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Marv Albert Launched Jeff Van Gundy’s Broadcast Career

“I think every broadcaster should have to try to coach and/or play, and every coach should have to try to broadcast.”

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Many NBA fans nowadays may forget that ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy had many stops before getting to ESPN. Van Gundy was a longtime coach for the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets before moving to the booth.

It was his time coaching for the Knicks that actually propelled his broadcasting career in a way. Marv Albert was apart of the broadcasting team at MSG from 1967-2004, and helped push for Van Gundy’s first broadcasting job alongside him at TNT when Van Gundy’s time with the Knicks was over.

Van Gundy talked about his time with Albert on the Marchand and Ourand Podcast yesterday and discussed how it helped his career.

“I did [NBA broadcasting] once between when I ended with the Knicks and started with the Rockets, I went on TNT for a year and Marv Albert really pushed for that,” said Van Gundy.“And so I worked with he and Mike Fratello. The crazy thing, even though Marv did our games [with the Knicks], it wasn’t like we spoke often. He was one of the old-school guys who wanted to keep a healthy distance between team and broadcaster so that he could remain objective.

“When we did [speak], it was a little contentious. And then to find out that he actually pushed for me when we really didn’t have any great relationship or anything, it really meant a lot to me. And I learned so much with him and Mike Fratello.”

Van Gundy said that while he was the Knicks coach, he didn’t appreciate Albert’s objectivity and wanted more of a homer.

“The thing I didn’t understand is, and now I do, is that you just have to say what you think in those jobs, and you can’t be worried about how it’s gonna be received. You have to try to be fair and direct and that’s what he was as a Knicks broadcaster. And I thought there was an anti-Knicks bias at times, and an anti-Ewing bias, and a pro-Jordan, pro-Bulls bias.”

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Jason Benetti: Negotiations With Chicago White Sox ‘Kind of A Pain’

“I just thought it would be easier. But just because it wasn’t easier doesn’t mean it didn’t get done.”

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Jason Benetti

Jason Benetti and Steve Stone recently saw their contracts renewed by NBC Sports Chicago to team once more as the television voices of the Chicago White Sox. Benetti says the talks about a renewal weren’t without their hiccups.

In a profile with Chicago Sun-Times writer Jeff Agrest, Benetti said the talks about the situation weren’t exactly what he envisioned.

“The really good news is we got somewhere good,” Benetti said. “It was kind of a pain, really. There were some things that we had to get through that I thought were silly, and I’m sure they thought some of the stuff that I was talking about might’ve been silly. But we got there in the end.”

Agrest reported the Atlanta Braves were watching the situation with bated breath. Their television play-by-play announcer, Chip Caray, recently departed for the same position with the St. Louis Cardinals.

One of the sticking points in the negotiations between the White Sox and Benetti was how many regular season contests he would miss due to his work with FOX Sports. Benetti is announcing MLB and college football games for the network in 2023 and did his first NFL work for FOX Sports this season. Benetti admitted that were points of frustration along the way.

“I think the work has been strong and I appreciate the heck out of the fans and I have loved the Sox for all my life. I just thought it would be easier. But just because it wasn’t easier doesn’t mean it didn’t get done. Where I have put myself, totally honestly, the place I am is we got it done, and that means something. It means both sides wanted it to happen.”

Chicago White Sox Senior Vice President of Revenue and Marketing Brooks Boyer told Agrest he didn’t see any complications in the negotiations.

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Tony Romo on Criticism: ‘You’re Always Evolving’

“I mean, some changes are good, some you’re like, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t do that’. But I always trial and error a bunch and sometimes it works.”

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Tony Romo isn’t too worried about the criticism he received this season for his work on CBS.

The network’s top NFL analyst was once the toast of the broadcast industry. This year though, he was the subject of plenty of complaints. The former Cowboys’ QB says that is because he is still trying to define himself in his new career.

“I mean, the ability to adapt and learn, if you never try to change at all — I just think like the best players in the world aren’t afraid of failure,” he told Jenna Lemoncelli of The New York Post.

“You’re going to fail all the time, but at the same time, you succeed because of that, as long as you think about it and try to understand how to improve and then go about the process to make that happen, which is work ethic and commitment. But you got to have a plan for it before.”

Plenty of sports talk radio hosts laid into Romo for his performance during the playoffs. Even his broadcasting mentor, Dick Ebersol, questioned his commitment to the craft, although Ebersol later walked back those comments.

Tony Romo seems to hear the criticism. He says that he isn’t going to insist on continuing to do the things the audience tells him are not working.

“I mean, some changes are good, some you’re like, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t do that’. But I always trial and error a bunch and sometimes it works.”

For all of the complaints though, Romo says there are still plenty of people that think he is doing a good job.

“You don’t always get it right, but I do think more often than not, just the people that come up to you all the time. I mean, it’s quadruple from my first 2-3 years, of how many people come up to me on the street and want to talk about it and how they loved it and stuff. So it’s really rewarding for that.” 

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Sports TV News

Stephen Nelson: Joining Dodgers Booth ‘Different Challenge Than I’ve Ever Had’

“If you grew up a fan of sports in Southern California, you had Vin Scully…Jaime Jarrin…Chick Hearn…Ralph Lawler…Every single night you could listen and watch broadcasting greatness.”

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MLB Network Intentional Talk co-host Stephen Nelson is joining the Los Angeles Dodgers television booth, and is slated to call at least 50 games for the franchise on Spectrum SportsNet LA in 2023.

Nelson will work games when lead play-by-play announcer Joe Davis is on assignment for national games as the lead announcer for MLB on FOX and is the network’s number two NFL announcer.

In an interview with Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Nelson was cognizant of “the weight and responsibility” that comes with working for the Dodgers.

“It’s a different challenge than I’ve ever had,” Nelson said. “If you grew up a fan of sports in Southern California, you had Vin Scully, you had Jaime (Jarrín), had Chick Hearn or you’re listening to Ralph Lawler on the Clippers. Every single night you could listen and watch broadcasting greatness … even though they weren’t teaching a class directly, I still went to their school.”

The 33-year-old Nelson will be the only Asian American play-by-play broadcaster working Major League Baseball, and he’s proud of that distinction.

“It means everything to me,” Nelson said. “To be in a position where I can help further pave the way for the next wave of AAPI broadcasters or minority broadcasters — because if you look around the sport, and sports in general, it’s pretty embarrassing, to be frank. That’s something that I do not approach lightly at all. It’s a massive responsibility.”

In 2022, Nelson worked as a play-by-play announcer for AppleTV+’s Friday Night Baseball franchise, mostly on the outlet’s “West” games, alongside Hunter Pence, Katie Nolan, and Heidi Watney.

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