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MLB-NetworkFormer major leaguers Cliff Floyd and Joey Cora have joined MLB Network as analysts.

Floyd had 1,479 hits, 233 home runs and 865 RBIs in a 17-year career with the Expos, Marlins, Red Sox, Mets, Cubs, Rays and Padres. He debut at 8 p.m. Monday, April 15, on “MLB Tonight.” He was a National League all-star in 2001 for the Marlins. He has been a host on “SiriusXM Fantasy Baseball” since 2011 and works as a pre- and postgame analyst for Marlins games on Fox Sports Florida.

Cora, who will begin his MLB Network work May 6, collected 1,035 hits, 624 runs and 294 RBI in his 11-year career with the Padres, White Sox, Mariners and Indianas. He was an American League all-star second baseman with the Mariners in 1997. Cora managed in the Mets’ minor-league system before serving as third-base coach and bench coach for the White Sox (2004-2011). He also was bench coach for the 2012 Marlins.

Cora and Floyd join former major leaguers Larry Bowa, Eric Byrnes, Sean Casey, Darryl Hamilton, John Hart, Jim Kaat, Al Leiter, Mike Lowell, Joe Magrane, Jerry Manuel, Kevin Millar, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds, Billy Ripken, John Smoltz, Dave Valle and Mitch Williams as analysts at MLB Network.

Read more at the Albany Times Union where this story was originally published.

2012 Nantz Award presentation

2012 Nantz Award presentation

(April 8, 2013) Two names have been added to the Watch List for the 2013 Jim Nantz Award, presented by Sportscasters Talent Agency of America. Senior Ross Lippman of Emerson College in Boston and freshman Connor Shreve of Denver’s Metro State University bring to 15 the list of leading contenders for the prestigious award. The deadline to apply is this Friday, April 12th.

The Watch List is comprised primarily, but not exclusively, of student sportscasters who earned Top 20 or Honorable Mention recognition in last year’s rankings, or have already had their applications reviewed for the 2013 award. However, there is no guarantee the 2013 Jim Nantz Award winner is included on this list.

The STAA All-America program recognizes the most outstanding collegiate radio and TV sportscasters in the country and encourages collegiate sportscasters nationwide to strive to achieve their best. Each spring, the nation’s most outstanding collegiate sportscaster is presented the Jim Nantz Award, named in honor of the award-winning CBS sports broadcaster.

Awards include the Jim Nantz Trophy, STAA memberships and All-America certificates. In addition, the Nantz Award winner will also receive hotel accommodations and admission to all the activities of the 2013 National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) awards weekend June 7th thru 10th in Salisbury, NC, culminating in the NSSA awards banquet.

Applications for the 2013 Jim Nantz Award are being accepted through April 12th, 2013. The 2013 Nantz Award winner and STAA All-Americans will be announced May 10th. The Nantz trophy will be presented at the NSSA banquet. Complete details are available at www.staatalent.com/all-america-program.

Below is the 2013 Watch List (in alphabetical order by last name):

Dale Armbruster (Jr, John Carroll U.)
Greg Brzozowski (Sr, Elon)
Kevin Dexter (Sr, Hofstra)
Ryan Foutty (Sr, DePauw)
Alex Gold (Sr, Kansas)
Brendan Gulick (Sr, John Carroll U.)
Andrew Kanell (Sr, Syracuse)
Chris Lewis (Sr, Syracuse)
Ross Lippman (Sr. Emerson College)
Tommy Lopez (Sr. Virginia Commonwealth)
John Nash (Sr, Santa Clara U.)
John Nolan (Sr, Syracuse)
Connor Shreve (Fr, Metro State University)
Greg Talbott (Sr, Gonzaga)

Jack Ramsay to retire

April 8, 2013
Courtesy of Fox Sports Florida

jack_ramsayFor more than 60 years, Jack Ramsay has had jobs in basketball. For nearly a half century, he’s been a general manager, coach and broadcaster in the NBA.

But the time finally has come that Ramsay, 88, is likely to step away.

