ESPN has produced a documentary called “Let Them Wear Towels,” which is about the awful treatment women sports reporters received from athletes, teams, leagues and even media colleagues until way, way too damn recently. I haven’t seen it yet, but I just read Alyson Footer’s column about it and I plan to see it as soon as I can.
Footer’s column is excellent, as rather than merely review the documentary, she goes interactive and tweets as if it were 1984 and she were trying to cover the beat under the stone age rules of the time. Given how most of our interaction with beat reporters is via Twitter these days it makes the awful treatment women received way more immediate than it might otherwise. We’ve sort of been conditioned to think of all documentaries as things chronicling a long-ago past and as such even the best ones tend to put a bit of distance between us and the subject matter. Footer’s tweets — and their footnotes, which explain that those were very real things which occurred — help get around that.
Oh, two other takeaways: (1) Footer’s use of the #deuce hashtag was fantastic. I won’t say why — go read it — but having spent a lot of time in spring training clubhouses, I will vouch for the particular awfulness of a clubhouse in the morning; and (2) the fact that Bowie Kuhn is in the Hall of Fame is an absolute atrocity. I mean it, every time I think I am clear about just how loathsome a human being he was, I’m given more evidence of his loathsomeness.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.
If you’ve happened to catch any of the coverage of the 2016 postseason on Fox and FS1, you’ve heard former Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez as part of an analyst panel with host Kevin Burkhardt and former major leaguers Pete Rose and Frank Thomas. Rodriguez has drawn rave reviews not just for passing a rather low bar we set for former athletes-turned-commentators, but because he’s adding real insight drawn both from his playing days and from doing research.
Indeed, Rodriguez is taking his new job as an analyst quite seriously, Newsday’s Neil Best reports. Bardia Shah-Rais, the VP of production for Fox, said of Rodriguez, “This is not a hobby for him. It’s not a parachute in. He’s invested. If we have a noon meeting, he’s there at 11:30 a.m. He’s emailing story ideas in the morning. He wants research. He’s almost all-in to the point where it’s annoying.”
Rose also praised Rodriguez, saying, “You’ve never been around a guy who prepares more than Alex does. Alex does his homework. He knows the game. He understands players. He’s into the deal . . . Frank does a great job in preparation, too. I’m the only one that don’t prepare as much as these two guys. I don’t know if that’s because I can’t write or what it is. But these guys do their homework and they ask questions and they ask the right questions and then you put that in with our experience, all the things we’ve been through and how good we get along with each other, that’s why it shows up on the TV.”
Rodriguez, who hasn’t officially retired despite not having played since the Yankees released him in mid-August, wouldn’t commit to more TV work beyond this year’s postseason.