Ian Casselberry is a freelance writer, currently based in Asheville, NC. He is an editor at The Comeback and Awful Announcing

Previously, he has been a contributing writer for Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew, and SB Nation. In addition, he was a lead baseball writer for Bleacher Report. 

You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook, where he craves your attention.

He still plans to write that novel someday. 

("Pearls Before Swine" © 2005 Stephan Pastis)
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Entries in media (7)


The week's writes and reads, 11-01-15

It's been quiet around here during the past month (not that it was ever loud to begin with), as October was busy — as it typically is during baseball's postseason — and I've gone into cryo-sleep on weekends. What, you can't even throw up a lousy links post, Ian? Apparently not. 

November will hopefully be an exciting month. Exciting things on the horizon. If you didn't know, the crew at Awful Announcing is starting up a new general sports-culture blog and we're looking for writers. Here's the official announcement, which includes details of how to apply, if you're interested. 

These are the podcast links to my radio appearances for the week. I'm hoping my spots on ESPN Asheville will soon be among these. I'm now on with The WISE Guys three times a week — Tuesdays and Thursdays for baseball news, and Wednesday for movie reviews — as the show has been expanded to three hours a day. Streaming online and podcasts are hopefully soon to come. 

Marty & Miller Show in Des Moines, IA - Tuesday (10-27, Hour 2, 19:00 mark)
Maximus & The Bartender, - Tuesday (42:00 mark)

The big media news this week was ESPN pulling the plug on Grantland, which was almost surely on life support once the network fired Bill Simmons in May. The sports-culture internet was a better place with Grantland's longer-form pieces on sports, TV, movies and music, and I've probably spent most of the past two-plus years trying to create content that aspired to the bar they set. (Though I fully acknowledge that the general public probably wasn't aware of the site.)

I could fill up this week's reading links with the many — so many — eulogies and tributes written for Grantland, but I'll keep it to just a couple. Before that, here's what I wrote this week. Thanks for checking in!


'Supergirl' shows superheroes can be fun, yet also taken seriously - The AP Party
Colin Cowherd calls out Michelle Beadle and Bill Simmons, Beadle bites back - Awful Announcing
Get ready: Ricky Gervais is hosting the Golden Globes again - The AP Party
Watch: Adele says 'Hello' to Lionel Richie, who returns the 'Hello' - The AP Party

Keys for the Royals to win the World Series - The Outside Corner
The Grantland NFL podcast returns from (self-imposed or inflicted) exile, tribute finally paid  - Awful Announcing
FanDuel will continue to offer college games, despite NCAA request - Awful Announcing
Top eight candidates for 2015 World Series MVP - The Outside Corner
Alcides Escobar's inside-the-park home run gets Royals off to blazing start - The Outside Corner
Fox loses TV feed for World Series broadcast - The Outside Corner

Eric Hosmer, Royals take 5-4, 14-inning win over Mets in World Series Game 1 - The Outside Corner
Report: Nationals set to hire Bud Black as manager - The Outside Corner
Johnny Cueto dominates Mets for 7-1 Royals win, 2-0 World Series lead - The Outside Corner

Marlins reportedly hire Don Mattingly as manager, signing him to four-year deal - The Outside Corner

ACC Network launch pushed back further at ESPN's request - Awful Announcing
Ken Hershman stepping down as HBO Sports president - Awful Announcing


-- Chris Cilizza on why Grantland made an impact, focusing on the "so what" and "now what" of journalism. [Washington Post]

-- If you didn't read Grantland, here are 13 articles that represent the best of what that site and its writers and editors created. [ThinkProgress]

-- Eating salad can make you fat? Well, that's oversimplifying. It's more about the trade and rationalization we make with ourselves when eating healthy. [New York Times]

-- Matt Crossman took a month off from social media, tired of the constant need for affirmation that it creates. So was he ultimately better off staying away? [Charlotte Magazine]

