The co-author of a much-anticipated book about ESPN, Jim Miller, linked this photo to his Twitter account recently and called it the book’s working cover.:
Reading about the documentation of the manufacturing of a sports media monolith isn’t my cup of tea. That is, unless Dan Patrick is around to talk freely about his experience at ESPN, which he did for the book. (Not a coincidence he’s top left in the photo.)
Just this week the former SportsCenter anchor’s candor when it comes to his career at ESPN - and his untimely departure - was on display in a profile on the rise of his daily Direct TV show and during the show itself.
On October 25, Patrick’s show will become available on 25 more regional sports networks owned by Fox Sports, Comcast and MSG – a deal that marks the first time DirecTV has sold one of its original shows into the syndication.
And if this latest move with The Dan Patrick Show works out, he expects it won’t be long before he’s dealing with The Mothership once again. If you have a concept, they will eventually swallow it up and make it theirs,” he said. “I guess you’re supposed to take that as a compliment; ‘Wow ESPN stole your idea.’ I’ve already heard from some of their talent who are curious about how I pulled this off. I think they hope I succeed so they’ll have a place to land, too.”
Patrick hinted that his departure was at least partly due to his unwillingness to cede the uniqueness of his personality to ESPN’s fastidious, branding overlords:
While some at ESPN may act as if they supported the franchise which eventually helped define the network from Day One, Patrick remembers it differently. He talked of being reprimanded for acting on air as if they were bigger than the network, warned to stop calling their program “The Big Show” and instead remind viewers “This is SportsCenter.”
(They wound up saying the phrase in such a sarcastically overblown way, it became a catchphrase in ways the executives hardly intended.)
“I remember walking out of that meeting saying ‘I’ve got three kids; I can’t get fired,’” Patrick said. “Olbermann looked over and said ‘F— ‘em.’ He gave me the guts to let me be who I was. And it should have been embraced a lot more than it was.”
So in 2007, Patrick decided to close the book on 18 years in Bristol, Conn., and move on, building a new show that broadcasts in a studio one mile from his house and allows him to be at home for dinner almost every night.
Then there was Patrick this week referring on his show to ESPN’s practice of “confirming” news broken by other main media outlets. Patrick cited ESPN’s most-recent poaching of the news of the Randy Moss trade - which was reported first by Jay Glazer of FOX Sports. Read more…
Noting that Glazer now trains NFL players in the art of MMA, Sandomir observed:
Glazer’s arrangement is unusual, at best, and raises questions about how he balances his competing interests. While some N.F.L. reporters and sportscasters cover the sport for more than one news media outlet, Glazer reports on some of the same players and teams who pay him for his training expertise.
In polling Fox, the NFL league office and NFL players and coaches, Sandomir was unable to find anyone who objected to Glazer’s arrangement.
Journalism ethics expert Bob Steele of the Poynter Institute though did raise questions about Glazer’s situation:
“You can only scrutinize what he reports. But you can’t scrutinize what he does not report, so we don’t know what he didn’t ask an athlete. He might be making legitimate journalistic choices, but you can’t tell because you can’t see beneath the surface.”
That’s as deep as the criticism went of Glazer in the New York Times piece.
Though in a recent blog post on his personal website, successful author and former Sports Illustrated reporter Jeff Pearlman wasn’t nearly so kind.
When he’s not reporting on NFL players and teams, Glazer, ahem, works for NFL players and teams. Literally. He is a mixed martial arts trainer whose clients include two franchises (the Falcons and Rams) and, apparently, dozens of players, ranging from Ryan Grant to Patrick Willis to Matt Leinart. As in, they pay him for his services.
This, journalistically, is a joke. An embarrassing, pathetic, worst-of-its-kind joke.
Sources close to the situation told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that representatives for the Titans running back and Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica have spent recent days trying to set up a race between the two men to determine who really is the world’s fastest human.
The race would be used to raise money for charity.
But Bolt’s agent Ricky Simmssaid after the report that not only was ESPN’s story untrue, but he hinted that Bolt might not even know who Johnson is. Read more…
Amid yesterday’s unmentionable unfortunateness was vindication for FOX SPORTS’ Jay Glazer. When he’s not being Michael Strahan’s little bobo and riding around on his back, Glazer’s making a name for himself as the best reporter in the NFL, consistently sonning ESPN’s cadre of mic-holding talking heads.
(This? This is his fightin’ beard!)
That dynamic came to a head earlier this weekend when ESPN was showing preseason games and the announcers began trying to mock and marginalize Glazer for his reports that Minnesota was still going to sign Sports Voldemort. Obviously, that blew up in their faces, but the sentiment wasn’t lost on Glazer. His totally reasonable response? “Why don’t you say it with your fists!”
