Bio: I cover the Brooklyn Nets, the St. John's Red Storm men's basketball team, and the Brooklyn Cyclones. I support the Fort Hamilton Tigers football team, a 3-time city champion. I am a graduate of Fort Hamilton High School (2003) and Brooklyn College (2008).
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By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
Jim Nantz is looking forward to the upcoming NFL season, which will include calling Super Bowl 50 with Phil Simms this February on CBS. They will also be entering their second season working on Thursday Night Football on CBS and the NFL Network.
I caught up with Jim at NFL on CBS Media Day on Tuesday afternoon.
Jason Schott: What themes do you see in the NFL this season?
Jim Nantz: For us, the biggest theme of all, we got, I hate hyperbole, but maybe the biggest television event maybe in the history of the country, Super Bowl 50. It’s an overriding theme all season long, already has been. We’ve been working on various things as a network, branding CBS with the big golden anniversary of the game. Believe me, it’s got my attention. Plus we have a steady diet of every Thursday and every doubleheader game. We’ve got a lot to do. As far as the game goes, you’re probably thinking more broader football-wise, it’s the usual stuff. Right now, we’re all waiting to see who can get through camp healthy, what are the Broncos going to be like with a new coach, what’s going to happen with the Brady situation. It’s very exciting, very exciting. I go through certain times of the year where I get near the end of a season, I can’t wait to get to the next sport. I’m jumping off the walls right now waiting for football to get here.
JS: You’re at the end of the golf season. This past weekend, Tiger Woods made it to the weekend for the first time in a while, and it was a rare weekend off for you and Nick Faldo.
JN: It’s the only time he’s hit a live golf shot on a Sunday on CBS the whole year, except for the Masters. It was our 17th PGA Tour event, he had not hit a live golf shot. He had made the cut a few times, but he was so far back, he would be finished by the time we came on the air. It was the first time, excluding the Masters, where he was 10 shots back going into Sunday anyway, only time he had played on a Sunday this year. How do you know? Credit to him, he found it for three and a half days, you know, he was back playing some beautiful golf.
JS: How many Super Bowl broadcasts have you been a part of?
JN: I’ve done five, two as the host, three as play-by-play, so this’ll be my sixth Super Bowl broadcast. It’s 77.4 miles from my front door. For me, I’ve been blessed to have a lot of big assignments, hosting the Olympics, 30 Final Fours, 30 Masters, but Super Bowl 50, it’s a real honor to have that assignment.
JS: This is you second year doing Thursday Night Football.
JN: I loved it, I got to see the rest of the league, I like doing games under the lights. Our schedule’s a little bit better this year. We suffered through a lot of blowouts at the start of the season last year, and who knows how that breaks, the games got closer as the season went on. I think this year, the ratings are bound to be up because we had so many games that were over by halftime last year, the CBS portion of the schedule.
JS: How was it last season preparing for Thursday and Sunday games, and is there anything he would like to change about that?
JN: If there’s some other way to prepare that I didn’t know about, if you know what it is, let me know because no one reads more than I do. I read everything, I talk to coaches and players, and I get very focused this time of year, very focused, and I just kind of lock myself in on the thought that it’s four and a half months of football, being ready for it, having the energy, and trying to balance that between family and football. The next four and a half months is all about that for me.
JS: Is there a different excitement when it is a Super Bowl year for you?
JN: It is different, that’s a fair question, because you have so many people that are asking about it, but there are a lot of other demands on your time from the network as the guys calling the game. More promotional things, going up from here to go shoot, like, for the fourth time this summer, more promos that are customized for certain affiliates. There’s more speaking engagements, cocktail parties, things on behalf of the network that you have to attend. It’s all stuff that we can handle, it’s all fun.
JS: There has an issue with the sod at Levi’s Stadium this preseason.
JN: They’ll have it figured out by then. It’s close enough, I could go mow it myself, they’ll be fine.
JS: The news that Frank Gifford died came out while you were calling a golf tournament. Was he an influence on you?