-- Do most radio shows and podcasts sound alike these days, trying to emulate the sound and pace of NPR programming? Maybe it applies to writing too. (Personally, I don't think so.) [New York Times]

-- One of the most intriguing storylines of Tuesday's Game 1 of the World Series was Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez playing while news of his father's death was being reported. Fox didn't report the news during its telecast, fearing Volquez would learn of it before being informed by his family. [The Washington Post]

-- Murphy Anderson wasn't the most popular comic book artist. But if you read DC Comics from the 1960s and 1970s, chances are you encountered his work somehow. He passed away this week at the age of 89. I didn't know he was born in Asheville, NC. [New York Times]

-- What will the football of the future look like and how will it function? (The ball itself, not the game.) What materials will it be made from, will there be a computer chip inside it and will it avoid being deflated? [Wired]


The week's writes and reads, 09-27-15

Writing-wise, I ended the week on a bit of an anxious note, after criticizing Lance Berkman for taking a stand against a LGBT rights proposition in Houston. As you might expect, that drew some negative reaction on social media with several attacks on Facebook and Twitter. I was also drawn into some comparatively civil discussions, which were still upsetting since it was clear no minds were going to be changed.

But this is the life that I have chosen, and I felt strongly enough about what I view as prejudice and persecution to have written about it. I'm grateful that I have that outlet and hope I didn't give my editors too much moderation work on a Friday evening. 

One radio appearance podcast for the week on 1700 The Champ in Iowa. (Thanks as always to Marty Tirrell and Trent Condon for setting that up. I love talking with those guys, and am flattered that they want my opinions on baseball.) Those might pick up a bit now that MLB is about to enter the postseason, which will be very exciting.

Marty & Miller Show, 1700 The Champ, Des Moines - Tuesday (9-22, Hour 1, 29:30 mark)

Here's what else I wrote this week besides the Berkman post, followed by a few reading links: 


End of season post-mortem: 2015 Oakland Athletics - The Outside Corner
Report: ESPN to lay off "200 to 300" employees over next few months - Awful Announcing
Bomani Jones gets 4 to 7 p.m. slot on ESPN Radio, Jalen & Jacoby move to radio - Awful Announcing
Video: Andy Samberg watches all the TV in Emmys 2015 opening number - The AP Party
NFLPA launching player-driven content producer called ACE Media - Awful Announcing

'Minority Report' smartly builds on original movie with promising debut episode - The AP Party
Marvel hires Ta-Nehisi Coates to write 'Black Panther' comic book - The AP Party

Yogi Berra's legacy transcends sports like few others, maybe anyone else - The Outside Corner
Dan Patrick talks about appearing on Scott Van Pelt's SportsCenter, the visitor pass and Keith Olbermann - Awful Announcing
Fox Sports introducing "Fox Lab" initiative for new broadcast technologies - Awful Announcing

Watch: Haircuts and subprime mortgages are bad in 'The Big Short' trailer - The AP Party 

Rediscovering how magnificent 'Se7en' is, 20 years later - The AP Party
The new Bill Simmons podcast will be a lot like his old one - Awful Announcing
Jorge Sedano, Jen Lada to take 9 to 11 p.m. slot on ESPN Radio - Awful Announcing
Lance Berkman exposes his bigotry, speaking out against LGBT ordinance - The AP Party


-- I did not know this about my friend Howard Cole, but Sept. 22 was the 25th anniversary of his kidney transplant. Twenty-five years since he received a new lease on life. [CNN]

-- Big news in Asheville this week, which became a national story, was two coffee shop owners being exposed as serial misogynists and womanizers. Detailing their conquests and the demeaning way they portrayed women was discovered online, and their business is in fatal trouble. [Asheville Blog]

-- E-books sales are down, while print book sales are up? That's not what was supposed to happen. Wasn't print supposed to be dead? Personally, I still like reading a book and carrying it around, though I have a Kindle and iPad. It's an escape from looking at a screen all day. [New York Times]

-- I'm more jaded about marriage than I've ever been, so was naturally interested in quotes from men explaining when they knew their marriages were over. Some of these are sad, some are obvious. [Huffington Post]


The week's writes and reads, 09-20-15

I've had sort of an insecurity about not writing much baseball stuff over the past couple of weeks. That's my own doing, as I haven't been as aggressive in pursuing material and making pitches. Plus, we're kind of in a soft period for interest with the beginning of football season and MLB providing few compelling storylines at the moment. 

