Sorry Jason Whitlock: No Pulitzer Prizes awarded to sportswriters this year

Dang Jason, you were snubbed again for the Pulitzer.

If recall last year, Jason Whitlock took considerable flak for writing that he did Pulitzer Prize caliber work in 2012. He even compared himself to Mike Royko. He bemoaned the fact that contest isn’t opening to writers who worked for broadcast sites.

Have to admit, it takes some stones to say you should receive a Pulitzer.

Well, not sure if Whitlock had any worthy entries in 2013. He didn’t promote himself this year. Perhaps as a result, when the Pulitzers were announced this week, I didn’t see his name on the list of winners.

Maybe next year, Jason.

More importantly, there weren’t any Pulitzers awarded to sportswriters. Nothing really new there.

Last year actually was the exception–somewhat. John Branch of the New York Times won his wonderful piece on skiersContinue Reading

Sorting out truth about Tiger’s absence on Masters ratings; Huge Friday, Saturday declines are more telling

As I wrote yesterday, it is too bad Sunday’s final round didn’t produce more drama. The lack of suspense on the back 9 accounted for the sharp decline in the rating as much as Tiger Woods’ absence.

From Sports Media Watch:

Final round coverage of The Masters earned a 7.8 overnight rating on CBS Sunday afternoon, down 24% from last year (10.2), down 4% from 2012 (8.1), and the lowest overnight for final round coverage since 2004 (7.3).

Overall, the 7.8 is the third-lowest for the final round since at least 1991, ahead of only 2004 and 1993 (6.8). Excluding Easter Sunday telecasts, the 7.8 is the lowest over that span.

It was one of the dullest final rounds at the Masters in years, and had to account for at least 10 percent in the ratings decline. If … Continue Reading

Don’t blame Tiger and Phil: Masters can’t all be classics

At one point during the back 9 on Sunday, a friend of mine sent a text saying, “Is OK to admit this is pretty boring?”

Indeed, it seems almost sacrilegious suggest the Masters, the tournament we wait for all year, was rather dull for the final two hours. The top three players combined for all of two birdies on their last nine holes.

Dan Jenkins said it best in this tweet:

Indeed, with the exception of Watson’s crazy drive long drive on 13 and his even crazier shot through the trees on 15, there wasn’t the back 9 suspense we always seem to get at Augusta.

Brian Murphy of Yahoo! Sports thought it was a Tiger and Phil thing. He wrote:

The bigger problem was the cast of characters around Bubba. This Masters lacked fireworks. That whole “roars amid the

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Profile of Jim Nantz: On the journey to 50 Masters; or will it be 51?

O.B. Keeler was a sportswriter forever linked to Bobby Jones. He covered every stroke the legend ever took in a tournament.

In the last couple of years, I have written so much about Jim Nantz, I joke I am his O.B. Keeler. I even sign my emails to him as “O.B.”

My latest piece is a profile of Nantz for the spring issue of Links Magazine. Naturally, the focus is the Masters.

Some excerpts:

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In his mind, the script already has been written. Jim Nantz’s broadcast career will be bracketed by the Masters.

Part One is already in the books. In 1986, at age 26, Nantz—just a few years removed from being a dreamy-eyed college kid at Houston—was tabbed by legendary television director Frank Chirkinian to work his first Masters.

Now jump forward a few years and the … Continue Reading

Tradition unlike any other: Masters telecasts remain wonderfully pristine

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana gives thanks to one of the best traditions with the Masters.

To put you in the proper mood, listen to the Masters theme.

From the column:

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Crank up the theme, start thinking of azaleas, and be sure to get the signature line right.

The Masters, a tradition unlike any other.

Despite a certain player not being in the field for the first time in 20 years, CBS still is going ahead with its plans to air the tournament. Indeed, the Masters is and always will be a celebration of golf. And just golf.

That goes to the core of the entire presentation. The telecast also is one of the reasons why we look forward to the Masters every year.

