Brooks Melchior, best known as the creator of the website Sports By Brooks, was the toast of online sports fans in the early part of this century. His blog was one of the first to experience success mixing sports and pop culture content. The website launched in 2001 and lasted till 2011, when Sports By Brooks became only a Twitter feed. A little over a year later, Brooks Melchior disappeared from public life.
Back in September we posted about the frenzy the @SPORTSbyBROOKS Twitter account’s first Tweet in five years set off. It rehashed stories and theories about what happened to Melchior and why he went underground. Yesterday Melchior reappeared for a conversation The Adam Schefter Podcast.
According to Melchior, it was an obsession with college football and Jackie Robinson that led to the end of the site and his long hiatus.
If you look at my Twitterfeed today, you really have a sense of what I’ve been doing. What started me down this rabbit hole…getting away from the website for this hiatus…because I am gonna bring the website back in the first quarter of 2019, is learning about football history and specifically discovering Jackie Robinson.
The first thing I remembered in this process developing a documentary series, which is what I’ve been doing over the last three and a half/four years, is that I discovered a piece of football of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field playing against the college all-stars in 1941 and Jackie Robinson was scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. 98,00 fans. George Halas is on the sidelines. And I saw this…I couldn’t believe. I knew that Jackie Robinson had played football at UCLA but I didn’t know that he was this big of a star. And I didn’t know football was that big, period. And so I started to look back at Jackie Robinson’s football career and I’m actually getting more footage in today from his games against Washington State when he played for UCLA.
But that’s what started me down this road of learning about what a superstar football player he was in 1941. And then come to find out he never would have played for the Brooklyn Dodgers had it not been for his football career.
Sean Keeley of Awful Announcing is among the many not buying the simple explanation of an obsession with research leading to the end of Sports by Brooks.
On paper, all of that sounds interesting enough. But the interview itself ends up taking some strange turns. Brooks spends a lot of time hyping up the Jackie Robinson vs. Chicago Bears footage, at least three different times throughout the interview, as if he’s discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls. And sure, it’s neat and all. Sounds like a solid 30 for 30 documentary. But it’s not as if there isn’t footage of Robinson playing football on YouTubealready.
Jeff Pearlman wrote a story about Melchior’s disappearance in 2016 for Bleacher Report that was never published. Pearlman told Chris Mannix, of NBC Sports Radio at the time, that as best he could tell, it was mental health issues that led to Melchior leaving the public eye. Adam Schefter brought this up with Melchior. Melchior responded by talking more about Jackie Robinson.
Melchior did promise that the website Sports By Brooks will relaunch in 2019. He claims that currently he is “retooling” the site to prepare for “another dimension” of Sports By Brooks.
Mike Francesa: George Steinbrenner’s Idea to Put Mike and The Mad Dog On YES Network
“It was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were.”
Mike and The Mad Dog is often cited as one of, if not the, best sports radio shows of all time. The show saw an expanded reach with its partnership with the YES Network beginning in 2002. During his podcast Tuesday, Mike Francesa gave all the credit to the simulcast hitting the air on YES Network to the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
“It was George Steinbrenner that came up with the idea of Mike and The Mad Dog being on the YES Network. No one else,” Francesa said.
“They came to us when they were negotiating a new radio deal with him and they said ‘Hey, we need a quick answer on this. Would you guys want to be on the YES Network every day, simulcasting? You know what Imus is doing with MSNBC? We wanna do it with you guys, but we need a very quick answer’.”
Francesa said the show airing on YES Network was a sticking point for the Yankees in negotiations with CBS Radio to continue airing the franchise’s broadcasts.
“Our first deal with them were not for a lot of money. Our later deals with them were for a very significant amount of money. But it was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were. Our joining the YES Network was part of the CBS Radio contract.”
Dave Portnoy Reveals Back-And-Forth With New York Times Reporter Who Claimed He ‘Did Not Provide Answers’
“You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.
A story from The New York Times centered around “aging casino company” — Penn National Gaming — and its relationship with “degenerate gambler” — Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy — caught the eye of the face of the online outlet after the claim that he “didn’t provide answers”.
In the story, Steel claims “Penn and Barstool executives did not respond to repeated messages. Mr. Portnoy did not provide answers.” Portnoy brought the receipts to Twitter with a video of all of the correspondence he had with Times writer Emily Steel.
The alleged conversation takes place sporadically from May through November, with Portnoy offering to meet face-to-face with Steel for an interview that is mutually audio and video recorded, which Steel declines. She offered to meet Portnoy in New York for an audio recorded interview, which he declined, saying the interview needed to take place in Miami, because “I’m not running around to accommodate you at the 11th hour.”
He added “You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.
Kareem Daniel Leaving Disney After Bob Iger Reassumes Role as Company CEO
“This is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”
Bob Iger is back as the CEO of Disney, and one of the first moves he made was to announce a company restructure. Part of that restructure includes the departure of Kareem Daniel, the chair of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED).
DMED was formed under now-previous CEO Bob Chapek. The division manages Disney’s streaming services which includes ESPN+.
Daniel was considered one of those closest to Chapek. Iger announced Daniel’s departure in a memo to employees at DMED.
“It is my intention to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are,” Iger said in the memo. “As you know, this is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”
ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro will join other company leaders in coming up with a new company structure that Iger hopes “puts more decision-making back in the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.