But I have to admit, when Marty Tirrell and Ken Miller were teasing me about whether or not I still wrote for The Outside Corner, I winced a little bit. Here's my weekly appearance on their show: 

Marty & Miller Show, 1700 The Champ, Des Moines - Tuesday (9-15, Hour 2, 20:10 mark)

I like to think I jumped back into baseball writing this week, and hope to continue that as the season surges toward the end of division races and into the playoffs. This is going to be an exciting postseason with a lot of new blood in it, and I'm excited to be able to write about it. 

Here are all of my posts for the week, followed by the stuff I enjoyed reading: 


Drew Storen breaks thumb, becomes unofficial symbol for 2015 Nationals - The Outside Corner
Ben Foster admitted taking PEDs to play Lance Armstrong in 'The Program' - Awful Announcing
Video: Clive Owen ready to make history in 'The Knick' season two trailer - The AP Party
Call him the Candy Man? Rece Davis changing his name to Reese - Awful Announcing
Craig Sager talks to Houston TV station about cancer treatment - Awful Announcing

End of season post-mortem: 2015 Miami Marlins - The Outside Corner
David Feherty moves to NBC, will expand beyond sports into entertainment - Awful Announcing
Watch: 'The Jungle Book' trailer brings Disney animated classic to life - The AP Party

MLB hot seat rankings: Which managers are most likely to be fired? - The Outside Corner
Report: ESPN president John Skipper receives contract extension through 2018 - Awful Announcing
Report: Mike Lupica out at New York Daily News in wave of layoffs - Awful Announcing
Last week, DraftKings and FanDuel generated twice what Vegas sports books pulled in - Awful Announcing
Fox Sports Live's Jay Onrait channels Stephen Colbert to "embrace debate" - Awful Announcing

South Park mocks DeflateGate, as Cartman dreams of Brady and Goodell - Awful Announcing

'Black Mass' reminds us that Johnny Depp is a hell of an actor - The AP Party
Buffalo Wild Wings pulls ad campaign starring The League's Steve Rannazzissi - Awful Announcing
Panthers' Josh Norman questions how much attention Jon Gruden pays to the NFL - Awful Announcing


-- This might be some of the best advice ever given on writing, or commentary on the writer's life. What is success? Are you a failure if you haven't "broken through"? Or is just being able to write, and hopefully make a living from it after committing so much to doing so, the true reward? [The Cut]

-- These are the people Dylann Roof stayed with before his mass shooting in Charleston. Why didn't they try to stop him or alert someone to what he was talking about? [Washington Post]

-- This is the kind of thing that makes you wonder how we can all live in the same world but see it and interpret it so differently. There are people out there who think the Roanoke shooting was a hoax? Maybe that's the thing; we don't really live in the same world. [The Daily Beast]

-- Michigan and Michigan State play each other in football on Oct. 17. On Sept. 15, Michigan played its first home game under new head coach Jim Harbaugh. But later that same day, MSU had a huge game against Oregon in East Lansing. Shouldn't the Spartans have received more attention? [Campus Rush]

-- Actor Jesse Eisenberg is an intriguing character (though maybe not as intriguing as he thinks he is). Still, as someone who writes, plays a variety of roles and is about to play one of the most famous comic book supervillains in Lex Luthor, he's an interesting guy to interview. [New York Observer]

-- Comedian Steve Rannazzissi lied about working in the World Trade Center on 9/11, making it a key part of his biography. What motivated him not only to fabricate that story in the first place, but continue to perpetuate the fiction? [Vulture]


The week's writes and reads, 07-26-15

I'm just about to finish my first month as an associate editor with Awful Announcing, and still feel like I'm trying to find my footing on a relatively new beat (though I've always been a follower of media happenings). But this past week may have been when I really became official, as some big stories broke regarding Bill Simmons and Colin Cowherd, and I was "on the clock" for some of those developments. 