In an age of loud, blaring music, everything being … Continue Reading

Nantz on Masters without Tiger: Tournament is about more than one player

My latest Chicago Tribune column is about CBS’ first Masters without Tiger Woods in 20 years.

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

It seems CBS and ESPN are going to air the tournament anyway.

Here is an excerpt from the column in which Jim Nantz finally had enough of the talk about Tiger.

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CBS analyst Nick Faldo predicts this will be the most “wide open” Masters in years, with as many as 30 players having a chance to win. One of them could be a relatively new face such as Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed from a highly touted class of first-time players at Augusta.

“I think we have something special in this rookie class,” said Jim Nantz, who will call his 29th Masters. “Once the tournament gets started, we’ll have a quick … Continue Reading

Yes to home team calls: Networks should do more Teamcasts

Yes, there was the inevitable confusion, as CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus predicted.

Viewers were bewildered by pro-(UConn, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Florida) calls on Saturday, depending on where their remotes took them. Adding to the problem was that this was Turner Sports’ first coverage of the Final Four semis.

You could hear people’s brains grinding: What Turner channel? TNT? TBS? Doubt that anyone went to truTV.

If they turned to TNT, a Teamcast outlet, they probably wondered what happened to Jim Nantz and objectivity.

Fortunately, Charles Barkley was on hand to clear things up as only he can.

“You people are all idiots,” Barkley said.

Thanks, Charles.

My view: More Teamcasts, please.

Perhaps due to being a serial channel flipper, but I enjoyed having more options Saturday than the conventional national call. It was refreshing to hear different perspectives and see … Continue Reading

A first: Illinois Governor is my lead-in on PBS’ Chicago Tonight

I encountered one of those “What’s wrong with this picture?” situations yesterday.

Chicago Tonight, the outstanding news show on WTTW, invited me on as a guest to discuss my book, Babe Ruth’s Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball’s Greatest Home Run. (Here is the link from Amazon)

The first guest on the show was Pat Quinn, the Illinois governor who is running for re-election. So I’m sitting in one part of the studio getting ready for my interview, while at the other desk, Eddie Arruza is grilling Quinn. I think the governor would have had more fun talking about the Called Shot.

I said to the show’s host, Phil Ponce, “This is the first time I’ve ever followed a governor on a show.”

Ponce was quick to clarify my statement. “No, this is the first time a … Continue Reading

Prediction: Bob Knight won’t be back at ESPN next year

Yep, that should just about do it for Bob Knight at ESPN. Yet another interpretation on the word “rape” by the former coach should end his broadcast run at the network.

I’m betting you thought it already ended.

Yesterday during an interview with Mike & Mike, Knight talked about how the NBA has “raped” college basketball.

“If I were involved with the NBA I wouldn’t want a 19-year-old or a 20-year-old kid, to bring into all the travel and all the problems that exist in the NBA. I would want a much more mature kid. I would want a kid that maybe I’ve been watching on another team and now he’s 21, 22 years old instead of 18 or 19, and I might trade for that kid. On top of it all, the NBA does a tremendous, gigantic disservice to

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Q/A with John Feinstein: Latest on life in Triple A; His process and why he continues to write books

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism at Indiana is on John Feinstein and his latest book.

Here are some excerpts:

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When John Feinstein arrived at the Indiana campus in 1985, he merely was an ambitious young Washington Post sportswriter looking to do an interesting behind-the-scenes book on Bob Knight. After struggling to find a publisher (“Who wants to read a book about a Midwest college basketball coach?”), he was thrilled to land an advance of $17,500.

Little did Feinstein or anyone else know that “A Season on the Brink” would zoom to No. 1. It set the stage for him to become the bestselling sports author of all time, with more than 10 million books sold.

“The Franchise” is out with his 23rd non-fiction book: “Where Nobody Knows Your Name.” It is a terrific read about life … Continue Reading