Skip to main content
Original Issue

Under Review All-Star Changes--Jeers for Cheers

At Fox Sports' annual Major League Baseball seminar last week in
New York City, Gene Orza, the players' union's No. 2 official,
told the network that a ruling is coming soon on the owners'
proposal to give home field advantage in the World Series to the
league that wins the All-Star Game. Fox officials are confident
the proposal will pass. The network has rights to the game
through 2006, and its executives have lobbied hard for the plan,
hoping to draw more viewers. (Last year's game drew a rating of
11.4, a drop of 9% from 2001.) Another development out of the
seminar was Fox's announcement that it will stop doing in-booth
interviews during game coverage, which begins May 17. "Unless
Casey Stengel comes back, I don't want to see any more booth
interviews," Fox Sports president Ed Goren told the room. "Every
time we do that, a game breaks out!"

The roundtable of current NFL players Bill Romanowski, Deuce
McAllister, Corey Chavous and Jon Jansen was the best part of
ESPN's 17 hours of NFL draft coverage (page 19), which often
suffers from anchor Chris Berman's failure to challenge his
interview subjects. Berman's preparation and passion merit
praise, but he's too much of a cheerleader when questioning
general managers and coaches. Example: The Bills' high-risk
selection of Willis McGahee at No. 23 (McGahee's coming off knee
surgery) was criticized by analyst Mike Golic as well as by
Romanowski, who said, "There's not one team in the first round
that can afford a pick like this. Are there not more pressing
needs for the Buffalo Bills?" Rather than challenge Bills coach
Gregg Williams, Berman said, "Wow, with that selection! Give me
that last 15 minutes." Rah, rah! --R.D.