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Morning briefing

June 15, 2008|Jim Peltz | Times Staff Writer

Call him Butcher Berman

And the winners aren't . . .

It is one man's opinion and no announcer is perfect, but Will Leitch, in an article for, wrote his list of the 10 worst broadcasters in sports.

In 10th place was John Madden ("became a parody of himself long ago") and sixth was Bill Walton ("the undisputed king of hyperbole").

Moving up the chart -- or down, depending on your point of view -- Joe Morgan was third ("the most condescending broadcaster in sports") and runner-up was Chip Caray ("a fountain of inaccuracies").

Leitch's worst: Chris Berman, singled out for being "the godfather of taking a spectacular athletic moment and butchering it."

"We hereby call out these 10 broadcasters . . . and beg TV execs to muzzle them before viewers revolt," Leitch wrote.

Trivia time

When did Madden retire from NFL coaching to begin his work in the broadcast booth?

Not special

Elsewhere in TV, ESPN ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber hammered the network's "SportsCenter Specials" that try to expand on breaking news.

With few exceptions, the program has become an "unwieldy, artificially bloated, overused mechanism for handling major and not-so-major breaking news," she wrote on

The problem is too much speculation and not enough solid reporting, with the result being a show that tries "to fill a vacuum of airtime by pumping it with hot air on a hot topic."

She pointed to a May 13 episode that focused on developments in the New England Patriots "spygate" case, one that became "a runaway train of inflammatory speculation."

But the show could be in for a change. Schreiber wrote that ESPN plans to air live daily "SportsCenter" programs in the morning and early afternoon starting in August, which theoretically could lead to "a better fit between the size of the news and the size of the [SportsCenter] special."

Stadium chair

Where's the best seat in the Rose Bowl? Jim "Mouth" Purol is about to find out.

The Anaheim stuntman plans to sit in each of the 92,542 seats at the Pasadena stadium without stopping, starting at 10 a.m. on July 7 and ending, he hopes, five days later.

The event is free to the public, and all donations and pledges will go to Outward Bound Los Angeles, which provides hiking trips and other outdoor excursions for low-income urban youngsters.

Purol, 56, has been doing such stunts for more than two decades.

He has stuffed 290 straws into his mouth at once, simultaneously smoked 159 cigarettes and did a similar "sit-a-thon" at the University of Michigan's stadium.

But the Rose Bowl presents a different challenge.

Thousands of the seats are "flop-downs," meaning "you have to flop down each seat," said Purol, who's sponsored by Ripley's Believe It or Not! "That's going to be more of a problem. But it's part of the fun."

Chill out

After NASCAR President Mike Helton held a private meeting with Sprint Cup Series drivers Friday, some drivers indicated that the sanctioning body told them to stop griping so much about the sport's new Car of Tomorrow.

But two-time champion Tony Stewart told reporters he wasn't divulging details.

"There's business meetings that everybody that works in any type of business has, that are behind closed doors, and there's a reason for that," he said. "Not everything that's discussed behind closed doors needs to be generated through the media."

Trivia answer

After the 1978 season -- nearly 30 years ago -- which was his 10th as Oakland's head coach. The Hall of Famer led the Raiders to a Super Bowl victory in the 1976 season.

And finally

Asked if he ever eats during a NASCAR race, reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said, "We try to."

"They make me eat stuff during pit stops," said Johnson, whose helmet and other safety gear makes eating, well, a challenge. "It's power bars and stuff like that."

Now that's eating on the run.

Or a real drive-thru.


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