Sports Media Friday: Jessica Mendoza shines in ESPN baseball booth; Why Feherty split with CBS; college football TV lineups

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

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times gave high marks to Jessica Mendoza for her work in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth. She was terrific. You definitely will see her on more MLB games.

Jessica Mendoza showed Sunday night that she belongs in ESPN’s regular rotation of baseball game analysts, with a smart, understated stint in place of Curt Schilling.

She did not sound nervous. She did not push herself into conversations whenever a thought occurred to her. She had an easy camaraderie with the play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and the analyst John Kruk, with whom she worked at the women’s College World Series in 2008. Sometimes she offered the first analysis of a play, sometimes Kruk did, alternating easily as veteran partners might.

More important,

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Author of new Saban biography: ‘Journalism is not done by permission’

nick-saban-bookExcerpts of my latest column for Poynter:


Under the heading any publicity is good publicity comes Nick Saban’s reaction to Monte Burke’s new biography on him, “Saban: The Making of a Coach.”

During a press conference in early August, the Alabama coach, without being asked, expressed his disapproval in Burke writing an unauthorized biography.

“I just want everybody to know that I’m opposed to an unauthorized biography; for anybody,” Saban said. “And I think that’s some person that you don’t even know trying to profit by your story. Or someone else’s story. And one of these days when I’m finished coaching at Alabama I’ll write an authorized book because you know there’s really only one expert on my life. And guess who that is. Me. And there won’t be any misinformation, there won’t be any false statements, there won’t … Continue Reading


Flutie won’t play any favorites on NBC’s telecasts for Notre Dame, even for Boston College game

An excerpt from my latest Chicago Tribune column:


Notre Dame’s game against Boston College on Nov. 21 will be an interesting day for Doug Flutie.

Flutie will be on the call as an analyst for NBC Sports Network’s telecast of the Shamrock Series from Fenway Park. He likely will come under extra scrutiny from Notre Dame fans who will be monitoring if Boston College’s favorite son is tilting toward his old school.

“Actually, it will be more of an issue for the Boston College people,” Flutie said. “They’ll be upset that I am doing all these Notre Dame games.”

Indeed, Notre Dame will be getting a full dose of Flutie this year. He will kick off his first full season as analyst for NBC’s coverage Saturday night when the Fighting Irish host Texas.

Flutie hardly is a stranger to … Continue Reading

DVR alert: ESPN GameDay story on Alabama kicker’s return to Poland to retrace his roots

I want to flag this story by Gene Wojciechowski on ESPN College GameDay Saturday. Wojciechowski spent nearly two weeks in Poland with Adam Griffith and his family in reporting this piece.

It hardly is something you’ll see everyday on a college pregame show.

From the release:

Alabama’s starting kicker Adam Griffith is no stranger to adversity. At the 2013 Iron Bowl, with one second left in a tied game, Griffith’s 57-yard field goal attempt against rival Auburn was short and returned for a touchdown – an improbable, history-making play. Just as unlikely is Griffith’s road to Alabama – born in Poland to unfit parents and shuffling through orphanages, with little hope for a bright future. That changed in 2006, when a then 13-year-old Griffith was adopted by a couple in Georgia, where he found a successful high school football career … Continue Reading

Bloomberg decides to eliminate sports coverage

I saw old friend Mike Buteau of Bloomberg at the recent PGA Championship. It turned out to be his last tournament for Bloomberg.

Monday, he got the bad news.

Mike Buteau

Julia Greenberg of Wired explains Bloomberg’s decision to eliminate sports coverage.

In reorganizing, Bloomberg will eschew general interest reporting on topics like sports and education in favor of a stricter focus on business and markets. To stay competitive, Bloomberg seems to feel it must resist the broad industry trend of homogenization in favor of becoming more like itself—the essential source, especially for paying Bloomberg terminal users, for business, markets, and financial news.

Unfortunately, Buteau and others got caught on the wrong side of this decision. Here’s hoping doors open for them.




 … Continue Reading

Sean Connery’s son directing film based on excellent ‘Tommy Honour’ book

Tommy's HonourKeith Bank is living out a different type of dream about golf.

Bank, an avid golfer who runs a venture capital business in Highland Park, currently is in Scotland for the filming of  “Tommy’s Honour.” He is the executive producer of the film about golf’s founding fathers, Old Tom Morris and his son, Young Tom Morris.

“It really is almost like living a dream,” Bank said. “You look at the footage every day, and it’s just radiant. These shots of golf are beautiful against the landscape. You walk around the set and everything feels like the 1860s.”

Bank said he initially had no interest in being part of the project that is based on the bestselling book by Kevin Cook. However, after reading the book and then the screenplay, Bank was hooked.

