Today marks the end of one season, and the end of three distinct, yet very accomplished careers. One of those careers will be known to almost all in the US, but the other two will likely be completely unknown unless you follow that particular sport.
The first is the announcement that Brett Favre is going to hang up his pads and jersey and head off on his tractor into the Mississippi sunset. Of course, that means that all the local TV channels are in full-blown breaking news mode, and have been for about an hour as I write this (though channel 58 – not surprisingly, I may add – only went into breaking news at about 9.20). In fact, since I have a TV card, here is what the TV stations are showing, in single shot per station mode, between 9 and 9.20 or so:
It’s also hilarious to see who all the news channels can dig out of the framework to interview – so far, I’ve heard interviews with reporters from the Biloxi Sun-Herald, a TV station in New Orleans, three radio commentators (two current, and one former ALL the way from California), even the owner of a collectible shop. So far, I think channel 12 is winning this battle with having his brother on the phone. Scratch that – channel 4 have his bro on the phone now…but 12 is the first to have someone live out in front of a stadium…the baseball stadium…
You know what? I’m hearing everyone on all the stations, because now the former commentator calling ALL the way from California is on channel 6. By the way, of course, you can weigh in on it –
However, let’s move on from this news (which accidently was released by the team website last week, but discounted as an error), and move onto news that already happened today. About 3 hours before the news broke about Brett retiring, I heard the end of the international cricket season in Australia live as it happened in Brisbane, with the Aussies trying to recover the Commonwealth Bank series from the Indians, only to be bowled out 9 runs short. With the wicket of James Hopes falling, that marked the end of the international careers of two outstanding cricketers – Adam Craig Gilchrist and George Bradley Hogg. Gilly will be going on to continue that great tradition of former international cricketers going on to make a name for themselves on the TV by signing on with Channel 9 to be a part of their rejuvinated Wide World of Sports programs, starting at the end of this month. Maybe next year, he’ll be seated next to Tony Grieg and Bill Lawry and trading barbs during a test match. 😉
Actually, these retirements in the Aussie cricket team made me realize something about Brett’s retirement – I think this is the perfect time for him to go because the majority of people are thinking why is he going now, instead of going for even one more year and then having everyone wondering why he didn’t retire earlier. I also can appreciate how he can just say, yep, I’m ready to retire, because it’s something I’ve heard from a lot of these fellas who have retired from test cricket over the last couple of years.
Of course, this also marked the end of the 2007-08 international cricket season for the Australians, which means that this was the last day of the season of ABC radio cricket broadcasts. In a way, it’s like the end of baseball season, with the familiar voices going away, but just until next year – and you’ll still hear them through the winter because cricket commentators tend to pop up in the most unlikely places – and not unlikely places such as calling AFL games. Naturally, as it is with baseball commentators, there are the fellas who you take a liking to – for me, my favorite combination in the booth this summer has been Kerry O’Keeffe (ABC Bio) and Harsha Bhogle, though really Kerry with anyone is a great combination because he is quite the natural comedian.
The biggest thing I like about Harsha is that he always has that grin on his face, because he is (as was noted by Kerry a couple of days ago) always happy and upbeat. Also, it’s fun to listen to a different accent to ones that you are accustomed to hearing. Although a lot of the commentary was filled with laughter, you can always walk away having learnt something about the game, or about culture in general. 🙂
The last match of the season wasn’t without its own action – Roy got into the action, literally by handling a streaker on his own –
With the cricket season done in Australia, that brings the rest of the international calendar – the tour to Pakistan, which looks like it will be cancelled in the end (a poor decision if you ask me – yes, there is terrorist problems in Pakistan, but remember that this is a high security thing featuring people who are admired – plus, of course, the Ashes went on after the 7/7 bombings). After that is the trip to the Carribean for a shortened test series against the Windies for the Frank Worrell Trophy. You would expect that with the poor form of the West Indies, the Aussies should be able to retain the trophy easily. After that, it’s a chance to reconnect with the ABC Cricket team as Bangladesh comes into Australia for a two-test Winter series up in Cairns and Darwin, then it’s time for the return series in India, which brings us full-circle to the start of the 2008-09 season.
However, the prospect of seeing or hearing international cricket doesn’t end with the end of the Aussie season – there’s the Test series starting up between England and New Zealand in a couple of days’ time, and I believe that those broadcasts are on Radio Sport, which has commercials, but that’s OK with me, at least I can get that, unlike Test Match Special which restricts their broadcasts to UK only. Then, we get into the English summer when New Zealand and South Africa come in for a total of 7 tests, 10 ODIs and 2 T20s, which should be available through TMS (of course, there’s also podcasts to keep track if all else fails – I do need something to listen to on the way home at night 😉 and if I get really desperate, I can always listen to the whole summer of cricket again).
Just real quickly, I want to just give my thanks to the folks at the ABC for providing entertainment through a really cold winter, and I look forward to being able to do it again next year – I’m guessing with Bryan Waddle hopping into the commentator’s chair to fill the third slot alongside Glenn Mitchell (a/k/a Mr. Karen Tighe) and Jim Maxwell, and then possibly Neil Manthorp for the second part of the season? And, of course, all led by Princess Grace. 😉
By the way, in the time that I’ve been writing this (I had to take a break to attend to something else), two channels have come to their senses and left the reporting for this go until at last 3 pm, but channels 4 and 6 are still in full-blown coverage mode. At least 4 is supposed to have news right now. Also, both ESPN and ESPN2 are covering the story. I’m guessing ESPNews has coverage of their own as well, but I don’t get that channel…and now at 1.30pm, only channel 6 is left (for now, but 4 is coming back at 2), and they’re showing a special from NFL films or something….
Like was said elsewhere – Brett Favre retires – no other news shall be covered for at least 36 hours