Now at 43 years and counting: Renewing subscription to Sports Illustrated; columnist laments magazine is in decline

SI-MarinaroLast week, I realized I hadn’t received any editions of Sports Illustrated for a while. It turns out the credit card had expired on my automatic subscription renewal.

I found it interesting that nobody reached out to me to fix the situation. I didn’t receive any emails or letters from SI.

I quickly renewed my subscription. I’ve been getting the magazine since I was 12 in 1971. You never forget your first cover, right? Mine was Cornell’s Ed Marinaro on the Nov. 1, 1971 edition.

Naturally, I wasn’t going to break a habit that dates back more than 43 years. Yet others have.

Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a column about what he thinks is the demise of SI.

Recently, casually lifting a Sports Illustrated out of a magazine rack in a physician’s waiting room, I nearly had

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Who will replace Vin Scully?

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News writes on possible candidates to fill a giant’s shoes in the Dodgers broadcast booth.

You’d think the Dodgers would have some kind of insurance policy in place. To an extent, they do.

Experienced men like Matt Vasgerian, Dan Shulman, Brian Anderson, Don Orsillo or Rich Waltz could be ready for the dance if called upon. Newcomers who we may not be familiar with now, someone in their 20s or 30s who grew up in Southern California knowing the lay of the land, are ready to be drafted.

But the framework is already erect, thanks to those who’ve built the current SportsNet L.A. roster. And those fortunate enough to have seen the future know that giving Charley Steiner the role of play-by-play/set-up man for Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra (and maybe someday even

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Here’s hoping Vin Scully changes his mind about 2016 being his last

VinScully2If anyone deserves a farewell tour, it is Vin Scully.

Yet it is sad to think that Scully finally has put an expiration date on his great career. In announcing he would return for his 67th year in 2016, he said it would be his final curtain call.

From Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times:

“I would say realistically — and I don’t want any headlines — but I would say next year would be the last one,” Scully said. “How much longer can you go fooling people? I would be saying, `Dear God, if you give me next year, I’ll hang it up.’ ”

I still cling to the idea that Scully will go on forever. The idea of saying good-bye and hearing his last call will be painful.

Writes Dilbeck:

There aren’t many heroes you get to

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Not tempting fate: Cubs announcer doesn’t mention ‘no-hitter’ in Arrietta’s big game

I was at the grocery store when I looked at my phone and saw that Jake Arrietta had a no-hitter through six innings. I told my wife to finally make a decision on her gelato because we had to leave right away.

The drive home allowed me to listen to the great Pat Hughes, who will be in Cooperstown one day, call the seventh and eighth innings on Cubs radio, WBBM-AM 780.

Apparently, Hughes subscribes to the superstition that if he mentions “no-hitter” the pitcher’s dream will disappear with the very next pitch. Realizing he had to inform his audience of Arrietta’s bid, Hughes repeatedly said that he hadn’t given up a hit.

After Arrietta got a single in the seventh, Hughes even joked that he “now has more hits than the team he … Continue Reading

Scott Van Pelt to bring unique voice to solo edition of SportsCenter

An excerpt from my latest column for Poynter:


When ESPN approached Scott Van Pelt about going solo with the midnight (Eastern) edition of “SportsCenter,” he initially said no.

Van Pelt was the co-host of a popular midday radio show on the network, which gave him the opportunity to express his views about various issues in sports. Typically, “SportsCenter” hosts aren’t given as much latitude in that regard. It’s mainly scores and highlights.

“I pushed back,” Van Pelt said. “I loved the radio show where I had the ability to have an opinion. They came back to me and said, ‘No, we’re encouraging that [if he did the ‘SportsCenter’ show]. We want you to bring opinion to that space.’ That made it an incredibly compelling opportunity.”

As a result, Van Pelt said good-bye to his radio show in June. … Continue Reading

Sports Media Friday: Why is Jose Bautista feuding with Blue Jays TV outlet? outrage in Boston over Red Sox firing announcer; first female baseball analyst for ESPN

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

Why is Jose Bautista feuding with the Blue Jays‘ TV outlet? Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News talks to Jessica Mendoza, the first female analyst in the baseball booth for ESPN.

Boston is outraged over the Red Sox decision to fire announcer Don Orsillo. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe.

Wright Thompson discusses writing his massive story on Hurricane Katrina for ESPN The Magazine.

Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing examines the issues involved in MMQB’s Robert Klemko not reporting Cris Carter’s “fall guy” comments.

CBS reaps dividends from its deal to air Thursday night NFL games. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times.

Video links to sessions at the SportsMania’s recent digital summit in Miami.

Michael Bradley of … Continue Reading

Chicago news: Cubs ratings are exploding

Cubs logoAn excerpt from my latest Chicago Tribune column:


This year’s winner of the good timing award goes to WLS-Ch.7 and WBBM-AM 780.

WLS signed on for a five-year package of Cubs games in December despite the team’s TV ratings sinking to historic lows in 2014. John Idler, WLS’s president and general manager, figured the ratings would rise dramatically at some point during the deal when the Cubs rebuild kicked in. However, he didn’t expect to hit the jackpot this year.

“The timeline has been accelerated,” Idler said. “The (2015) ratings definitely have exceeded our expectations.”

Meanwhile, WBBM says the station is experiencing ratings increases between 30 and 50 percent for its game broadcasts during the first year of its radio deal with the Cubs.

The Cubs turnaround has confirmed what everyone thought: They were a sleeping giant on the … Continue Reading

Coming soon: Whitlock begins ripping ESPN; looks to be headed back to Fox

Jason WhitlockJohn Ourand of Sports Business Daily reports that my old pal Jason Whitlock is on his way out at ESPN and likely headed back to Fox Sports.

Jason Whitlock is negotiating to leave ESPN before his contract ends officially, possibly as early as the next few weeks, according to several sources. Whitlock has had informal talks with Fox Sports that could see him return to work with former ESPN exec Jamie Horowitz, who currently is Fox Sports National Networks President. Neither ESPN nor Fox Sports would comment. Whitlock’s possible role at Fox Sports is not known, but if he makes the move, it is expected to include both a TV role on FS1 and regular contributions on

In the wake of the Undefeated debacle, there’s no reason for ESPN to keep Whitlock. It makes an awkward situation even more … Continue Reading

What would you do? Robert Klemko explains why he did not report Cris Carter’s ‘fall guy’ comment in 2014

Robert Klemko attended the session for NFL rookies in which Cris Carter made his foolish comment in 2014. Yet he didn’t write about it in his piece for MMQB.

Yesterday, he explained in a Twitlonger tweet. Here is an excerpt:

When Carter said the words, “have a fall guy” in what was a light-hearted and animated session that at times made league employees in attendance cringe, the NFL’s Kim Fields looked my way and said, “that can’t go in the story.” I was torn. I take pride in reporting every detail, even at the risk of damaging relationships. Earlier in my career I profiled a player who had a string of unreported violence in his life. Knowing these were not details the player or the agent wanted public, I published them anyway, because I judged those facts material to the

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