Conor Dever Staff Writer Before the new football season kicks off Eir customers will lose out on free access to the popular sports channels. This football season was fascinating to say the least. From the Champions League to the race for the Premiership, to whatever is going on with United! We bet after the summer break football fans will be champing at the bit for the new season to kick off.
So instead of ending the week with a roundup, we'll use it to start a new week. Could Astros, Rangers coexist again? That would put the regional sports networks for the five southwestern states — Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and part of New Mexico — under the same banner since the last days of the old Fox Sports Southwest in , prior to the launch of Comcast SportsNet Houston.
This development could lead to some interesting questions: For example, would Diamond Sports Group, the Sinclair subsidiary that now owns the RSNs, put the northern and southern halves of the southwest territory back together on the same channel?
If so, would mean things would revert to the pre status quo antebellum in which Astros games aired on the primary FSN channel in the southern half of the territory and Rangers games aired on the primary FSN channel in the northern half.
Whichever game wasn't on the primary channel was available on the alternate feed, so all FSN subscribers got access to both games. This could be a helpful development to the Astros and Rockets on multiple fronts.
It also could be a boost on the programming front. In terms of service to local viewers, the Peart era has been a calamitous, baffling failure, particularly in comparison to the CSN Houston era. Providers might like it, too.
Combining two networks into one might provide some economic savings and could free up space for more programming. Justin Verlander's refusal to speak to a Detroit Free Press reporter set off a controversy that led MLB to declare the Astros violated media access rules established in baseball's collective bargaining agreement.
Here is the Chronicle's story on the matter, which includes statements from the team, the newspaper, the Baseball Writers' Association of America and Major League Baseball. Chris Thomas, the Free Press' sports editor, also has written a story regarding what he believes to be the source of the disagreement between Verlander and Fenech.
I will leave it to you, the reader, to sift through the statements for yourself. However, since I was on game duty Wednesday night, I have some thoughts and observations to add. I had never met Fenech before last week but saw a reporter who I later learned was Fenech in what looked to be an animated conversation with Gene Dias, the Astros' vice president for communications, in the rear of the press box during the game.
I was not inclined to eavesdrop on their discussion, so I picked up a lineup card and went back to my seat. After the game, following the usual postgame briefing from Astros manager A.
Hinch in the downstairs interview room, we walked across the hallway to the Astros clubhouse.
We were not immediately allowed to enter, which was unusual but not unprecedented, but after a few seconds were allowed in, in accordance with the MLB regulation that "the working media shall have access to both clubhouses no later than 10 minutes following the final out of each game.
Other reporters were not made aware that one of our number had been delayed in entering, even though the Astros said they delayed granting entry to Fenech "in the best interests of the other media members working the game. I believe the Astros should have informed other reporters in the press box that Verlander had refused to speak if Fenech were present and to solicit the opinion of BBWAA members on how to proceed.
For my part, I do not believe it was in the "best interests" of other media members to ban one of us from immediate access.
If Verlander didn't want to speak to media with Fenech present, the Astros had the option of announcing that he would not be available for comment or by issuing a generic comment about the game on his behalf. I would not have been pleased with having to write a story without a Verlander comment, but I would have preferred that to what transpired in this particular episode.
MLB has informed the team that it violated baseball's basic agreement by delaying Fenech's clubhouse entry, and the Free Press has said it will file a complaint against the Astros. Things did not have to unravel as they did in this matter, and it could have been avoided.
It would not have been pleasant, perhaps, but it certainly isn't pleasant to discuss now, is it? When one taps into his or her phone a message that tends toward opinion or complaint, it's all too easy to hit "tweet.
Maybe it's the size of the screen. Are you kidding me? That's weaker than Antonio Brown's helmet beef. There's a difference between 'retiring' and quitting.
What a joke. There are two possibilities here. One is that Kamla sincerely believes this to be the case.
The second possibility is that he's trolling you in an effort to entice you to listen to his afternoon talk show with Clint Stoerner. Kamla subsequently deleted the tweet, which had upwards of a thousand responses, and did not reply Sunday afternoon to a text message requesting insight as to his opinions expressed in the deleted tweet.
Armen Williams, the station's program director, did not return a phone call seeking comment Sunday afternoon. Here are my thoughts on the matter, typed on a keyboard before a inch flat-screen monitor, and rewritten several times before hitting send: As one who has written obituaries or features on perhaps a dozen athletes who have died in the wake of cognitive difficulties or illnesses associated with brain trauma, including Tommy Nobis , the former Texas Longhorns linebacker who died in Kamla's former home base of Atlanta, I am not inclined to question an athlete's mindset for quitting football while citing concern for his health.
I know that doesn't make for good hot-take radio or website fodder.
But I also don't recall hot-take sports radio having much success in this city over the years. We'll see if that changes anytime soon. Nielsen also will include out of home viewing in its overnight ratings as of Oct. She succeeds Henry Florsheim, the longtime GM, who is retiring.
Comcast not included. The channel is available on DirecTV and Spectrum but not on Comcast, which has significant penetration in the southeast. The network's first football game is Clemson-Georgia Tech on Thursday night. Should be interesting to see what develops this week.
The show will re-air frequently, to put it mildly, over the next month. Two of the three games against the Tigers had ratings of 6.
I first began corresponding with Bill in , when I was working in Dallas as the high school editor for Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine and as a reporter and editor for United Press International's Dallas bureau.
We would talk every week about statistical leaders and top players and nuance, such as the fact that La Marque is two words, not one. In , when personal and professional issues made it incumbent on me to leave Dallas, Bill was the first person I called to inquire about a job at the Chronicle.