He’s back: Craig Sager planning colorful return for tonight’s Bulls-Thunder game

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on happy day for Craig Sager after a rough 11 months.

From the column:


Craig Sager, the man who has sports coats in every color with the possible exception of conventional black and navy, had a choice in mind for his return to the NBA sidelines. After an 11-month battle with leukemia, he planned on a blood orange selection for TNT’s coverage of the Oklahoma City-Bulls game Thursday. That is the color of the disease.

However, there was a problem. The coat is made out of linen, which hardly is the fabric of choice to be wearing in frigid Chicago. Plus, it no longer fit properly since he still is working to replace the 50 pounds he lost during his ordeal.

So the long-time sideline reporter reverted to his roots for plan B. … Continue Reading

Jeff Van Gundy may ‘tone it down’ a bit on Bulls management in regards to Thibodeau

My latest column for the Chicago Tribune is on Jeff Van Gundy and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

You also can access the column on Twitter at @Sherman_Report.

From the column:


Jeff Van Gundy usually operates without a filter. Whatever thought pops into his brain often does a beeline straight to his mouth.

But the outspoken NBA analyst says he might have to switch on his rarely used internal censor when it comes to discussing Tom Thibodeau‘s shaky relationship with the Bulls.

“I’ve been asked by (Leon Rose of CAA, the firm that represents Thibodeau) to tone it down a bit,” Van Gundy said this week.

In the wake of Derrick Rose’s latest injury, the coach’s future likely will be brought up during ABC‘s telecast of the Clippers-Bulls game Sunday. Mike Breen, Van Gundy, Mark Johnson … Continue Reading

Mike Greenberg’s dream job? Full-time writer; publishes second novel

I wrote about Mike Greenberg, author, for the Chicago Tribune.

From the column:


Everyone has their idea of a dream job. Even those people who already have dream jobs.

For the last 15 years, Mike Greenberg has teamed with Mike Golic for the popular “Mike & Mike” morning sports talk show that airs on ESPN Radio, ESPN2 and locally on WMVP-AM 1000.

As great gigs go, Greenberg’s has to rank right up there. Greenberg, though, covets something else: Being a full-time novelist.

“My dream life would be to get up in the morning and drops the kids off at school,” Greenberg said. “Then I would go to a nice, comfortable office and write all day. I don’t see that happening in the foreseeable future.”

For now, Greenberg will have to settle for being a part-time writer. He recently came … Continue Reading

Keith Olbermann: Please save the outrage for your show

It was going so well. And this was so unnecessary.

Yet perhaps it was inevitable.

As readers of this space know, I am a big Keith Olbermann fan. Part of his brilliance comes from an ability to summon outrage like nobody else in the business. Pity those who become the target of his wrath. Complete obliteration.

Unfortunately, Olbermann feels the same need to confront people who troll him on Twitter. If you follow his feed, you know his retorts can get fairly personal.

Monday, Olbermann went over the line with a series of tweets regarding Penn State. ESPN sent him to the sidelines for the rest of the week.

Clearly, the network wanted to send Olbermann a message. Hopefully, he got it.

Olbermann needs to confine his outrage to his television show. Forget about Twitter. It isn’t worth blowing his … Continue Reading

Stopwatch patrol: MLB takes first swing at speeding up games; more to come

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana is on MLB’s initial efforts to deal with the pace of play issue. It’s a start.

From the column:


Of all the suggestions being made to speed up baseball, this one might be the best.

Inspired by watching the Oscars, Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports fired off this tweet last night:

“Instead of a pitch clock for baseball they should just bring an orchestra that plays with more fortissimo when the pitcher is lagging.”

Now that would be awesome. When the pitcher circles the mound for the fourth time because he’s deathly afraid of throwing that next pitch, fire up the orchestra to let him know he’s about to be pulled. Neil Patrick Harris, or specifically his writers, could have used a relief pitcher at the Oscars.

