ESPN’s OTL examines huge problem in women’s tennis: grunting

Chances are if you’re watching Wimbledon, you’ve become annoyed at the amount of grunting by several top women players. It has gotten to the point where I really can’t watch anymore. The repeated grunts are just too jarring.

Obviously, I’m not the only one who feels this way. ESPN’s Outside the Lines (Sunday, 9 a.m.) will examine the issue. Check out this preview if you need to be reminded why it is a huge problem for women’s tennis.

Here’s more from ESPN:

The world’s two top women’s players, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, have become well known for something completely different than their tennis: they are among the loudest grunters in the sport, each letting out high-pitched shrieks on nearly every stroke. Hall-of-Famer Martina Navratilova says fans complain to her constantly about the noise and now, for the first time,

Continue Reading

Saturday flashback: Harry Caray interview with Jordan, the baseball player; game highlights at Wrigley

Harry Caray was prone to a little hyperbole. So don’t quite believe him when he opens his interview with Michael Jordan, wearing a White Sox uniform, by saying, “It is the biggest thrill of my life.”

Still, it was a unique day. Caray interviewed Jordan prior to a Cubs-White Sox exhibition game on April 7, 1994. It was the only game Jordan played in a Major League park. As usual, Jordan rose to the occasion, going 2 for 5, including a double.

Continue Reading

Erin Andrews is leaving ESPN!!!!!! Possibly going to Fox Sports!!!!!

This is a time when I really wish I had one of those old-fashioned Associated Press machines that had bells ringing to signify a big breaking story.


According to Richard Deitsch of, Andrews could be headed for Fox Sports. From Richard: has learned that Fox Sports is aggressively pursuing ESPN sportscaster  Erin Andrews for a role at its network. The network’s executives recently met  with Andrews regarding a major role in Fox’s college football coverage.

Shortly after reported the news that Fox was pursuing Andrews, ESPN  released a statement that said Andrews had left the network. “Erin Andrews is  leaving ESPN,” an ESPN spokesperson said. “She did great work for us and we made  an aggressive offer to keep her. We wish her the best on her next chapter.”

OK, … Continue Reading

Triple Crown winning sports sections: Yahoo’s Passan wins for beat and feature writing; Sally Jenkins top columnist

The big awards recently were handed out at the Associated Press Sports Editors annual summer conference in Chicago. From APSE:

The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald and The Oklahoma of Okahoma City were “Grand Slam” honorees at the 2012 Associated Press Sports Editors awards banquet held Saturday.

APSE’s “Grand Slam” is defined as earning national top-10 recognition for daily, Sunday and special print sections as well as top 10 website.

Among writers, Matt Calkins of The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.) was a three-time first-place winner. Calkins took top honors for beat writing, column writing and featuring writing in the 30,000-75,000 circulation division. In the over-175,000 class, Yahoo! Sports reporter Jeff Passan received first-place awards for beat writing and feature writing.

Here’s a complete list of the winners in the newspaper and individual categories:

Over 175,000 circulation… Continue Reading

More Berman bashing: He has jumped the shark

I’m starting to wonder whether ESPN, and particularly Chris Berman, regrets the decision to have him call the San Diego-Oakland game on Sept. 10.

He’s been pummeled ever since the announcement was made this week. And the game is more than two months away.

Really, does Berman need this abuse at this point in his career?

Dan McNeil, a midday host at WSCR-AM 670 in Chicago, devoted an entire column in the Chicago Tribune to ripping Berman. (Note: I co-wrote a Chicago sports book with McNeil a few years back).

McNeil writes:

Berman is like the blister on the roof of your mouth. You’d love to ignore it, but can’t stop tonguing it.

On the medals stand of blowhards, Berman gets the gold. He is a boorish lout. Huffing and puffing, zigging and zagging.

Later he writes:

But at what

Continue Reading

Strange story involving Daron Sutton; suspended because he wants to wear a suit

How to blow a MLB announcing gig by Daron Sutton.

Apparently, the Arizona Diamondbacks have suspended him over dress code violations. From the Arizona Republic:

According to, television announcer Daron Sutton has been suspended due to “insubordination.” The report  cited a dispute between Sutton and the club about the team’s on-air dress  code.

A source confirmed that dispute to The Republic, saying that while the  club prefers its broadcast team to wear polo shirts  adorned with the Diamondbacks logo, Sutton has lobbied to wear suits.

He made at least one veiled reference to the dispute on the air during the  last game he called, an afternoon game against the Seattle Mariners on June  20.

Without going into detail, another source said the Diamondbacks have had  various issues with Sutton for years

The suspension also has cost … Continue Reading

Author Q/A: Sports Illustrated’s Ballard on unlikely story of high school baseball team

Trust me, the book business is extremely tough these days. So it’s difficult to imagine publishers getting excited for a proposal about a small-town high school baseball team from central Illinois in the 1970s.

Yeah, we haven’t had a good high school baseball book in a long time.

But that’s what exactly happened for Chris Ballard’s One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, An Unlikely Coach, and A Magical Baseball Season. The book tells the story of the Macon (Ill.) baseball team’s bid to win the state title against the big-city teams from Chicago led by its beatnik coach Lynn Sweet.

Actually, it hardly was a surprise that publishers (Hyperion in this case) wanted the book. When Ballard wrote about the team in a 10,000-word story for Sports Illustrated, the response was huge. Boom, built-in audience. The next step … Continue Reading

Chicago alert: New Sox-Cubs trivia game show on CSN; Rowand to fill in on Sox radio

As you may or may not know, I am based in Chicago. From time to time, I provide updates for the hometown readers:


My good friend Jeff Nuich wants everyone to know about a new show debuting Sunday on Comcast Sports Net Chicago. Here are the details:

Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, along with StarPilot Productions, is bringing a brand new Chicago baseball trivia game show to the network as The Batter’s Box presented by Midas will officially debut on Sunday, July 1 at 5:00 PM(time approx. following “Cubs Post Game Live”).  The show is hosted by Comcast SportsNet’s Luke Stuckmeyer.

Beginning July 1 and, over the course of 15 weeks, 16 Chicago-area contestants, who auditioned for spots on The Batter’s Box in

Continue Reading

The once every four years return of Elfi Schlegel; NBC announces lineup for Olympics

Consider this: With the exception of the guys on NFL games, there are few TV sports analysts who receive more exposure than Elfi Schlegel during her once every four-years, two-week visit to our family rooms.

Women’s gymnastics dominates NBC’s prime time coverage during the Olympics, attracting ratings only surpassed by the NFL. That means once every Summer Olympics, millions of viewers, as in 25-30 million per night, will tune in to Elfi Schlegel.

I just find that amusing. Eat your heart out Dick Vitale, Tim McCarver, Ed Olcyzk, Jeff Van Gundy, etc.

Besides Schlegel, here’s your lineup of who is going to cover what in London. I will tune into water polo simply because Mike Emrick is going to be on the call. He’s capable of doing sports where the ice has melted.



Al Trautwig, Play-by-play

Elfi … Continue Reading

The beat: NFL pushes back doubleheader times; ESPN locks up Rose Bowl close to forever

Just in:

The NFL announced today it will push back starting times for the Sunday doubleheaders games from 4:15 p.m. ET to 4:25 p.m. From the NFL:

The 4:25 PM ET kickoff time will reduce instances in which fans miss the end of a 1:00 PM ET game telecast because they must receive the opening kickoff of their home team’s late-afternoon game. In addition, fans not in the cities of the late doubleheader opponents will be less likely to miss the beginning of the late doubleheader game.

In researching the kickoff time shift, the NFL analyzed games from the 2009-11 seasons and found that 44 games required part of the audience to be switched to a mandatory doubleheader game kickoff. With a 4:25 PM ET kickoff time, that number that would have been reduced by 66 percent to only 15

Continue Reading