JN: It crushed me…All of that generation was an influence. Frank was a friend. I just respected him so much. I wasn’t super-close to him, but I had a deep admiration. Honestly, I was kind of like in awe of him, so the times that I was around him, it was a little hard for me to like get real with him, he was Frank Gifford. Interestingly, we had not approached Frank about this, we were talking internally about possibly bringing Frank in for the session that just finished this morning. I had pitched the idea, would it be great to have Frank, which never got written about, he was the analyst for Super Bowl 1 on CBS, wouldn’t it be cool to have Frank come in and surprise everyone, walk him out, talk about what that was like, Super Bowl 1, and then here we are doing Super Bowl 50. We had that chat, I did with Ross Milloy from CBS on the Wednesday before he died. Here I was on the air five days, four days later in Akron, and I was told in my headset that Frank Gifford had passed away, get ready to put a few thoughts together. Obviously, it crushed me, saddened me that here I was, fresh in my mind, thinking I was going to perhaps be the one to approach him in the coming days about coming in and speaking on the 24th to our CBS family, and we never got to make that phone call.
JS: That first Super Bowl was broadcast on both CBS and NBC, so it would have been interesting for everyone to hear his thoughts on that.
JN: That’s for sure, you know, they had to re-kick the second half kickoff there. They had to take a mulligan because NBC wasn’t back from commercial. There actually was a play in Super Bowl history, Super Bowl 1, the second half kickoff was a do-over. CBS had it, covered it, and then the officials found out NBC wasn’t back yet, wasn’t coordinated, they went back and re-kicked it, no play. There’s one gentleman still alive who called Super Bowl 1 on either of the two networks, and that was Jack Whitaker. Jack was the play-by-play man for the second half, and I’m going to see him from here. I’m going down to see him Thursday down in Philadelphia. He’s 91 years old now, a great friend.
JS: Do you have any traditions with the Super Bowl, as you do with the NCAA Tournament?
JN: None that I can think of, it’s just hard to believe this is already the sixth time that that day has arrived. It definitely feels a little bit different. There’s just so much coverage around the Super Bowl, and then suddenly the day is upon you, and there’s some obligations to go on CBS Sunday Morning, you’re doing some hits into the pregame show, and then at 6:00, suddenly, it falls into a coordinated effort from out of our booth and through our truck, to go through bringing the teams on the field, calling out the national anthem, the coin toss. It’s all a coordinated effort, about 30 minutes of television time, so you have that to deal with, and when you get through all that traffic, it’s also your voice is going into the stadium under the PA and over the air. Once you’re finished with that, all of a sudden, you’re kicking the biggest football game of the year. It’s a wild experience, but it’s like everything else, if all this time to build it up, months and months and months, and then, actually get to that day, it’s a blur, it flies by, and it’s over. I still have to go from the booth down to the field to give the trophy away, and the last five times I’ve given that trophy away, I just sat there in amazement that I’d been a part of it.
When we got the NFL back in ’98, I did the math on it at that time. I was starting to think, wow, every three years, wow, if this plays out, get a few renewals with the NFL, Super Bowl 50 would belong to CBS, that would be unbelievable, now here we are. 17 years ago, I hoped to be a part of it, and here we are.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19 – NYC FC Captain midfielder David Villa – Photo by Mike Lawrence
The Los Angeles Galaxy won the battle of the stars on Sunday afternoon, as they blew out New York City Football Club 5-1.
NYC FC Head Coach Jason Kreis said after the game, “I think we ran up against the best team in the league and they punished our mistakes pretty severely. We started out the game, I thought, really really well but the first sign of a bad mistake in the back, a giveaway in the back, led to a clear chances for the Galaxy and the momentum completely shifted and I don’t think we ever gained it back. We still have a lot to learn about how to be mentally strong and how to get the momentum back in games because I think it is happening to us quite often where we have spells where we are good and them something happens in the game and everything completely shifts and we have a hard time getting that back.”
