Will KC-SF produce all-time low rating? Fox really needs a 7-game Series

On the one hand, Kansas City is a great story. America loves an underdog, and the small market Royals returning to the World Series fills the bill.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of other hands for this year’s World Series.

The series features two wildcard teams, neither of which won 90 games. There is a huge vacuum of star power.

Kansas City doesn’t have a George Brett to give it instant identity. However, you can be sure Fox will show plenty of shots of Brett cheering in his private box.

While the Giants could win their third World Series in the last five years, they might go down as the dullest dynasty of all time. Buster Posey is a great player, but you don’t stop everything to watch him at the plate.

The Giants have not been much-watch TV.

The Giants’ … Continue Reading

It isn’t just Thursday night: Bad run of one-sided games for NBC on Sunday night this year

Prior to the last two games, CBS’ Thursday night package had come under fire for delivering a series of boring routs. Well, don’t look now, but Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth have had plenty of time to use their blowout material on Sunday nights this year.

Sunday, after Peyton Manning set his records, Michaels got to tell the national TV audience all about his back-up, Brock Osweiler, in the fourth quarter.

Denver won 42-17, and it wasn’t that close.

It was the fifth straight blowout for the NBC crew:

Sept. 21: Pittsburgh 38, Carolina 17.

Sept. 28: Dallas 38, New Orleans 17.

Oct. 5: New England 43, Cincinnati 17

Oct. 12: Philadelphia 27, Giants 0.

The NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano did the math in a tweet:

“2014 Average margin of victory Sunday night: 18.8. Thursday night: 21.6.”

So don’t completely blame the … Continue Reading

Big Hurt: Frank Thomas set to take big stage at World Series for Fox

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on Frank Thomas, who will be analyzing the World Series for Fox.

You can access the entire column via my Twitter feed at @Sherman_Report.

From the column:

*******

Baseball came easily to Frank Thomas as he was on the fast track, barely spending a season in the minors before launching his Hall of Fame career with the White Sox in 1990.

Broadcasting? Now that’s a different story.

Thomas admits he still is a work in progress.

“I want to get better at this,” Thomas said. “You don’t know all the questions when you step from one arena to another. Being a ballplayer for 20 years prepares you to be in front of the camera. But doing live commentary is a little different. I’m learning every day.”

While his ascension hasn’t been as quick, Thomas has … Continue Reading

Stopwatch patrol: Great playoffs games, yes, but also incredibly long

On Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. (Central), I had a few hours to kill before going out at 5 p.m. I decided to watch Game 2 of the ALCS, figuring I could see a significant portion of the game.

I was wrong. As the clock neared 5, the game, with Kansas City leading 4-3, only was through four innings. I didn’t have a clock on it, but I’d bet there was an average of 30-40 seconds between pitches.

I texted my friend Ira: “You could play an entire World Cup game in the time it took to play four innings.”

Ira responded: “Yes, but the score in the soccer game would be 0-0.”

Well, Ira has a point there.

At least there is some scoring in baseball. And there’s no denying that 3 of the 4 games over the weekend … Continue Reading

David Diehl: Ex-Giants lineman takes unlikely fast track to NFL booth for Fox

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on David Diehl, who is starting his second career as an NFL game analyst for Fox.

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

From the column:

******

Graduating straight from the field to the analyst’s chair on network NFL games is usually reserved for Super Bowl glory guys like Phil Simms and Troy Aikman.

Then there’s David Diehl. The 11-year offensive lineman for the New York Giants has two Super Bowl rings, but hardly the glory.

Yet Diehl, who retired after the 2013 season, bucked the odds by landing the coveted gig at Fox. Sunday, he will analyze his second straight Bears game in Atlanta on WFLD-Ch. 32.

This opportunity, though, didn’t just happen for Diehl. It was the result of a master plan that dates back to … Continue Reading

Book review: You will view hockey fights differently after reading tragic tale of Derek Boogaard

Here is my review in the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row on “Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard” by John Branch.

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

Branch’s excellent book really will change your perspective the next time two guys throw their gloves to the ice.

An excerpt of the review.

*******

Typically, it is difficult to feel compassion for a hockey “goon” whose main job is to try to re-arrange faces in brawls during games.

Yet John Branch accomplished that mission in his new book, “Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard.” He details how Boogaard was a tragic victim because of a fighting culture that exists in hockey.

The book is an extended version of Branch’s series in The New York Times that received national attention … Continue Reading

CBS’ luck couldn’t get any worse; another horrible Thursday night game

Only four games in, and I figure Jim Nantz and Phil Simms have exhausted all their blowout material through 2016.

This incredible run of horrid Thursday night games continued again last night. Green Bay 42, Minnesota 10.

This comes on the heels of Atlanta’s 56-14 victory over Tampa Bay in week 3. The game that could have easily been 156-14 if the Falcons hadn’t pulled up.

In week 4, Washington restored Eli Manning’s swagger as the Giants won 45-14.

The only game that was remotely close was CBS’ Thursday night opener. Even then, it wasn’t close with Baltimore pulling away for a 26-6 victory.

USA Today’s Chris Chase did the math. The average margin of victory in the four games is 31 points.

Chase writes:

Atlanta’s 42-point win over Tampa Bay in Week 3 was the largest of the

Continue Reading

Another milestone for Visser: Part of cast for first all-women sports talk show

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana is on Lesley Visser breaking new ground again.

Last night, she was part of the premiere of “We Need to Talk” on the CBS Sports Network, the first all-women, general sports talk show. The first show looked promising with a terrific cast. In particular, Amy Trask was really strong.

The column:

********

Lesley Visser had to chuckle thinking about where she was Monday compared to when she broke into the business as a woman sportswriter in 1974.

“Back then, there was no such thing as a ladies room in the press box,” Visser said. “Why would you need one of those? There were only men in the press box.”

Flash forward 40 years, and Visser was in the CBS Sports Network studios preparing for the debut of “We Need … Continue Reading

Baseball playoff quiz: How many networks will be carrying games?

Give yourself a prize if you know the answer is five.

Yes, beginning tonight there will be five different networks airing postseason baseball. Fox, Fox Sports 1, TBS, MLB Network, and ESPN all have a portion of the bounty.

Follow the bouncing remote.

Tonight’s Oakland-Kansas City game will be on TBS. Tomorrow, ESPN is carrying the San Francisco-Pittsburgh game.

The National League Division and Championship Series games will be on Fox Sports 1, except when they are moved over to MLB Network and Fox.

Meanwhile, the American League is easier with everything airing on TBS. Then Fox takes over the rest of the way until the World Series.

So yes, it could be confusing. MLB faces a new challenge with Fox Sports 1 now in the mix. Baseball hopes fans will make the effort to not only find FS1, but … Continue Reading

Moving on: Cubs end a remarkable era on WGN Radio

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on the end of an era in Chicago.

Consider this: If the Cubs stay on their new radio outlet, WBBM-AM 780, for as long as they were on WGN-AM 720, fans will be listening to games on that station in 2069. Assuming, of course, there’s radio and baseball.

From the column:

*********

Nothing lasts forever, but the idea of the Cubs leaving WGN-AM 720 seemed as unlikely Ernie Banks suddenly proclaiming that the Cardinals are his favorite team.

WGN and Cubs baseball have been such a fixture in fans’ daily lives that only first names were required. For one generation, it was tuning into “Vince and Lou”; for another it was listening to “Pat and Ron.”

This is a relationship that dates back to 1925, with WGN being the exclusive radio home for the … Continue Reading