Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: WRGB-TV's Doug Sherman joining ESPN
The difference in the TV news broadcasts from Albany and Springfield couldn't be more striking. The Albany stations care about local sports.
One of the personalities who has led the way in that regard is pulling up stakes. Doug Sherman, who has been the sports director at WRGB-TV 6 since 1995, will be leaving the station at the end of October. He will be joining ESPN as a play-by-play broadcaster. He had been doing it part time, along with his duties at WRGB.
This is good news for Doug Sherman and his wife, for ESPN and its millions of viewers. But it is bad news for local sports fans.
"I'm all good with this," he told me in a recent interview. "I've fully enjoyed my 21 years here, but I'm also very much ready for the next chapter and to move on."
The "next chapter" for Sherman becomes a last chapter for us.
The four Albany television sports staffs do what young athletes and sports fans can only wish for in Western Massachusetts. They pay attention.
It has been written in many places that sportscasts on local TV are shrinking because of ESPN and other regional TV networks. That is true to some extent, but you don't get UAlbany football coach Greg Gattuso or highlights from a big high school game on the Worldwide Leader.
That is what Springfield television is sorely lacking.
Once upon a time, Springfield had the likes of Rich Tettemer, Scott Coen, Adams' Steve Roulier and many more hustling to games from The Berkshires to the Pioneer Valley, shooting highlights and interviewing high school and college athletes. It was never a Western Mass. tournament without TV shooting at the Curry Hicks Cage.
It was also never UMass basketball media day without the local TV stations interviewing coaches and players.
The Springfield stations basically ignore sports now. Yeah, someone will be in Fenway Park if the Red Sox win a World Series. But if Springfield Central gets to the Super Bowl? I don't think so.
"I just have really enjoyed following all of the local athletes and teams in the greater Capital Region," said Sherman.
It's an enjoyment we see on television every night, but not on the Springfield stations.
"The viewing area has so many neat stories and there are so many stories that come up every day," he told me. "You never know when you get to work, necessarily, what you're going to be talking about or who you're talking to.
"I loved the idea that each day was going to be different."
Case in point: Two years ago, the Mount Greylock baseball team was heading for a state championship game. Sherman's associate Kelly O'Donnell made the trek over "the mountain" to interview coach Steve Messina and some players.
Doug Sherman was a major part of that, and he will be missed here.
We won't be seeing the last of him, however. His new contract with ESPN will have him doing college football, basketball and baseball.
"We began talking about this sort of thing a little over a year ago," said Sherman.
He has been freelancing for the ESPN family of networks, and has been the "voice" of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for the network. As to where his travels will be this winter, Sherman told me he isn't sure. He is certain that his dance card will be fuller than it has been.
"I'm not surprised. But to say I was expecting it or planning on it, no," he said, in response to a question about preparing for this step. "I'm not surprised."
We will miss him on television around here. We are happy he'll be still on our sets in some fashion.
Hopefully, WRGB will keep up what it has been doing with Doug Sherman at the helm.
And maybe, the Springfield TV stations will tune in and learn something.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.
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