Dave O’Brien has been in the play-by-play business for 40 years for various sporting events. The current broadcaster at ESPN as well as Boston Red Sox games for NESN has seen many different athletic feats in his career, but he still finds himself learning and being curious about things on a nightly basis.
O’Brien was a guest on the Name Redacted Podcast with Jared Carrabis and Tyler Milliken and he said that as long as he has curiosity about what happens at whichever venue he is calling a game from, he is going to stay in the business.
“I absolutely feel like I’m watching things oftentimes I’ve never seen before. I’m calling moments I’ve never seen before and haven’t even anticipated happening. The curiosity for that is still very high to me. If I lose the curiosity about what happens on the field or the court or wherever I’m working, it’s time for me to go. When that moment happens, that’s when I’m gone. Thankfully, it hasn’t.”
“I still had stuff this baseball season I hadn’t seen before. I hadn’t seen a triple play in 20 years. I think I called seven no-hitters in between there…The curiosity is always there and that keeps me coming back night after night,” O’Brien said. “It doesn’t always happen where you will see something new, but athletic performance is never mundane.”
As O’Brien has both local and national broadcast responsibilities, he said that the one place he feels most at home in his career is Fenway Park and that the partnerships he got to have with Jerry Remy and Dennis Eckersley in the NESN booth were some that he still treasures.
“I don’t think it was ever better for me than when Remy and Eck were in there. That was a really, really special couple of years. We didn’t have enough time together because of Jerry’s illness and Jerry passing away. But, if we had more of an opportunity, that just felt like a yin and yang that was almost pre-scripted, but it wasn’t. We had a wonderful thing going and it was really cool to be with those two guys.”
“I grew up watching them both as a kid. I felt like that was some of the best broadcasting I will ever be lucky enough to be part of, but the comfort level was just there from Jump Street. We used to prepare in the green room 2-3 hours before the game by telling stories and swapping anecdotes and so much of that came out on the air and it was a lot of material no one had ever heard before. There was a newness to it. There was a specialness to it and they were very open of what they were willing to talk about.”
As for whether or not Dave O’Brien has any goals left in his career, he said he doesn’t have any right now and that he’s lucky to get to do what he is currently doing.
“I don’t have any goals beyond what I’m doing right now. Part of it might be I have been around forever, 40 years on the air. I don’t really have anything I want to accomplish. I’ve called the World Series 8 times, I’ve called 9 no-hitters, I’ve called a Women’s Final Four 7 times…done a lot of things I frankly never anticipated I would do.”
“In the chair I get to sit in every night at Fenway, I hoped as a kid that I might get the chance to do that, but I never really believed that was going to happen doing Red Sox radio and television,” O’Brien concluded. “I hoped, but there’s always that area of how you get there. I felt like when I first started doing the Red Sox in 2007 along with my national stuff, I didn’t want to do anything else. It was as good as it got for me. To this day, I still feel like I’m a really, really lucky guy.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at [email protected].
Clay Travis: CBS Executives Should Be Fired For Allowing SEC to Leave for ESPN
“CBS tripping all over themselves and ending their relationship with the SEC is so dumb that every single person who was responsible for that decision should be fired on the spot.”
OutKick host Clay Travis has harsh words for CBS executives who he says let the SEC leave for ESPN in lieu of a new deal with the Big Ten.
During OutKick The Show, Clay Travis broached the topic of the near future’s cosmic shift of college football media rights and made some stark comments about CBS and the execs that “ended their relationship with the SEC.”
“This is what CBS did, the single dumbest decision in the history of my life in sports media,” Travis said. “CBS tripping all over themselves and ending their relationship with the SEC is so dumb that every single person who was responsible for that decision should be fired on the spot.
“If I ran CBS, I would be like, ‘Everybody who screwed up the SEC game of the week and chose not to extend it at what would have been a substantial discount to what they ended up paying for a far worse package from the Big Ten? All of them should be fired.’”
Starting in 2024, the SEC will no longer air on CBS and will find its new home on ESPN and ABC. In its place will be a new-look Big Ten, sporting four top programs that fled the sinking Pac-12: USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington. Despite the excitement surrounding the Big Ten, Travis still feels like the move is a massive downgrade, comparing the SEC game of the week to a first-overall pick versus a third-round pick in the form of the Big Ten games.
“CBS Sports had the greatest television package in college sports history, in that they had the number one draft pick of every SEC game every week,” Travis said. “They went from the best game in college football many weeks — the SEC premier pick — to leaving the SEC and getting like third-round draft picks from the Big Ten.”
