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Colin Cowherd: ESPN layoffs will ‘happen annually’ over next decade 04.26.17 at 5:06 pm ET
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Colin Cowherd says he expects ESPN to continue to cut costs.  (Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports)

Colin Cowherd says he expects ESPN to continue to cut costs. (Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports)

Colin Cowherd says he isn’t surprised about the massive layoffs at ESPN. In fact, he predicts they will continue for the next several years.

In an interview Wednesday on CBS Radio in Cleveland, the former ESPN yapper said the WorldWide Leader is forking over too much money for rights agreements. The network is now paying $3.3 billion annually to broadcast the NFL and NBA.

“This is not going to end today. They have really cost-prohibitive contracts, combined with cord-cutting,” Cowherd said. “I said this [last year] when they cut 350 people, I said it the next day, it’s awful, and it will happen annually for the next decade.”

ESPN signed a whopping nine-year contract with the NBA worth $1.4 billion annually that kicked in at the start of this season. The network inked a $15 billion rights deal with the NFL, despite an increasingly lackluster Monday night schedule. In addition to “Monday Night Football,” ESPN receives access to game highlights and broadcasts one postseason contest per season.

Given the prevalence of cord-cutting, the strategy of overextending for TV contracts doesn’t appear to be a sustainable business model.

“At Fox, we pay $1.1 billion for the NFL,” Cowherd said. “You have the 1:oo window and the 4:00 window, wild card games, NFC Championship, and two of the next four Super Bowls. We make a lot of money on the NFL … ESPN pays $1.9 billion, gets a bunch of highlights, no Super Bowls, and one increasingly irrelevant Monday Night Football game. We have a great NFL contract, they have a really marginalized NFL contract.”

Cowherd is one of several big name ESPN personalities who’s left Bristol in recent years. The longtime talk radio host signed with Fox Sports in 2015 for a contract that pays him more than $6 million annually. Bill Simmons, Keith Olbermann and Skip Bayless are also no longer with ESPN. The WorldWide Leader was reportedly prepared to offer Bayless a deal worth roughly $4 million per year, but Fox Sports topped them.

Since ESPN is hemorrhaging subscribers –– its lost at least 12 million households over the last five years –– it will likely keep looking to cut costs. The WorldWide Leader can seemingly no longer afford to pay exorbitant rights fees and keep its newsroom intact.

Read More: Colin Cowherd, ESPN,
Desperate for ratings, Fox Sports 1 hosts are saying crazy things about the Patriots 01.26.17 at 12:39 pm ET
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Fox Sports 1 may not be able to catch ESPN in the ratings, but it can usurp the WorldWide Leader in one category: awful hot takes about the Patriots.

Granted, that’s a difficult task. ESPN is responsible for turning Deflategate into a national scandal, thanks to Chris Mortensen’s false report about 11 of 12 Patriots footballs being deflated by two pounds of air. But Fox Sports 1 hosts who are desperate for ratings and relevancy are giving the folks in Bristol, Conn. a run for their money.

On Wednesday, sportswriter Rob Parker was a guest on Skip Bayless’ Undisputed alongside Eric Mangini and Shannon Sharpe. Previously, Parker’s most asinine statement about the Patriots came on the WEEI airwaves, when he said Tom Brady should’ve been suspended eight games for his alleged role in the Deflategate saga. But that takes a backseat to his latest anti-Brady screed, which included a shot at Bostonians for their apparent ignorance about the Tea Party:

“Up in there in Boston, let’s just be honest: it’s a cult. People up there are drinking the Kool-Aid,” he said. “You can’t get people in Boston to even admit that Native Americans had nothing to do with the Boston Tea Party. They don’t want to hear it. Same thing with Tom Brady. They will not acknowledge, accept no matter what goes down with what the Patriots have done, with what Tom Brady has done. I think that Tom Brady, and I’ve said this before, should be on par with like a Derek Jeter, who is a guy who was a great champion, won, had a great career, no blemishes. Tom Brady’s not in that boat anymore. And I do believe at some point, some disgruntled employee is going to write a tell-all book down the road and we’ll find out … what went on behind the scenes, what Tom Brady knew — Spygate, Deflategate, all of that. And Tom Brady will end up being Lance Armstrong without the bicycle.”