Making a radio appearance on behalf of AA to talk about Simmons going to HBO felt like kind of an indoctrination. Here's a link to that interview, as well as another podcasted spot from the past week:

The Warm Up, TSN 1290, Winnipeg - Wednesday (7-22, 14:01 mark)
Marty & Miller Show, 1700 The Champ, Des Moines - Wednesday (7-22, Hour 3, 28:05 mark)

And these are the articles I wrote this week. A little light on Friday, as I ducked out of "the office" early to celebrate my mother's birthday and travel to find some legit Chinese food. Back at it next week. The MLB trade deadline should keep us busy!


Charles Davis reportedly replacing Donovan McNabb on Fox NFL broadcasts - Awful Announcing
Watch: Brandon Phillips goes behind-the-back to get an out - The Outside Corner
The 2015 drought is over: Nick Markakis has hit a home run - The Outside Corner

Outfielders available for Orioles, but do they have enough to make a deal? - The Outside Corner
Watch: J.D. Martinez and Nelson launch gigantic home runs in Detroit - The Outside Corner
Watch: Judd Apatow impersonates Bill Cosby in 'Tonight Show' stand-up set - The AP Party

Bill Simmons is going to HBO - Awful Announcing
Why Grantland still makes the most sense for Tommy Craggs, why it still may never work - Awful Announcing 
Colin Cowherd officially announces he's leaving ESPN on his show - Awful Announcing

Astros get Scott Kazmir from Athletics, beginning MLB trade deadline season - The Outside Corner
Jamie Horowitz tabs Charlie Dixon to oversee Fox Sports 1 and 2 - Awful Announcing 
Ranking the sports cameos in Sharknado 3 - Awful Announcing

NFL launching new Game Pass subscription service for devices including Apple TV - Awful Announcing


-- Those who know me well know how strongly I feel about gun control, no matter how unrealistic it might be. The argument is weary, but maybe I should just be stronger. Especially you read that there have been 204 mass shootings in 204 days of 2015. [Washington Post]

-- Moving from a site where you had success to start up your own venture can be a risky endeavor. Umberto Gonzalez is doing it, and so far, he's off to a good start with Heroic Hollywood. Alex Pappademas profiles him, and details the process of getting a movie news scoop. [Grantland]

-- A movie with Jason Segel playing David Foster Wallace has always made me nervous. But The End of the Tour has been getting good film festival buzz. And I certainly enjoyed the David Lipsky book the film is based on. This is looking like a possible career-changing role for Segel. [New York Times]

-- Many writers, including me, have praised Michael Pena's performance in Ant-Man, calling him the star of the movie. It never occurred to me that his role would be offensive to Latinos, as Umberto Gonzalez writes. [Heroic Hollywood]

-- So women dyeing their armpit hair is a thing? [New York Times]

-- I don't know if you could call this a "good read," but the website I enjoyed most this week was the hip-hop/baseball mash-up Straight Outta Cooperstown. Good timing with the Baseball Hall of Fame induction this weekend. [Straight Outta Cooperstown]



Do we need to know Prince Fielder's personal business? 

I feel like I — we — shouldn't know that Prince Fielder is getting a divorce.

Yet we do now, thanks to perhaps too much being said on sports talk radio and a blog that has some good sources. Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that such news came out in our current media climate. Virtually everything seems like fair game these days. Those in the public eye have difficulty keeping anything in their personal lives private.