The … Continue Reading

Why bother? Back 9 Network doesn’t even complete Front 9; suspends operations

Last night, John Maggines asked on his PGA Tour Network radio show whether the Back 9 Network had the shortest tenure of any new channel?

While the answer appears to be no, the Back 9 seems to be right up there.

Just in case you were wondering what happened to Ahmad Rashad (above video). Apparently, his presence wasn’t enough to save the Back 9 Network.

Monday, the Back 9 Network announced it was suspending operations after less than six months on the air. It issued this statement:

“Due to a temporary shortfall in capital, Back9Network has suspended its operations. Management and the board of directors are planning next steps and will continue their efforts to secure long-term, operating capital. The company will keep the public informed with any new developments.”

Maggines, who hosted a show on the Back 9, was … Continue Reading

Carlos Beltran: Speaking to media is part of an athlete’s job

David Lennon of Newsday talked to Carlos Beltran about the media’s relationship with athletes. Let’s just say the Yankee responded like a true pro.

“I feel like it’s my job,” Beltran said. “For fans out there, [reporters] are the voice of what’s happening, so they can know what’s going on in the clubhouse and around the game.

“Honestly speaking, it’s not every day I feel like talking. That’s human nature. But I know that it’s my responsibility to be here and answer the questions. I don’t need to answer every question. But I know that sometimes when you play a game and something goes wrong, people want to talk about it.”

And this from Beltran:

Beltran, with eight years in New York under his belt, is pretty much an elder statesman now. He had a few rocky moments in Flushing

Continue Reading

Six weeks of nothing: Time to think out of box for spring training coverage

When I covered the White Sox in the ’80s, people always were jealous that I got to escape winter and spend six weeks in Florida. Frankly, I really didn’t like it.

I’ll admit the weather was nice, but spring training felt like a slog of writing seemingly endless stories. Plus once the games began, you spent those nice spring days confined to a hot, tight press box. Not exactly paradise.

Peter May, formerly the Red Sox beat writer for the Boston Globe, wrote his views of the tedium that is spring training.

Spring training is about to begin. Or, as its known in Boston and most other MLB cities — six weeks of journalistic waterboarding.

Very little, if any, actual news is ever generated in the time that baseball teams spend getting ready for the season. But that won’t stop

Continue Reading

ESPN writer on not quoting Alex Rodriguez: ‘He’s a proven liar, a repeated liar’

J.R. Moehringer did a remarkable story on Alex Rodriguez for the latest edition of ESPN The Magazine. Even if you detest A-Rod, it definitely is worth your time if you want to see a different way of writing a profile. Brilliant.

Moehringer spent considerable time with the disgraced star. Yet he wrote the piece without using a quote.

He explains in this passage:

How many pills, creams or needles he used, how much those pills, creams or needles might have enhanced his already towering gifts, and to what lengths he went to conceal it — these and other questions will be debated forever, and will never fully be resolved, but there’s no longer any debate about Rodriguez’s credibility. He’s a proven liar, a repeated liar, and thus, as he prepares to emerge from the longest steroid-related suspension in the

Continue Reading

Pam Oliver: Sideline reporters should be journalists, not celebrities

My latest column for Poynter.org focuses on some important comments from Pam Oliver to aspiring young women journalists.

From the column:


Pam Oliver knew she had a captive audience to deliver her message.

“The journalism has to matter,” Oliver said repeatedly at Northwestern Tuesday as part of the Medill School of Journalism’s “Beyond The Box Score” series.

She joined USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, Rachel Nichols of CNN and Turner Sports, and ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth on a panel titled, “The Female Voice in Sports Media.”

Oliver, who was Fox Sports’ top sideline reporter for the NFL for years, made headlines last year for her honest reaction to Fox moving her off that assignment and replacing her with the younger Erin Andrews.

When Brennan, who moderated the session, asked the panelists to open by giving their assessments of the media … Continue Reading