Outside of a bewildered “what?” from Bayless after the Tea Party comment, Parker’s rant was uninterrupted. So let’s examine these claims one-by-one:

Bostonians don’t acknowledge that Native Americans were involved in Tea Party: This is accurate, because Native Americans weren’t involved in the Boston Tea Party. Some demonstrators disguised themselves as Native Americans to hide their identities and send a message to the British. Parker should read a history book, or at least check out Wikipedia.

Tom Brady will end up being Lance Armstrong without the bicycle: In addition to being the ringleader of the most successful doping program in cycling history, Armstrong buried at least dozens of former associates and opponents in his selfish quest to preserve his own reputation. The science says Brady didn’t even play with unusually deflated footballs during the 2015 AFC championship game. Unless Parker knows about scandals that haven’t come to light yet, this is a reach of incredible proportions.

Despite receiving a suffocating amount of promotion during Fox’s NFL telecasts, First Take owns a 4:1 viewership edge over Undisputed. Recently, a rerun of of M*A*SH* from 1973 drew 232,000 more viewers in the same day and time-slot than Bayless’ shout fest.

While those numbers are depressing, Colin Cowherd would kill for an audience like that. Last week, he said Brady was playing for his job in the AFC championship against Pittsburgh.

“If Pittsburgh wins this game and Brady is average, you’re darn right [Robert] Kraft and [Bill] Belichick are having that, ‘Let’s have lunch and talk,’” he said.

If these tirades don’t move the needle, perhaps an FS1 personality will light him or herself on fire in Houston next week. We’re almost at that point.

Read More: Colin Cowherd, Deflategate, New England Patriots, Rob Parker
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Roger Clemens insists Hall of Fame ‘doesn’t really make a difference in my life’ 07.24.15 at 8:17 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Tigers at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Nationals at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Cycling: Tour de France, 7 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Roger Clemens stopped by the NESN booth during Thursday night’s Red Sox-Astros game in Houston and continued to claim that he played the game the right way despite evidence that he used performance-enhancing drugs, adding he does not need the validation of the Hall of Fame to feel complete.

“Congratulations to the guys that go,” he said of the Hall, which will welcome fellow Sox legend Pedro Martinez this weekend. “It doesn’t really make a difference in my life, not that it would matter.”

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner has never received more than 37.6 percent of votes (75 percent is needed for induction) despite his 354 wins and 4,672 strikeouts for the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros. He said he appreciates those who have written his name on the ballot but claims it’s not a big deal to him.

“It’s not something that I went to, to play — play the game to make the Hall of Fame. It was the furthest thing from my mind. I played the game because I loved to play it,” Clemens said.

“I knew early in my career that once I seized that moment that I could make a little money and take care of my family. Then it started to get to a World Series and playoffs in Boston and the history that came along with it. That’s really it.”

— Another player likely to be kept out of the Hall is Alex Rodriguez, who continues to have a stellar comeback season, helping the first-place Yankees to a 9-3 victory over the Orioles on Thursday for a sweep of their three-game series.

Former Yankees manager Joe Torre credits Rodriguez for turning things around after missing last season while on suspension for his role in the Biogenesis PED scandal.

“I think what’s surprising is Alex,” Torre said from a charity golf tournament in New York on Thursday. “I’m happy for him. Miss a whole year at that age — there was never an issue of his ability to work at it. But with all the physical problems that he’s had and missing a year, it’s been, I think, remarkable how consistent he’s been and his power numbers.”

Torre, now an MLB executive, said Rodriguez called him in January as he reached out to people in baseball trying to mend fences before his comeback. Torre, in his autobiography “The Yankee Years,” was critical of A-Rod, but he says they now are “friendly.”

“I had heard that he was calling some people, so I really wasn’t surprised,” Torre said of their offseason conversation. “Actually, it started out with a text and he asked me if it would be all right to call me. I said, ‘Sure, anytime.’ I’m there for any player who wants to pick my brain over anything and for any team. He had some issues with what he thought I said in the past. I think he just wanted to make sure that all the air was clear. He asked about some advice and I said, ‘Just go play baseball.’ ”

Added Torre: “He paid his debt. He was suspended. He did that. Hopefully he learned something from it. He’s been determined to come back and play the game that he’s loved. I know baseball’s been a huge part of his life. He just craves it. He’s been a force, no question. People in New York love it. That’s what’s important for us. Once people pay their penalty, you can’t root against them. It’s not the right thing to do.”

