Press Coverage: Valentine Rumors, Historical Accountability, Erin Andrews & WC Hangover

↵I'll admit I've got quite the soccer hangover. Unlike most Americans, the hardest thing for me on Sunday was not a check back to reality after a two-week dalliance with the sport. It was knowing that the best of the World Cup is yet to come, and fearing that an American audience may not care anymore, despite a clear elevation in the level of play and no more ties, which I know everyone just hated. ↵

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↵Rather than try to slog through a recap of the USMNT's performance through different media reports – just go read the weekend stuff by Hutchins, which is better than what I'd put out right now – let's do a "news and notes" type of Press Coverage, shall we? ↵

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↵The Premature Valentine ↵
↵Headline writing is a difficult skill (more on that later), so when I filed my story about Bobby Valentine rumored to be taking the Florida Marlins job, I wrote an email to our editors that read: I know the headline sounds like it's a done deal and the story doesn't, but hopefully being presumptive in this case is okay. ↵

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↵It turns out, being presumptive wasn't okay, as the rock-solid rumor may not actually be true. Our story was fine in reporting just the rumor then questioning why Valentine is always the hot name when his record in the majors hasn't really backed up the buzz. The headline, however, was completely misleading. It seems there was a lot of misleading going around, including SI's Jon Heyman tweeting this on Friday: ↵

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↵⇥marlins, valentine have at least a tentative deal for him to manage. he starts by monday, when florida plays #mets in P.R. ↵
↵Heyman, to his credit, owned up to the mistake yesterday: ↵
↵⇥valentine no longer in running for #marlins manager job, si.com has learned. my bad on friday. ↵
↵It's good to see a major writer hold himself accountable, and everyone gets things wrong from time to time. Heyman's gaffe did set off a huge wave around the sport, however. The news that Valentine was not only taking the job, but doing so by Monday set Hardball Talk's Craig Calcaterra off, firing a missive at Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria for not letting Marlins interim manager Edwin Rodriguez – the first Puerto Rican manager in the big leagues, albeit in a part-time gig – lead the team into Puerto Rico this week. ↵
↵⇥Jeff Loria, however, doesn't seem to care. He can't be bothered to let Rodriguez and the fans in Puerto Rico have three freakin' days of national pride over his ascendancy to a major league managerial job. Gotta get Bobby V. in there now! Why? Who knows. Maybe Loria's clueless and doesn't realize how important this would be to Puerto Rico and, in all likelihood, Rodriguez. ↵
↵The post was updated half an hour later with a quote from Valentine in the Palm Beach Post that said it was "absolutely not true." At the time, most assumed the "not true" part was the timing, not the fact that Bobby V may not take the job at all. Now even the "out of the running" talk seems a bit premature until someone else is actually hired. It's impossible to assume anything at this point because – as evidenced above – you know what happens when you assume...you make an ass out of you, me and everyone else following you on Twitter. ↵

↵Speaking of Accountability ↵
↵The Twitter feed SI_Vault put out a New York Daily News cover, having a little fun with the paper and ESPN New York's Ian O'Connor. The headline was from November 3, 1995, the day after Joe Torre was hired as Yankees manager, and read "Clueless Joe" with the subhead teasing O'Connor's story with "Torre Has No Idea What He's Getting Into." ↵

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↵Obviously O'Connor didn't write the inflammatory headline, but it still gives one a sense of the tenor of his column. SI was probably just having a little fun on the day that Torre's Dodgers faced off against the Yankees, but it does lead to a larger point about sports media and the culture in which we all co-exist: nobody cares what we say. I'll reiterate in all caps (channeling my inner Stephen A. Smith, perhaps): NOBODY CARES WHAT WE SAY. ↵

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↵We're all just talking, and writing, to entertain each other for a few minutes. Sure, there are great works of investigative journalism that actually change things, but by and large, we're all just people with a press pass (or in this day an age, an internet connection and a TV) and an opinion. O'Connor is a wonderful writer, so do you think there is one person who read that original story and held that gigantic front page miss against him? Until SI pulled out the cover, do you think anyone even remembered it? Well, perhaps Torre did, but they've both done pretty well for themselves since that day so I suspect even he likely forgot at this point. (Question: if today's newspapers are lining tomorrow's bird cages, what are today's blog posts lining? RSS filters?) ↵

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↵If someone wants to start a great blog, it would be taking every sportswriters' outlandish prognostications and grading them a year later, five years later and ten years later. Like Fire Joe Morgan, but in a time capsule, focusing more on the veracity of a claim than the style behind it. Who knows, maybe in fifteen years we could all click on the site to joke about the time Bobby Valentine was reportedly taking the Marlins job. ↵

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↵Time For Andrews To Move On?
↵Erin Andrews is working the College World Series for ESPN and many are speculating about whether the sideline reporter will move on after her contract expires on July 1. Andrews recently got hit with a foul ball on her wrist – she was hit on the chin by a foul ball last year – which has led some to think "enough is enough" with this sports junk. The fact is, following the terrible scandal she dealt with last year – which did get her a sit-down with Oprah, let's remember – Andrews entered a whole new stratosphere of celebrity. Her stint on Dancing With The Stars further extended that celebrity to the point where it's rather ridiculous to see her working college baseball games, no matter how much she claims to enjoy it. ↵

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↵Andrews has a limited shelf life to capitalize on the kind of celebrity she's seeing after her run to the DWTS finals. It seems obvious that Andrews should take a page from Pat O'Brien or Kevin Frazier and make the jump to tabloid shows. Heck, Andrews could even do what Melissa Stark tried a decade ago and move from the sideline to news and interviews for one of the networks. ↵

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↵I've thought for some time that if ESPN wants to keep Andrews around, her value isn't on the sidelines but in a Rick Reilly: Homecoming-type capacity. Regardless, something will have to give if Andrews stays with ESPN. How many years is she going to try and convince us that sitting in Omaha heat in late June, getting pelted with baseballs, is fun for her? ↵

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↵Tabloids Stealing Headlines From Twitter? ↵
↵There's a fun little game for media types to play online. Wait for a major sporting event to end and tweet out what you think the tabloid headline will be. The best part, of course, is when you're right. But could people be so right they're actually getting their headlines stolen by the tabloid writers? ↵

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↵Darren Rovell sent out this tweet after the USMNT was eliminated from the World Cup: ↵

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↵⇥Tomorrow's headline today: GOING, GOING, GHANA. ↵
↵More than one tabloid, including New York Daily News, featured that headline on Sunday. Now, it's safe to assume the headline writer already had it in mind and never even saw Rovell's tweet, but Twitter does lead to a whole new pool of material for that part of the industry. From now on, let's all come up with ridiculously outlandish headlines, just to see if something sneaks in. Just as long as they don't have Bobby Valentine taking a job he's not.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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