These teams have the highest-profile designated players in the MLS, but on this day, the Galaxy’s Robbie Keane, Giovani dos Santos, Steven Gerrard, Juninho, and Sebastian Lletget far outpaced NYC FC’s David Villa and Andrea Pirlo.
NYC FC was, of course, without Frank Lampard, who is battling a strained quad and has only played in two games this season. Kreis said of not having Lampard, ““I think a player like Frank [Lampard] in the midfield for us would certainly make a difference. He’s a veteran player with a ton of experience that can communicate and can lead the guys around him. He might be the guy that we need to stem the tide when things are going a little but south for us. Unfortunately he wasn’t quite fit enough to really contribute for us today. We will have an entire week to try to get him involved in full trainings and fit for next weekend.”
NYC FC started off well, with Kwadwo Poku getting a quality chance in the 6th minute and goalie Josh Saunders made a few amazing saves to keep it even.
One sign the game was going to turn was when David Villa had the ball taken away from him at the top of the box in the 24th minute. This was followed a few minutes later by Andrea Pirlo getting hit near his knee at midfield. Both really weren’t effective after these moments.
The Galaxy were starting to get real big chances around the 30th minute, when Robbie Keane hit the crossbar and it appeared Los Angeles had a goal in the 30th minute when they crashed the net, but it was called offside.
In the 36th minute, the Galaxy were awarded a free kick after a foul was called on David Villa. As Villa and the NYC FC players stood around pissed off, Juninho took a free kick, passed it along the right side to Robbie Keane, and he got it across to Gyasi Zardes at the top of the box, and he drilled it to make it 1-0 LA.
It stayed that way until the second half, when LA struck again in the 54th minute. Giovani dos Santos was near midfield and he found Keane, who blew right by NYC defender Jason Hernandez, on the right side, and he flipped it over a diving Josh Saunders to make it 2-0 LA.
Kreis tried to shake it up in the 59th minute when he brought on Sebastian Velazquez and Ned Grabavoy, who have barely played in the past month. It made no sense to bring in two midfielders instead of getting a defender like Chris Wingert in to provide stability in the back.
The results were predictable, as LA continued to dominate. In the 67th, Dos Santos scored off a feed from Keane to make it 3-0.
In the 70th, Sebastian Lletget came down the left side, with Steven Gerrard at the top of the box, and Gyasi Zardes on the right side. Swift passing back-and-forth, the three of them toying with the NYC defense, resulted in Lletget drilling it to give LA a 4-0 lead.
Kreis pulled Pirlo in the 75th minute. Pirlo was largely ineffective, unable to get any room at midfield and set up his teammates with long passes. Out of six games with NYC FC, he has been really superb in only two of them, against Orlando on July 26th and against DC United on August 13th, which were both at Yankee Stadium.
NYC FC got on the board in the 80th minute when Villa cashed in on a penalty kick.
LA was not finished, as Keane got his second of the game, on a feed from Robbie Rogers and Sebastian Lletget, in the 81st minute to make it 5-1.
Kreis said of what NYC FC needs to do defensively, “I think its continued work with organization with our back four and the players in front of them. I think today we got caught on counter attacks a lot against a team I said before they are the best in the league at that right now and you see that with a lot of the score lines that they have. They are scoring a ton of goals, they are a defensively sound team that hits you in transition very well.”
David Villa said of the game, “We got outplayed by a better team. After the first 20 minutes they started to get into the game. They played better, they defended better and they attacked better and the score reflects that.”
On the team’s performance, Villa said, “We trained hard for this game. In the first 20 we played the way we prepared for this game. We were playing well and almost scored a goal but them we stopped doing what we were doing. When you play against a great team, let’s acknowledge that they are a great team, they are a better team than us, they are the defending champions. When you play against a team better than you the only thing you can do is stay 100 percent focused and after the 20th minute we didn’t do that.”
NYC FC midfielder Kwadwo Poku said of bouncing back from this loss, “We came into the locker room and everyone was talking about it. It is not something that we expected. It happens we just have to forget about it. We have our next game on Saturday and that is a crucial game too, we definitely have to win that game if we want to make it to the next stage.”
