DL390: Alana G of YardBarker On BwB3 and Blog Ethics

Last week, we talked with Brian Cook of MGoBlog about the panel at Blogs with Balls that focused on ethics. Go back and listen to that show, but the long and short of it was the issue that, well, some blogs don’t have any ethics and it dumbs down the entire industry for the readers and hurts the rest of us who do have ethics. (There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the gist, and most of that centers around the tete-a-tete with Spencer Hall of SB Nation and Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead.

Alana Nguyen from YardBarker was on that panel, and took a lot of heat — including from me and Cook — about her comment asking, ostensibly, why a blog has to have ethics if they don’t want to. Specifically, Alana commented on Josh Zerkle’s decision not to run a story because he didn’t want to run it without checking the facts first, to which Alana asked why it’s not okay to write the rumor, simply explaining it’s a rumor and not verifying the validity. That, rightly, got people pretty upset, and spawned a lot of discussion, including much of what Cook and I discussed.

Today, Alana joins the show to give her side of the story. Keep in mind that ethics, especially when it comes to sports blogs, is a really gray area. Spencer’s ethical issue with The Big Lead was the fact that they ran information that was made up and didn’t bother to check out a source or independently confirm a story they received in an email. Other people sent me that what Spencer did in duping TBL — albeit on April Fool’s Day — was unethical in its own right. So, as you can see, there are different kinds of ethics.

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DL380: Sports and Karma Starring Giuseppe Rossi and The Big Lead

This show is broken into two segments. First, we discuss the news that Teaneck, NJ-native Giuseppe Rossi was cut from the World Cup roster…for Italy. Yes, if you’ve been living under a soccer rock (or I suppose a rock that precludes you from seeing soccer, not one made out of soccer) you may not know that Rossi – born and raised in New Jersey – decided as a teenager to pursue a spot on the Italian national team in hopes of World Cup glory. He spurned the United States as a boy, then rubbed salt in their eyes during the Confederations Cup by scoring twice.

ESPN The Magazine featured Rossi last month and called him “America’s Best Hope At The World Cup.” Whoops. It seems Rossi didn’t make the Italian roster. He was cut. No World Cup glory for him, this time around.

Listen to our take on the show, but read more about it at .

Print’s Not Dead:

If you’re an habitual reader of sports blogs, by now you’ve read the news that The Big Lead was officially purchased by longtime sponsor Fantasy Sports Ventures. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times had the story, and mentioned, “a buyer has established a value for the blog by acquiring it for a figure in the low seven figures.”

Low seven figures. This is great news for the burgeoning, and continuing, legitimacy of sports blogs. Of course, my biggest issue — and what we discuss on the show — is why it had to be THAT sport blog? We talk about this from a media perspective, and genuinely try to figure out how to write this story without letting personal feelings creep in.

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What a holiday weekend in sports. We start with a conversation about Roy Halladay’s perfect game, but rather than discuss the game between us – full disclosure, I was watching the hockey then switched over and tracked back to watch after the fact while Nick had the foresight to watch both – we thought it would make more sense to talk with one of the men who had the opportunity to call the 20th perfect game in Major League history.

Scott Franzke, radio play-by-play man for the Phillies, joins the show to talk about that amazing performance, and what it was like in the booth. At what point did they start to think they might be witnessing something special? How was Larry Anderson during the game, and were they conscious of superstition throughout the broadcast? How many times did Franzke mention the word perfect? Did he say “perfect game” before it happened?

We also discuss the historic nature of calling something like a perfect game. After Dallas Braden’s perfect game this season, Nick and I talked about beat writers crafting the “perfect game story” knowing that more people will be reading that day than, perhaps, any other in a writer’s career. For someone doing play-by-play, Franzke doesn’t have the luxury of thinking out what he’s going to say, and hitting a delete key. So how perfect did he try to be? Did he have something in his mind for the last out should Halladay complete the perfect game?

And seriously, how nervous were they in the booth? More on this later today on The Sporting Blog.

The Weekend that Was:

Nick and I rundown the weekend in sports, including the Stanley Cup finals (and the ratings for game one that some people — looking at you John Gonzalez — thought wouldn’t be good because of the holiday). We also discuss the rest of the series, and if the Flyers should be worried or feel fine with the fact that, on the road, they were in both games.

Next, we spend a lot of time talking about the game both of us attended on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field. The U.S. men’s soccer team defeated Turkey in their final Send-off Match before heading to South Africa for the World Cup.

I worked the match for Sporting News, so we give a rundown of some of the storylines that came out of the even. I also try to convince you, Nick and myself, that soccer is now for the cool kids. If a member of the media says they don’t watch soccer now because it’s boring, that’s an old and tired meme that will, finally, make them look stupid. Soccer isn’t boring, we just weren’t any good at it. Now, we might be.


We talk about Lakers Celtics and if we’re rooting for the Lakers (and Kobe) or just rooting against everything related to Boston. We also talk about which is a more lame way to win a game, a walkoff balk or a walkoff grand slam where you break your leg.

