Gary Miller’s time served at the ESPN compound: Eight years in Bristol (1990-’98) as a “SportsCenter” anchor and “Baseball Tonight” host, and working for the company through 2005 as host of “Up Close” and a general reporter.
Most notable achievement: On or off the court?
That no contest plea to disorderly conduct over an embarassing arrest during the 1997 ALCS in Cleveland, involving the need to urinate into an empty beer bottle at an open-bar party because the restroom lines were too long, will always be pinned to him. But we digress.
Gary Miller, meet Jim Miller.
“He had me at hello,” said Gary of the author who was writing a book about the oral history of ESPN, “They Have All The Fun: Inside The World at ESPN,” which will come out next Tuesday.
Gary Miller, currently a sportscaster at KCAL-Channel 9/KCBS-Channel 2, hosting the Dodgers pregame show, after a run as a local sports-talk show host at KSPN-AM (710), was familiar with Jim Miller from having read his acclaimed project on the history of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” Gary Miller says it “may be the greatest biographical background tome ever penned, and I was a huge fan and admirer from first reading that.”
Gary Miller say he thinks the reason why this ESPN book’s release comes with so much anticipation versus others written about the company over the years has to do with the track record of authors Miller and Tom Shales.
“The other ESPN books (written in the past) were so lame its hard to describe,” said Miller. “Dan (Patrick) and Keith (Olbermann, who wrote “The Big Show” in 1997) was basically about them and their show, which the excerpts already released are much more interesting in terms of offering context than that entire book. At least it was written by talented creative brilliant people.”
Then there was the 2000 piece by Mike Freeman, a New York Times columnist, called “ESPN: The Uncensored History.”
Says Miller: “Freeman’s farce was so poorly written and researched its unimaginable that he was actually employed by the New York Times. He included several what he thought were titillating things about me, one of which was excerpted in Sports Illustrated, but never spoke to me or tried to. Not even about the Cleveland incident. That book was also basically written by Olbermann, with some input from Charley Steiner and Chris Myers. Just pathetic.
“I’m looking forward to this one because of not only participating in it, but trusting the authors, and even during our conversations, finding out things I had no idea about even from the eight year span I spent in Bristol. Plus their style is so compelling, it makes for incredibly entertaining and engrossing reading. I’m far enough removed from Bristol and the mothership, and most of my stuff is known anyhow, that I’m not afraid of any backlash. I’m comfortable with the way I interacted with and treated co-workers that I have no fear of sniping or character assassination. And if there was, Jim would have given me the opportunity to react to it or verify it.
“I think the excerpting has been brilliant, and created a buzz we haven’t seen about a book in a long time, and think of the bios that have come out recently like Keith Richards and Steven Tyler. I’m most anxious for the Olbermann portrait. he most brilliant, complex, difficult co-worker I’ve encountered.
“Also, I’m wondering if the soulless, heartless manner in which employees are treated by upper management is revealed. They did some positive things, but overall, the experience is really depressing and dronish.”