Poku said of the game, “We didn’t expect that, we know that is what they do but we played well for the first 20 to 25 minutes handling that but after the first goal everything changed. We were a little bit disorganized and they took care of their chances, great stuff from them.”
On playing higher up the field during the second half, Poku said, “When it was 2-0 or 3-0 I thought we just had to push forward because we were already down. We just had to push forward and try to create some chances or get some goals to come back in the game that is why I pushed forward but it didn’t work that way but like I said we are just going to keep our heads up and forward and focus on the next game.”
By Lloyd Carroll of the Queens Chronicle – BrooklynFans.com Contributor
To give you an idea of how long Santana has been an integral part of popular music, the band was one of the few then-unknown rock acts to perform at the legendary Woodstock Music Festival. Last Friday night, almost 46 years to the day later, Santana performed at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. Of course there have been countless personnel changes but one thing remains constant–the main for whom the band is named after, Carlos Santana, is still front and center, playing virtuoso electric guitar in a manner that is rivaled only perhaps by Eric Clapton and Eddie Van Halen.
With a catalog spanning over four decades it would be impossible for Santana to perform the vast majority of it in a two-hour concert. Thus while many baby boomers hoping to hear such nuggets from their high school and college days as “Evil Ways,” “No One To Depend On,” and “Everybody’s Everything,” they shouldn’t have bitterly disappointed when they weren’t performed. The only two chestnuts from Santana’s ‘70s salad days,“Oye Como Va,” made famous originally by Puerto Rican band leader Tito Puente, and “Black Magic Woman,” were played as part of the encore.
What was bothersome however was that the band would play one long jam after another without identifying what they were performing by name. Santana has to understand that this isn’t a Beach Boys where concert-goers know the set lists by heart. “Maria, Maria” and “Corazon” are not “Barbara Ann” and “California Girls.”
Santana has always been terrific at covering songs such as their take on the Zombies’ “She’s Not There” and Dennis Yost & the Classics IV’s “Stormy.” Unfortunately, neither of them were performed. Instead, the band broke into a lengthy rendition of the Champs’ 1958 instrumental hit, “Tequila,” which many remember for its use in the 1985 Pee Wee Herman flick, “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.” The band enhanced the tune by adding Spanish lyrics.
Few Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees are more laid back than Carlos Santana. Other than thanking the crowd for attending, he said little and basically chewed gum while playing guitar in a stationary position on stage for two hours. He did show a wry sense of humor by finishing songs in an unexpected manner such as dishing off a few riffs of Jerome Kern’s “The Way You Look Tonight” and Xavier Cugat’s “Brazil.”
The strangest moment of the show was when Santana’s two lead vocalists, Andy Vargas and Tony Lindsay, had the crowd singing along and waving their arms to the “na-na-na-na-na” chorus from the insipid 1972 America hit, “A Horse With No Name.”
During the show, Carlos brought his son, Salvador, an up-and-coming musician, on stage to perform a number of his self-penned tunes. Salvador is a very talented keyboardist who also possesses a fine voice. The problem is that he is not much of a lyricist judging by his first song, “Summer’s Day” whose first three lines are “It’s a summer’s day/gonna kick it in the bay/I’m off to LA.”
On the whole, Santana gave the Forest Hills audience a smooth (full pun intended) night of entertainment.
The Brooklyn Cyclones had Nickelodeon Night on Wednesday, and they lost to the State College Spikes 7-6.
Ronnierd Garcia led State College with two doubles and three RBIs. Orlando Olivera hit a homer in the second inning. Landon Beck got the win, as he went 5 innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, and struck out 7.
