Over the years, Costas had repeatedly made overtures to McGwire, the biggest interview get in sports (at least before
"We were hopeful that if Mark ever did want to speak, he would want to do it with Bob," Petitti said. "We put it on the back burner, but then in the fall when it was announced he might be the hitting coach with the Cardinals, we thought he would probably end up having interviews at some point."
Pettiti said he and Costas had "exploratory discussions"
"The one thing that's important to understand is we never knew what was in the [press] release," Pettiti said when asked if MLB Network held the news of McGwire's admission in exchange for the exclusive interview. "Bob never saw a press release prior to 3 p.m. [when
"Some people assume -- understandably, but wrongly -- that this was an MLB-orchestrated thing because it's the MLB Network,'' Costas told
No matter how you feel about how Costas handled the interview -- and the thought here is that he handled it superbly, especially so given that it was an hour long and live -- the McGwire sit-down represented a huge coup for the year-old network. In a smartly reported piece last week,
"If we are doing our jobs properly, hiring the right talent, putting together the right programming and building things properly, we should be a place or be competitive for that type of story," Pettiti said. "When it comes to things that are breaking, we will provide as much coverage as we can. The answer in this case is Bob Costas was the driving force, but going forward, I am hopeful that we will play for those type of things."
How bothered were ESPN officials that the MLB Net scored McGwire's first interview? At least publicly, they brushed off the notion that this was a watershed sports media moment.
"I think, at this point, you have to look at it as a one-off and see where things develop over time," said ESPN senior coordinating producer
Pettiti said he does not look at MLB Net as competing on a daily basis against ESPN.
"The idea that we are trying to take audience away from baseball, we don't look at it that way," he said. "We just want to grow our audience and figure out a way to get the fans who are tuning into baseball locally every night to come and check us out when the games are over. It doesn't mean you won't watch
Said Levy: "In its broadest sense, the MLB Network is competition and direct competition when
With the addition of
"[The loss of Gammons and Phillips] has definitely had a short-term impact, but I am very confident in our stable of analysts," Levy said. "We're in a process like everyone else to see what other talent is out there and how we can continue to add."
• "You know the Super Bowl is near when all the goofy PR story pitches come out. No, I don't want a graphologist to study coaches' signatures."
Amid their flotilla of weekly e-mails, the NFL Network was kind enough to provide a transcript for last week's "Sunday Sit-Down" conversation between
•Get ready for some angry West Coast viewers next month, as both
•St. Petersburg Times sports media critic
If Steve Phillips proved anything prior to his career implosion, it's that a middling baseball general manager can provide interesting commentary as a television analyst. So I was struck last week upon reading that
"After we met with J.P., Steve said to me on the drive home, 'That might be the most impressive person we've met with as a potential client,' " Cohen said. "We were blown away by his personality. He's a character. Initially, I thought that his heavy Massachusetts accent might be a bad thing, but it actually makes him come off more of a real person."
"Having over 30 years of hands-on experience in player development, coaching, scouting and the front office enables me to bring a unique viewpoint to any baseball broadcast," Ricciardi told SI.com in an e-mail. "Sharing this mind-set with viewers would be a refreshing and new for me."
Ricciardi is making the rounds this month in an attempt to impress future employers. He was a guest on
"The guy certainly showed during his Jay days that he can talk, and he certainly wasn't afraid to offer his opinions, which
Asked how and why he would be comfortable commenting on owners and teams he might work for in the future, Ricciardi said: "Because I have firsthand knowledge of what team owners and front offices deal with, and I'm able to provide an honest, fair-minded and objective presentation of the circumstances and challenges that organizations face when making decisions. I believe that team owners, general managers and front offices would appreciate this perspective and this type of coverage. I don't feel it would hinder any potential future working relationships."