Thursday, December 25, 2008
Jeanne Zelasko Wants In The Dodgers' TV Booth
Jeanne Zelasko got hooked on baseball when she was "a little peanut" writing letters to her father who was working in Asia, trying to impress him by slipping in the name of a major leaguer she had just watched on television.There's a theory that says you know you've made progress when <insert minority here> can get jobs regardless of competence. I don't honestly know if that would be the case with Zelasko; I've had my beefs with Charlie Steiner (En-car-na-see-own, Charlie), but outside of that inexplicable pronunciation tic, he's been an affable and knowledgeable presence in the booth. Zelasko we simply don't know much about, except for her twinkie-ish in-studio appearances, and her odd roving appearances talking to people in the stands or managers in the dugouts.
"In my mind, that was the way to reach out to my dad," said Zelasko, 42, who now is reaching out to the baseball gods - and the Los Angeles Dodgers - in hopes of becoming the first woman to do play-by-play in Major League Baseball.
A position became available when Charlie Steiner, who did 40 games a year on cable, had his role redefined. Fox, meanwhile, canceled the baseball pregame show she hosted with Kevin Kennedy due to the loss of advertising revenue.
"I love everybody I work with and would do it until I fell out of the chair, and I love sports," she said. "But this is an interesting time for me as I try to figure out, 'OK, what's next?'
"There is an opening for the Dodgers . . . so I have been beating down their door a little bit."
Zelasko said it is understandable that the Dodgers asked her if she ever had done baseball play-by-play - the answer is no - but she had that role for ice-skating and gymnastics competitions.
"But I've been around baseball for a very long time, and Kevin Kennedy, who should be managing somewhere, taught me more about that the game than I think most people could even consider. I was blessed to be next to him for eight years. So I'm excited. I don't know if they'll bite."
One thing we do know about Zelasko is that she's had a tough go of it lately. Not only did she lose her father to a heart attack in 2007, her sister developed a brain aneurysm, and she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Zelasko and her sister are both doing well (as of April, 2008), and Zelasko has returned to her normal duties at Fox.
Update: Okay, this cannot be a good sign:
I didn't have anything against Zelasko until this past July when she was on the Fox pre-game and the following happened.
1. They played a taped interview she did with Ken Griffey, Jr. It was good.
2. After playing the interview, Kevin Kennedy and another host (Dibble I think) talked about where Griffey might be traded to at the deadline. One mentioned him going to the Cubs to be reinited with Lou Piniella. The other host said that he thought Tampa Bay would be a good spot for Griffey, only an hour from his home in Orlando, etc, etc.
3. Zelasko immediately replied in a snide tone, "You really think he'd go to a non-contender?"
The Rays were in first place in the AL East at the time (about a week before the July 31 trade deadline) and had been all year but obviously Zelasko didn't know that and apparently thought they were still the sad sack Rays who'd finished in last the previous few seasons.
That's insane. How much of a baseball fan does she have to be to know that the Rays had turned things around and were in first place? Considering she has a job in baseball it's incomprehensible to me that she didn't have a clue.