Wednesday, September 12, 2007

SNY, Rumble through da bronx...screening

Sometimes you just don't feel like hauling your equipment around, setting up helmet cameras, watching as the rain starts pouring down, wondering if any of them were even recording. You find yourself speeding on the Harlem River Drive trying to get one of the race organizers his forgotten computer so he can start the race. Then you finally getting to the Bronx and realizing a person you lent your road bike to has totaled the back wheel. That was my Rumble thru the Bronx experience only this time we there was another video crew relying on those helmet cams.

Well it turns out that crew was Wonderland Productions and they were talking about doing this show for the mets channel, SNY featuring the famous Rumble alleycat as one of their segments for a new show called "Street Games."

I remember sitting in a conference room with CK and Hodari with this big map of the Bronx going over the checkpoints and trying to explain to the wonderland crew what I had learned from covering Rumble 3 last year. The deal was we were going to provide helmet cameras and any technical assistance and in the end, share footage.

Their main guy, Dan Klein, wanted to profile a messenger on the job and then in the race. Hodari whips out his nextel and within a couple of minutes Redman walks in and gets the part. Messengers, at your service.

The show is premiereing tomorrow, Thursday, September 13th at 10:00 on SNY.

There will be a biker screening at Sophie's Bar at 10:00pm, projected on the wall.

507 E Fifth St (between A and B)
New York, NY 10009-6701
Phone: (212) 228-5680

and here is a NYtimes article on the show that was in today's paper.

A Sports Show for New York’s Weekend Warriors

A scene from a “Street Games” episode focusing on a bicycle-messenger race in the Bronx.
Published: September 12, 2007

The Tour de France it is not.
“Hold up your bicycles, four inches from your chest,” Mike Dee, camouflage and dreadlocks standing in for yellow jersey and helmet, bellows like a drill sergeant to a scrappy platoon.

“Now, repeat after me,” he commands. “This is my bicycle.”

“This is my bicycle,” the chorus shouts back.

“Without my bicycle, I am useless.” More shouts.

“Without me, my bicycle is useless.” Shouts, and grunts.

“All right, hoo-rah!”

And with the clatter of wheels against pavement, 100 bike messengers speed off on Rumble Through the Bronx, an unsanctioned “alley-cat race” featuring enough close encounters — and a scary direct hit — with cars and curbs to send Lance Armstrong scurrying back to Texas.

Which makes it perfect for “Street Games,” a celebration of athletic endeavors as only colorful New Yorkers could perform them. The show makes its debut tonight at 10 as the first original entertainment series on SportsNet New York.

Promoted as “ ‘Wide World of Sports’ meets the Big Apple,” the show will traverse the five boroughs in 10 half-hour episodes that focus on rarely televised activities like handball and rugby in Manhattan, roller derby and dragon-boat racing in Queens, cricket in Staten Island and outrigger-canoe racing off Brooklyn. Kenan Harkin, a former X Games competitor, is host. The show moves into its regular time slot tomorrow, Thursdays at 10 p.m.

That the players in “Street Games” have none of the glossy panache and a fraction of the megamillion-dollar budgets of the professional leagues might seem at cross-purposes with SNY, the television home of the Mets and the Jets.

But SNY’s broader mission, 18 months after going on the air, is to become the home for all New York sports, professional and otherwise. In addition to broadcasting more than 120 Mets games a season and 250-plus hours a year of in-depth Jets coverage, SNY offers four nightly live sports-news shows focusing on the region’s professional and collegiate teams.

The network also is the leader in Big East coverage in the New York area in the combined number of televised basketball and football games. Owned by the New York Mets, Time Warner and Comcast, SNY is available to nearly 11 million households throughout New York and Connecticut, in most of New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania and nationally on DirecTV and Dish Network.

In 2006 SNY had the largest viewership increase in all of Major League Baseball on a regional sports network versus the 2005 season, averaging a 2.9 household rating for Mets games. For 2007 SNY is averaging a 3.14 household rating. (One point represents about 74,000 households.) This year the YES network has averaged a 4.6 household rating for Yankees games.

“When you’ve been in the city for a while, you take for granted that there are all these sports and athletes that are distinct to the streets of New York and that they compete every day,” Steve Raab, president of SNY, said. “ ‘Street Games’ is not about the competition itself. It’s really about the stories and the characters, as told through the competition.”

“Street Games” is also about community, tenacity and New Yorkers’ dogged ability to carve out greener pastures — even if that means only a slice of asphalt — in one of the nation’s most congested environments.

As the tag line puts it, “The street is our stadium.”

“New York is such a space-constrained area, and New Yorkers in their passion for sports have created these games,” Mr. Raab said. “They’re not terribly expensive to play, and they can adapt to whatever is their surroundings.”

Take stickball, “just a game that our fathers and grandfathers started in the ’30s and ’40s,” said Richie Marrero, president of the New York Emperors Stickball League, in a telephone interview. “They didn’t have the money to join Little League, so they got together, bought a rubber ball, broke off their mothers’ broom handles and played in the street.”

These days, stickball thrives in New York, where there is also a children’s division, as well as in California, Florida and Puerto Rico, with teams sprouting up in the Dominican Republic. But the heart of the sport remains Stickball Boulevard in the South Bronx, where more than 2,000 people turned out to watch champions like the Gold, Mr. Marrero’s team, play agile newcomers like the Rookies of Puerto Rico at the league’s Memorial Day Weekend Classic, which is shown in tonight’s episode.

“For a kid who didn’t have the money to be going to Yankee Stadium all the time, this was like the Yankee Stadium in the street,” Paul J. Ortiz, who returns from California each year to play with the Bronx Knights, says in the show.

Basking for a moment in the limelight, Mr. Marrero, the man his teammates call the Steinbrenner of Stickball, can’t help but muster a little attitude, Mets-style.

“I’ll take the best 10 ballplayers in this league against the best 10 Major League ballplayers in this game any day of the year,” Mr. Marrero says, glaring into the camera. “We’re ready to play the Yankees. Just leave the cleats and gloves at home.

“Steinbrenner, you looking?”


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