Athens, GA (Mar 29, 2008) - The headline in the Google news alert caught my attention: "Brent Musburger to call his 1st baseball game since 1995". On March 28, 2008, Teddy Greenstein, of the Chicago Tribune, has almost a full column gushing on Musberger's love for baseball, and how this marks his first return to calling a baseball game on television since 1995.
Only one small problem. Musburger has been making the pilgrimage to Williamsport, Pennsylvania every year now, for some time, to call play-by-play for the Little League World Series. Is there not a purer form of baseball? Ok, sometimes there is cheating and parents can be rude an obnoxious. But it is baseball at its most elemental level.
Musburger has been calling the LLWS in 1992, 1992, 1997, 1998, and 2000-2007. The last two years, he has worked with Orel Hershiser. Wait, the same Orel Hershiser who will be with Musburger in the booth next week? Couldn't be, because Musburger has not worked a basball game since 1995. (Source: Wikipedia)
So why does this matter? very simply, if people in the mainstream media are going to be critical of non-mainstream media for "getting it wrong", then they should also turn the mirror on themselves. They should should publish information when it is known, nit a week or two after the fact. For example, in the same column that contains this "news" about Musburger, Greenstein also has this breaking news:
This just in
Hallelujah! The New York Post reports Chris Berman is being left off ESPN's on-site Masters coverage.
Just in? It seems that Greenstein is trying to play the same game as Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun by reporting something published by the NY Post well after it was published, and picked up across the non-mainstream media.
Phil Mushnick (NY York Post Report): March 21, 2008
*DeadSpin: March 21, 2008
*Ryan Wilson (FanHouse): March 21, 2008
Ray Frager (Baltimore Sun): March 23, 2008
Teddy Greenstein's "This Just In" report: March 28, 2008
Even worse, all three of the mainstream media sources are reporting something as "news" that has been known since it was announced that ESPN would be carrying the 1st and 2nd round of the Masters. Back on 11 October 2007, I wrote this in a NowPublic.com commentary (and of course, I misinterpreted how the word "Anchor" was used):
There have been very few details about this deal, announced yesterday, except that it will be anchored by Mike Tirico. So naturally, there are questions that people may have about this new deal:If reporters like Mushnick at the NY Post, Greenstein at the Chicago Tribune, and Frager at the Baltimore Sun really concerned about who ESPN would send to Augusta, why did they not ask these questions back in October (when the news was announced) instead of acting "surprised" two weeks before the tournament tees off?
1. Is it a one year contract subject to annual renewal like the one CBS Sports has with Augusta National?
2. Will the coverage still be produced by CBS Sports and staffed by CBS announcers, with the exception of Tirico in the tower?
3. Can Mike Tirico adjust to actually sitting in the tower and not in a production truck like he does for ESPN/ABC?
4. Will Disney be the exclusive sponsor for the four minutes of ads in each hour, or will others be allowed to advertise?
5. Will viewers have to watch the scrolling updates of other sports while trying to watch the golf coverage.
So here is a challenge to the print guys out there (and over the air guys too): If you are going to report something as news, get it right the first time, get it complete, and make it timely.