By Tom Hoffarth
At the end of the most recent edition of HBO’s “Real Sports” that first aired Tuesday, host Bryant Gumbel had this to say as his show-ending essay:
“Finally, tonight, a quick heartfelt send-off to a friend of mine who will be doing his final broadcast next weekend, and that’s Johnny Miller.
“After 29 years as golf’s preeminent analyst, Johnny is calling it quits, leaving his seat in the tower on the 18th hole, and leaving a television void that is irreplaceable.
“I had the pleasure of being Johnny’s TV partner on his very first broadcast back in 1990. That’s when he famously used the word ‘choke’ as a player stood over an important shot. In subsequent tournaments, he raised hackles by saying one player ‘should’ve just stayed home,’ and that another had a swing ‘that would make a great player puke.’
“That such remarks often caused a raucous speaks well of Johnny, and less so of the sad lack of candor in televised sports. In a business that is too often bland, Miller’s honesty has been unusual, his insights blunt, and his assessments smart.
“That’s been his stock and trade since Day 1, so on his last day there’s no telling just what he might say from the PGA Tour stop in Phoenix this weekend.
“Look – televised golf may not be your thing, but if you never caught Johnny Miller’s work, you should try it, because there’s no one quite like him in all of live sports broadcasting.
“Given the increasing coddling of modern athletes in general, and touring pros in particular, I doubt there ever will be.”
We completely agree. As we wrote in our piece for the L.A. Times this week that published Monday afternoon at this link.
Monthly Archives: January 2019
By Tom Hoffarth
A SIGN OF THE (L.A.) TIMES: CAN WE TALK ABOUT TALKING ABOUT BASKETBALL HAS LED TO ANN MEYERS DRYSDALE IN ANOTHER HALL OF FAME?
Ann Meyers Drysdale wasn’t an accidental broadcaster when she pivoted from a ground-breaking Basketball Hall of Fame playing career in the 1970s and ’80s, looking for a meaningful way to stay involved in the sport.
Her dedication has brought more Hall of Fame recognition. The Southern California Sports Broadcasters organization, which has included three dozen men in its Hall of Fame since founder Tom Harmon was first recognized in 1992, will give Meyers Drysdale another historic embrace with her inclusion in its Jan. 28 ceremony at Lakeside Country Club in Toluca Lake.
“Honestly, I never imagined something like this, and it’s important to me to be grateful for so many who have opened doors for me, many without me even knowing about it,” Meyers Drysdale said during a break in a four-game trip she took with NBA’s Phoenix Suns as a Fox Sports Arizona analyst.
Here’s more from our weekly piece in the L.A. Times sports section at this link.
By Tom Hoffarth
We had the pleasure of reminiscing with Tony Petitti and Rob McGlarry about the first 10 years of the MLB Network’s existence — it launched on Jan. 1, 2009, with a record 50 million homes that could access it. The result is a post this week at The Hollywood Reporter.
There was no crying in their baseball remembrances. Only a lot of laughs and memories of the many highs that came from becoming the fourth of the four major sports leagues to put up their own 24/7 cable channel.
Petitti was the first MLB Net president and CEO, and McGlarry was the Senior VP of Programming and Business Affairs. Eventually, Petitti turned the reins over to McGlarry in late 2014, when Petitti joined the MLB Commissioner’s Office.
One of the interesting sidebars to the MLB Network launch, and its first year on the air, was brought up again in a one-hour special that the net has been airing in celebration of its anniversary. Read more