Enterprise Journalism Weekly Features Across ESPN Platforms
June 25, 2009
Small-Town Wisconsin Struggling to Pay for Sports Outside the Lines (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN, noon, ESPNEWS) ESPN.com
Andy Richardson, President UAW local 195
Three pieces will examine how the recession has affected sports in small-town America. Mark Fainaru-Wada reports from the Wisconsin towns of Beloit, where the unemployment rate has more than doubled in the past year to 17½ percent and residents are struggling to keep baseball alive; and Janesville, where the Youth Baseball League is struggling to raise funds after the closing of the General Motors assembly plant.
“If I have to put up a pop-up tent in the backyard here and become homeless, then that’s what I am going to do.” — Michelle Ferger-Hill, wife of an unemployed air-conditioning technician, on making even greater sacrifices for her three ball-playing sons
Beloit Snappers – Attendance for the Minnesota Twins Class A affiliate is up nearly 10 percent to 916 fans a game, but is the second lowest in the 14-team Midwest League.
“We have tried to work with some of the businesses that are closing down and laying people off, and give some tickets to the people they are laying off. It’s something small, it’s not going to replace a job, but it gets them the opportunity to come out and kind of forget about things.” – Jeff Vohs, General Manager of the Snappers
Janesville – The city has contributed about half the funds for a new $3 million baseball and softball complex, but the Youth Baseball League still faces the daunting task of trying to raise the remaining $1.5 million in a community with a 15½ percent unemployment rate.
“We need to reach Joe Public for the $100 or the $200 or whatever we can, because every little bit’s going to help.” — Dave Ellis, president of the Janesville youth baseball league
Andy Murray’s Hometown Also Home to School Shooting
Outside the Lines piece on SportsCenter (Sunday, 11 p.m.)
A Wimbledon victory by third-seeded men’s player Andy Murray would give his hometown of Dunblane, Scotland, an identity other than that of the site of the country’s worst school shooting. An 8-year-old Murray was going to gym class in 1996 when a gunman shot and killed 16 kindergarten-aged children and one teacher in the Dunblane Primary School gymnasium. Murray knows that while a Wimbledon championship might help outsiders forget the horror that occurred in his hometown, he and the people of Dunblane will never forget. Tom Rinaldi reports.
Seventy years ago, Lou Gehrig said farewell to baseball with his moving words: “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Marking that milestone, Chris Connelly reports on correspondence between Gehrig and Dr. Paul O’Leary of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., after Gehrig’s retirement from the Yankees. Affectionate and inquisitive, the letters bring to light Gehrig’s lack of awareness about the dire nature of his illness, and the hope he expressed as he battled his debilitating condition in the final two years of his life.
Where Are They Now? Mike Hargrove SportsCenter (Sunday,10 a.m.)
Mike Hargrove was one of baseball’s elite managers for 16 seasons, compiling more than 1,000 career wins while leading the Cleveland Indians to five straight division titles and two World Series appearances. Then, in July 2007, seemingly en route to another playoff run with Seattle, Hargrove shocked the baseball world by suddenly resigning. David Amber reports on why Hargrove walked away, how he has emerged in the most unlikely of places to once again leave an indelible mark on the game he loves.
Tom Rinaldi, New York Times Exectutive Editor
Bill Keller, Willie Weinbaum (l to r)
Reporter Tom Rinaldi and Enterprise Unit Producer Willie Weinbaum accepted the Deadline Club Award for Best Television Feature Reporting for their Outside the Lines “Lyman Bostock Tragedy” piece. Presenting the award was the evening’s keynote speaker, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller.
This is OTL’s second award in three years (previously won for Best Television Investigative or Series Reporting for “Pat Tillman’s Final Mission”) from the Deadline Club, New York’s Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.