Monday June 15th, 2009

Each week, SI.com's Richard Deitsch will report on newsmakers from the world of TV, radio and the Web.

Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer often refers to procuring stories as "scoopage," and over the past two years his reporting diligence has resulted in some major scoopage for his employers, from news of Brett Favre's trade to the Jets to obtaining a copy of the Patriots' Spygate videotape.

Glazer's philosophy is to invest in people and relationships, and few reporters are more connected within the NFL players' ranks. The connection extends far beyond the playing field. A mixed martial arts fighter away from football, Glazer trained Vikings defensive end Jared Allen last year; Arizona quarterback Matt Leinart is currently training with him three or four times per week. Which brings up the obvious question: Is training a player you cover crossing a line between reporter and subject?

"The No. 1 thing in my job is a) get my stuff right, and I have done that, and b) get the scoop, and clearly I have done that without a doubt," Glazer told SI.com. "Some people have criticized me for getting close [with players], but my job is to get the fans scoops and information and the real inside story, and that comes from relationships. ... My entire career has been built on relationships. I have done mixed martial arts for a while, and guys are coming to me now. ... My job is not to say whether I think Matt Leinart will be a bust or not; that's for columnist and analysts. My job is to find out what is going on inside each locker room, to get the Spygate video, to find out when Tony Dungy retires or when Brett Favre retired for the first of 90 times. It's my job to have that first, and that all comes from relationships."

His bosses agree. Asked about Glazer's training NFL players, Fox NFL Sunday coordinating producer Scott Ackerson said the network has absolutely no problems with it.

"If you are an idiot, Jay will still kill you," Ackerson said. "I have no issues with it because in the past with people he has relationships with, regarding stories that might not be the most favorable for that person, he reports it. ... Look, today everything is about access and relationships. Brian Williams got that interview [with President Obama] why? Because he has a relationship with Barack Obama or the people in Barack Obama's camp.

"If I thought for a second, which I don't, that Jay's relationships were slanting how he reports stuff, then it would be an issue. But that has never happened in the time that Jay has been here, and I don't expect that to happen in the time he will be here."

Glazer and longtime friend Randy Couture recently started a business called MMA Athletics, a training program (designed by Couture and his coaches) for pro athletes that will be housed in a Las Vegas facility called Extreme Couture. "Basically, what we have done for Jared and Matt," Glazer said, "we are opening up to all pro athletes in any sport."

On the subject of his subjects, Glazer said he reports only two or three percent of what his sources tell him.

"That's how you have to do your job as an insider," he said. "You can't put everything out there, because you have to work your relationship. You want to talk about objectivity? Guys have written books with players and been paid large sums of money, some of the biggest mainstream guys out there. I would think that would make you a lot more subjective than what I am doing, wouldn't you?"

The worst-kept secret in NFL broadcasting circles was finally revealed last week when ESPN announced the hiring of former NFL Network reporter Adam Schefter. The reporter had not appeared on the NFL Net since March because of a contract dispute. He will make his ESPN debut Aug. 17 during coverage of the Giants-Panthers preseason game.

"I feel a little like Michael Vick under house arrest," Schefter said, though happily playing Mr. Mom in Long Island with his son, Devon, 9, and 8-month-old daughter, Dylan.

Schefter will be stationed in Long Island with appearances in Bristol on Sunday and Monday. He becomes one of 1,237 NFL experts on the ESPN payroll.

"Just because the Yankees are loaded doesn't mean they will not pursue other free agents," Schefter said. "This is kind of what this is like. ESPN doesn't need me. ESPN has been in existence for a long time. But what they will be getting is somebody that is incredibly passionate and loves his job and lives his job."

Schefter rightfully earned the reputation as one of the NFL Net's best assets. Why didn't it work out with the network?

"You'd have to ask them that," Schefter said. "I don't mean to wimp out on you there. It was a long, disappointing process. I had wanted to stay there and I love many of the people there. It is a great place to work and I wish them the best. They can answer why it didn't work out. I'm sure they have their own explanations."

We asked the NFL Network for their explanation and here is what we received: "We wish Adam well," a spokesperson said.

"They have John Clayton, Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, they have Ed Werder, they have all these guys and women, and not only does Jay consistently kick their butt, but Jay is right. I mean, I'm not going to mention names in terms of who, what and where, but this whole Brett Favre thing has been a comedy of errors." -- Scott Ackerson. coordinating producer of FOX NFL Sunday, on ESPN talent competing against Glazer for stories.

"Did your brother get laid in high school?" -- Suns guard Steve Nash, to ABC's Jeff Van Gundy, in a brilliant turn as a reporter at the NBA Finals for the Late Show with David Letterman.

"I don't feel one bit of my age. I may be 70 but I'll match my energy with any young 20-year-old, and I act about 12. I love what I'm doing and I hope to do it until I'm 95. They are going to have to tear me away from the microphone screaming or drag me out of a studio or game site." -- ESPN's Dick Vitale, on turning 70 on June 9.

• Nash has broadcasting star written all over him should he enter the profession following his basketball career. He's long been considered one of the NBA's most thoughtful and his work for Letterman last week was spectacular.

