People & Personalities: Mitts Retires, Joins MLS Union Broadcast Team
In Philadelphia, Jonathan Tannenwald reported U.S. women’s national soccer team D Heather Mitts “announced that her playing career is over,” and she will be “joining the Philadelphia Union's television team.” Mitts will be “a sideline reporter and analyst" during the MLS club's "local television broadcasts.” Her debut will “come Saturday, when the Union host the New England Revolution at PPL Park.” Mitts formerly has served “as a studio analyst for ESPN and ABC's broadcasts of the 2003 Women's World Cup.” Mitts said she also will be an "ambassador for the Philadelphia Union while taking part in other soccer related projects" (PHILLY.com, 3/13).
NO REGRETS: USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand notes it “isn’t easy” for announcer Gus Johnson “to watch the NCAA tournament.” Johnson said, “It’s emotional. It was a big part of my life for 15 years. The NCAA tournament made me. … Yes, it’s emotional. Yes, I miss it. Yes, I’d like to be part of it.” But he adds, “This is a business. And I’m glad I’m at Fox.” Hiestand notes Johnson has “a possible star turn coming in soccer: Fox inherits World Cup action from ESPN starting with the women’s event in 2015 and men’s play in 2018.” Fox Sports VP/Communications Dan Bell said that World Cup on-air assignments “aren’t set.” But, “don’t expect Johnson, who calls Fox college football, to be a bundle of catchphrases on soccer.” Johnson said, “This has everything to do with me learning the game. I don’t want to get into the habit of manufacturing something that’s not there” (USA TODAY, 3/13).
PEACEFUL, EASY FEELING: In Chicago, Chris De Luca noted White Sox announcers Ken “Hawk” Harrelson and Steve Stone “have become synonymous with Chicago baseball since the 1980s,” but there was “something wrong when the two shared the White Sox’ TV booth last season.” Harrelson last week said, “There was some tension. It happens.” Stone said, “I believe everything has been resolved. I think this year is going to be much better broadcasts than it has been.” He added, “I think the fans are going to be pleasantly surprised with the growth of our partnership and what both of us are going to bring to the table this year.” De Luca noted some have “speculated Hawk’s homerism grates on Stone, but Stone denied it.” Stone: “There are people who view that as a negative; I view it as an extreme positive. I like the fact that he wants the White Sox to win every day” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/13).
DEAD AIR: In Tampa, Eric Deggans reported Tampa Bay Times sports columnist Gary Shelton “has left sports talk radio station WHFS-FM, fired after completing” yesterday's show. The station has “endured upheavals as original program director Mike Pepper was reassigned and then left the company.” By the beginning of February, the station was “airing national broadcaster Jim Rome at noon and had rolled back its concept of around the clock live and local sports talk” (TAMPABAY.com, 3/13).