Tags: Sports Media

Why Isn’t Sports Illustrated’s 2014 Cover a ‘Distraction’?


Let’s see if those in the sports world who fret over how a gay football player will be treated in the locker room expend the same energy writing about the latest cover of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue. It is the first time in history — in history! — that the models on the cover are shown touching each other’s tushies. (Although I can see how 2006 made 2014’s cover possible.) News is being made here, folks, and the sportswriters are ignoring it:


Tags: Sports Media

Jon Gruden Staying at ESPN


With the coaching vacancies already announced and those forthcoming, perennially rumored-to-be-hired Jon Gruden has announced that he’s staying at ESPN through 2014. Details here.

Tags: Sports Media

Guinness’s Wheelchair Basketball Ad


This is great:


Tags: Sports Media

Christie Channels Reagan and Tries Sports Broadcasting


It worked out well for the Gipper:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sounded like he had a lot of fun Monday, guest hosting for the second time on WFAN, the sports-talk radio station.

Did anyone doubt the Republican, who is up for re-election in November, could jaw for four hours about sports as a stand-in for the vacationing Boomer Esiason? Didn’t think so.

Christie needled sports reporter Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, talked about being enshrined at the Little League World Series Hall of Excellence, and offered his insights into the Jets-Giants pre-season football game.

Co-host Craig Carton performed a “conversion ceremony” for Christie, a lifelong New York Mets fan, and presented him with a Yankees jersey with the words “Christie 2016″ on the back. That is, of course, a reference to a possible presidential bid by the governor.

The rest here.

Tags: Sports Media

GIFs Gone Wild


Or as the overlords at SB Nation call it, “The GIF Oracle.”

Here’s the description of the new, funny feature:

There are thousands upon thousands of sports GIFs spread across the Internet, but the GIF Oracle contains only 200 or so that were judged by its creator, Jon Bois, to be of exceptional quality.

The GIF Oracle is a living database. As new GIFs are discovered, either through SB Nation’s This Week In GIFs series or elsewhere, the best ones will be added to the Oracle. When appropriate, new pages will be created.

My favorites among Bois’s originals is this one featuring Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings:

In the latest edition, the phantom throw from the Blue Jays’ Melky Cabrera did not make much of an impression with the voters, finishing dead last with a mere 5 percent of the ballots cast:

With a whopping 38 percent of the vote, Lorenzo Cain of the Kansas City Royals was declared the winner for his antics along the first-base line.

Tags: Sports Media

ESPN Names Robert Lipsyte Ombudsman



Award-winning writer and Emmy recipient Robert Lipsyte has been appointed as ESPN’s fifth ombudsman.

Lipsyte, a native of Rego Park, N.Y. and graduate of Columbia University — where he also earned his Masters in journalism — will begin his 18-month term in June, offering independent examination, critique and analysis of ESPN. The role will include written pieces on, on-line chats and other multi-media interactions with fans.

“During his days at the New York Times, PBS and throughout his distinguished career, Robert Lipsyte has always been recognized as an impeccable journalist with a true gift for reporting, writing and analysis,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “His deep and thorough understanding of sports media will assuredly be an asset for ESPN and our users.”

“We at ESPN have long admired Bob’s keen awareness of the sports world and how the media interact with the industry,” said ESPN Executive Vice President and Executive Editor, John Walsh. “During our interview with Bob, we agreed about a blueprint for the ESPN ombudsman in the digital age. So we will be looking at a multi-platform focus along with paying attention to the views of our audiences.

“We have always been interested in new ideas with the goal of making us better,” Walsh said. “Bob’s reputation as an independent thinker and fearless reporter and columnist will be important qualities.”

Who knew ESPN had four ombudsmen benefore Lipsyte?

Tags: Sports Media

NYT: Eddie Murphy Shines in Gulf Coast College Win over Georgetown


Talk about trading places . . .

The New York Times corrects its article on Florida Gulf Coast College’s huge win over Georgetown on Friday:

An earlier version of this article included several errors. Georgetown’s record is 25-7, not 25-6. Florida Gulf Coast’s record in the Atlantic Sun was 13-5, not 17-1. Florida Gulf Coast became the seventh No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2 seed, not the sixth. Georgetown has now failed to advance past the Round of 16 in the past six years under Coach John Thompson III, not the past seven. Florida Gulf Coast forward Eddie Murray was incorrectly referred to as Eddie Murphy. Florida Gulf Coast was misidentified in some instances as Gulf Coast College.

