People & Personalities: Steve Letarte, Dale Jr.'s Crew Chief, To Join NBC NASCAR Booth
Hendrick Motorsports' Steve Letarte, who leads the crew behind Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 car, has reached an agreement to join NBC's NASCAR coverage as an analyst beginning in '15. Letarte will join analyst Jeff Burton and race announcer Rick Allen (NBC Sports). Letarte, who began working at Hendrick at age 16, said that after becoming crew chief in '11, he "had no desire to hold such a job past age 40." HMS Owner Rick Hendrick said, "He has all the tools to be a terrific broadcaster, and I know our fans will enjoy hearing his perspective" (ESPN.com, 1/9).
CALL THE PEN: Former MLBer Brad Lidge confirmed that Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia "called him with regard to the job of Phillies in-game color commentator," the position vacated by Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews. In Philadelphia, Ryan Lawrence reports it is "almost certain" Lidge "will not be in the team's broadcast booth" in '14. Lidge said, "My family and I are finally getting settled in Colorado and it'd be tough right now to change that, even as cool of an opportunity as it is and as much as I love being in Philadelphia" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/10).
OS-GOOD TIMES: In Detroit, Helene St. James notes former NHLer Chris Osgood is "half a season into his gig as a TV analyst" with FS Detroit. Osgood said the biggest challenge "is knowing when to jump in, when to jump out, saying something that’s worth saying in a short amount of time. ... Doing color, it’s spontaneous -- so just learning how to say something that sounds important in a short amount of time." St. James notes Osgood is "not shy about his fondness for the organization that drafted him, employed him, and rehired him." Osgood: "I find myself biased towards the whole team, the Red Wings, because I played for so long for them. I find myself sometimes being too protective of the guys" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/10).
SHE'S GOT A KLUWE: In California, Michael Lev writes FS1's Charissa Thompson "did a terrific job" interviewing NFL free agent Chris Kluwe on "Fox Sports Live" this week. Thompson "treated the interview with the outspoken former punter with the utmost seriousness, refusing to lob a single softball Kluwe's way." Thompson is "among the bright spots on a network that's still finding its way" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 1/10).