For those unfamiliar with this story — and maybe I'm being just as bad in recapping what's happened and bringing further attention to it — the Detroit Tigers first baseman hasn't been having a strong season.

Fielder is hitting .262, which would be the second-lowest batting average of his nine major league seasons if it holds through the rest of the year. He's not getting on base as much (.352 on-base percentage) and not hitting for as much power (.430 slugging percentage). Basically, he's on pace to have one of the worst performances of his career. 

Naturally, fans, reporters and commentators want to know what's going on. Fielder is in the second year of a nine-year, $214 million contract. He's being paid $23 million this season. 

Of course, the first thought is typically that something is physically wrong with Fielder. Was he hiding any sort of injury? The more cynical among us might have presumed that Fielder is content after cashing in with a big free-agent contract, and thus isn't trying as hard.

That's the sort of sentiment that teammate Torii Hunter was likely responding to when he felt the need to defend Fielder during a radio interview. "A lot of people don't know what's going on in his life," he said on "The Ryan and Rico Show" on Detroit Sports 105.1. 


Asked if he was saying that fans should lay off Fielder because of what might be going on, Hunter said he couldn't get into it.

But he still brought it up, and that stoked curiosity.

I'm guessing that most fans and reporters were content to leave it at that. Fielder had stuff going on that we didn't know about and didn't need to know about because it wasn't happening on the field. Whether or not those issues were affecting his play was simply something to speculate upon.

That is, until Larry Brown Sports reported Wednesday evening that Fielder had filed for divorce back in May. So there it was: The personal issue, revealed for everyone. 

I'm not criticizing LBS for reporting the story, as uncomfortable as it might be. I have no idea if a source tipped Brown off to Fielder's divorce proceedings or he did some reporting and found Fielder's name among Orange County, Fla. court documents. If it's the latter, that's actually some good work, even if you think it's snooping around in unseemly territory. 

Honestly, I can't say what I would've done if someone had told me about Fielder's divorce. In my current position as more of a columnist, I might have sat on that information, even if I felt people might want to know. 

The argument could be made that I would've had a responsibility to pass that information along. No one can say for certain whether Fielder's personal problems are affecting his play on the field, but it wouldn't be outlandish to draw such a conclusion.

If this is a work performance issue, do we as consumers have the right to know? I'd certainly argue Fielder's bosses and teammates should know, but it's clear that they already did. If a waitperson serving me was going through a tough time and providing poor service, would I really need to know what that person was dealing with at home? I don't know if that's the best comparison, though. 

If I was still a regular Tigers blogger covering everything about the team and running a comment-driven site, I probably would have felt compelled to run the story and let the community have a discussion about it.

That's what happened when Miguel Cabrera had a domestic incident in 2009.

Obviously, that was a different situation. There was a police report. He was out in public. Cabrera had played with visible scratches on his face the following night. What had happened actually did have an effect on the field, as Cabrera may still have been drunk.

At the time, I didn't feel it was my place to do anything other than provide fans a forum to talk about all this. 

Of course, drawing traffic is a consideration. Breaking a story like that would get plenty of hits for a website. It would surely get frequently linked on Twitter and Facebook.

I don't know if that's a temptation I would have been able to pass up. But that certainly would've opened me up to some justifiable criticism. 

I'm sure there are some opinions out there that say this is what's wrong with sports these days. In a 24/7 news cycle with so much time and space to fill, so much more gets reported than before. Anything can get out there fast with social media. 

Back in the old days, these sorts of matters — any personal indiscretions — wouldn't have been revealed. Babe Ruth could stay out until early morning getting drunk and spending the night with women that weren't his wife. That had nothing to do with what occurred on the field, so it wasn't news.(Although back then, sportswriters may have been out carousing with the ballplayers.) 

Was it better back then, when we didn't know virtually everything going on with our favorite athletes and celebrities? I can't really say. Maybe that knowledge helps us as fans realize that these are actually human beings, who go through much of the same crap in their personal lives that we do, regardless of wealth, fame and success. 