• It remains one of the darker days in sports blogosphere: On Nov. 13, 2008, the television comedy writers behind FireJoeMorgan.com, a Web site dedicated to eradicating bad baseball writing and Joe Morgan from our daily lives, posted for the last time. So imagine my delight upon discovering Ken Tremendous (a.k.a. Michael Schur, the Emmy-nominated writer and producer of The Office and the co-creator of Parks and Recreation, two NBC comedies) had joined Twitter. Below, we catch up with the man who gave the world Mose Schrute.

SI.com: Why did you join Twitter? Schur: I miss blogging, but it took up too much of my time. One-hundred-and-forty-character nonsense thoughts, however, I can handle right now.

SI.com: Why tweet under the Ken Tremendous handle? Schur: Ken Tremendous has, for better or worse, become my official on-line identity, so it seemed natural. Plus, I thought it would be a treat for my tens of fans.

SI.com: Will you only Tweet about baseball or will your other life come into play? Schur: I have no idea. I just signed on and have no idea what any of the symbols mean yet. I think I will do what everyone else seems to do on Twitter, which is waste valuable minutes of my life writing down whatever occurs to me to write down.

SI.com: Why are you following the 10 people you are following? Schur: They're friends of mine. Except Rainn Wilson. He and I are enemies, and I want to make sure he isn't lying to the public about me.

SI.com: Why do you have more than 3,300 followers? Schur: That is one of life's great mysteries.

SI.com: Nov. 13, 2008, was the last Fire Joe Morgan post. Will we see another post in 2009? Schur: [Fellow writers] Dave King, Alan Yang and I have discussed a few different possibilities for new blogs, but they're still nascent. Alan and I are currently hard at work on Season 2 of Parks and Recreation, so blogging will have to wait.

SI.com: Why not once a year (say, Sept. 23), return to the site for some fresh posts? Why Sept. 23? Because Joe Leonard Morgan was born in Bonham, Texas, on this day in 1943. Schur: If we did anything like that, we wouldn't do it on Joe's birthday. The name of the site was always a regret of ours -- it wasn't just about Morgan. But I like the idea. ... Really what we should do is just start a new blog someday.

SI.com: If Ken Tremendous were running Twitter, how many characters would be allowed per Tweet? Schur: Five. Just enough to say "Yes" or "No" or "Agree" or "Florp," which is a KT Twitter neologism I made up that means "Hello, friend, I am doing quite well, thank you, and if you want to really find out how I am in six-or-more character detail, we should talk on the phone like normal people."

SI.com: I contend Pittsburgh has replaced Boston as the city of champions. As a Red Sox fan, your response? Schur: Boston has had a great run, and I hope it continues for the next 275 years, but I'd love to see the Pirates return to glory. I think that with Jason Bay and Nate McClouth, they have the makings of a great young team. (On an unrelated matter, I haven't read any baseball news in 11 months.)

• It's certainly fair to criticize Jerod Morris of MidwestSportsFans.com for his post on Raul Ibanez. It was speculative, perhaps reckless, though I'd argue that Morris has every right to express his opinion on a blog that makes no claims to fall under the same journalistic conventions as traditional print sources (and, yes, traditional outlets have also played the speculation-with-steroids game). Reasonable people can disagree on the merits of the post, but Yankees radio announcers John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman mischaracterized the situation brutally last Thursday during their broadcast. Waldman chastised Morris for writing that Ibanez used steroids (he never came to that conclusion) while Sterling followed with a nonsensical summation that bloggers can write anything because they don't put their name to it. This came a little more than 24 hours after J-E-R-O-D M-O-R-R-I-S appeared on Outside the Lines, with his name listed under his face.

• The MLB Network has made few missteps in its initial months and shown a refreshing commitment to journalism with the hiring of Bob Costas and frank coverage of controversial issues. It speaks well of network president Tony Pettitti, who served ably behind Sean McManus at CBS Sports. But last week's MLB draft coverage too often became a celebration of team executives, including praising the woebegone Nationals for the no-brainer selection of the decade: San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Give the producers full marks for getting Strasburg on the phone (and for nabbing highlights of the major picks), but if host Greg Amsinger and analyst Harold Reynolds are simply going to feed Strasberg softballs and not ask him about his signability -- the major story surrounding the talented pitcher -- what exactly are viewers getting with the interview?

In what was easily the most interesting minutes of her broadcasting career, Fox NFL Sunday weatherperson and Howard Stern superfan Jillian Reynolds had a raucous interview with the famed Sirius Satellite host last week. Topics included firearms as a sexual turn-on, sex with David Spade and other tidbits you won't find on your average NFL pregame show.

"Big Papi gets a Standing o for a long out. Good Lord!" -- Ken Davidoff, Newsday national baseball writer, June 10, 8:11 p.m.

"Me, Legler, and Adande are about to get on the Aerosmith ride. Broussard's photo on tower of terror will get him clowned for life." -- Jemele Hill, the well-connected ESPN.com columnist, name-dropping at the speed of Usain Bolt, June 10, 10:54 p.m.

"5:05 pm. Still stuck on the runway. May not make the game in time. In 1st class, and still no food is being served. Damn Shame!!!!!!! -- Stephen A Smith, unhappy airplane passenger, June 11, 6:02 p.m.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.