Based on my conversations with interested parties at both papers (and some folks on the outside), there are several hot sports opinions that should be aired about this sports-department merger. Jump if so inclined:
It should be noted that some of the fellas who cover sports for both papers already have their own private little “JOA’’ (Joint Operating Agreement) in the sense that they already share notes so as not to get beat on the beat. Little wonder that ESPN breaks more Cowboys stories than both papers combined.
There are strong rumors that the Morning News sports department, which now includes about 60 people, will be carved down to about 50 people within the next few months. Some of that carve-down process is a result of the quasi-merger. Part of it is more hat-holding.
This is not yet a done deal, remember. And among those who are unhappy with the News’ sorta-announcement/leak: some management people at the Star-T who aren’t convinced this is the right thing to do. They think the News is being rather bullying by going forward with the plan without the (yet) full consent of the Star-T.
The Star-Telegram remains very parochial. (Understandable, if you’re them; Tarrant County is growing much faster than Dallas County.) They were happy to grab the Rangers as a beat because they think of the Rangers as their “local’’ team. They took the NASCAR beat, too, because it’s logistically attractive.
So, once the Star-T signs off on this, the News will run ST stories on the Rangers and motorsports. And the ST will run News stories on the Stars and the Mavs. And both papers will continue to “compete’’ on the Cowboys, though at one point, the ST was actually considered giving up the Cowboys to the News. Which, as someone must have realized, didn’t make sense since the Cowboys are moving to Tarrant County, remember.
The only semi-winner in this thing, on the surface, would seem to be Nancy’s BFF, Evan Grant, the fine Rangers beat writer who is getting “promoted’’ to Morning News beat writer for the Cowboys. Not sure if he thinks it’s a promotion (Nancy won’t say … b****). He’ll go from full ownership of the Rangers to competing with ESPN trying to break Cowboys stories. And I have no idea how much he likes football, but I KNOW he absolutely lives for stuff between the lines (the games) and even the geeky stuff in the off-season, like the baseball winter meetings. So even the winner loses.