Longtime USA TODAY Sports and MASN baseball reporter Mel Antonen died Saturday of a rare acute auto-immune disease and complications from COVID-19, according to USA Today. He was 64.
Antonen spent a half-century in journalism and covered nearly three dozen World Series, three Olympics and professional bowling leagues.
One of Antonen’s first assignments was covering the Tonya Harding Olympics figure-skating scandal. He later became an MLB reporter and columnist, covering history from Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive games streak to the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa record-breaking home run race and the steroid scandals that followed, according to the report.
His retired USA TODAY Sports editor Henry Freeman told his former outlet that Antonen “was a very good storyteller who went far beyond balls and strikes and the score of the game.”
Antonen also worked as a sports broadcaster at MASN’s Mid-Atlantic Sports Report, and radio analyst on Sirius-XM in the last decade of his career. He also wrote for Sports Illustrated and other publications.
According to USA TODAY, Antonen did a radio interview on the Baseball Hall of Fame voting from his hospital bed less than a week before his death.
New Podcast Features Recordings Of Kobe Bryant From High School
“The first two episodes are available now. Ten more are on the way.”
iHeartMedia has a new podcast that will let basketball fans hear from the late Kobe Bryant during one of the biggest transitions of his life. Bryant and his high school basketball coach planned to right a book together and recorded several conversations during Kobe’s senior year and into his first NBA season. Those recordings are now the basis of a new podcast called I Am Kobe. Jeremy Treatman, Bryant’s high school coach, rediscovered the tapes during a recent move according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to present this rare inside look into Kobe Bryant’s formative years and tell his story through these never-before-heard tapes,” says journalist Mike Sielski, who will serve as the host of the show.
He is also turning some of the conversations into a book The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality.
I Am Kobe is a joint venture from Diversion Podcasts and iHeartMedia. The first two episodes are available now. Ten more are on the way.
Twitter Seriously Looking At Sports Betting Options
“The company is learning that fans want to talk about sports on Twitter and not necessarily watch games there.”
Twitter is experiencing growth in sports, and it’s sparked considerations on the sports betting front as well. According to Front Office Sports, tweets sent on the social media platform during NFL games are up 11% this year and unique college football tweeters are up 35%.
The company is learning that fans want to talk about sports on Twitter and not necessarily watch games there.
“We’ve learned significantly over the years of what is the best use case for live on Twitter for our users,” Twitter U.S. Sports Partnerships manager David Herman told FOS. “It’s not like ‘live’ doesn’t exist with our partnerships, it’s just not necessarily the full game like it was in many of those early executions. That’s from learning both what our users like and what advertisers are interested in.”
One example Herman brought up is Twitter’s airing of the first five minutes from FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff. The stream features a fan poll that picks which camera that broadcast is shown on.
Another large growth area for engagement has been sports betting. Twitter told FOS that sports-betting-related tweets are up 22% this season.
“Every single day, there’s more and more conversation and more and more happening in the sports betting world,” Herman said. “We think Twitter is a platform that plays well into gambling-related conversations. We’re live. We’re real-time. That’s what betting is. Betting and gambling have long been a core component of sports conversations on Twitter. Now things are legalized, more sports betting brands can be advertisers on Twitter than in the past, and as leagues are partners with official betting operators, it’s getting more visibility and exposure on a daily basis.”
Don’t be surprised if the social media platform experiments with its own sportsbook technology.
“We are consistently looking for new ways to enhance the user experience, and at some point, as it relates to betting, that could be great,” Herman said. “There are a lot of complicated components for us. There are only certain states where it’s legal so far, so we are still evaluating the space as a whole.”
Read the full story from FOS here.
Scottie Pippen Writes That Michael Jordan Ruined Basketball
“I may go as far to say Mike ruined basketball.”
Scottie Pippen has had a lot of ridiculous things to say about former teammate and NBA legend Michael Jordan, and it seems that he is not done yet.
Pippen recently released his memoir, Unguarded which challenges a lot of what Pippen believes was wrong in The Last Dance documentary, which Michael Jordan had editorial control over.
You have to buy the book though to read Scottie Pippen’s most shocking critique of Michael Jordan.
“I may go as far to say Mike ruined basketball,” Pippen writes. “In the 80s on the playgrounds, you’d have everyone moving the ball around — passing to help the team. That stopped in the 90s. Kids wanted to be ‘Like Mike.’ Well, Mike didn’t want to pass, didn’t want to rebound, or defend the best player. He wanted everything done for him.”
This sounds like the same type of people who say Stephen Curry ruined the game of basketball with how many three-point attempts he makes every game. On the contrary, both of them transformed the game of basketball into a game where guards are much more of a focal point than before.
And that is just on the court. Off of it, Jordan transcended the game of basketball and brought it into the spotlight. Without him, it is extremely possible that we wouldn’t view the game the same way in the national media as we do today.
Scottie Pippen also said that he was a far better teammate than Michael Jordan, which is just as hard to believe as his first statement considering Scottie wouldn’t take the court in the final seconds of a playoff game against the Knicks because the winning play was drawn up for Tony Kukoc and not him in the year Jordan retired.
Plenty of sports media commentators have said that Scottie seems very jealous in the passages of Unguarded that have been released.
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