Tags: Sports Media

On Lance Armstrong, Buzz Bissinger Admits to Testing Positive for Delusion


In a Daily Beast piece entitled, “I Was Deluded to Believe Lance Armstrong When He Denied Doping,” Friday Night Lights author and onetime Will Leitch nemesis Buzz Bissinger acknowledges that he got played:

My [August 17, 2012 Newsweek] cover story about Lance Armstrong, my affirmation of faith, was the worst piece of opinion I have ever written. I did a disservice to myself. More important I did a disservice to readers. I did believe what I wrote at the time. I do believe in staking out strong positions. We all do as columnists today, because of the world we live in, craving to differentiate ourselves from the thousands who populate the Internet every hour. . . .

All professional athletes are narcissists; it is the nature of what makes them competitive, and Armstrong, along with Pete Rose, is in the highest echelon. I used to believe that people like that had deluded themselves into their denials for so long, they actually began to believe them, created an alternative reality.

I now realize that I was the one who was delusional to ever think that. Armstrong lied for so long because he knew his career would be destroyed if he told the truth. He knew he would lose not only stature but tens of millions of dollars. Since the best defense is a good offense, he used legal action any time the allegations of blood doping and illegal enhancers were brought up. It was a smart gambit, since it is hard to believe that anyone would have so few scruples as to sue for defamation, like he did with The Times of London, when in fact the body of evidence now shows there was no defamation at all.

More here.

Tags: Sports Media

Rob Parker of ESPN Suspended Indefinitely


ESPN ‘Evaluating’ What to Do about Blackness Expert Rob Parker


To follow-up on Andrew’s Corner post yesterday on ESPN analyst Rob Parker’s outrageous statements on Robert Griffin III, ESPN put this statement out last night, via Twitter:

Parker had a chance for damage control after the segment aired, yet he doubled down. This tweet in particular stood out to me:

It’s a real question: what exactly did Parker mean when he called RGIII a “cornball brother” and questioned his “blackness?” And Parker specifically mentioned that Griffin had a white fiancee — a variable that must enter into Parker’s “blackness” formula. Yet Parker dismisses the question and calls the person who asked it “uneducated.”

I would think Parker will probably lose his ESPN gig over this, but he has nobody to blame but himself. Not only for what he said on the air, but for his moronic doubling-down on his moronic, indefensible rhetoric.



Tags: Sports Media

Laziest Post in the History of Right Field


In which I flip through this morning’s New York Times sports section and make grumpy middle-aged remarks:

—page 2: In the golf notes at bottom left, we see that Ian Poulter won the HSBC Champions tournament in Shenzhen, China. Elsewhere in the sports pages, we find that this tournament has a $7 million purse (slightly below major level), and that of the top 17 finishers, only two have recognizably Asian surnames. In women’s golf, for a tournament held in Asia, it would have been at least 12 out of 17. But (going back to the men) . . .

—A separate item, later in the same section: “By winning the Asia-Pacific Championship, Guan Tianlang, 14, became the youngest ever to qualify for the Masters.” Is this another case where the Chinese will soon eat our lunch (and I don’t mean McDonald’s)?

—And underneath that: “Kentucky announced the firing of Coach Joker Phillips one day after a 40–0 home loss to Vanderbilt . . .” Didn’t football coaches use to be called Bubba and Buddy and Bull and Buck? Or at least Weeb and Bear and Jim Bob? I say, you hire a Joker, you get a Joker.

—page 4: “The Packers Are Hobbled, Not Daunted.”* Remember when sports-page headlines had a language of their own? BOSOX NIP TRIBE . . . BOMBERS SNAP SKID . . . MIZZOU AIRSHOW TRIMS ’HORNS. Now it’s “Invictus” Lite. But that’s the Times for you. Other headlines and subheads in today’s eight-page section use “frenetic,” “cathartic, “hordes,” “wrenching,” “discord,” “tranquillity”** and “soul-stirring.” Carry on, chaps.

—page 4, right-hand column: Sports in America went finally and irrevocably to hell when condensed NFL box scores started giving complete individual stats but not saying how and when the teams scored. It used to be that you could get a quick idea of how the game went, whether it was back-and-forth or deceptively close, whether a last-second field goal decided it, and so forth by scanning the list of scoring plays. Now all anyone cares about is how their stat-league guys did. Harrumph!

—Plus one from the business section, where the Times’s advertising columnist discusses the Astros’ new marketing campaign, centered around the slogan “The Star Is Big and Bright and Back for Good.” Perhaps, not being Texan, I don’t understand the visceral appeal of allusions to “Deep in the Heart of Texas”; but even so, is this going to make a bunch of football-mad Lone Star Staters want to come out and watch a ballclub that finished 55–107? In fact, has anyone ever gone to a baseball game because of a slogan? Bill White used to say during the slow parts of Yankee broadcasts, “You know, Scooter, the best way to get fans out to the park is very simple: Win.” That or give away bobblehead dolls. Harrumph again, and another harrumph for moving the Astros to the American League. Why couldn’t they just bring back the Brewers and restore some order to the universe?


* the online version has a different headline

** with two l’s, despite what my spell check says

Tags: Sports Media

Heartless Fat Cat CEO Fires Sportscasters


And by “Fat Cat CEO,” I mean Stephen King. Yes. That Stephen King:  

BANGOR, Maine — On Thursday afternoon, Dale Duff and Clem LaBree were preparing for their 4 to 6 p.m. sports talk show on Bangor radio station WZON-AM 620.

At 1:30 p.m., Duff was editing and cutting highlights of Wednesday night’s Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics games.

Fifteen minutes later, Duff and LaBree were told they were out of their jobs immediately.

Duff, who writes a blog for Bangor Daily News, was the sports director and sportscaster and LaBree was a reporter and sportscaster.

Duff was hired by station owner and best-selling author Stephen King 19 years ago to be the sports director of the state’s first 24-hour sports talk station.

It was King who delivered the news on Thursday, Duff said.

“He said we were losing too much money. He said it didn’t have anything to do with broadcast quality,” said Duff. “He thanked us for our hard work.”

Now the question is, will King use those losses to reduce his tax liabilty? (Warning: language)

Tags: Sports Media

Meet Rep. Fred Upton’s Niece, Kate . . .


Problems for Miami Radio Sportscaster Sid Rosenberg


What a moron:

WQAM-AM 560 shock jock Sid Rosenberg’s in the dog house!

Rosenberg, who landed in South Florida after getting fired twice from the Don Imus show for making insensitive racial and sexist remarks, is serving a six-week suspension without pay.

He allegedly attempted what radio biz folks call “plugola,” three sources tell Gossip Extra. Plugola, which is illegal and a Federal Communications Commission violation that could cost a station its license, is when a talk-show host is paid without the station’s approval to promote a product on the air.

“The good thing is that we caught it before he did any damage,” said a station official who asked to remain anonymous. “Sid made an agreement to plug a sport-betting website he owed money to. My understanding is that he had $100,000-plus in losses with the site.“He received a fax at the station spelling out their private agreement, and Sid forgot it in the fax machine. Someone found it and brought it to our attention.”Rosenberg, 44, is due back in the studio Jan. 2.

The rest here.



Tags: Sports Media

Re: Beer and Chicken Anyone?


Meanwhile, Rich and other Yankee fans may wish to check out the latest column from the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch, who suggests with a straight face that the Bronx Bombers’ ALDS defeat may be blamed on “nerves” and that the players lacked a “ferocious trait that couldn’t be quantified” and an “intangible expectation of victory.”

Ah, the non-quantifiable intangibles. Hmmm, how on Earth did Joe Girardi’s 2009 team manage to stumble out of bed every morning, let alone win a championship, without that killer instinct?

Tags: Sports Media

Quote of the Day: Terry Francona


I apologize to fans of teams not situated in the American League East, and to Brewers, Cardinals, Rangers, and Tigers fans in particular. (Wow, how about Victor Martinez clocking a home run while straining his oblique on the swing!) Instead of commenting on the clubs still battling for the title, I choose instead to focus on the perceived mess that is the Red Sox, an organization Newsday’s Ken Davidoff described in August as follows: “To paraphrase Joe Esposito, they’re the best around. (H/T Ken Davidoff!)

