Chicago news: Cubs ratings are exploding

Cubs logoAn excerpt from my latest Chicago Tribune column:


This year’s winner of the good timing award goes to WLS-Ch.7 and WBBM-AM 780.

WLS signed on for a five-year package of Cubs games in December despite the team’s TV ratings sinking to historic lows in 2014. John Idler, WLS’s president and general manager, figured the ratings would rise dramatically at some point during the deal when the Cubs rebuild kicked in. However, he didn’t expect to hit the jackpot this year.

“The timeline has been accelerated,” Idler said. “The (2015) ratings definitely have exceeded our expectations.”

Meanwhile, WBBM says the station is experiencing ratings increases between 30 and 50 percent for its game broadcasts during the first year of its radio deal with the Cubs.

The Cubs turnaround has confirmed what everyone thought: They were a sleeping giant on the … Continue Reading

Mary Byrne wants to make it less newsworthy for women to be APSE president

mary-byrne-800-300x199An excerpt from my latest column for


When Mike Sherman of The Oklahoman served as the president of Associated Press Sports Editors in 2014-15, nobody wrote that he was the 39th man to hold that position.

However, there are numbers attached to Sherman’s successor. Each story dutifully notes that Mary Byrne is APSE’s third women president, and the first since 2000.

“I hate the fact that it’s still newsworthy,” Byrne said.

Byrne’s goal is to make it less newsworthy for the next wave of women in the business during what should be one of the most eventful and busiest periods of her career. Besides being inducted as APSE’s new president at its convention in San Diego in June, Byrne, the former USA Today’s managing editor for sports, also is in her early days at ESPN as its new senior … Continue Reading


Coming soon: Whitlock begins ripping ESPN; looks to be headed back to Fox

Jason WhitlockJohn Ourand of Sports Business Daily reports that my old pal Jason Whitlock is on his way out at ESPN and likely headed back to Fox Sports.

Jason Whitlock is negotiating to leave ESPN before his contract ends officially, possibly as early as the next few weeks, according to several sources. Whitlock has had informal talks with Fox Sports that could see him return to work with former ESPN exec Jamie Horowitz, who currently is Fox Sports National Networks President. Neither ESPN nor Fox Sports would comment. Whitlock’s possible role at Fox Sports is not known, but if he makes the move, it is expected to include both a TV role on FS1 and regular contributions on

In the wake of the Undefeated debacle, there’s no reason for ESPN to keep Whitlock. It makes an awkward situation even more … Continue Reading

What would you do? Robert Klemko explains why he did not report Cris Carter’s ‘fall guy’ comment in 2014

Robert Klemko attended the session for NFL rookies in which Cris Carter made his foolish comment in 2014. Yet he didn’t write about it in his piece for MMQB.

Yesterday, he explained in a Twitlonger tweet. Here is an excerpt:

When Carter said the words, “have a fall guy” in what was a light-hearted and animated session that at times made league employees in attendance cringe, the NFL’s Kim Fields looked my way and said, “that can’t go in the story.” I was torn. I take pride in reporting every detail, even at the risk of damaging relationships. Earlier in my career I profiled a player who had a string of unreported violence in his life. Knowing these were not details the player or the agent wanted public, I published them anyway, because I judged those facts material to the

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Buck assesses Fox’s first year on golf: Telecasts improved with more reps

Joe BuckHere is an excerpt from my story on


Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Amateur saw (Joe) Buck and Fox Sports complete the first year of its 12-year deal with the USGA. Buck insists he already is looking forward to next year’s USGA slate and that viewers can expect to see an improvement in the quality of Fox’s golf presentation.

Buck is well aware of the knocks against Fox’s golf coverage, largely stemming from negative reactions to the U.S. Open. However, he maintains the crew made great strides this year. In an ideal situation, he says Fox would have been better served if the U.S. Open was its last tournament of the year, rather than one of its first.

“Absolutely,” Buck said. “We didn’t have that luxury. Everyone talks about reps. There’s no substitute for reps. Now that … Continue Reading

Sports Media Friday: Will Undefeated ever launch? Sexual harassment on the beat; Media loves Spieth

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports media:

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has the latest of what’s happening, or not happening, with ESPN’s Undefeated.