Since the mid-1990s, the Hall of Famer has been an NBA analyst for ESPN Radio. But he said Wednesday he has told ESPN officials he likely will not return next season.

“I think this will be my last year,’’ Ramsay, a Naples, Fla., resident who once was a Miami Heat television analyst, said in a phone interview with FOX Sports Florida.

Ramsay, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999 and with melanoma in 2004, said his health is generally good and his decision to step away is not yet final. But he said he likely will do so because of no longer being able to work with play-by-play man Jim Durham, who died in November at 65.

“It’s not quite the same,’’ said Ramsay, who has worked with different partners this season on ESPN Radio. “I did it all these years with one partner, Jim Durham, and he passed away after the first game this year. We had a great rapport and I really enjoyed working with him, and working with him is really why I extended my tour of duty.’’

When Durham died, it was extremely tough on Ramsay. The final game Durham had worked was alongside Ramsay for the Oct. 30, 2012, regular-season opener between Boston and Miami at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“It was very hard,’’ Ramsay said. “He was not only a great broadcaster but a great friend, and it was very difficult.’’

Announcers Ramsay have been paired these season include Kevin Calabro, Marc Kestecher and Dave Flemming. While he respects all of them, Ramsay long has called Durham the best basketball radio play-by-play man ever.

“These are very good guys that I work with, but they’re not Jim Durham,’’ said Ramsay, who coached the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA title and is affectionately known as “Dr. Jack’’ due to his doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania. “Nobody is …. I’ve always believed Jim was the best, and nobody has convinced me otherwise.’’

Ramsay, who is committed to continue his radio work at least through the NBA Finals in June, does a few games each week, having most recently done Tuesday’s New York at Miami meeting. He doesn’t know what he would do to occupy his time if not working regularly in the NBA and admits it might be weird not having a basketball job as his occupation.

“I’ve really enjoyed the contact with the players and coaches,’’ Ramsay said of being a broadcaster. “It’s been a fun job …. Hopefully, I’ll find something (to do following retirement).’’

Ramsay fought a successful battle with prostrate cancer before he was diagnosed with melanoma in 2004. He had told the New York Times in 2010 he was “not expected to live.’’

Ramsay, who always has stayed in great shape and competed in triathlons until he was 70, has recovered. But he still must keep a close eye on his health.

“I’m still taking treatments and still getting check-ups,’’ Ramsay said. “Melanoma is so erratic that you never really know. I’ve had it all over (his body).’’

Ramsay has followed the NBA closely since the league began in 1946, and the Warriors played in his native Philadelphia. After having coached in high school and in the minor leagues, Ramsay took over as coach at St. Joseph’s University in 1955. He entered the NBA in 1966 as general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, and they won the championship in his first season.

Ramsay became an NBA coach in 1968 with the 76ers. He ended up coaching for 21 seasons, compiling a 864-783 record while also with the Buffalo Braves, Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers.

After retiring as a coach early in the 1988-89 season at age 63, Ramsay went into broadcasting. He was the Heat television analyst from 1992-2000, a period that included Micky Arison taking control of the team as owner from father Ted Arison in 1995.

When Ramsay celebrated his 88th birthday in February, Arison tweeted, “My 1st basketball advice when I took control of the @MiamiHEAT came from Dr Jack. Happy birthday Jack Ramsey 88 yrs young today.’’

Told about Arison’s tweet, Ramsay said he met with Arison, who is CEO of Carnival Corporation, shortly after he had taken control of the Heat.

“He said he’d like to sit down and have a talk about the NBA and basketball,’’ Ramsay recalled. “So I went to his office and we talked for a couple of hours about my perspective of the NBA. He had high ambitions right from the start. I started the conversation by saying, ‘Well, first of all, the NBA is big business.’ And he put his hands up and said, ‘Wait a minute.’ And he points to the Carnival ship models around the office and said, ‘That’s big business. Compared to that, the NBA is way down there.’ ’’

Ramsay was able to convince Arison that perhaps the NBA was bigger business than the owner had thought. He also recalled Arison saying to him then he wanted to lure Pat Riley to South Florida.