Thanks to Scott and click here to listen…

DL378: John Ourand From SportsBusiness Journal Talks Sports Media

I’m happy to finally have John Ourand from SportsBusiness Journal on the show. It had been in the works for a while now, but when Richard Deitsch suggested I have bigger names on the show so Ourand would write about it so everyone in the industry would know to check out the show, I figured why not just cut out the middle man and have Ourand, himself.

We talk about SBJ and SBD, what the target audience is for both publications and who he, specifically, sees as competition. Also, with SBJ/SBD being behind a paywall, how has technology changed the way they do business? Obviously if they want publicity for certain stories – or traditional links on the internet – it’s hard to do that when most of the people who click through are unable to read the story. We discuss how they handle that challenge, which involves opening up some big, breaking stories to the masses in a “there’s more where this came from” kind of way.

We talk about Jerry’s World winning venue of the year, then spend a good deal of time talking about the 2104 Super Bowl that will take place in New York. Was there really as much descent as the NY media wanted us to think? Wasn’t it just OTHER media people complaining because they want to go to Florida for a week in February instead of New York? And to that point, shouldn’t the New York media want the game in Florida too? They spend the whole rest of the year cooped up in the city that never sleeps. I’m sure some of them could use that nap on the beach.

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DL376: Flyer’d Up Bandwagon, The Graying Line of Media & Dead Animals On My Lawn

We start with some talk about the Flyers making it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but in no way do we gush like we have in the past about the Phillies. We’re unabashed bandwagon hoppers this year.

Oh, we’re having a mayoral bet with Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo’s Big League Stew. What should be ask for from Chicago? We’re putting up some TastyKakes. And for the record, , but do not expect them to do so.


We talk about the Dwayne Bowe story that’s circulating from ESPN the Magazine about a chicken in every pot, or in this case, a woman in every room. Should this get him in trouble with the team? Is his “bad judgement” as Nick put it the fact that he was a part of this or that he told the media about the clandestine situation that has been going on for FIFTY YEARS? And that’s our question: when did this start to become news? Hasn’t this kind of thing happened since professional sports began, but what wasn’t news decades ago — a secret kept by the media from the public for the players — is now front-page stuff.

And this story didn’t come from a gossip blog. This was testimony in a national magazine. We discuss the transition of the media going from being on the player’s side of this imaginary line to being on the public’s.

We also touch on the story from Friday on Deadspin about the woman who defecated in a trash can (due to, what she claims, were medical circumstances). Why is that on Deadspin? Because it happened at ESPN. Nick and I take both sides of the way Craggs handled the story.

DL371: Another 12 Rounds with Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated

If this show were a boxing match, the last time Richard Deitsch was on the show, I lost on all cards. Perhaps I have been ducking him ever since. Alas, he’s on today and it’s a doozy. If you are a regular listener of our show, I’m going to assume it’s shows like this that makes the subscription worth it. At the very least, frank discussion and the occasional moment where I get put in my place is good for ones posture…or something. I think I need a raw steak to put on my eye.

We talk about Deitsch’s Media Power Rankings with includes another Levy (David) in the industry. We also talk about Ernie Harwell’s passing and how different the world of broadcasting and sports media has become. There’s a good amount of back and forth on how I’m too easy on my guests and how I complain that Jimmy Traina of SI’s Hot Clicks is a de-facto publicist for Erin Andrews, yet I’m a publicist for everyone who comes on my show. To Deitsch, there’s little difference.

We talk about Jon Gruden and wonder why people love him so much. We also dovetail that into an interesting conversation about someone’s comments on the record or sources off the record. Jay Rothman said, on the record, that he gave Gruden the last day of the draft off. But PFT wrote, and many of us heard, that Gruden didn’t want to do it — for a number of reasons — and THAT’S why Rothman gave him the day off. So, do we believe Rothman when he goes on the record, even if sources indicate otherwise?

Another example of this issue is how we figure out what the heck happened with the Dez Bryant situation. Do we believe the leak that came out from the Dolphins, which seems entirely plausible, or do we believe Bryant, who vehemently denied that version of the story when he spoke with Mike Silver of Yahoo? Silver believes Bryant because he can use his name next to the quotes. But is Bryant telling the truth? Is Ireland (or whoever the Dolphins source is)? Is going on the record equatable to being more truthful?

We talk about the Brian Cushing DPOY re-vote and discuss if the AP voters were right to do so. Doesn’t this open up a can of worms with every vote that’s ever been cast by the organization? Was this more a point to the NFL that the writers were upset that the information wasn’t given to them by the league, even though the rules of confidentiality were collectively bargained? Could it be that the MSM just wanted this handed to them, rather than doing a little leg work? Someone had to know about this failed test, right? Why didn’t this come out when it happened?

Or do I just have a big chip on my shoulder from all the years handing media people stories while they eat in the press box. And yes, as Deitsch points out, eating in the press box is MSM for writing in my parent’s basement. And no, as Deitsch points out, I’m not better than that.

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DL364: We’re Back In the Saddle Again

Hello faithful listeners. We’re back. We talk about some things today. Won’tcha come join us?

