" rear its ugly head - "Frost".

The Dynamic Duo of Curling Broadcasting:
Alan Adamson and Doc Palmer

What a high! Alan and I had a ball broadcasting the play-by-play of the match. We thought we'd have plenty of time to broadcast little clips of interviews we'd done with the curlers, but [yes, I mean this!] the game went so fast, we didn't have much time at all to do anything other than describe the action.

Curling Play-by-Play on Radio: Thursday AM

On Thursday at 8:30am EST, Alan Adamson and I will broadcast the match between Team Canada and B.C. from The Scott on CHRW-FM. Interviews with the curlers are available here. Thanks to CHRW and the CCA for their help.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Draw 7 Photos - Misc

Kristen Ridalls and Ros Tanner sweep an Andrea Rudullier rock

Andrea Rudullier and Ros Tanner of Team Saskatchewan

Jeanna Schraeder and Sasha Carter of British Columbia sweeping

Draw7 - Canada

Jill Officer and Georgina Wheatcroft sweep a Jennifer Jones rock

Jill Officer and Cathy Overton sweeping

Draw 7 Photos - Quebec

One Quebec Rock

Martine Comeau and Saskia Hollands Sweeping as skip Eve Belisle follows

A little farther

And into the house

Skip Belisle consults with Third Pamela Nugent

Why Not Give Rogers a Chance?

Tonight's draw, #14, at The Scott Tournament of Hearts, is being broadcast only via tape delay on TSN because TSN is showing a hockey game in prime time.

Why don't Rogers or the other CTV sports channel buy the rights to televise tonight's draw? I realize exclusivity is worth something to TSN, and I realize nobody would want to watch the tape delay if we could see it live earlier. But in total, surely the package would be worth more if there were more live telecasts.

I wonder if Rogers would be interested.

Mary-Anne Arsenault Replaced by Radford in 13th Draw

Half way through the 13th draw of the Scott Tournament of Hearts, Mary-Anne Arsenault was replaced by Mary Sue Radford for the Nova Scotia rink.

[Update: She is on the ice, practicing for the evening draw and appears to be fully recovered. Apparently this has happened to her before, but not while curling]

Arsenault felt weak and wobbly during the fifth end break, and when she didn't come out to throw her rocks in the sixth, Radford stepped in. There was speculation that she was suffering from an allergic reaction to perfume or hair spray [some wags on the media bench wondered if Loder, the second for Manitoba wears perfume and/or hairspray], but there is no evidence that was the case. [For a photographic explanation, see the first photograph in this post; Loder is the one on the right, and on the left in this one.]

After being examined in hospital, Arsenault returned to her hotel room, where she is resting as I write this. There is no word on whether she will return to action along with her team in tonight's draw against PEI.

For Colleen Jones' reaction to the situation, listen here (interview #23).

Curling: Try It. You'll Like It!

Noted economist, Bill Polley, had always thought he might like curling, but he hadn't tried it until a few days ago. Nevertheless, like Alan and me, he enjoyed watching it on television because of the skill required combined with the strategic aspects of the game. But, his wife?
Just ask my wife, who once cringed every time I turned the TV to curling during the Olympics. All it took was one throw and she was hooked.
I had a similar experience last year when I started curling. It's almost as addictive as blogging.

Who Said This?

Does anyone know what sportscaster said,
My job is to create the illusion that it matters
I read it once, somewhere, and I used to have it taped on the cover of my baseball play-by-play scorebook; but I cannot find the quote now.

Curt Gowdy is a good possibility. So is Howard Cosell. But I can't remember and would greatly appreciate some help. Thanks.