Women at work: Burke shines as ESPN analyst in NBA playoffs; only female announcer in pro baseball looks to make mark

A couple observations about women getting their shots in sports media:

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Saturday, I tuned into the Atlanta-Indiana playoff game on ESPN. Mark Jones called the game with Doris Burke serving as his analyst.

As usual, Burke was spot on with her analysis. She knows the game and is terrific in breaking it down.

Nothing new here, which is just the point. A female analyst  for a NBA playoff game doesn’t qualify as news anymore. Oh, I’m sure there were detractors on Twitter, likely the same people who still are upset that women got the vote.

But thankfully, there’s a been-there-done-that element to this story. That’s a good thing.

Burke’s next game as an analyst will be Thunder-Grizzles on Saturday night.

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Shortly after listening to Burke, I read Manny Randhawa’s story at the National Sports Journalism Center at IndianaContinue Reading

No Magic interview, no problem: Pearlman’s ‘Showtime’ shows access isn’t essential to telling complete story

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center is on Jeff Pearlman and his approach to writing his new book on the ’80s Lakers, Showtime.

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Today’s journalism lesson comes from Jeff Pearlman.

Subject: How to write a 482-page book without ever getting access to the three main characters in the story.

Pearlman’s latest, “Showtime,” is a detailed and entertaining account of the great Lakers teams during the ‘80s. He chronicles the wild ride as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the crew piled up victories on the court and in the bedroom. The Lakers were at the center of ‘80s flash and excess.

Pearlman conducted nearly 300 interviews for the book, but he never was able to land a one-on-one with Johnson and coach Pat Riley. He also didn’t have a sit-down with

Abdul-Jabbar, although he was able … Continue Reading

Ryan Dempster joins MLB Network in time to celebrate Wrigley’s 100

Good timing.

From MLB Network:

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MLB Network today announced that veteran MLB pitcher Ryan Dempster has joined its roster of on-air talent as an analyst. A frequent guest on MLB Tonight and Intentional Talk with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar, Dempster will appear across MLB Network’s studio programming and make his debut tomorrow, April 23 live from Wrigley Field’s 100th anniversary celebration during High Heat with Christopher Russo at 1:00 p.m. ET and Intentional Talk at 5:00 p.m. ET.

MLB Network’s coverage of Wrigley Field’s 100th anniversary on Wednesday will also include the national telecast of the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs game at 2:00 p.m. ET (game subject to local blackouts).

A two-time National League All-Star, Dempster won 132 games and saved 87 games during 16 seasons as a starter and a reliever. He … Continue Reading

First for NFL in postseason: Significance of ESPN landing a wildcard game

The NFL had been the last major pro sports league to resist placing part of its postseason on cable. Until today.

It was announced this morning that ESPN will air one of the wildcard games during the opening weekend of the playoffs this year. NBC, which had aired both wildcard games, now will get a divisional playoff game.

The ESPN release included this passage:

“The NFL and ESPN reached a new eight-year extension in 2011 for Monday Night Football and broad studio, multimedia and international rights. The agreement – which began this spring and extends through the 2021 NFL season – provides the NFL with an option to air a postseason Wild Card playoff game on ESPN, which the NFL has opted to exercise this season.”

According to John Ourand and Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily, ESPN will … Continue Reading

What will ESPN do with Keyshawn Johnson? NFL analyst arrested in domestic violence incident

ESPN has another situation on its hands.

Yesterday, it was disclosed that Keyshawn Johnson was arrested for misdemeanor spousal battery. Here’s the report.

Obviously, this is a major problem for the analyst on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. ESPN has strict “zero tolerance” policies in place. In 2010, the network first suspended and then severed ties with Around The Horn panelist Jay Mariotti when he was arrested on domestic violence charges.

It should be stressed that no two situations are the same. That also goes for the people involved.

First things first, the network has to sort out the details of exactly what happened and let the legal process play out. At some point, though, ESPN will have to make a decision on Johnson’s fate with the network.

Obviously, more to come.

 

 … Continue Reading

NBC rooting for Blackhawks: Would hate to lose strong following in huge Chicago market

Not to wave the hometown flag too much, but Chicago Blackhawks fans aren’t the only people upset that they trail 2-0 in their playoff series with St. Louis. NBC also is a bit anxious.

In all sports, the networks always root for the team that delivers the most viewers. That’s the Blackhawks in the NHL.

Not only do the Blackhawks have a big national following as an Original 6 team, their local numbers in the nation’s third largest market usually make up a significant portion of NBC’s overall rating.

Saturday’s game 2 did a 1.6 rating on NBC, up 33 percent from the game that aired in that window in 2013. The game did a 9.5 rating in Chicago, which means it was seen in an estimated 332,500 households.

St. Louis actually had a higher local rating at 11.2. However, … Continue Reading

Chicago Tribune: Profile of White Sox marketing chief Brooks Boyer; Challenging environment coming off rough ’13

This isn’t exactly sports media, but I wanted to share my Chicago Tribune profile of Brooks Boyer, the head of marketing for the White Sox.

You also can access the story via my Twitter feed at Sherman_Report.

Actually, Boyer is heavily involved with sports media with the White Sox TV and radio deals. With the Sox coming off their worst season in 43, the environment is challenging.

From the story:

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Brooks Boyer’s business is baseball, but he goes back to his basketball days to describe his approach to the job.

The Chicago White Sox vice president and chief marketing officer preaches “wanting the ball in the fourth quarter.” It stems from the way he played the game as an all-state high school shooting guard from Concord, Mich., and as a two-year captain at Notre Dame.

Boyer reflects on … Continue Reading

Frank Shorter: Last year’s Boston Marathon felt like Munich in ’72

The Boston Marathon is today, and hopefully as it has been every year but one, it will be a wonderful day for all who participate, from runners to spectators to volunteers.

Frank Shorter will be on hand to be an analyst for the race with the Universal Sports Network. In a Q/A with Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, he describes his feeling about what happened last year.

Q: You’ve compared the experience of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings to what you heard and saw during the terrorist attacks at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, days before you were to go out and win your gold. How do you make that connection?

 A: When the second bomb went off across the street behind me in Boston, I was trying to get to the TV truck for our

Continue Reading