Five sports media trades that make sense for the networks
1. We need trades in sports media. Sure, this is pure fantasy because broadcasters have contracts, but a sports media trade deadline would get as much coverage as any other. Every network can always use a shake up. Some broadcasters are just a better fit in other places. If we could be put in charge of fantasy sports media booking, here are five trades we'd love to see happen.
• Gus Johnson to CBS, Mike Tirico to FOX, Chris Berman to NBC, Ian Eagle to ESPN: Yes, we're starting things off with a four-way deal. This is a big one, but it actually makes sense.
Gus is FOX's lead college football play-by-play guy, but FOX is always going to play second fiddle to ESPN when it comes to that sport. We need Johnson to get back to CBS so he can call the NCAA Tournament. March is not the same without Gus Johnson going ballistic. At CBS, he can also call NFL games again.
Tirico is way too good a play-by-play guy to be relegated to NBC's Sunday Night Football studio show. At FOX, he can take over for Gus as the lead voice on college football and pitch in on all the other sports in the network's portfolio—MLB, Big East college basketball, U.S. Open golf.
Nobody can imagine Berman being anywhere but ESPN, but it seems clear Boomer wants to work. He made that pretty clear when he appeared on the SI Media Podcast last year.
However, ESPN has been using him sparingly since he stopped hosting Sunday NFL Countdown in 2016. With Bob Costas and Dan Patrick gone from NBC, the network could use a host for many of the events—NHL, golf, Notre Dame football—it airs. This would also give Berman a chance to do get back to the old NFL Primetime days and do highlights on NBC's Sunday Night Football pregame show.
Eagle is as versatile as a broadcaster as there is working today. That makes him a perfect fit for ESPN, which airs everything. Ian also is one of the funniest guys in sports media and ESPN has the programming that could allow him to show that off.
• Nick Wright (FS1) for Dan Orlovsky (ESPN): Wright seems too rational for FS1's daytime programming. Let him do his thing at ESPN. Meanwhile, Orlovsky, an up-and-coming NFL analyst, can get out of the studio and call high-profile NFL and college football games for FOX.
• Todd Fuhrman (FS1) for Chris Simms (NBC): NBC's Sunday Night Football studio show desperately needs a spark. A weekly gambling segment with Fuhrman and Al Michaels would be TV gold.
Simms, meanwhile, thinks Tom Brady is the ninth-best quarterback in the NFL, so that make him a perfect fit for FS1's hot take daytime parade.
• Michael Smith (ESPN) for Kevin Clark (The Ringer): Smith is very entertaining and very smart, but he's been MIA from ESPN since the network cancelled SC6 in March of 2018. He's too good to not be utilized. The Ringer would be a great fit. Clark is one of the best NFL writers today and might be the most creative NFL writer in the business. It would be great to see him get a shot at TV.
• Mauro Ranallo (NXT) for Michael Cole (Monday Night Raw): No matter what the WWE says and regardless of SmackDown going to FOX in October, Monday Night Raw always has been and always will be the signature WWE show. The best wrestling announcer in the company should call the No. 1 show, and that person is Ranallo.
2. Ed Werder was part of ESPN's mass layoffs in 2017. Today, he was rehired by the network.
.@WerderEdESPN was a fixture on ESPN from 1998-2017. Very excited he's returning to the company as a Dallas-based reporter for SportsCenter and our studio programs. He will report this week from a familiar location - #Cowboys camp in Oxnard. https://t.co/ZwGWTi1Mpn pic.twitter.com/2nqYTBY9G7— bill hofheimer (@bhofheimer_espn) August 12, 2019
3. Sunday provided one of the great betting stories of 2019. I saw the Astros at -440 against the Orioles on 5Dimes.com in the morning. Other places had Houston at -500.
The Astros, the consensus World Series favorites, were one of the largest single-game favorites ever. They closed as -460 favorites at Caesars Sportsbook but could be found as high as -550 favorites at Station Casinos' sportsbooks in Nevada. https://t.co/EdMXQ7fXTV— Juan Milton de Leon (@JuanMilton) August 12, 2019
So what happened? Houston scored three runs in the top of the 9th to erase 5-4 deficit and take a 7-5 lead. Baltimore than answered with three runs in the bottom of the ninth and pulled off an 8-7 win on a walk-off home run by Rio Ruiz to destroy anyone who laid absurd odds with the Astros.
4. Bill Belichick is in midseason form.
5. We told you on Friday that Bill Walton will call this Friday's White Sox-Angels game with Jason Benetti for NBC Sports Chicago. It's also been revealed that Michael Schur, a writer for The Office (and the man who played Mose) and one of the people behind the old Fire Joe Morgan blog, will call Saturday's White Sox-Angels game for the network.
6. The latest SI Media Podcast features an interview with the legendary Stone Cold Steve Austin. We discussed giving Vince McMahon the Stone Cold Stunner for the first time at Madison Square Garden, how differently fans watch wresting today compared to when Steve was an in-ring competitor, his new interview show Straight Up Steve Austin, which debuts tonight on the USA Network, getting mani/pedis, his love of margaritas and more.
7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: In honor of the Michael Schur news, here is the best of Mose.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.
IN CLOSING: Some great news to share. I won't be able to write Traina Thoughts on Tuesday, but Chris Long will be filling in for me, so prepare yourself for some Long Thoughts.