Sure, some asshole fans will use that information to insult him from the stands, in blog comments and message boards, or on sports talk radio. But I think most of us will actually show some sympathy. Fielder is going through something none of us would prefer to experience, especially when two children are involved.

In that case, maybe it's a good thing that this got out. Even if we might wish that it didn't.


Trying to figure out this morning show thing

I realize none of you reading this might care about television morning shows, especially the ones on cable. Or maybe they're just background noise as you get ready for the day.

But whether it's because I tend to be an early riser, watching morning shows before I go to the gym or as I'm eating breakfast, these programs are a regular part of my daily media diet. (I'm reading Brian Stelter's book, Top of the Morning, because of it.) 

I tend to favor MSNBC's Morning Joe, though Mika Brzezinski has become increasingly insufferable and actually pretty useless as the show has evolved.

I enjoy smart people talking about current events and important issues with generally informed opinions. No cooking segments or fashion tips, no lifestyle segments, no tabloid storylines.

Maybe you need that other stuff to be successful on morning TV. At least to a wider, network audience. But Morning Joe has proven otherwise.

Is CNN trying to follow that template? They seemed to be with Starting Point, hosted by Soledad O'Brien. I liked that show, because it had a little more personality than Morning Joe and a greater willingness to explore pop culture.


(Maybe if Willie Geist hosted the show, it would lean that way. But then it would have to be called Morning Willie, and that's probably not a good idea.) 

But apparently, I was one of the few who tuned in to Starting Point, prompting CNN president Jeff Zucker to make some changes.

O'Brien got canned (or "re-assigned"), Chris Cuomo was hired from ABC and after a long search for a co-host, CNN went with the inside hire in Kate Bolduan (the blonde in the picture above), who always seemed uncomfortable co-hosting with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room in the afternoon.

Evidently, the chemistry between those two was scorching and Zucker decided to go with it. (The banter between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski is definitely a reason Morning Joe is so appealing.) That seems to be what CNN will be pushing, as Cuomo and Bolduan are giggly in their "This is CNN" promo. See, they get along so well! You totally gotta tune in! 

But here's what I'm really getting at, and I apologize for taking 350 words to get there. (Thanks for following me on the long swim.) CNN's new morning show — titled New Day — won't debut until June 10, according to an announcement the network made today.

That's six weeks from now. Cuomo and Bolduan were announced as the new morning team five weeks ago, in late March. Does it really take nearly three months to get a show together? Maybe it really does. I have no idea, of course, not working in television.

I realize people have to be hired, research has to be conducted, test shows have to be done, and perhaps above all, the program has to be promoted — heavily. I guess all that stuff takes months to run through. (CNN probably also wants to avoid May sweeps while it's putting a new show on the air.) 

It just seems like an awfully long time. And let's be honest: Is CNN really going to re-invent the wheel here? Credit to Zucker and the show's producers if they can truly come up with something different, as Scarborough and his producer Chris Licht did in 2007. Maybe that sort of thing takes three months. At the very least, this indicates what's at stake for CNN. 

But will anyone really tune in? I guess I will, but I'm not a hard sell for this stuff. 


Hey, where's the New York Times sports page?

Who knew The New York Times could be so cheeky?

Leaving the front page of the sports section blank to reflect no players being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2013 was a brilliant visual commentary.

Of course, prohibiting its writers for voting on awards and honors such as the Hall of Fame allows a better position to cast judgment. 

You can see the NYT’s full front sports page at USA Today. Or you could go to a newsstand and pick one up for yourself. 

Do you think anyone saw that page and thought their paper wasn't printed properly? I wonder if anyone tried to return their copy or go back and see if they could get a properly printed NYT?

I can easily imagine dealing with that customer when I worked at Borders or Barnes and Noble. "I didn't get a full paper!"