The McGwire interview was a coup for the year-old MLB Network and justifies what the channel is paying Costas. It provided McGwire with a stage for acceptance on a channel that is majority-owned by the league that has, after a long goodbye, welcomed him back to his old team. MLB has a little more than half the subscribers ESPN has. But MLB had an edge in Costas if, indeed, McGwire wanted to be interviewed at length by a smart interrogator.
(A corporate connection should be noted: Costas is represented by IMG, which owns half of Fleischer's company.)
Before he sat down to talk to McGwire, Costas said in a telephone interview, "Yes, they decided this was the place for Mark to tell the story, but not because it was the place where they'd get the easiest ride."
Sure, there's that. But isn't it the ultimate in humble gestures to submit to an interview by someone like Costas? (Well, aside from calling up Pat Maris, widow of Roger.) That Mark McGwire, such a brave soul! And so smart to hire that Ari Fleisher, the master of atonement.
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