In Tampa, Tom Jones notes NASCAR team Owner Michael Waltrip also is a Fox prerace analyst and "apparently, the network will stick with him" following penalties given to his team for actions during the Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Int'l Raceway on Sept. 7. The incident "again amplifies just how ridiculous that a driver/owner is serving as an analyst on a major network's pregame show." Jones: "Could you imagine Fox paying an NFL owner such as Daniel Snyder or Jerry Jones to comment on other NFL teams? ... So why does Fox think it's okay to have Waltrip on, particularly after what just happened? I would think other Fox commentators would have a hard time criticizing an on-air colleague, which puts the credibility of the whole broadcast under question" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 9/16).
COMFORT LEVEL: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote Yankees radio broadcasters John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman are "officially a phenomenon," one "so congruous with the 'Yankee way' it has made them the most recognizable, and talked about, broadcast team in the city." Raissman: "Love them or loathe them, every particle of their broadcast DNA has made them better known in the Yankees organization than anybody other than" manager Joe Girardi and the players. With the team's "revolving cast this season," Sterling and Waldman are "more recognizable than some of the Yankees No Namers." It has "always been critical" for radio voices "to make a one-on-one connection with their audience." Waldman and Sterling have "accomplished that in a number of ways" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/15).
DESK MOVES: The ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER announced that former L.A. Times columnist T.J. Simers is joining the paper, with his first piece scheduled to appear on page two of Thursday's sports section. His columns will initially run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, "but often will appear on other days as well" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 9/15)....Seattle Times Sports Editor Don Shelton wrote Geoff Baker is "stepping away from baseball coverage and walking into a new role after seven years covering the Mariners." Baker starting Nov. 3 will be the paper's sports enterprise and investigative reporter. Shelton wrote Baker will "finish the season covering the Mariners" while they "look for his replacement" (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/15).