Anyway, the Boston Globe has an incendiary piece out on the Sox collapse that includes, among other sordid tales, suggestions of a depressed, pill-popping skipper, veteran players no longer interested in leading others, and most notably, in-game clubhouse antics of three starting pitchers:

Drinking beer in the Sox clubhouse is permissible. So is ordering take-out chicken and biscuits. Playing video games on one of the clubhouse’s flat-screen televisions is OK, too. But for the Sox pitching trio to do all three during games, rather than show solidarity with their teammates in the dugout, violated an unwritten rule that players support each other, especially in times of crisis.

Sources said [Josh] Beckett, [Jon] Lester, and [John] Lackey, who were joined at times by [Clay] Buchholz, began the practice late in 2010. The pitchers not only continued the routine this year, sources said, but they joined a number of teammates in cutting back on their exercise regimens despite appeals from the team’s strength and conditioning coach Dave Page.

“It’ s hard for a guy making $80,000 to tell a $15 million pitcher he needs to get off his butt and do some work,’’ one source said.

For Beckett, Lester, and Lackey, the consequences were apparent as their body fat appeared to increase and pitching skills eroded. When the team needed them in September, they posted a combined 2-7 record with a 6.45 earned run average, the Sox losing 11 of their 15 starts.

Writer Bob Hohler’s article includes former manager Terry Francona’s retort:

Francona took strong exception to the suggestion that his problems motivating the players had anything to do with his commitment to the team.

“You never heard any of these complaints when we were going 80-41 [from April 15 to Aug. 27] because there was nothing there,’’ Francona said. “But we absolutely stunk in the last month, so now we have to deal with a lot of this stuff because expectations were so high.’’

Well said. Unfortunately, the Globe did not allow the quote to interfere with its desire, as well as the intentions of unnamed sources among the brass, to smack around outgoing general manager Theo Epstein, Francona, and pretty much every player not named Dustin Pedroia.

Tags: Sports Media

Time Warner to Offer ESPN-less Cable Package


Deadline Hollywood:

Time Warner Cable plans one of the most ambitious efforts yet to combat the rising cost of sports channels: It’s preparing to introduce a low-cost service tier that won’t include expensive networks such as ESPN. Time Warner Cable has said that it’s exploring  the “TV Essentials” package that would cost between $30-$40 a month. President Rob Marcus says it will be introduced within weeks in the company’s East Coast systems. Marcus told the Goldman Sachs Communicopia Conference that the initiative has been tested for most of the year in two systems and is designed to keep subscribers who are considering cutting the cable TV cord “partly due to affordability.”

I want the ESPN only cable package. How much could I save with that?

[Cross-posted from Media Blog.]

Tags: Sports Media

ESPN Tells Golf Analyst Paul Azinger to Stop Anti-Obama Tweets


USA Today:

UPDATE: ESPN is coming down on Paul Azinger for mocking President Barack Obama on Twitter. The golf analyst tweeted Thursday the Commander-in-chief plays more golf than he does — and that Azinger has created more jobs this month than Obama has.

On Friday ESPN ‘reminded” Azinger his venture into political punditry violates the company’s updated social network policy for on-air talent and reporters.

“Paul’s tweet was not consistent with our social media policy, and he has been reminded that political commentary is best left to those in that field,” spokesman Andy Hall told Game On! in a statement.

ESPN’s Hall would not comment on whether Azinger, who won the 1993 PGA Championship, will be fired, suspended or punished in some way. “We handle that internally,” he said.

After being publicly chastised, Azinger declined an interview request. Hall said he just wants to “move on.”

There’s some outrage on Twitter over ESPN’s move, but I see nothing wrong with it. If Azinger doesn’t like the conditions of his lucrative employment with ESPN, he can always work elsewhere.

Tags: Sports Media

Ratings for the All-Star Game Hit Record-Low


The AP reports:

The All-Star Game in Phoenix drew a record-low rating for the second straight year.

The National League’s 5-1 win over the American League Tuesday night on Fox earned a 6.9 rating and 12 share. That’s down 8 percent from the 7.5/13 in 2010.

Before last year, the previous low was an 8.1/14 in 2005.

Tags: Sports Media

ESPN Learning from Fox News?


Meet ESPN’s newest desk jockey, Lindsay Czarniak (daughter of USA Today’s longtime sports editor and current managing editor, Chet Czarniak).

Tags: Sports Media


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