Sports Media Friday: ESPN reverses changes to Mike & Mike show; Adam Schefter, Review of new Nicklaus, Watson book

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


Joe Lucia of Awful Announcing reports on “Mike & Mike” not moving to New York as had been previous announced. Also, it appears as if Molly Qerim won’t be joining the show.

 I wonder what happened to facilitate an about-face from ESPN so soon after the initial announcement about the show moving to New York. There hasn’t been much chatter about the thought process behind the show staying in Bristol, so all we have now are hypotheses… and I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

Qerim’s new (interim, at least) role is a tough break for her sanity, but might result in her being exposed to more viewers. For as much as we lambaste First Take, it draws plenty of eyeballs to ESPN. If she can hold her own moderating Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, she could be in line for bigger things at ESPN than being the third wheel on Mike & Mike.

Classic TV Sports does a shot-by-shot analysis of Fox’s coverage from the final round of the U.S. Open. Jordan Spieth wasn’t in the top 2.

Fox showed 341 strokes during the tracking period. The final putt dropped at 10:18 so this worked out to 1.18 strokes per minute which was an increase over the 1.12 shown by NBC during the 2014 US Open. The shot rate matched that of the 2015 Masters on CBS, but trailed the 1.33 by NBC for the 2015 Players. (Note: The Masters post contains links to the shot charts from the 2014 majors).

Fox showed all but one shot from Dustin Johnson, skipping only a layup shot on the 8th hole. Fox focused extensively on the final two pairings, devoting 69% of its televised strokes to those four players. Fox showed just 19 golfers playing strokes and only seven players got coverage for at least 10 shots. The highest finisher not shown during the period was Kevin Kisner (T12).

Adam Schefter takes his turn in the “Still No Cheering in the Press Box” series by the Povich Center.

The news cycle has gone from 24 hours to 24 minutes to maybe even 24 seconds. It’s incredible how quickly things turn over now. Literally I could start the day at a 9 a.m. Sportscenter, we could be hitting one topic hard and by the end of the day the news cycle has completely shifted.

Whereas, back in the day, when I was working for the Rocky Mountain News terrified of being beat on a story, the news cycle is what we picked up that morning in the newspaper until the next morning’s newspaper came out. The news cycle has gone on steroids. I wish we could drug test the news cycle. It would fail every time.

The job has never been more difficult than it is today. There have never been more people competing for news. There has never been more news spit out faster than it is. There have never been more outlets to get it faster. There has never been more pressure for more different angles and yet you’re expected to be perfect.

The Sports Books Review Center has a review of Joe Posnanski’s new book, “The Secret of Golf” on Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson.

Joe Posnanski is the author here, and he’s well suited for the job. He got to know Watson when he worked in Watson’s home of the Kansas City area. Posnanski’s first two books about the Reds of the 1970s and Buck O’Neil were nostalgic and sweet. Then he started working on a book on Joe Paterno, and, well, you probably know what happened to the ending of that story – an unexpected curve ball that was anything but sweet.

Here Posnanski is back writing about mythical figures from the past, who have the ability now to put their relationship into perspective. The book mostly focuses on Watson, who was a little unheralded when he arrived on the PGA Tour but quickly became one of its most promising young players. His problem was, he couldn’t close the sale at first. The phrase “you have to learn how to win” may not have been invented for Watson but it was close. Eventually, though, he figured things out and won eight major titles. The moment that torch was passed probably was the 1977 British Open, when Watson and Nicklaus played magnificent golf for four days and left the world’s best golfers in their dust. And Watson won by a stroke. Winner, and new champion.

Michael Bradley of the National Sports Journalism Center doesn’t think the increased NFL-Twitter relationship is good news for fans and the media.

The only problem with this for fans is that while the illusion of increased access will exist through a large menu of highlights and footage, there is the potential for sanitized content that benefits the NFL. Like so many other platforms with which the league is affiliated, Twitter could become something of a house organ. It will provide the illusion of giving fans more while actually providing a less objective media clearinghouse for news, opinion and analysis.

Frank Deford does an NPR commentary on Derek Jeter’s Players Tribune.

In an effort to give athletes an opportunity to talk without being beleaguered by journalists, former New York Yankees player Derek Jeter has created a website called The Players’ Tribune. It gives athletes the opportunity to speak their minds, unfiltered bymeddlesome members of the Fourth Estate. As an athlete, Jeter was brilliant at answering questions at great length without saying anything. But he obviously feels that other jocks, who are less talented at that art, need The Players’ Tribune.

Pessimists may worry that The Players’ Tribune emasculates those who would make a living interviewing athletes, but those of us in the profession must accept that modern athletes, schooled in social media, may no longer need ghost writers to express themselves.

The Dave Goldberg, the long-time NFL writer for the Associated Press, is this year’s winner of the Dick McCann Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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