Tyler Badamo took the loss for Brooklyn, and he fell to 2-6 on the season. He allowed 6 runs on 7 hits and a walk, with 6 strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
Enjoy this photo essay by Mike Lawrence:
By Lloyd Carroll of the Queens Chronicle – BrooklynFans.com Contributor
It seems like it was a million years ago but it was only last December when the Mets’ big acquisition was free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer who they signed to a two-year, $21 million contract. There was some question as to why the Mets, with their supposedly limited resources, would sign a player with good hitting credentials but was 36 years old and had racked up a lot of time on the disabled list.
While he has not had a great season by his standards, batting .250 with 8 home runs as he came off the disabled list hopefully recovered from a sore knee on Monday, Cuddyer shouldn’t be thought of as a Jason Bay-like bust. (Although to be fair, Bay played hard and probably never achieved his offensive potential because of numerous concussions).
Michael has certainly been a leader in the Mets clubhouse and he’s always been gracious to the media no matter the size of their outlets. Many younger Mets players need to learn how to handle themselves and he has been a great role model and mentor.
As the Mets head into their first pennant race in years, having Michael Cuddyer on their roster could pay significant dividends down the homestretch. As long as he stays healthy of course.
The Mets will face a strong test about how good they really are this weekend when they take on the National League wild card-leading Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend at Citi Field.
Within the last two weeks both the Phillies and the Braves held Old-Timers Day celebrations while the Yankees held theirs back in June. It’s been years however since the Mets hosted that event.
Publicly honoring a team’s alumni is a great way to link the different generations of baseball fans with the organization. It also tells current players that the organization will value their service after they retire.
Old-Timers Days are expensive because of the travel costs and that’s probably why the Mets don’t do them and that’s a shame. The benefits clearly outweigh the costs.
Derek Jeter has been on the cover of nearly every sports periodical imaginable but he may be most thrilled about getting on the cover of this week’s issue of The Hollywood Reporter. The entertainment trade magazine profiles his publishing deal with Simon & Schuster as well as his most public post-baseball venture, The Players Tribune. TBT’s mission is to have athletes (through the Tribune’s editorial staff of ghost writers) converse with the public directly through first-person articles and thus bypassing the traditional media.
The Players Tribune has gotten big names to write articles but I have always been more intrigued about the players who have been on the bubble and their thoughts. Somehow I don’t think that “The Captain” will want to publish articles from the Eric Campbells or Garrett Joneses of the baseball world.
Derek Jeter isn’t the only sports personality to grace the cover of The Hollywood Reporter this year. NBA superstar LeBron James was featured in May. He is currently co-starring in the Amy Schumer-Bill Hader comedic film, “Trainwreck.” While he may enjoy dabbling in acting, James has formed a film and television development company called Spring Hill Productions. Warner Brothers is a partner in James’s venture.
I have to admit that as a baby boomer who grew up in apartments without air conditioners I relied on fans to keep me a little cooler on those hot summer days and night. I was always a bit phobic however about those rotating blades even though there were strong exterior metal grills so that one’s fingers were always protected. Dyson, the folks, who came up with the best vacuum cleaner, have created a bladeless fan called the Air Multiplier that gives a stronger cooling effect than those old big warhorse General Electric fans that I remember and it should eliminate all fears about fans even if they’re irrational. They also use far less electricity than even the best energy-saving air conditioner.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor – @JESchott19
The Nets will begin the 2015-16 season at home against the Chicago Bulls on October 28th at 7:30 pm, the beginning of a new era without Deron Williams.
Williams will make his return to Brooklyn on Wednesday, December 23rd, while the Nets travel to Dallas on Friday, January 29th.
It will be interesting to see what reception Williams gets, as he could be blamed for a lot of the issues surrounding this team the past few years. He never lived up to his five-year, $100 million contract and generally was a negative presence around the team. Unlike Jason Kidd in his return as Bucks coach last season, who just heard boos when he entered the court, Williams will be hearing it all night, when he touches the ball, takes a shot, st the free throw line.
With D-Will gone, this can be called the Brook Era, as Brook Lopez re-signed with the Nets in July and is by far the longest-tenured Net. It also helps that he arguably had his best season last year with new Head Coach Lionel Hollins.