“I remember him saying in that first meeting he wanted to bring in Pat Riley as coach and Riley was coaching the Knicks at the time,’’ Ramsay said. “I said, ‘Wow. I don’t know how you’re going to do that.’ ’’

Well, Arison did it. And Riley led the Heat to the NBA title in 2006 as coach and assembled the team as president that won last year’s title.

When Ramsay is at AmericanAirlines Arena, he said Arison regularly stops by the broadcasting station to say hello. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, who has known Ramsay since he was a kid, also makes it a point to greet “Dr. Jack.’’

“I met him in Portland when he was 10,’’ Ramsay said of Spoelstra, whose father Jon Spoelstra than was a Trail Blazers executive. “He used to come to practices on the weekends. I used to get him to try to drive by me (on the court).’’

Ramsay said Spoelstra earlier this season showed him a picture he had taken with Ramsay about 30 years ago, and he got a kick out of it. Ramsay had become an NBA colleague of Spoelstra’s in 1995 after Spoelstra was hired by the Heat as video coordinator.

For now, Ramsay is trying to decide with his NBA Coach of the Year vote whether to go with Spoelstra or Memphis’ Lionel Hollins, who played on Ramsay’s title team in Portland. Ramsay gets a ballot due to being a member of the media, and said “both have done amazing jobs this year.’’

It figures to the last time, though, Ramsay has a vote. As the season wears down, there figure to be a lot of finalities for Ramsay, who has been grateful at being able to get into broadcasting and extend his NBA career well into his 80s.

“It’s been a great ride,’’ he said.

Read more at Fox Sports Florida where this story was originally published.

fox-sports-networkThe plaintiff Jerry Davis alleges in a lawsuit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court that the Fox Sports Corporate Group currently employs 34 executives above the VP level – and not one of them is black. “Indeed, to the best of Mr. Davis’s knowledge, no Black person has ever held any position at or above vice president in that division’s entire 19-year existence. Representation of Black individuals in leadership positions in other sports divisions at FOX is, and always has been, similarly abysmal. During the course of its existence, Fox Sports, through its various divisions and entities, has intentionally maintained a practice of directly and indirectly favoring the hiring and/or promotion of non-Black and non-minority employees at senior levels without any legitimate reason. Mr. Davis is a direct victim of this discriminatory practice.”

Davis’ lawsuit describes himself as a 52-year-old African-American man, Berkeley grad, star athlete, and experienced music professional who was employed by Fox Sports for 15 1/2-years (from August 1997 to February 2013) as a director in the Fox Sports music department. During that time, the job over him, the Fox Sports VP Of Music position, became vacant four times. “However, despite his repeated and express interest in the position, his superior education, skills, and performance as well as strong support from senior-level colleagues of various Fox music departments and other FOX Sports departments, Mr. Davis was denied the promotion each and every time. Fox Sports denied Mr. Davis the promotion each time because, as a Black man, he did not fit neatly into the company’s corporate culture.” Davis maintains he did not receive a single promotion during his entire career at Fox Sports because of his race. He charges that recently Fox Sports reduced his responsibilities and eliminated his position while he was on disability leave. He is suing Fox Cable Network Services, Fox Sports Net, and Fox Networks Group in addition to Fox Sports. Before resorting to the courts, Davis filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Read more at Deadline Hollywood where this story was originally published.

johnny-esawThe man considered Canada’s ambassador of amateur sports, who brought football, figure skating and the Olympic Games into the nation’s living rooms, has died.

Johnny Esaw died Saturday in Toronto after suffering from respiratory problems, his former employer CTV said Sunday.

The award-winning sportscaster was a longtime member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, which describes him as “a pioneer, an innovator, and a fervent supporter of our nation’s sporting achievements.”

Esaw “was at the forefront of sports broadcasting in Canada and around the world for more than 40 years,” the organization says.

He was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2004.

Born in North Battleford, Sask., Esaw started his radio career in his home province before moving east.

He made the switch to TV in the 1960s, becoming sports director for CTV’s Toronto station.

