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

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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:

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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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Former White House communications director on similarities between covering sports, politics

An excerpt from my latest sports journalism column for Poynter.

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Kevin Sullivan’s vast career in public relations has taken him from the NBA to NBC to the White House. Sports always have been a focal point, even for the most important job interview of his life.

In 2006, Sullivan was recommended to serve as the communications director for George Bush. However, he still had to pass the test in meeting the president.

Sullivan knew Bush, a former owner of the Texas Rangers, was a big sports fan. So he was ready when the president asked, “Where are you from?”

“Chicago, sir. White Sox, not Cubs,” said Sullivan, a native of Chicago’s South Side.

Sullivan obviously had the credentials, but the sports connection helped seal the deal. He then had a front row seat in the White House through the … Continue Reading

Good move? Baseball Hall of Fame to cut number of voters; need to be active within last 10 years

I have mixed emotions about this.

First, the news from the Hall:

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On the one hand, it definitely was time to evaluate who is voting for the Hall. The list includes voters who haven’t covered the game in decades, not just years.

However, the move will eliminate voters who did put their time in way back when, earning the right to vote for the Hall. They still avidly follow the game.

Still, it will be good for the Hall and the BWAA to review who exactly is voting and whether that person is qualified.

The voting ranks for many big awards and honors needs to be reduced. They have become too bloated with too many voters who aren’t qualified. Next up should be the Heisman.… Continue Reading

What a dumb way for Colin Cowherd to go out at ESPN

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana.

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I mean, incredibly dumb.

After 12 years of a highly successful tenure at ESPN, Cowherd leaves on the lowest note possible. He was taken off the air before he could deliver a true good-bye on his last show.

In case you missed it, Cowherd got in all sorts of trouble for uttering this statement Thursday:

“You don’t think a general manager can manage? Like it’s impossible? The game is too complex? I’ve never bought into that, ‘Baseball’s just too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic.”

Immediately, the politically-incorrect alarm sounded throughout Bristol. It gets quite a workout these days.

The ESPN PR department went to Defcon 1 in anticipation of the inevitable flak storm coming its way. Sure enough, it was considerable with … Continue Reading

Tom Gage’s terrific induction speech at Hall of Fame: ‘If you’ve loved baseball, I am you’

Last week, I wrote a column for Poynter on Tom Gage, who was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame the same year the Detroit News took him off the Tigers beat.

During our conversation, Gage mentioned he was nervous about the speech he had to give Saturday during the induction ceremonies at Cooperstown. He noted he was a writer, not a speaker.

Deadline Detroit has excerpts from Gage’s speech. The writer did a terrific job.

(Who) am I?

Well, if you’ve loved baseball all your life, I am you. 

If your first memory of watching TV is a baseball game, I am you. 

If you couldn’t wait for the first day each spring that the new baseball cards were out, once again, I am you. 

I’m an adult version of a kid who wrote game stories after playing All-Star Baseball, a

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Here’s wishing ESPN covered more golf tournaments; British Open was excellent

An excerpt from a post I did for Awful Announcing:

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Fox Sports showed that trying to air 10-11 hours per day of golf is no easy task. Surely, Fox will adjust its coverage and get better for future U.S. Opens.

ESPN, though, showed how great golf coverage can be if done well. I go way back with Tirico to when he was breaking in as ABC’s host for golf. I remember telling him once at a Western Open in Chicago that I fully expected him to be the host of an Olympics some day. It still might happen if he ever leaves ESPN, but the Monday Night Football gig keeps him very happy. Bottom line: You could see back then that he is a true talent and that he would make it big.

So it always is a treat … Continue Reading

Cubs official Twitter stretches to put positive spin on Hamels no-hitter

It hardly is a secret that the official Twitter for a team always will try to put a positive spin on a defeat, no matter how bad things get.

However, you have to appreciate the person who handles the Twitter feed for the Chicago Cubs. There was this post on Saturday at around 6:30 p.m. Central following Cole Hamels no-hitter at Wrigley Field.

Yes, of all the history that was made Saturday, Dexter Fowler’s two walks certainly merited a mention. Keep in mind, this was the tweet that included the recap of the game.

To be fair, immediately after the game, the Cubs official Twitter did acknowledge Hamels’ feat. However, it made no direct mention that the Cubs were being no-hit during the game.

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Sports Media Friday: Cowherd’s stupid statement about Dominicans in baseball; Wojnarowski’s big deal with Yahoo

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

Colin Cowherd will have to make one of last apology before leaving ESPN. USA Today’s Jorge Ortiz reports on the reaction from a statement he made on Thursday’s show.

“It’s baseball,’’ Cowherd said. “You don’t think a general manager can manage? Like it’s impossible? The game is too complex? I’ve never bought into that, ‘Baseball’s just too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic.’’

The comment has infuriated some natives of the Caribbean nation, which this year produced nearly 10% of the players on Opening Day rosters and disabled lists.

Toronto Blue Jays All-Star Jose Bautista expressed his indignation with a tweet directed at Cowherd that said, “before i rip you a new one, i would like for you to explain what u meant to say

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Chicago news: WLS will have largest radio inventory of games in town with White Sox, Bulls deals

An excerpt from my latest column for the Chicago Tribune:

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The upcoming radio rights deal with the White Sox and Bulls was nearly 90 years in the making for the WLS-AM 890.

According to longtime Chicago sportswriter Tim Cronin, a broadcast historian, Blackhawks home games aired on WLS during the 1927-28 season. Despite being one of the biggest stations in town, that marks the only time WLS was the exclusive flagship station for one of Chicago’s pro teams.

Until now. Last week, it was announced WLS will be the radio home for the White Sox in 2016 and the Bulls beginning with the 2016-17 season. Both deals run through 2021.

Suddenly, WLS will have the biggest inventory of games on the Chicago radio dial. The station also airs Notre Dame football and basketball.

Why the big jump into … Continue Reading