More than two years into the gestation of The Undefeated, ESPN’s website about sports and race, the site exists in digital limbo.

It has no start date. It has no permanent leader. Its seven writers are still reporting stories, but they must find editors in other parts of ESPN because the site lacks an editorial infrastructure.

For now, The Undefeated is a shell of what it aspires to be: Its home page serves only to link to eight articles, three of them posted since the departure of Jason Whitlock, the site’s founding editor in chief. Whitlock, who had been hired by ESPN’s president, John Skipper, was ousted two

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Bucket list moment: Speaking about my Babe Ruth Called Shot book at Cooperstown

Me at Hall of FameSo I am walking through the various galleries at the Baseball Hall of Fame on a Wednesday morning, looking at Stan Musial’s locker and Sandy Koufax’s jersey, when all of the sudden I hear my name on the loud speaker.

“Come hear author Ed Sherman talk about his book on Babe Ruth’s Called Shot in the Bullpen Theater at 1,” the voice said.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine hearing my name ring out through the hallowed Halls of Cooperstown. And it didn’t just happen once. It happened several times prior to my chat.

Now that is a true bucket list moment.

All in all, it was one of the more memorable days of my career. Many thanks to Bruce Markusen for inviting me to speak during the Hall’s author series during the summer.

Also thanks to … Continue Reading

Going to Cooperstown: Yours truly speaking at Hall of Fame about Babe Ruth ‘Called Shot’ book

Among the many things I never expected to do in my life is speak at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

So I was excited when Bruce Markusen invited me to participate in the Hall’s author series about my book, “Babe Ruth’s Called Shot.” It was a big thrill just seeing my name on the Hall of Fame’s home page with the write-up below. I look forward to sharing my experience in a future post.

I will be speaking at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. So as Harry Caray would say, “If you’re in the neighborhood, come on down.”

 … Continue Reading

Long-time Hall of Fame selector on losing vote: ‘Reasonable move'; keep steroid players out

My long-time Chicago Tribune colleague Phil Hersh wrote about losing his Baseball Hall of Fame vote. Hersh has been making his selections since 1983, but a new regulation requires the voters be active baseball writers within the last 10 years.

I know Phil put considerable time and effort into his vote even though he hasn’t covered baseball on a regular basis for years.

Hersh writes:

That move will delight the anonymous Twitter trolls who have hectored me every year to give up my vote because they apparently are upset that I roundly dismiss the candidacies of players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, whose use of PEDs was apparent, admitted or both.

My only regret in losing the vote now is not having a further voice in shutting that crowd out of Cooperstown until their 15

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Chicago news: Media upset with Bears’ new policies during training camp

An excerpt of my latest column for the Chicago Tribune:

You also could access the entire column via my Twitter feed @Sherman_Report


Mark Giangreco was fuming Thursday.

In previous years, WLS-7 would shoot extensive footage of drills during the Bears’ first day of training camp. However, the team’s new media policies limited his crew to shooting only eight minutes of the players stretching.

“The NFL is the most powerful and paranoid entity in all of American sports,” Giangreco said. “It wants to completely sanitize, sterilize and filter every piece of information. … It’s an absurd joke.”

Giangreco was reacting to the new training camp media policies new coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace have instituted. The Bears contend the regulations will help protect their strategic information from opposing scouts.

The new policies only affect the 15 days … Continue Reading

Sports Media Friday: Impact of ESPN losing subscribers; Frank Deford discusses his career, sportswriting

Scanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports media:


Sports Media Watch with an interesting post on how ESPN is losing pace with its broadcast rivals.

While the primary rationale behind the shift of sporting events from ABC to ESPN was that younger viewers could not tell the difference, the fact that ESPN was in so many homes was another plus in the network’s favor. Crossing the 100 million threshold made ESPN a virtual peer of the broadcast networks, especially given the trend of seemingly exponential growth. Now, putting an event on ESPN rather than ABC means sacrificing nearly 10 million more homes than it did four years ago, at a time when cable appears to be in decline.

Perhaps that explains why ESPN, after years of starving ABC of major sporting events, has started to

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