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Peter Gammons is leaving ESPN

Dec 8, 2009, 3:55 PM EDT

If the Yankees traded Derek Jeter to the Mets for two minor leaguers, about half of this media room would be running around like crazy.  About 15 minutes ago, the entire media room started running around like crazy.  Why? Because one of their own is getting dealt, and it’s a big big name:

Baseball Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons has decided to pursue
new endeavors and will no longer be a contributor to ESPN after this
week’s winter meetings.

Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production:

“As a print journalist moving to television, Peter was a pioneer who
became a Hall of Famer.  His contributions to ESPN will never be
forgotten.  We’re sad to see Peter go, but understand his desire for
new challenges and a less demanding schedule.”

The initial reaction among the media throng is shock.  He and other ESPN people were swarmed as soon as it started filtering through.  They are just as surprised as anyone. And confused: some have said that maybe he doesn’t want to be out chasing the story anymore, which hews to the corporate statement. Others, however, have said that he lives for this stuff and wouldn’t be leaving merely for a lifestyle change. Gammons hasn’t deviated much from his formal statement in hallway conversations, but it’s a pretty big hallway, so it’s not like he’s going to dish dirt out there to people he doesn’t know.

No one, however — including ESPN folks — would rule out the possibility that corporate politics is playing a part. Dealing with the ESPN suits in Bristol can be a headache. And perhaps money was an issue.  Gammons presumably makes a lot of money in a media world where ad revenue is shrinking.  No one seriously believes that ESPN would make Gammons leave if he didn’t want to, but many are prepared to accept the possibility that either (a) they asked him to take less money; or (b) he’s just had it with the World Wide Leader in Sports.

Not that those things are mutually-exclusive.

UPDATE: Gammons is headed to MLB Network, with an official announcement expected tomorrow. It’ll be interesting to see if he also finds a new writing job, assuming the TV deal doesn’t include some work as well.

  1. JBerardi - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:18 PM

    Interesting. Hopefully he ends up somewhere less awful than ESPN. But then, anywhere would be less awful than ESPN.

  2. Neon Noodle - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    I’ve seen this a few times and it needs to be corrected here as well. Norby (is this a nickname? is it better than his given name, which I assume is Norbert? I’d perfer Bert myself or Norb maybe.. sorry, I digress) is wrong in saying Peter Gammons is a “Hall of Famer.” He was recognized by the Hall of Fame with an award, he is not a “Hall of Famer.”

  3. Steve - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM

    Good. Riddance.

  4. Mike C - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:26 PM

    I bet he winds up on the MLB network. He’ll get his own interview show and then get to play that damn guitar.

  5. Bruno - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:45 PM

    Glad to see him go…

  6. hop - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:50 PM

    Dont let the door hit ya Peter, go write your pro-baston trash for some baston newspaper that nobody cares about!!

  7. B1 - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:02 PM

    hop..your mom cares

  8. RedsFan - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:06 PM

    I hate to see him go. Hopefully he will end up on the MLB network. I think he’s always covered baseball quite well.

  9. Andy - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:18 PM

    Gammons always reminded me of this quote by John Huston’s character in “Chinatown”:
    “‘Course I’m respectable. I’m old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.”

  10. Stevem7 - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:20 PM

    Give it a week and there will be an announcement from MLB I’m sure

  11. Michael - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:25 PM

    Unlike the media folks I think this is outstanding news! Gammons doesn’t cover baseball; he covers the Red Sox and then picks a few other stories up off the wire and regurgitates them.
    Hopefully ESPN wants him gone. If that is so then we won’t have to suffer through endless “tributes” by every anchor on Sports Center.

  12. steve - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:26 PM

    Just because Peter was a Red Sox homer, doesn’t mean he was isn’t a tremendous writer and a great source of baseball information. He is someone I would change the channel to listen to.
    Hopefully his health is ok and he continues to give us great info from some other outlet.

  13. jake23 - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:33 PM

    Other interests? Like what, appearing on the $20 bill?

  14. Pimpin Pete - Dec 8, 2009 at 6:10 PM

    If ESPN and NESN weren’t the same thing I’d have placed him there.

  15. Tito - Dec 8, 2009 at 6:25 PM

    Wrong Neon…Reporters, Radio Announcers (Marty Brennaman, Ernie Harwell, etc.), owners, etc. all get into the baseball Hall of Fame. They are HoF’ers for their role. It’s not just for players. You must be a Yankee Fan with your “Half Information”. They are not wrong…You ARE!!!

  16. scatterbrian - Dec 8, 2009 at 6:27 PM

    Shot in the dark, but could he possibly be groomed as Selig’s replacement in 2012?

  17. APBA Guy - Dec 8, 2009 at 6:51 PM

    Did anyone check the ESPN interns? If one’s missing suddenly…expect an announcement from ESPN brass.

  18. seriously? - Dec 8, 2009 at 6:53 PM

    ALL of you are hilarious, you all bash this guy yet you watch him everytime he is on cause you want to see if he is going to mention one of your fantasy players. Stop acting like he is bad and you don’t like him. You are all ignorant for your comments regarding him.

  19. Mike - Dec 8, 2009 at 7:31 PM

    The guy is leaving ESPN to a network that focuses solely on baseball – where is the surprise in that?

  20. comnsnse - Dec 8, 2009 at 8:04 PM

    Maybe they mean Hall Of Fame for “Homers”! This guy is such a blatant Red Sox “fan” it’s embarassing! As much so as the antiYankee posing by ESPN!

  21. comnsnse - Dec 8, 2009 at 8:09 PM

    Scatterbrian,did you mean he should be shot in the dark? I don’t particularly like this guy,but advocating violence! LOL! Maybe just breaking his legs? LOL!

  22. MarkH - Dec 8, 2009 at 8:26 PM

    Having grown up reading Gammons in the Globe, I can say I was witness to the period where he lost his fastball, which was somewhere around the time he predicted Dwayne Hosey would be the 1995 Rookie of the Year. When he finally turned his Sunday Baseball Notes column over to whomever he turned it over to, I can’t say I noticed. And as he’s since plied his trade on the execrable BBTN, a show I doubt I’ve watched since the 00’s began, I won’t notice that either. Broadcast baseball analysis is a contradiction in terms.

  23. yankfansince67 - Dec 8, 2009 at 8:37 PM

    The switch to MLB network was inevitable. Gammons is a class act, knowledgeable though showing his age. His Red Sox connection is obvious but, even as a Yankee’s fan, I have always enjoyed listening to his credible and insightful commentary.
    I enjoy MLB though the crew is not as well informed as they should be. Gammons will help.
    Does ESPN still cover baseball?

  24. FSmisek - Dec 8, 2009 at 8:44 PM

    Maybe now that Gammons is gone, ESPN can get a relevant analyst who actually reports trade deals that happen and will not kiss up to the Red Sox with every other breath…

  25. roger caplan - Dec 8, 2009 at 9:10 PM

    Peter is a class act who loves the game. MLB network just got that much better.
    The Rog

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