People & Personalities: ESPN's Storm Returns After Suffering Burns In Accident
USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand notes ESPN’s Hannah Storm hosted “SportsCenter” yesterday, her first time hosting the show "since a propane grill accident Dec. 10 left her with first- and second-degree burns on her face, hands, chest and neck.” Cameras had to be “moved closer so she could read scripts because her singed corneas still are recovering.” She also “can’t quite use her hands well enough to type, so she just uses her thumbs on her PDA to write her lead-ins.” Storm is taking the "rest of the week off" after hosting today's 9:00am ET "SportsCenter." Storm will work "SportsCenter" shows Sundays and Mondays and "hopes to do long-scheduled segments from New Orleans in the week leading up to the Super Bowl" (USA TODAY, 1/14).
ROUNDING THE BASES: MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart cited a source as saying former MLBer Geoff Blum has “reached an agreement” to join the Astros’ TV broadcast team. Blum is “expected to be behind the microphone for about 60 games a year this year, filling the role of color analyst when Bill Brown isn't in the booth." Former Blue Jays radio analyst Alan Ashby is "returning to Houston this year to work alongside Brown, and he will slide into the play-by-play role when Brown is off” (MLB.com, 1/12). Meanwhile, in L.A., Bill Shaikin reported the Angels have hired former MLBer Mark Langston “as their new radio analyst, replacing Jose Mota.” Langston, who played eight seasons with the Angels, “will join Terry Smith in the radio booth.” Mota will “become an analyst on the Angels’ Spanish-language television broadcasts” (LATIMES.com, 1/11).
IT'S GREEK TO ME: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick noted ESPN commentator Rob Parker was let go last week by the network following his racially-charged comments about Redskins QB Robert Griffin III and wrote, “For what else could Parker have been hired than to be a racial flame-thrower?” Parker “seldom demonstrated credible insights into sports,” as he would “just kinda rattle on, filling space.” Mushnick: "Parker’s dismissal reminds me of the Jimmy ‘The Greek’ Snyder racial matter.” CBS hired Snyder because he had “a big mouth that emitted half-baked notions and opinions.” The net “fired him for the same reason” (N.Y. POST, 1/13).
TALKING HEADS: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy is “already elite, and now he’s starting to put distance between himself and every other sports commentator on television.” He hopes Van Gundy will “never take another coaching job.” Meanwhile, ESPN’s Seth Greenberg and Bruce Pearl “do superb work on the college basketball studio programs.” They are “extremely energetic, knowledgeable and charismatic.” They are “so good, you almost hate to see halftime end” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/14).