The opener is the start of a very tough opening month of the season. They then head to San Antonio on October 30th and Memphis the next night.
They return home on Monday, November 2nd for the Milwaukee Bucks, and then head to Milwaukee on Saturday the 7th. In between, the Nets travel to Atlanta for a playoff rematch and host the Los Angeles Lakers. The hope is that Kobe Bryant will play that one, as he has only played one of three possible times in Brooklyn.
The Milwaukee game begins a four game trip, where they then travel to Houston on November 11th, Sacramento on the 13th, and to the World Champion Golden State Warriors on the 14th.
They come home on November 17th to host the Hawks before hitting the road to play the Charlotte Hornets on the 18th.
They follow that with a home-and-home with the Boston Celtics, as they play in Boston on the 20th and in Brooklyn on the 22nd. In an oddity of the schedule, their other two games against the Celtics come in a home-and-home format, with the Nets in Boston on Saturday, January 2nd and then hosting them in Brooklyn two nights later.
The Nets close November by travelling to Oklahoma City on Wednesday, November 25th, and Cleveland a few nights later on the 28th to take on LeBron James and the Cavaliers, and hosting the Pistons on the 29th.
The Nets then make the voyage to Manhattan on December 4th to take on the Knicks at The Garden. They host the Knicks on January 13th and February 19th. They face the Knicks again at The Garden on April 1st.
The Nets host the Warriors on Sunday, December 6th at Barclays. That starts a six-game homestand in which they also play Houston on the 8th, Philadelphia on the 10th, the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday the 12th at 5:00 pm, Orlando on the 14th, and the Miami Heat on the 16th.
The Nets’ other games with the Miami Heat are both on the road, on December 28th and March 28th.
The Nets play the division rival Toronto Raptors on January 6th at Barclays Center, January 18th and March 8th in Toronto, and the season finale, April 13th at Barclays Center.
The Nets have a big homestand in January, as they host Cleveland on the 20th, followed by Utah on the 22nd, Oklahoma City on the 24th, and Miami on the 26th.
The Nets have their annual “Circus Road Trip” in late February. The nine-game trip begins in Portland on the 23rd, followed by Phoenix on the 25th, Utah on the 27th, then two nights in Los Angeles- playing the Clippers on the 29th and Lakers on March 1st. After than is Denver on the 4th Minnesota on the 5th, Toronto on the 8th, and Philadelphia on the 11th.
The Nets return home on Sunday, March 13th to face Kidd and the Bucks and Philadelphia on the 15th. They then head back on the road, to Chicago on the 17th and Detroit on the 19th.
They return to Barclays for three games with Charlotte on the 22nd, LeBron and the Cavaliers on the 24th, and Indiana on the 26th.
They then have a four-game road trip in Miami on March 28th, Orlando on the 29th, Cleveland on the 31st, and the Knicks the next night, April 1st.
They come home for New Orleans on April 3rd, followed by a three-game road trip, in Washington on the 6th, Charlotte on the 8th, and Indiana on the 10th.
The Nets close the 2015-16 regular season with two at Barclays, hosting the Wizards on Monday, April 11th and the Raptors on the 13th.
The end of the Nets’ season is brutal, as 18 of their final 26 games are on the road.
Showcase Photo by @LolitaLens – Liberty guard Epiphanny Prince floats one up
The New York Liberty improved their Eastern Conference-leading record to 15-6 with a 84-63 win over the Chicago Sky on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Liberty were led by Epiphanny Prince, who had 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting, with 2 assists and 3 steals. Kiah Stokes had a double-double off the bench, with 13 points (6-8 FG) and 11 rebounds. Essence Carson and Tanisha Wright had 9 points each.
Chicago was without Elena Delle Donne, who missed the game due to a left ankle injury. They were led by Cappie Pondexter, who had 23 points on 10-for-18 from the field, 1-2 on threes, with 3 rebounds and an assist.
Photo Essay by BrooklynFans.com Photographer Lolita B. @LolitaLens: