Marlins-Mets game creates headaches


It was a long night on the diamond and in newsrooms, too, last night.

The New York Mets beat the Florida Marlins 9-8 in a 16-inning bout.

Miami scored their eight runs in five innings, bringing the score to 8-7 going into the sixth. The offensive onslaught between the two National League East teams slowed down as only the Mets scored two runs in the next 10 innings.

Coverage of a game that ran until around one in the morning was troublesome who were not sitting in the stands.

Newspapers, such as The Miami Herald, have to run on strict deadlines for their print publications. Last night’s game hurt many newspaper traditionalists.

On the front page of the sports section in The Herald lays a story of Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria’s plan to erect a statue of the late Jose Fernandez outside of Marlins Park. What is missing for the reader that walks to their driveway grabbing their plastic bag-covered newspaper in the morning, is an article from the game of their baseball team’s favorite game.

Frustrated, readers may perceive this as a lack of effort or a mistake from the newspaper and look down upon their subscribed publication. But it is not their fault.

To their credit, the lead story on the sports tab on The Herald’s website is the article about the game from the beat writer, Andre Fernandez.

There are extraneous situations that occur in sports that simply do not meet publication’s deadline for print. The Miami Herald did not want what happened to the Boston Globe during the Super Bowl coverage and run an edition of a newspaper with the wrong information and that was the smart move.

From the athlete (directly) to the fans


The Players’ Tribune, founded by New York Yankee legend Derek Jeter, gives athletes the platform to speak directly to the fans, without input from the news media.

“My goal is for the site to ultimately transform how athletes and newsmakers share information, bring fans closer than ever to the games they love.” Jeter says on the website’s About page.

Athletes, from a wide variety of sports, have reserved the website to use for big announcements. One of the their most popular posts came from NBA Forward Kevin Durant, when he announced to sign with the Golden State Warriors during last summer’s free agency period.

Durant is one to be known for not being completely transparent with the news media and the reasoning behind using the Players’ Tribune but opened up about the press on Bill Simmons’ Podcast on the Ringer.

“I wonder like, what are your motives when you talk about this stuff?” Durant told Simmons. “What are you trying to get out of it? I know that me, I love talking about basketball. My thing is, I want the casual fan to understand what we go through because it’s not as easy as you think.”

The two later discussed how Simmons did not get angry when he and Durant got into a Twitter fight.

“You’re a real guy.” Durant told Simmons. “Some of these guys are so sensitive. Their egos are too big. But, you know, we can talk about that another time.”

The website has changed the way athletes are able to communicate with fans, in less serious ways as well.

NBA Hall of Famer, Shaquille O’Neal, collaborated with the Lakers’ team photographer to go through their archives and pick his favorite pictures from his time in Los Angeles.

It is interesting to note how a mistrust in the news media lead to Durant using the website as his platform to the fans.

Jeter may have wanted to change the way athletes and newsmakers share information, but his website and bad experiences between athletes and the news media members may have created a different result. The Players’ Tribune can inadvertently lead to a slimming down of the newsmakers to his equation.

Understanding LaVar Ball


Former Division II basketball player LaVar Ball speaking in hyperbole is fine, but only for his sons.

Ball, father of UCLA Basketball star Lonzo Ball, rising high school athlete LaMelo Ball, and future UCLA Bruin LiAngelo Ball, has been in the news lately for comparing Lonzo to the likes of Jason Kidd, Magic Johnson and even Michael Jordan.

The quotations, retrieved from ESPN’s Ian O’Conner, say an obviously false narrative about his sons.

When comparing Lonzo to Magic Johnson, LaVar said “Lonzo is more athletic than Magic, blocks more shots, and makes more steals. … Lonzo is Magic with a jump shot.”

“The way you compare him to Kidd is, he likes to pass and Kidd and Zo are light-skinned.” LaVar said when comparing Lonzo to legendary former New Jersey Nets Guard Jason Kidd “But [Lonzo] is taller and longer, and he’s got a better jump shot than Kidd. He’s more athletic in how he jumps and catches lobs back door.”

On the comparison of Lonzo to arguably the best player to ever play in the NBA, Lavar said.

“Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time, but all three of my boys can go down as the greatest player ever. Lonzo is better than what Michael Jordan was doing in high school, and he’s better than what Michael Jordan was doing in college. … He’s only 19. He’s got to get past Jordan’s six titles and get to seven to be the greatest player ever, and I think he can do it.”

An obviously proud father has gained traction on the internet pages of many news programs and even got him a chance to argue with ESPN’s Stephen A Smith.

Understanding LaVar is easy, being a good father means believing your kids are the best in the world.

LaVar however, knows that the media will put out much of what he says. He is not a television analyst or bound to any journalistic integrity, so he can say whatever he wants.

Using the media as a marketing ploy to get your child’s name into every home before they get drafted, helps only Lonzo. Getting his name on your eye through an article or twitter makes you keep an eye on him during the NCAA tournament.

Watching Lonzo’s 14.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 7.6 assists a game (according to leads many to fall in love with 6-6 guard. Once they fall in love it adds fan pressure to teams to draft the Bruin earlier, adding jersey sales, making him more marketable for sponsorships.

Hoax shows importance of sources


The New England Patriots woke up to an awkward breakup post by backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, except the Patriots did not trade or cut the QB.

At around 4 a.m., Garoppolo’s Instagram saying a concise goodbye to Boston. While the third-year QB has had his time this year on the trade block, it appears that his Instagram was hacked and has not been traded or released.

The post lasted around four hours on his profile and has been deleted since then. Below is a screengrab of the post from Garropolo’s Instagram (the gray box only covers the comment section).

NFL news media have been working tirelessly around the clock for the last week because of the opening of free agency.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport summed up the situation best for the aforementioned news media members.

“Spoke to someone close to Jimmy Garoppolo who had no knowledge of any trade and believes it’s a hack. Alas, it’s 5:26 am now & we’re all up,” Rapoport wrote.

He also gave an update this morning on NFL Network’s show Good Morning Football and provided some insight of the early morning flurry.

“Here is the latest from RapSheet on the Jimmy Garoppolo Instagram story,” he wrote.

The whole situation brings up the importance of maintaining multiple legitimate sources to confirm a story before it its published, especially during the free agency period.

Front office personnel from NFL teams and countless sports agents are currently participating in a dance to gain leverage over each other, to get the best deal for their party.

The dance involves leaking information to reporters in hopes of starting published rumors and put pressure on the other party to conform to their side of the bargaining table.

With the feed-the-beast mentality, it would be easy for someone looking to get some clicks on their new blog and make a name for themselves, might publish the leaked information and it may not be true.

Having multiple sources to confirm a story solidifies it, allowing it not to be subject to a rich man’s leverage war.

Rapoport, in the tweet, showed how reporting during a whirlwind time should be done. With solid confirmation and not believing the first thing that is seen.

With splits, players are not scapegoats


Divorces are rough.

Choosing which parent’s home you want to wake up in on Christmas morning. Award ceremonies turn into awkward moments of diffusing subliminal jealousy. And there are step parents.

The same goes for sports.

When Kevin Durant left for the Golden State Warriors, for many his career became plagued with villainy. Taking the coward’s way out in pursuit of a ring by joining the team fresh off record-setting greatness.

Between the funny memes, burning jerseys and a slew of expletives come from homes across the country, it is easy to be influenced to place the blame on the individual rather than the institution.

The fans love for a player creating their fondest sports memory grows a unique relationship.

The marriage to a player’s impact and that they will retire in favorable colors.

However, the common fan’s input often permeates into the news media too often.

“Don’t give a damn what anyone says: weak move by KD. You go to GSW, the team who beat you, when you’re already on a title contender? Please!,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith wrote on Twitter.

It is understandable to have a personal opinion and a professional opinion, but turning to a morning of SportsCenter with Smith, the reaction even extended beyond talent.

“Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have broken up,” Bleacher Report announced when the move became public.

Athletes work on a contract basis. As soon as the contract is up, it is either time to renegotiate or move. Nothing owed, nothing borrowed.

At any given moment, a team could end their relationship with a player faster than it takes to walk up the stage during the draft. It is a business.

The Thunder could not put the pieces around Durant to succeed at a championship level. But the blame towards the front office for not doing a well enough job in negotiations or on the transaction reports is scarcely placed.

The whole thought of leaving a legacy is a legitimate argument, it is why we love sports. Growing with a player from their rookie year, to a championship is the draw to the industry, and the quickest way to sell tickets.

But when someone wants to take a different direction at the end of the tenure, they may disagree with their decision but continue to cover fairly.

If you think sports team act beyond a business, the New York Jets just released the cornerstones of their team — Center Nick Mangold, Cornerback Darelle Revis, Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall, respectively — in less than a week.

Six legends sign to retire as Dolphins


The Miami Dolphins signed some hall of fame talent to their roster this week, but only for one day.

Dolphins legends quarterback Bob Griese, quarterback Dan Marino, defensive back Sam Madison, offensive lineman Larry Little, defensive lineman/linebacker Kim Bokamper and wide receiver Nat Moore each signed one-day contracts to officially retire in the aqua and orange.

But the event quickly seemed questionable to some.

The team announced the event just several hours before the 3 p.m., social media streams (hosted by the Dolphins) went live.

News media attended the event, but the light questions asked at the ceremony was mostly answered with stories of the glory days and jokes.

The Dolphins inevitably must face the pressure of their pending free agents WR Kenny Stills, DL Alan Branch and Tight End Dion Sims ready to hit the market.

Some in the news media, including Sun Sentinel’s Chris Perkins and Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, immediately recognized the connection with the ceremonial event and the public relations stunt. The Dolphins pulled the move to boost the feeling that their organization cares about their players and is a place to stay for the long haul.

Perkins brought up an interesting point about the event. All of the players, except for Little, are all currently on the team’s payroll for their varied positions in the organization.

With the exception of Madison, all of the players that were signed wore aqua and orange during their last time in pads.

Was the ceremony necessary? Sort of. Back when the players retired, there were no farewell such as the Derek Jeter or Kobe Bryant tours, they just went on their way to playing golf. It was a nice gesture by the team to honor some of their best, but if it could help boost the morale of the organization before free agency, it is a win/win for them.

ESPN’s Megacast sets new standard


ESPN’s MegaCast for the College Football National Championship remains the new standard for coverage for live-event programming. 

With the use of multiple looks the same event, the audience gets its choice of preferred way to watch the game. 

The traditional broadcast was on ESPN with Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler, Samantha Ponder, and Tom Rindali constituting a formidable group. 

Coach’s Room, arguably their best broadcast of the night, featured a host from ESPN and head coaches from around college football. 

This year’s roster included Dino Barbers (Syracuse), Mike MacIntyre (Colorado), Kalani Sitake (Brigham Young), Steve Addazio (Boston College) and Dave Doeren (North Carolina State). The slight jabs from conference rivals were overshadowed by behind-the-scenes glimpses and eloquent analysis. Although difficult at times for the host to go to break because of the discussion, it still remained ESPN’s best broadcast of the night.

Coach’s Film Room brought a unique element for viewers that do not get to see a game closer than the nosebleeds. They also provide more in-depth analysis that a play-by-play or color commentator simply cannot provide. 

But can it grow into a primary broadcast? No. 

However, most of the games that get the Coach’s Film Room treatment are ones that you usually view socially. The feeling of watching a game with rival fans, with your favorite bar buddies or fantasy sports buddies will not fade. Ultimately the inefficiency of the Coach’s Room is one that is enjoyed by the sports nerd relaxing and watching the game, not while you’re trying to order your next drink. 

Former Clemson Quarterback Tahj Boyd and former Alabama Offensive Lineman Barret Jones joined ESPN’s Joe Jessitore and Adam Amin for the Homers Broadcast on ESPN 2. Viewers get a unique look at the two football programs by listening to recent alumni of the two programs. 

A cast featuring an eccentric Bill Walton, Michelle Beadle, Marcellus Wiley, Jay Bilas and Rachel Nichols were on ESPN U for the ESPN Voices Broadcast. Aiming towards seeing what it is like to sit down with the personalities and just watch a game with them, got out of hand several times. 

ESPN Classics ran Sounds of the Game where the game was being shown, but with no play-by-play or commentary. 

Giving a preview of what it’s like being a producer, ESPN’s Goal Line channel ran the Command Center broadcast, featuring split screen shots of different angles that ESPN in the stadium, along with advanced statistics and charts displaying information of the current drive.

Sportscasters make career changes


Verne Lundquist, Brent Musburger, Chris Berman, and Bob Costas will no longer be the voices behind countless sporting events. Musburger has decided to retire from television, while Lundquist, Berman and Costas are taking major steps back in their responsibilities with their networks.

Brad Nessler will replace Lundquist, Chris Fowler will replace Musburger, Mike Tirico will replace Bob Costas, and ESPN is still searching who will step into Berman’s role.

While many of the moves were expected for a while now, Musburger’s retirement comes at an interesting time.

Of late, Musburger has found himself in controversial moments while on the air. From his infatuation to former Alabama quarterback’s girlfriend Katherine Webb in 2013 to his latest in defending Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon during this year’s Sugar Bowl for getting a second chance after punching a woman in the face in 2014.

ESPN and Musburger both say that the comments were not a part of his decision in retirement.

The moves show a generational shift of coverage that sports has been seeing, as a whole.

A step in the right direction, nonetheless.

Berman will forever be a legend in sports broadcasting. While some tuned in just to hear a “back, back, back, back, back, back, gone” or the “whoop” of a juke from Berman, sports fans were getting tired of the same call for 15 years. Becoming a running joke on Twitter for these calls, it was time for Berman to take a break.

With the aforementioned controversies surrounding Musburger, it was better for both parties to clear their baggage and head towards different directions.

Tirico’s move is fascinating. Tirico’s move from ESPN to NBC was to replace Al Michaels in play-by-play responsibilities for Sunday Night Football. His role should expand more next year than what he experienced this season.

NBC also owns the rights to next year’s Super Bowl, which occurs only a couple of days before Tirico is supposed to cover the Winter Olympics. NBC has not announced specific details on how their coverage for these events, but it is worthy of a watchful eye.

Taggart becomes known name in Florida


The ink has dried for the class of 2017, but the full court press for juniors and seniors in high school is already in full swing.

Mark Richt (Miami), Jimbo Fisher (Florida State), Jim McElwain (Florida), Lane Kiffin (Florida Atlantic), Butch Davis (Florida International), and Charlie Strong (South Florida) headline the coaches from Florida that are pushing for kids to sign to their schools, but they need to keep an eye out on a school in the opposite end of the country.

Willie Taggart left USF to take the head coaching job at the University of Oregon. But, just because he decided to go does not mean he’s giving up his turf.

South Florida is heralded as one of the most fertile grounds in the country for high school football talent, grounds that Taggart took advantage of as a Bull.

Already in his first recruiting class as a Duck, Taggart has begun to poach out a pipeline to Eugene. He got some help from his new co-offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal, the former FIU head coach and Alabama offensive line coach specialized in helping the Crimson Tide pull All-Americans from Florida to play in Tuscaloosa.

Seven out of their 24 signees were from Florida, three coming from South Florida, and four coming from the Central Florida. Their current roster only has three players from Florida, none south of Lake Okeechobee.

Before and on signing day, local coverage in Miami was focused on coaches from Florida schools battling it out for local talent, but gave a simple brush to Taggart’s staff and the seeds he has planted.

On National Signing Day, The Miami Herald had three stories on its website that mentioned Taggart’s name. All three bylines were from Associated Press writers.

When next recruiting cycle comes around, Taggart’s staff will look to get more athletes and mentions when he tries to get more Ducks flying north to play football in Eugene.