SBD/Issue 85/Sports Media

Mark McGwire Interview A Long-Time Coming For Bob Costas

McGwire's Belief Steroids Did Not Aid Strength
Forced Costas To Change Interview Strategy
MLB Network's Bob Costas "had been hoping to line up an interview" with Mark McGwire for years, and when he landed the opportunity on Monday, it "took McGwire only a few minutes to show live TV's unpredictability," according to Dan Caesar of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Costas, who "hadn't seen or heard" McGwire's interviews with the AP and Post-Dispatch earlier in the day, had a "game plan going in" to the interview. However, he was "taken aback when McGwire said in this very public setting that he believed steroids didn't give him additional strength." Costas said, "You try to prioritize it. We'll first get to the stuff that's most topical, then get to personal stuff." He added, "But when a couple minutes in he says this (that steroids didn't help his strength), then I had to audible. It was like, whoa! If you believe that, it puts a lot of other things in a different light. If you believe you got no benefit from that, how do you explain the whole era?" Costas noted that he "thinks the reason that he and MLB Network were picked for McGwire's first national TV interview about the subject was the result of several factors, including Costas' track record and the amount of time ... the outlet could devote to the conversation." Costas: "I had talked to him a couple times, the most recently of which was probably two years ago just to say if you ever want to talk about any of these issues, I believe you'd find a fair and credible place to do it with me. At that time I was at HBO, but I felt it was very important that if he ever spoke, that he do it at a place that not only was credible but also would be able to have a lot of time to devote" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/15).

 
NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP: MLB Net President & CEO Tony Petitti Thursday at the MLB owners' meetings spoke to team officials "on the MLBN's first year." Petitti's presentation was "well-received, reflecting the strides made by the MLB Network, which is 13 days into its second year on the air." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said, "The Network's first year was excellent, to say the least" (MLB.com, 1/14). In Albany, Pete Dougherty writes MLB Network "has made a major impact on the television landscape" in its first year. The net is "already in more homes than the NFL Network, which has put profit margin ahead of distribution, and Bob Costas' interview Monday night with Mark McGwire was a major boost to MLB Network's credibility" (Albany TIMES UNION, 1/15). In California, Jim Carlisle writes the McGwire interview was "just another feather in MLB Network's cap." When ESPN's Bob Ley interviewed McGwire on Tuesday, the network "made a big deal out of it, but the impact wasn’t nearly as great because it had been beaten to the punch" (VENTURA COUNTY STAR, 1/15).

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