— Outgoing ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd drew the ire of Blue Jays star Jose Bautista for a disparaging comment he made about Dominican players Thursday.

During his midday show, Cowherd was trying to make a point that baseball is a relatively easy sport to manage. He went on to say:

“The game is too complex? Like, I’ve never bought into that, ‘Baseball is just too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has not been known in my lifetime as having world-class academic abilities A lot of those kids come from rough backgrounds and have not had opportunities academically that other kids from other countries have. Baseball is like any sport, it’s mostly instincts.”

After Cowherd’s comment made it around the web, Bautista, a Dominican native, tweeted: Dear Mr. @ESPN_Colin before i rip you a new one i would like for you to explain what u meant to say about baseball and dominicans, please.

Cowherd is headed to Fox Sports when his contract with ESPN expires later this year. He discussed his departure during Wednesday’s show, crediting ESPN for taking a chance on him in 2003 and calling his stint with the company “the best 10 years of my life.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 24, 2004, Jason Varitek fought with Alex Rodriguez as the Red Sox and Yankees played an intense game at Fenway Park. The Red Sox got the last laugh when which player hit a three-run home run off Mariano Rivera for an 11-10 Red Sox victory?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The results haven’t been nearly good enough. We’re responsible for that and we have to get better quickly.” — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, during a Thursday morning appearance on Dennis & Callahan, on the team’s struggles

STAT OF THE DAY: 8 — Consecutive losses by the Red Sox, a season high, following Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Astros on Jose Altuve’s walkoff home run in the ninth inning

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez makes a diving stop behind second base and throws the ball with his glove to get the out against the Indians.

A’s right fielder Josh Reddick races into foul territory to make a diving catch against the Blue Jays.

A Japanese high school baseball player puts on a show in the batter’s box with a series of creative and artistic movements.

Spurs guard Tony Parker gets up close with a tiger during an appearance on a French game show.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Bill Mueller

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Former Extreme drummer Paul Geary was born on this day in 1961.

Read More: alex rodriguez, Colin Cowherd, Joe Torre, Jose Bautista
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Pedro Martinez says Manny Ramirez must ‘carry the consequences’ of PED use 07.17.15 at 8:00 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Royals at White Sox, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Nationals, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: International Champions Cup, Club America vs. Manchester United, 11 p.m. (FS1)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)
Golf: British Open, 7 a.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Pedro Martinez, headed for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame next weekend, said Thursday that “probably 60 percent” of major leaguers were using performance-enhancing drugs in the early 2000s, and he acknowledged it likely will prevent fellow Red Sox great Manny Ramirez from joining him in Cooperstown.

“It’s unfortunate for the Dominican Republic, it’s unfortunate for his career and actually for himself,” Martinez said of Ramirez during a conference call. “Because Manny probably loves the game more than anybody else that you can think of.”

Added Martinez: “Manny has a great attitude. He’s very well-liked by a lot of people. He’s a great teammate. He has so many things going in his favor, but he’s going to have to carry the consequences that many more have had to carry. I don’t condone anybody doing anything bad as far as cheating the game.”

Martinez, who went 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA for the Red Sox from 1998 to 2004, said he has no regrets about pitching during the steroid era.

“I wouldn’t want it any other way,” he said. “There’s no crying.”

Martinez, who will be inducted with former Braves pitcher John Smoltz (who briefly pitched for the Red Sox in the final year of his career), is the first Dominican player to be so honored since Giants pitcher Juan Marichal in 1983.

“The people will see a most unique Hall of Fame induction,” Martinez said. “I’m really excited about the response of the Dominican people. They’ve waited 33 years to see one of their players inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

Martinez also will be honored by the Red Sox by having his No. 45 retired.

“As excited as I am about being in the Hall of Fame, I’€™m really excited about my number being retired, extremely humble and proud,” he said. “It doesn’€™t happen very often, to actually have a number retired forever in the big leagues.”

— Colin Cowherd is the latest big-name personality to part ways with ESPN, with the network announcing Thursday that the host of the “The Herd” midway show on ESPN Radio since 2004 would not be re-signed. Multiple reports indicate he is likely to resurface at Fox Sports.

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Read More: Colin Cowherd, Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez,