Seamheads: An interview with ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick

From Andrew Martin at on May 23, 2012, with SABR member Jerry Crasnick:

ESPN has grown from a cable sports news channel to a media conglomerate over the past few decades. They have been able to accomplish this by providing comprehensive analysis in the world of sport through all forms of media- print, online, television, radio, and anything else I may be forgetting. As one of the major sports, baseball is one of the most in demand with ESPN consumers, making expert coverage a must. One of the best baseball analysts/writers ESPN has is Jerry Crasnick, a man who cut his journalist teeth on Pete Rose and Marge Schott, and now brings his years of experience in the game to every piece he works on.

Prior to coming to ESPN Crasnick earned a degree in communications from Boston University, and also worked as a sportswriter for papers such as the Biddeford Journal Tribune and Portland Herald Press in Maine. His profile was raised when he became a beat writer for the Cincinnati Post, covering the news-item-a-day Reds in the late 1980′s. Other writing gigs included the Sporting News, Bloomberg News, and the Denver Post. His run started with ESPN on a part-time basis when he was writing his book, License to Deal: A Season on the Run with a Maverick Baseball Agent, which was published in 2005. His work received such a positive response that he transitioned to a permanent role with ESPN. He now writes articles for ESPN Insider and participates in regular chats, a popular interactive feature of He is also a regular presence on Twitter, providing baseball fans with consistently insightful baseball coverage year-round. Despite being in the midst of his busy season, I was recently able to ask Crasnick some questions about his career and time in baseball. To say I am jealous of his ability and career would be an understatement.


What was it like covering Pete Rose and Marge Schott in Cincinnati when you were with the Cincinnati Post?: It was very chaotic and exciting. Pete Rose was a blast to cover. Never a dull moment. My first year at the Cincinnati Post, he was suspended 30 games for shoving an umpire. The next year came the whole gambling investigation. During the summer of 1989, Cincinnati was basically the center of the baseball universe.

Marge Schott was a character, for sure, although not the most pleasant person in the world. She used to pound on the elevator door at Riverfront Stadium when it arrived too slowly for her tastes. I once got booted from the media dining room for quoting pitcher Tim Belcher, who had some rather uncomplimentary comments about her St. Bernard. Belcher responded by having pizzas and sandwiches delivered to the press box and tipping his cap. It remains one of my career highlights.

In hindsight, it’s easy for me to muster up sympathy for both Pete and Marge. She wasn’t a happy person, and didn’t appear to have many friends. He made some egregious errors in judgment and has been a baseball pariah for more than 20 years. I wish baseball could find a way to resolve this dispute and welcome Pete back into the fold, but I don’t see that happening as long as Bud Selig is commissioner.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 23, 2012. Last Updated: May 23, 2012.