The story, set in St. Andrews, shows how … Continue Reading

Feherty leaving CBS; likely will land at NBC, Golf Channel

FehertyJohn Ourand of Sports Business Daily dropped the exclusive late Tuesday afternoon: David Feherty is leaving CBS.

This is a rather shocking development considering Feherty had been a fixture on CBS’ golf coverage for 19 years. Yet maybe it isn’t that surprising.

Every time I see and talk to Feherty, he always says he is doing a ridiculous amount of work. He often is on overload with CBS’ large golf slate and doing his “Feherty” show for the Golf Channel, not to mention a myriad of personal appearances, commercials, etc. He always punctuates this by saying, “It’s all good.”

However, maybe it got to be too much for Feherty, now 57. Perhaps he wants to do less.

Whatever the reason, NBC, which owns the Golf Channel, would seem to be a natural fit for him. NBC doesn’t have as many … Continue Reading

Now at 43 years and counting: Renewing subscription to Sports Illustrated; columnist laments magazine is in decline

SI-MarinaroLast week, I realized I hadn’t received any editions of Sports Illustrated for a while. It turns out the credit card had expired on my automatic subscription renewal.

I found it interesting that nobody reached out to me to fix the situation. I didn’t receive any emails or letters from SI.

I quickly renewed my subscription. I’ve been getting the magazine since I was 12 in 1971. You never forget your first cover, right? Mine was Cornell’s Ed Marinaro on the Nov. 1, 1971 edition.

Naturally, I wasn’t going to break a habit that dates back more than 43 years. Yet others have.

Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a column about what he thinks is the demise of SI.

Recently, casually lifting a Sports Illustrated out of a magazine rack in a physician’s waiting room, I nearly had

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Who will replace Vin Scully?

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News writes on possible candidates to fill a giant’s shoes in the Dodgers broadcast booth.

You’d think the Dodgers would have some kind of insurance policy in place. To an extent, they do.

Experienced men like Matt Vasgerian, Dan Shulman, Brian Anderson, Don Orsillo or Rich Waltz could be ready for the dance if called upon. Newcomers who we may not be familiar with now, someone in their 20s or 30s who grew up in Southern California knowing the lay of the land, are ready to be drafted.

But the framework is already erect, thanks to those who’ve built the current SportsNet L.A. roster. And those fortunate enough to have seen the future know that giving Charley Steiner the role of play-by-play/set-up man for Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra (and maybe someday even

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Here’s hoping Vin Scully changes his mind about 2016 being his last

VinScully2If anyone deserves a farewell tour, it is Vin Scully.

Yet it is sad to think that Scully finally has put an expiration date on his great career. In announcing he would return for his 67th year in 2016, he said it would be his final curtain call.

From Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times:

“I would say realistically — and I don’t want any headlines — but I would say next year would be the last one,” Scully said. “How much longer can you go fooling people? I would be saying, `Dear God, if you give me next year, I’ll hang it up.’ ”

I still cling to the idea that Scully will go on forever. The idea of saying good-bye and hearing his last call will be painful.

Writes Dilbeck:

There aren’t many heroes you get to

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Not tempting fate: Cubs announcer doesn’t mention ‘no-hitter’ in Arrietta’s big game

I was at the grocery store when I looked at my phone and saw that Jake Arrietta had a no-hitter through six innings. I told my wife to finally make a decision on her gelato because we had to leave right away.

The drive home allowed me to listen to the great Pat Hughes, who will be in Cooperstown one day, call the seventh and eighth innings on Cubs radio, WBBM-AM 780.

Apparently, Hughes subscribes to the superstition that if he mentions “no-hitter” the pitcher’s dream will disappear with the very next pitch. Realizing he had to inform his audience of Arrietta’s bid, Hughes repeatedly said that he hadn’t given up a hit.

After Arrietta got a single in the seventh, Hughes even joked that he “now has more hits than the team he … Continue Reading

Sports Media Friday: Why is Jose Bautista feuding with Blue Jays TV outlet? outrage in Boston over Red Sox firing announcer; first female baseball analyst for ESPN

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

Why is Jose Bautista feuding with the Blue Jays‘ TV outlet? Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News talks to Jessica Mendoza, the first female analyst in the baseball booth for ESPN.

Boston is outraged over the Red Sox decision to fire announcer Don Orsillo. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe.

Wright Thompson discusses writing his massive story on Hurricane Katrina for ESPN The Magazine.

Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing examines the issues involved in MMQB’s Robert Klemko not reporting Cris Carter’s “fall guy” comments.

CBS reaps dividends from its deal to air Thursday night NFL games. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times.

Video links to sessions at the SportsMania’s recent digital summit in Miami.

Michael Bradley of … Continue Reading