In today’s show, we talk about:
• The media horde during situations like the Virginia lacrosse murder
• Sports! Including hockey playoffs and the NBA. Well, it’s probably most about baseball, let’s be honest.
• TV! Namely a conversation using my Press Coverage column at TSB as a launching point about CNN asking viewers and readers to submit iReports, most egregiously during the investigation of the Times Square car bomb. How about this idea? Tell your fans to get the hell to Jersey, there’s a car that could explode.
• I forget to ask Nick if he has anything else and it turns out he has TWO things!

Good to be back. Click here to listen.

DL353: Breaking Down the Final Four…and more. That Rhymes…all the time(s).

Nick and I are back, no worse for the wear. We break down each of the Final Four teams. In bullets:

• Why do we, and by we I mean I, hate Duke so much? There’s more in there than just them being white guys. Not much more, but more.

• We talk about why nobody picked Michigan State to go to the Final Four, yet everyone is talking about Izzo’s 6 of the last 12 Final Fours. Why didn’t we think of that three weeks ago? Someone, I think Whitlock, said that Izzo is the best basketball coach in the country at any level. Is that fair? Is it true? Or is he a great TOURNAMENT coach?

• We talk about Tennessee shooting too soon on their last possession in that game, and as Chris Littmann tweeted today, we disagree on the idea of ever shooting too soon when your team is losing. He thinks you take the lead as quickly as you can. I think, with a team like MSU doing the same thing to Maryland last week, you milk the clock and either win or lose with the ball in your hands. I would have called timeout and ran the play to leave less time on the clock.

• I’m rooting for West Virginia. The team, not the state. I mean no ill will to those who live there. I bet I like a bunch of people from there. But let’s not turn a bunch of NYC area kids winning a few games into some grand statement about the people from that state. I’m looking at you, .

• Butler is a great story, but will there be THAT MUCH of a home-court advantage for them? Sure it’s at home, but don’t people root for the underdog everywhere? Will there be that many more fans rooting for them in the stands in Indy as there would be in New Orleans? Will Hoosier fans be so quick to jump on the Butler Bandwagon when their team is in shambles?

Inside the Press Box:

We discuss two notes from this week. The story on Mike Penner in the LA Times, and the PFT story about Tim Tebow’s autograph session and the role the Palm Beach Post played in sponsoring and covering it.


Babypool! Continue reading and listen to the show…

We’re back. Please tolerate the congestion.

Pleased to have Gary Thorne, venerable broadcaster and the voice of MLB2K10 on the show. We talk a bit about the game and the process by which he records all those sounds. I never knew they do it in a booth with no visual aids. They are basically calling an imaginary baseball game? Wait not just one game…like 70 hours of imaginary games.

We talk about the fact that Thorne isn’t given a script – that he’s hired for the way he calls the game as much as his voice – and how different the game is when there’s nothing to cross-talk about. Isn’t the cross talk what makes baseball announcing so much fun?

We discuss actual baseball as well, as I ask Thorne about the differences between calling national games and local games for the Orioles. And being in Baltimore, does he find his audience is much more dedicated, and therefore baseball savvy, than a larger audience of bandwagon jumpers may be in, say, Philadelphia or Boston? Thorne does agree that it’s important to know the audience, but not to talk over them and get to inside baseball.

Speaking of that, we do discuss the balance of stats and sabermetrics in a broadcast with the “Joe Morgan” types of announcers. Thorne’s wife has a company that trains former players to become broadcasters, so we discuss the importance “having been there” with “the numbers indicate”. What is the balance? And could it be that TV and radio – due to the audience and the time constraints of the game going on in front of you – lend themselves more to “experience” as expertise while the number crunchers can have more focus in print and other non in-game mediums?

We talk a lot about , and if it’s a viable idea for change. In fact, is any change needed? Thorne does bring up the concept of buying a championship, which you can make the case that only a handful of teams can afford to do. Of course for every Yankees (or Red Sox of Phillies) there is a Dodgers or a Cubs, who can get to the playoffs, but can’t win anything – a concept to which Thorne rightly brings up the point that getting to the playoffs has been far too marginalized in baseball. It’s still a really big deal.

Last, we talk about hockey. Well, hockey and baseball and which Thorne likes to announce more and which he thinks he is more known for. The short answer: it’s like asking him which kid he loves more.

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DL 338: American Sportswriters Return, Hockey Finale, Gander, Spying & Anderson Cooper’s Soul

If you get the chance today, please read my Press Coverage column at The Sporting Blog. It’s about 2,500 words and much of it would be stuff I’d put in the space below. So read it there, please.

Today’s show talks about the return of the American sportswriter after a long fortnight in Canada. We also talk about the hockey finale as well as Gander, Newfoundland…the new symbol for NBC’s complete lack of respect for the American sports fan.

On non-sports topics, we discuss more about the spying on your kids story from last week — I think I dug my hole deeper here — and the news that Anderson Cooper may be in line for Katie Couric’s job, which leads to my point that cable news people have no souls.

Listen to the show…