The first colour telecast of a hockey game — from Vienna — was produced by Esaw in 1967.

The beloved broadcaster also convinced the network to carry figure skating at a time when hockey was king, saying the sport would appeal to viewers.

The move earned him the recognition of the Canadian FIgure Skating Association, which continues to dole out a bursary in his name.

Esaw rose through the ranks until landing the role of vice-president of CTV Sports in 1974, a job he held for 16 years before he retired.

Read more at The Chronicle Herald where this story was originally published.

Q&A with Aaron Goldsmith

April 8, 2013
Courtesy of The Olympian

aaron-GoldsmithAaron Goldsmith has gone from the minor leagues — calling games as the lead announcer for the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox last season — to broadcasting from Safeco Field tonight as the new radio announcer for the Seattle Mariners.

The 29-year-old joins lead announcer Rick Rizzs in the press box, recognizing he has big spikes to fill in replacing legendary announcer Dave Niehaus, who died in 2010.

Goldsmith spent spring training getting used to broadcasting for the team and now has a week of regular-season games under his belt in preparation for the first home game of the season.

He brings a “just happy to be here” attitude and a love of seafood to Seattle.

Q: Can you tell us about spring training?

A: It was a lot of fun. It was a great opportunity for me to get to know the team and to get to know the guys a little bit, and probably even more so than that, it gave me a chance to really get to know my new broadcast partner, Rick Rizzs, really well.

It helped us form a good relationship on the air and off the air, and it really set the perfect tone for opening day.

It’s so important from an on-air standpoint to learn how to dance with your partner on air.

Rick and I have become great friends.

It’s just that act of sitting next to that guy for three hours a day for 30 games in a row that is necessary.

Listeners can tell if you’re not friends, if you don’t get along. I’m going to see Rick more than I’ll see my wife for the next six months.

Q: Can you describe opening day? That has to be different than spring training for you.

A: Obviously the ballpark is five times the size or whatever it may be, and there’s all kinds of excitement in the air. Fireworks going off for the starting lineups.

The funny thing for me, I suppose, is that (O.co Coliseum in Oakland) doesn’t exactly have a great reputation of being a premier ballpark in the major leagues. But for me, I thought it was the best ballpark that I’ve ever been to, because of the situation that I was at.

It was fine by me to start off at the coliseum, because that was the most exciting baseball game that I’ve ever seen in my life, in person. Felix (Hernandez) had a big part in that. He was fantastic for nearly eight innings. But obviously, that’s the first time I’ve ever called my first big league ballgame. It’s something I just tried to soak up with every pitch, and I trust it’s something that I’ll never forget.

Q: What do you think got you the big league job?

A: I think the thing that I’ve tried to work on more than anything else over the years is simply to be easy to listen to. When you’re doing 162 games and you’re broadcasting a handful of innings every night, fans take you into their homes. They take you into their cars, into their work. They take you with them wherever they are.

For people to be able to turn on the radio and want to hear you talk about their favorite team is tough. So whether it be pace or tone or cadence or humor, those are all some of the ingredients that I’ve tried to put into being easy to listen to.

If someone isn’t an easy listen in this game, they’re not going to last very long.

Q: Can you describe the experiences that led you to the Mariners?

A: I didn’t exactly have a direct path to Seattle. I bounced around the minor leagues for six years.

I hear people say that I got to the major leagues quickly. I suppose if you look at it on paper you can make the case for that. But when you’re living it and you’re in the minor leagues, going from one seasonal job to the other, you’re not making any money. You don’t know if you’re doing a good job or not, and you’re going into debt. You’re in one part of the country one season and a completely different part of the country the next season, and you don’t know anybody, and your family is all out of town. It can feel like a long time.

I still have very vivid memories of making $70 a month in this business, working for free as a completely unpaid intern 1,500 miles across the country from where my friends and family were.

I think one of the reasons why I’m here today is my willingness to go wherever it was that offered me a job. And I learned very early on that I could not afford to be picky. Because I was not very good when I started off.

You’ve got to show up. That’s 90 percent of it. And I showed up wherever it was that gave me a microphone.

Q: When did you know this was what you wanted to do? Who or what influenced you?

A: I’ve always loved baseball. For a number of years when I was in college, I knew sports was the field I wanted to work in.

About a month before I graduated college, I woke up one morning and I had a thought, and it was: “Boy, if I could get paid to talk about sports on the radio, that would be a pretty nice gig.”

My mother for years always said that I should get into radio. And like every son, I ignored virtually half of the things that she said.

I’m sure it was her voice that I heard in my head when I woke up that morning.

I went to a trade school in St. Louis after I graduated.

I worked retail and nights, and I went to school in the morning. It was really a school for DJs. I knew nothing about radio. I didn’t have any idea what to do with a microphone in front of my face.

They taught me the basics.

I made my first demo tape calling Division III women’s basketball from the rafters into an honest-to-goodness tape deck, with a cassette tape and microphone. It took me six games to get five minutes of uninterrupted play-by-play that wasn’t atrocious, that was just barely listenable.

Q: Can you tell us about your early interest in the game?

A: I grew up in St. Louis, which is obviously a terrific baseball town. In St. Louis there was a gentleman named Jack Buck, and Jack Buck is one of the greatest baseball broadcasters of all time. I went to his memorial service at Busch Stadium on a sweltering hot summer day.

Jack Buck was the guy that I probably heard more than anyone else on the radio growing up. But all the time when I was listening, I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that one day I’d be doing the same job. Not nearly to his high standards, but at least the same job.

Looking back on it, it makes a lot of sense. But at the time, I was just a fan who loved my home team.

Q: Can you talk about the legacy that you’re stepping into, given your predecessor?

A: I never would have thought that there could be a city that loves one of their broadcasters more than St. Louis loves Jack Buck, and then I come to Seattle, and now I don’t know if there’s a city in America that loves their greatest broadcaster of all time more than Seattle loves Dave Niehaus.

I’ve had such a terrific time learning about Dave.

The good news for me, and the good news for Mariners fans, is that nobody is replacing Dave Niehaus. And nobody ever wants to, and it’s impossible.

The man’s in the Hall of Fame.

Q: What do you do for fun, outside of your career?

A: I love to cook. Unfortunately, I don’t get to do it for about six months of the year during baseball season. There was a time when I was pretty close to going to culinary school, believe it or not.

I love seafood, so I could not be more thrilled to be living on the other coast.

To me, there’s few things outside of sports more exciting than going to a top-notch seafood market.

When I’m not cooking my own food, I love Mexican food. You can find me at a Chipotle at least once or twice a week. That’s my go-to spot.

Q: Any moments on the job so far that have been either funny or daunting?

A: Well, we weren’t quite sure we were going to make it out of spring training alive. The first road game of the spring, we had a foul ball that came back and blew up our producer’s computer. A few days later, Rick was walking during batting practice and got hit by a foul ball. Before all of that, Rick’s windshield got hit by a foul ball during batting practice, like the second day of spring training. When we were in Scottsdale calling a game, Brendan Ryan hit a foul ball that went right to me. It slipped right through my hands in the booth.

We were just grateful to make it out of spring training alive.

We all had targets on us.

Now that we’re in big league ballparks, we’re a lot higher up.

Read more at The Olympian where this story was originally published.

McCarthy-TomTom McCarthy is in the sixth year of his second tour of duty with the Phillies doing television play-by-play. In his first stint with the club, he spent five seasons (2001 to 2005) hosting the pre- and postgame radio shows, while also doing radio play-by-play.

I caught up with Tom during spring training in Clearwater, Fla. What follows is a question-and-answer session with McCarthy, who broke into the business doing radio play-by-play for the minor league Trenton Thunder from 1994 to 2004.

Eric Stark: When did you feel comfortable being the voice of the Phillies doing play-by-play?

Tom McCarthy: I guess I don’t look at myself as the voice of the team, because on radio we have a great voice in Scott Franzke, who is one of my best friends. I kind of look at us as just one of the group. I am a radio guy, just doing TV.

Scott and I are similar in age, and I think as we do this more, we’ll become more comfortable with what our abilities are, and with that comes more confidence that this is who I am.

ES: You started off as a sideline reporter, but then took over for Harry Kalas. How much of a challenge was that?

TM: The thought was, when I came back from the Mets, that I would eventually take over for Harry, whenever Harry decided to retire. We thought 10 years down the road. He earned the right to dictate when he wanted to go.

I guess I never looked at it as replacing, but as being the next guy there. Harry’s style is so different than any young broadcaster’s style. He always told me to try and be myself and not try to be someone else.

ES: What are the challenges switching from radio to television?

TM: With television, it is a little bit less of the play-by-play guy and more of the color analyst. On radio, it’s more of the play-by-play guy and less of the analyst, if that makes any sense. For me it was saying things in fewer words and not saying things when the pictures can tell the story. That’s still a challenge for me.

ES: I noticed with the Phillies that you have to mix in a lot more advertising into the game action.

TM: That’s every sport we do now. Fortunately, I have an unbelievably talented truck telling me what to say in my ear. They make it very easy for me.

ES: Is that frustrating to read advertising during the live action?

TM: No. I think the biggest thing is having patience. I might have to do it here, but there is going to be time to do other things as the game goes on. From a listener’s standpoint and a viewer’s standpoint, you probably sit there and say, “Let’s just watch the game.” I know I would be that way as a fan. But it is part of it. In the NFL, I have so many more advertisements to read, from being in the Red Zone, to the drive of the game, to this field goal is sponsored by… I have a stack of cards.

ES: You do a nice job of asking your analysts questions during games. How much do you prepare for those conversations?

TM: Sometimes with Sarge [Gary Matthews] we talk before he goes on. Like with Darin Ruf’s defense on fly balls, I will say, Gary think about how you want to talk about this and I will lead you in. But I’d say 90 percent is unscripted.

ES: Heard you this year with NFL games. How do you enjoy broadcasting the NFL?

TM: I absolutely love it. It is one of the best things I do. I love the pacing of football on radio. I love the energy of the NFL. I thought when I went from college to the NFL that I would miss the pomp and circumstance of college, and I do to a certain extent. But I love doing a different NFL game every week.

Read more at Lancaster Online where this story was originally published.

And a third thing: On Fox Sports Southwest, play-by-play voice Steve Busby wasn’t shy about using “Yu Darvish” and “perfect” in the same sentence.

He proclaimed Darvish “perfect through eight” and followed up in the ninth with “Yu Darvish looked to be perfect the whole way.” He mentioned Kenny Rogers and announced there also had been five previous no-hitters in Rangers history.

Cleanup: ESPN’s Dan Shulman, who will call play-by-play of Rangers-Angels on Sunday, said although his primary job “is to inform people what is going on in a game,” if ever presented with the possibility, he would be cautious about saying “perfect game” before it was in the books.

“I might dance around it a little,” Shulman said. “I could say ‘there have been 26 batters up, 26 down’ or ‘we have nothing but zeroes on the board.’”

Shulman, Orel Hershiser and John Kruk, the latest in ESPN baseball booths, may prove to be the best since the effort debuted in 1990. Jon Miller was burdened by Joe Morgan for two decades.

In 2011, Bobby Valentine joined Shulman and Hershiser. In 2012, Valentine replaced Terry Francona as manager of the Boston Red Sox while Francona moved to the ESPN booth, only to leave after one season to manage the Cleveland Indians.

Temporarily out-of-work managers or coaches are never ideal broadcasters. Candor is an issue for those whose hearts remain in the dugout or the sideline.

Hershiser, a pitching maven, and Kruk, a lifetime .300 hitter, appear to be in broadcasting for the long run. Shulman is ESPN’s rising play-by-play star. Their work during the Rangers-Houston Astros opener was spot-on. Expect no less in Sunday’s return performance.

Taking the fifth: Hershiser, a Cy Young Award winner with 204 major league victories and time as the Rangers’ pitching coach, is a huge fan of Darvish. He started studying Darvish as soon as he signed with the Rangers. He immediately liked what he saw.

Said Hershiser: “He has the best and most highly refined mechanics I’ve seen in a Japanese pitcher. He has an exceptionally strong arm. Most people don’t think of him as a power pitcher.

“But he throws 95 miles per hour from the stretch. But since he is willing to throw any pitch at any time regardless of the count, people don’t think of him as a power pitcher. When I was in Japan. I talked to a lot of coaches and scouts, and for them the definition of being ‘the man’ on the mound is being able to throw any pitch on any count.”

Sixth sense: Another Darvish plus, according to Hershiser, is the 27 mph differential in speeds. Darvish’s slow curve clocks in at about 70 mph and his fastball can hit 97 mph. That’s 10 mph more than most major league pitchers.

Seventh-inning stretch: When Hershiser talks to Darvish on Saturday, among other things, he will ask the pitcher to show him all of his grips. Hershiser is not sure if a translator will be necessary.

“I hear he can speak English and understands it pretty well,” Hershiser said. “I played with Fernando Valenzuela and Chan Ho Park. They used interpreters because it offered them nice little protection. It’s a little bit of a game they played to provide protection. Behind closed doors, it was amazing how good their English was.”

Read more at the Dallas Morning News where this story was originally published.

DC-United-LogoD.C. United has reached a long-awaited — and long-term — agreement with Comcast SportsNet, but coverage will not begin until May 8 and no matches are currently on the outlet’s schedule after Sept. 15.

The three-year deal calls for at least 16 matches annually. Every other U.S.-based MLS club, except Chivas USA, will have 21 or more games on local channels this season.

In addition to CSN’s coverage, United will appear on NBC, NBC Sports Network or ESPN2 nine times this year. However, that leaves as many as nine other matches — more than one-quarter of the 34-game slate — without standard TV coverage. Of those nine, five are road games, including this Friday night against Sporting Kansas City.

United might add TV for some games late in the year, depending on CSN’s interest and how the team is faring. However, as things stand at the moment, five of the last 10 regular season matches will not be televised.

The next two games — Friday at K.C. and April 13 against New York at RFK Stadium — will be available in the Washington area on the league’s pay packages only (Direct Kick and MLS Live). Because the games are not on TV here, the league’s blackout rules are lifted. Viewing parties are scheduled at restaurants/bars, as well.

ESPN2 will carry the April 21 home game against Philadelphia, but the Columbus trip six days later is not on the local TV schedule.

CSN will then show 14 consecutive matches between May 8 and Aug. 3.

The outlet will not pay a rights fee — it hasn’t in several years — but will cover production costs. The team and channel split expenses the past few seasons.

Dave Johnson and John Harkes will return to the broadcast booth but won’t travel and will have to call away games from the CSN studio in Bethesda, Md.

United aimed to tie supplementary programming (a coach’s show and behind-the-scenes specials, for instance) to the new broadcast contract, but aside from periodic pregame and postgame shows, those plans apparently did not come to immediate fruition. However, concepts for original programming are in development.

The remaining schedule:

April 5 at Kansas City no standard TV
April 13 New York no standard TV
April 21 Philadelphia ESPN2
April 27 at Columbus no standard TV
May 8 Houston Comcast SportsNet
May 11 at Dallas CSN
May 19 Kansas City CSN, UniMas
May 25 Portland CSN, Univision Deportes
June 2 at Chicago CSN, UniMas
June 8 at New England CSN, Univision Deportes
June 15 Toronto CSN
June 22 San Jose CSN
June 29 Vancouver CSN
July 3 at Seattle CSN
July 7 at Colorado CSN
July 20 at Chicago CSN
July 27 New England CSN
Aug. 3 Montreal CSN
Aug. 10 at Philadelphia NBC Sports Network
Aug. 17 at Montreal CSN
Aug. 24 Toronto no standard TV
Aug. 31 at New York NBC Sports Network
Sept. 8 at Chivas USA no standard TV
Sept. 15 Los Angeles CSN, UniMas
Sept. 21 at New England no standard TV
Sept. 28 at Toronto no standard TV
Oct. 4 Chicago NBC Sports Network
Oct. 12 Philadelphia no standard TV
Oct. 18 at Kansas City NBC Sports Network
Oct. 27 Houston NBC

Read more at the Washington Post where this story was originally published.

lara-logan-290We’re used to seeing CBS newswoman Lara Logan in the world’s hot spots: Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan.