Travis credits ESPN for fostering their relationship with the SEC over the past two decades, which originally culminated in the formation of the SEC Network, a channel dedicated to all things Southeastern Conference. Disney and ESPN lay in wait while CBS had the big games, then took the next step with the SEC while CBS had its eyes elsewhere.
Now, the two sports titans are going steady at the proverbial sports media dance while CBS seemingly grabbed the first option on the other side of the floor. All CBS had to do, Clay Travis says, was pay a little more for then-new SEC entrants Texas A&M and Missouri back in 2012, and all would still be good.
“All the SEC had to do…was bump their payment up a little bit…and they could’ve extended their relationship,” Clay Travis said. “Yet when the SEC expanded and added Missouri and Texas A&M, ESPN said ‘Here is our checkbook, SEC. We want to be in business with you for as long as we can. We understand what you’re doing and we want to be in business with you. And that was the impetus behind the launching of the SEC Network.’”’
However, Texas and Oklahoma are leaving the Big 12 two years early and will join the SEC in 2024, which means more money for CBS that they may have not been willing to pay, even for some of the most recognizable programs in the country.
Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the deal, the new Big Ten will be no slouch. While CBS will lose perennial college football powerhouses like Alabama and Georgia, it gains USC and UCLA, Oregon and Washington from the Pac-12. This is on top of their existing teams like Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, and Iowa. The only regular-season college football game to crack the top 100 broadcasts of 2022 was last year’s edition of “The Game” between Michigan and Ohio State.
Darren Rovell Leaving Action Network
Rovell will begin covering sports business on a full-time basis in a new role.
Darren Rovell has announced that he will be leaving Action Network at the end of the week to take on a new role where he will cover sports business on a full-time basis again.
Rovell joined Action Network five years ago shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court deemed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act to be unconstitutional, granting states the ability to determine whether or not to legalize sports betting.
A former member of ESPN, Rovell affirmed that he “took a leap of faith” in leaving the entity and joining the company, which was sold to Better Collective for $240 million in 2021.
“We have built a best-in-class product and sold the company amidst the sports betting wave,” Rovell said in a statement posted on X. “I have also been blessed to make lifelong friendships with some of my colleagues.”
Within his remarks, Rovell acknowledged that there is rapid transition within the sports media business, rendering coverage of the industry even more indispensable for fans. Moreover, he expressed how he misses “the dollars and cents reporting” that compelled him to pursue a career in the business 23 years ago.
Darren Rovell previously worked at CNBC where he wrote business reports and anchored several documentaries on its air, remaining at the outlet for parts of seven years.
Sports Illustrated Union Responds After Accusations of AI-Generated Articles by Fake Writers
The letter was signed as “The Humans of the SI Union”.
Sports Illustrated faced backlash across social media from readers and employees alike on Monday following a report from Futurism that found AI-generated articles and writer profiles were published on its website.
The report spotlighted instances where the misplaced, often oddly worded listicles were peppered across SI.com, even shuffled around with different fake author attributions. The article even traced the photo used for the fake author profiles to an AI-generated headshot site which could be purchased online.
It turns out that SI’s parent company, The Arena Group, claims it licensed out a third-party company called AdVon Commerce to create product reviews for not just SI but its other owned sites. When Futurism questioned The Arena Group about the use of the AI content, the articles and author profiles quickly disappeared. The company put out a statement Monday afternoon but has not offered any other explanations since.
“Today, an article was published alleging that Sports Illustrated published AI-generated articles. According to our initial investigation, this is not accurate,” a statement from The Arena Group read. “A number of AdVon’s e-commerce articles ran on certain Arena websites. We continually monitor our partners and were in the midst of a review when these allegations were raised.”
“AdVon has assured us that all of the articles in question were written and edited by humans,” the statement continued. “According to AdVon, their writers, editors, and researchers create and curate content and follow a policy that involves using both counter-plagiarism and counter-AI software on all content. However, we have learned that AdVon had writers use a pen or pseudo name in certain articles to protect author privacy – actions we strongly condemn – and we are removing the content while our internal investigation continues and have since ended the partnership.”
The SI Union offered a response itself, condemning the parent company for agreeing to publish the content.
“If true, these practices violate everything we believe in about journalism,” the union statement read. “We deplore being associated with something so disrespectful to our readers.”
“We want to be very clear: What is described in this Futurism story does not represent the hardworking journalists who make up the SI Union,” the statement concludes. “For nearly 70 years, SI staff members have held themselves to the highest possible ethical standards. As members of the SI Union, we are proud to be part of that legacy and work every day to protect it. We expect management to do the same.”
The statement was signed, “The Humans of the SI Union.”
Several current and former SI employees echoed the union’s sentiments.
The story even got national media attention on The Pat McAfee Show.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional 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, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.