Tossing it Around the Horn
TOSSING IT AROUND THE HORN
It’s been a week of learning additional information, not all of it pleasant. I spoke this week with someone who’s been friends with legendary University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt for more than 30 years. The two met at a function about three weeks ago and Summitt showed no signs of recognition. She has also, reportedly, given up the car keys after pulling into a Citgo station close to her long time Knoxville home about two weeks ago to ask for directions. It’s hard to imagine anything sadder than watching the light slowly dim, particularly when it was a light that shone so brightly for so long and so positively influenced so many lives. It was nice to hear that legendary Eastern Connecticut State University baseball coach Bill Holowaty attended the senior night game in Willimantic last Wednesday, after announcing his retirement amid a controversy concerning his treatment of players. Without advance notice, not part of the planned ceremony, the players presented him with a bat signed by every member of the team and many former players were on hand to pay homage to Holowaty. I also spoke with two people who witnessed one of the incidents in question, an incident that would have been further investigated had Holowaty not taken the school and the program off the hook with his retirement. The incident in which Holowaty reportedly threw a helmet into the stands was considered critical in the ongoing investigation by university officials because of the potential for injury to fans. I haven’t spoken with Holowaty since the situation became public but two baseball people who were at the game told me he picked up the helmet in frustration over a mental mistake by a player on a fundamental play that’s worked on everyday in practice. Both told me it was a cold day, there were very few spectators and Holowaty turned and threw the helmet into a section of the stands that was empty. No spectator was ever in harms way. It’s good to hear that there is another side to this story. It’s been an interesting week in sports media, with the announcement that TBS will pick up it’s two year option to broadcast both national semi final games of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament in 2014 while the national championship game remains on CBS. In 2016 they reverse positions with CBS carrying the final four games, the championship game moving to TBS, which could end one of the longest announcer-event marriages in sports history. While CBS and TBS have shared announcers since the current deal went into place, if TBS turns to it’s own substantial pool to create it’s own identity with the game, Jim Nantz’s run of calling national championship games that started 22 years ago will come to an end. Speaking of broadcast marriages, we’re just six months away from getting our first look at how Fox Sports 1′s very expensive gamble on the new “Catholic league” Big East basketball games works out. With Major League Baseball games, NASCAR and the increasingly popular Ultimate Fighting Championships also in the Fox Sports 1 fold, sports television could be about to undergo a major facelift. Throwing it around the horn in the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.