Is Pete Rose one step closer to being reinstated? Will be guest analyst for Fox on MLB

Fox Sports announced Saturday that it has hired Pete Rose to be a guest analyst for its studio coverage of Major League Baseball on Fox and Fox Sports 1.  According to Ken Rosenthal’s story on, the network didn’t need the approval of MLB to hire Rose. However, Fox said Commissioner Rob Manfred was aware that it was auditioning him for the role.

“As a courtesy, Fox informed us that they were interviewing Pete Rose for an on-air studio position,” said Pat Courtney, baseball’s chief communications officer. “The decision to hire on-air talent for its telecasts rests solely with Fox.”

The move, though, will prompt much speculation that Manfred will reinstate the 74-year-old Rose. Given that sports leagues work closely with their broadcast partners, it is unlikely Fox would have hired Rose at this time if MLB had strong objections. … Continue Reading

Why is Britt McHenry story news?

Seriously, I’m interested in knowing why social media is exploding over a person most people barely know about before yesterday?

Why does a bad moment in someone’s personal life suddenly become news?

Did McHenry’s behavior merit a suspension from ESPN?

What does the entire saga say about our priorities in news coverage?

Please stay tuned for more on this issue.


 … Continue Reading

Chicago ratings: Cubs fans jumping back on bandwagon; Why NBC pulling for Blackhawks

An excerpt from my latest Chicago Tribune column:


Cubs: If they win, they will watch. It didn’t take long, as the ratings already show Cubs fans are jumping back on the bandwagon.

CSN did a 4.22 rating for Cincinnati’s 3-2 victory over the Cubs Tuesday night; 1 local ratings point is worth approximately 35,000 homes. The game ranked first in primetime in Chicago in every male demographic and with everyone age 18-49.

On Monday, the Cubs’ 7-6 win over Cincinnati still pulled a 3.94 rating despite airing on CSN Plus. The game peaked with an 8 rating in the late innings.

All told, the three Cubs games on CSN averaged a 3.6 rating, more than double last year’s season average of 1.5.

And it’s just a start for the Cubs and CSN. The ratings will soar much higher with … Continue Reading

Author Q/A for Billy Martin biography: ‘So accomplished, yet so self-destructive’

My latest Poynter column is on Bill Pennington’s new book, “Billy Martin: Flawed Genius.”

Here is an excerpt:


Pennington’s detailed biography is filled with countless stories of the combustible Martin settling his many differences during his eventful 61-year life. He had a wild ride with stunning ups and downs as one of baseball’s most compelling characters.

“For the last 30 years, I felt like I had some insights about him that were valuable,” Pennington said. “Whenever his name came up, people always were asking me questions, wanting to know more about him. I knew there was a fascination about him. He was so accomplished and yet so self-destructive at the same time.”

Pennington thinks the biography provides a vivid snapshot of baseball in the ‘80s, and that includes how the game was covered. Back then, the beat writers had … Continue Reading

Tragic tale of best-selling sports author: Long jail term looms for repeated DUI offenses

There’s a good chance you have read one of Jim Dent’s books. You might have seen ESPN’s film adaptation of “The Junction Boys,” the story of Paul “Bear” Bryant’s insane preseason drills while at Texas A&M.

Well, unfortunately, here’s the rest of the story via Barry Horn and Valerie Wigglesworth of the Dallas Morning News.

And so Dent, 62, is being held in Collin County jail without bail on the DWI charges. He faces additional felony charges of bail jumping and failure to appear in court. Those charges carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted.

Dent is again scheduled to go before a district judge Thursday for sentencing on the DWI charges. When that’s over, he could be sent to Williamson County for sentencing on a similar charge.

“I realize now I have

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Remembering Stan Hochman: A Philadelphia icon in the press box

Been tied up on several fronts, but wanted to pay tribute to Stan Hochman, the long-time columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. He passed away last week. Hochman, a workhorse, grinded it out almost to the end, filing his last column in February.

From the Daily News:

Hochman, according to Pat McLoone, managing editor of the Daily News, could be summed up in one word: “Great.”

“When you think that Stan Hochman came on the Philadelphia sports scene in the late ’50s, made a mark right away and has been great, truly great, for more than 50 years, it really is overwhelming,” said McLoone, who was sports editor from 1989 to 2008. “I mean, Stan was great as a Phillies beat writer covering Gene Mauch in the collapse of 1964, great covering Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Doctor J, Bobby Clarke, Reggie White

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Was it the Spieth factor? Masters ratings up 26 percent on Sunday

An estimated 14 million viewers tuned in to CBS to watch Jordan Spieth clinch the Masters title Sunday. The 8.7 national rating was up 26 percent over last year when Bubba Watson outlasted Spieth on the final day.

There probably was a Tiger Woods bump over the weekend; he didn’t play in 2013. His big round on Saturday helped CBS pull a 5.8 rating, up 45 percent from last year.

Woods, though, mostly was a non-factor Sunday, as the focus mainly was on Spieth and runner-ups Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose. The rating also would have been higher with a bit more drama. Spieth held a four-shot lead for most of the back 9.

Clearly, viewers tuned to watch Spieth. The emergence of a new young champion bodes well for golf at a time when Woods is slipping and Mickelson … Continue Reading

DVR alert: Ben Crenshaw’s love affair with the Masters in Golf Channel documentary

During its coverage of the Masters last week, the Golf Channel ran excerpts of its new documentary, “Ben Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta.” The entire film airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET, as Jimmy Roberts and the Golf Channel weave in footage of Crenshaw’s last Masters into the film. Should be outstanding.

The rundown from the Golf Channel:


Capping an emotional week marked by his last competitive round at the Masters Tournament, Golf Channel Films will premiere Ben Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta, a hour-long retrospective on the life and career of Ben Crenshaw and his special relationship with the Masters, premiering Monday, April 13 at 10 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

“It’s almost as if he has green blood in him, not red.” – wife Julie Crenshaw

Via special access to Crenshaw as he prepares for and plays his last Masters, … Continue Reading