But Bristol, Conn.?

On Wednesday, the globetrotting “60 Minutes” correspondent will add the home of ESPN to the list as she profiles sportscaster Chris Berman in the April edition of Showtime’s “60 Minutes Sports” (where he tells her that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens deserve the Hall of Fame).

“60 Minutes Sports”? Lara Logan?

Covering sports isn’t “totally new” for her, the CBS chief foreign-affairs correspondent said after a Showtime news conference in January, citing the piece about rock climber Alex Honnold that she’d done for “60 Minutes.”

But the reporters at the long-running news magazine are being asked to do more of it.

“These days, Jeff Fager ["60 Minutes" executive producer and CBS News chairman], when you call him up to talk to him about Mali or Benghazi . . . he’s like, ‘Uh, can we talk about that later? What sports stories are you working on?’ Like literally. Literally!” she said, laughing.

“I do like to do it. It’s kind of liberating, too, because Showtime, being longer and being ’60 [Minutes] Sports,’ you can do some stories there that you might not have been able to do at ’60 Minutes.’ “

Logan, who grew up in South Africa and went to work for a newspaper there at 17, said that she’d done “tons of cricket and rugby stories,” including the one that inspired the film “Invictus,” about Nelson Mandela and the 1995 rugby World Cup.

As for American sports, “I’ve been working for an American company for more than 10 years. My ex-husband was a professional basketball player in Europe, so basketball’s probably the sport I know the most about, from being at many, many, many games and learning about it from him, as a player.

“And living in America, you know, it’s all around you. I would never pretend to be anything that I’m not – I’m not a sports person, I’m not a sports expert. There’ll be some stories that Armen [Keteyian] is far more qualified to do than me, so I wouldn’t attempt them, you know what I mean?

“But when Ed Bradley did Michael Jordan, he didn’t do Michael Jordan because [Bradley] was a basketball expert, he did Michael Jordan because he’s one of the greatest sportsmen of all time.”

A competitive swimmer in school, Logan said that she used to vomit before races, she was so nervous. She eventually forged a doctor’s note that said “I had an irregular heartbeat and . . . I never swam again.”

She’s gotten tougher.

Because – though Logan told a reporter who’d asked how she leaves her children (a son, 4, and a daughter, 3) behind for dangerous assignments, “Honestly, I don’t think I could do it without Valium and red wine” – she mentioned a recent bout with breast cancer almost casually and only in the context of probably not making her quota of “60 Minutes” stories this year. (“Everything’s fine” on the cancer front, she said.)

She also didn’t flinch when another reporter asked about being sexually assaulted and beaten while covering the Egyptian revolution two years ago.

Had she put it behind her?

“I think everything that happens in your life, especially events on that scale, stay with you forever, right?” she said. “I mean, am I traumatized, do I have bad dreams? No. When I came back from Egypt I was like almost elated. Because . . . I was dying in that square. And so I never thought I would see my children again.

“And the first few days in hospital was tough, because I was home but I wasn’t home, and my daughter took her first steps . . . and I missed it.”

Logan, whose CBS biography mentions the assault in the first paragraph, said that in speaking out she’s “conscious of all the women – and men, the many men who wrote to me – who never get to talk about what happened to them, who live with this terrible secret and dark shame.”

Asked by Fager, as she lay in a hospital bed, what she wanted the CBS News statement to say, “I said, ‘I want you to tell people that I was sexually assaulted.’ . . . If they had said in that statement, ‘She was attacked,’ I can’t even begin to tell you” what that would have meant instead.

Read more at Philly.com where this story was originally published.

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