I guess with all the trade deadline rumors about deals that did or didn’t happen, it’s kind of easy to overlook the most important thing in baseball: the standings. Because the story no one seems to be talking about is the fact that the best records in each league belong to teams in Southern California, setting up a real possibility of the first-ever Freeway Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the…let’s just call them the Angels.
Both teams looked the part of World Series contenders on Sunday. In Atlanta, the Dodgers used a three-run homer by Matt Kempto pound the Braves 9-1; meanwhile, the Angels hammered the Twins 13-4 to complete a three-game road sweep where they scored 35 runs. And while not everything is 100 percent for either team (Chad Billingsley left his start early with cramps during the Dodgers’ win, while Vladimir Guerrero suddenly turned 150 years old this season for the Angels), there’s at least a strong possibility of an all-LA (kinda, sorta) World Series.
And as a baseball fan living in Los Angeles, here’s my feeling on this: I hope to God this doesn’t happen. The first reason is selfish: I have to drive past Dodger Stadium every day for work - it’s almost impossible for a Tuesday night game against Florida, so I can’t imagine what a World Series game against the Angels would be like. A 30-minute commute turning into a two-hour nightmare? No thanks.
But more importantly, I’d have to hear weeks of coverage about the series as if it’s a real, heated rivalry. Which would make my head explode, because it just isn’t. This isn’t Red Sox vs. Yankees, with real, palpable hatred. Or even Yankees vs. Mets or Cubs vs. White Sox, both of which are city rivalries with loads of class, race and societal baggage (in that who you root for speaks volumes about who you are and where you came from).
Dodgers vs. Angels has none of this. People root for one or the other based on which ballpark was closer to them growing up. (Fortunately, the area that is equidistant from Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium is the mini-mall and warehouse-filled patch of nothingness called Norwalk.) If Dodger fans think about the Angels at all, it’s with a dismissive chuckle. Meanwhile, Angels fans will quickly point out who has the last World Series title while secretly grimacing at the whole “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” fiasco.
If you’re a big NFL fan near Troy, NY tonight, you might want to check out some minor-league baseball as the Tri-Cities ValleyCats take on the Oneonta Tigers. Why? Because SI’s Peter King is going to be throwing out the first pitch and hanging out with fans to talk about the upcoming season, along with a host of NFL experts including NFL.COM’s Adam Schefter, Sporting News’ Albert Breer, NY Giants radio voice Bob Papa and Redskins lineman Ross Tucker.
The CHICAGO TRIBUNE breathlessly reports that Jay Cutlercompleted his first 12 passes during 7-on-7 drills at camp yesterday. Although to be fair, Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman probably couldn’t complete 12 passes back and forth to each other.
Formula One driver Jensen Button spent part of his break from racing competing in the London Triathlon, where he set a personal best. I would have spent the time watching his girlfriend Jessica Michibata giving her personal best while modeling bikinis on a beach in Japan.
Letdown City: the rally car racing final at the X Games gets stopped halfway through when Travis Pastrana wrecks his car, handing the win to former Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack. To celebrate, Brack knocked back a tall glass of ice cold Red Bull and milk.
I guess you could say that the Red Sox’s trade for Victor Martinez has paid some early dividends: he went 5-for-6 in Boston’s 18-10 win over Baltimore. Too bad Clay Buchholz is still not very good at pitching to big league hitters.
Three quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the 2006 draft: Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler. Of the three, Leinart has taken the brunt of the criticism during their two-plus years in the league (and that happens when you can’t beat out an old man for a job), but Young’s not far behind.
The former Texas star is still basically a glorified runner who occasionally throws the ball — not with much accuracy, I might add — and who also battles the occasional temper tantrum. And yesterday’s game against the Jaguars perfectly encapsulated all those lovable qualities. Young took himself out of the game, apparently refused to go back in, and when he did, he was promptly injured. God works in mysterious ways, indeed:
The first prayer hastily muttered by Giants head coach Tom Coughlin after defensive end Osi Umenyiora was carted out of the stadium with a knee injury last weekend: “Dear Lord, let Osi be alright ’cause we’re really gonna need him this season…”
Promptly followed by: “… but just in case you see fit to hobble him indefinitely, let Brett Favre’s spirit move over Michael Strahan as we try to talk him out of retirement.”
Umenyiora’s out for the season, which means that the Giants will be without their best pass rusher. Just so happens, there’s a pretty good one still available, even though he no longer plays football and is now in the employ of Fox Sports. Semantics, apparently.