December 29, 1969
|Occupation||Sports analyst and columnist|
Matthew Berry (born December 29, 1969) is an ESPN fantasy sports analyst and ESPN.com columnist. He writes under the nickname "the Talented Mr. Roto," or "TMR". Berry currently works as ESPN's senior director of fantasy sports.
Born in Denver, Colorado, but raised in College Station, Texas, Berry graduated from Syracuse University. After graduation Berry moved to Los Angeles to work in show business. After a few odd jobs Berry got hired as a production assistant for The George Carlin Show on Fox. Berry worked on the show for one year and has fond memories of George Carlin who wrote a recommendation letter for the Warner Brothers Writer's Workshop, to which Berry was accepted and where his first writing job came from. He worked on such movies as Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, and the final year of the TV show Married... with Children. Crocodile Dundee was nominated for a Razzie award in 2001 under the category of "Worst Remake or Sequel", but lost to Planet of the Apes.
Transition to fantasy sports
On the July 26, 2007 episode of "The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons" podcast, he told the abridged version of how he went from Hollywood screenwriter to fantasy expert. He eventually grew tired of being in meetings with two movie stars he didn't think were funny telling him what comedy was. Even though he was in Hollywood, writing scripts and screenplays for movies and TV shows, he was still miserable. He asked a small fantasy site (RotoWorld.com) if he could do a column for them. He has been playing fantasy sports ever since he was 14; "it's my passion," he said on the podcast. The site did in fact hire him to do a column, because "Married with Children is their favorite show." Berry wrote for Rotoworld from 1999 to 2003, when he was let go after the site wanted to lower his pay from $100 a week to $25 a week.
Berry then started two fantasy web sites in addition to his Hollywood writing. He started RotoPass.com, a network of fantasy sports sites, and TalentedMrRoto.com, a fantasy content site. He also appeared on several media outlets as a fantasy expert.
Radio host Steve Mason, of Mason & Ireland on ESPN Radio 710 in Los Angeles, who was working for FOX at the time, was a fan of the column and asked Berry to do a segment, which ended up lasting over an hour. He eventually was asked to do more guest appearances and was soon hired as their fantasy analyst. Mason then left to go to ESPN Radio, where he introduced Berry. He did a two-hour fantasy show there, which led him to spots on Cold Pizza. That grew into doing segments on ESPNEWS, which led to his getting a column in ESPN The Magazine. That allowed him to start The Fantasy Show.
Berry's two columns, "The Talented Mr. Roto" and "TRUM: Thoughts, Ramblings, Useless Info and Musings" appear often on ESPN.com. He also often does several "Love/Hate" articles a year, including each week of the fantasy football season and one at the beginning of the baseball season, as well as rankings with the rest of the ESPN staff at intervals throughout the fantasy sports season.
In June 2007, Berry and fellow ESPN fantasy analyst Nate Ravitz were announced as the full-time hosts of the "Fantasy Focus Baseball Podcast". He currently hosts ESPN's "Fantasy Focus Football Podcast" with Ravitz, injury expert Stephania Bell, and produced by Jay Soderberg (also known as "Pod Vader"). This podcast is currently ESPN's most downloaded original-content podcast (and second overall behind only the podcast version of Pardon the Interruption). It consistently ranks among the top ten podcasts on iTunes and in August 2009, was the #1 audio podcast on all of iTunes. The show has won a total of five awards from PodcastAwards.com, including "Best Sports Podcast" in 2009, 2011, and 2012, and the overall "People's Choice" podcast in 2009 and 2012. Berry is also featured on SportsCenter, NFL Live, in ESPN.com fantasy videos, including on "Fantasy Football Now", "Start 'Em, Sit 'Em", "GMC Pro Grade League", "Working the Wire", a "Fantasy 3:50" segment on ESPNEWS once a week, and the "Fantasy Focus VideoCasts"—both football and baseball. Berry and Ravitz co-star the VideoCasts Paul Severino, Molly Qerim, Jon Anik, and various others.
On March 9, 2009, Berry set the record for longest chat on ESPN.com with a mark of 13 hours and 12 minutes. He beat the previous mark set by Rob Neyer who chatted for 12 hours and 1 minute.
Berry is a comical writer and one who more often than not acknowledges his false predictions rather than his correct ones. Berry also is known for his publishing of hate mail emailed in by readers who have taken his poor advice which then cost them dearly during the week.
Berry is a frequent target for criticism because he is vocal about his opinions on players and their projected performance. "You don't see people getting upset about middle-of-the-road guys. I guess that means I'm doing my job well."
Berry frequently emphasizes that a player on the "Hate" list are not players that he believes will play poorly, but instead players that are being drafted too high or started too often. For example, in the pre-season article preparing readers for the draft, a usual first-rounder on the "Hate" list might be thought by Berry to deserve to go about five spots lower than he normally does, while later-round players on the "Love" list are players Berry would draft a round or two higher than expected. In the football articles, he names the players he likes to exceed their expectations for that week, and the guys who he expects to do worse than the fantasy benchmarks for their respective positions. The fantasy benchmarks are as follows:
- Quarterbacks - 175 yards and two touchdowns (15 fantasy points in ESPN standard scoring)
- Running backs and Wide Receivers - 90 yards OR 30 yards and a touchdown rushing or receiving (9 fantasy points)
- Tight ends - 60 yards or a touchdown (6 fantasy points)
- Defenses - 8 fantasy points
His columns include many pop culture references such as comparing the New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to the Gooch in Diff'rent Strokes. During the course of the 2008 baseball season, Berry has frequently posed the question of who his audience thinks is hotter - Megan Fox or Anne Hathaway - with Berry stating his choice of the latter and defending it both on the Fantasy Podcast and his weekly columns. Berry and Fantasy Focus co-host Nate Ravitz, also often mention their liking of Beverly Hills 90210.
Berry is New York Times bestselling author of Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who's Lived It, forthcoming in July 2013 from Riverhead Books.
Berry is a five-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner, including a Writer of the Year award and was recently inducted into the inaugural class of the FSWA Hall of Fame. Matthew has also recently been bestowed the title of "Emmy Award Winner" for his work on "Fantasy Football Now".
Despite being born in Denver and raised in Texas, Berry has admitted to being a fan of the Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Angels, and Los Angeles Lakers. As of October 27, 2010, Berry has adopted a support for the London based football club West Ham United F.C.
Along with Ravitz, Berry hosts "The Man's League," a fantasy league in which the listeners of the show play against the show's producer, Jay Soderberg (aka Pod Vader). The name "Man's League" comes from the high number of team owners the league has, forcing each owner to use lesser known professional players to complete their roster, thus increasing the difficulty. Competition to be chosen for the league is very high, and listeners often have to go to extreme lengths to be selected to play.
- Berry, Matthew, "The Talented Mr. Roto: Getting over AP"
- "Matthew Berry's International Movie Database page"
- "2001 Razzie Award Nominees and Winners"
- King, Bill (November 12, 2007). "How Mr. Roto came to live a life of fantasy". Sports Business Journal (Street & Smith's Sports Group). Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- "The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons: 7/26"
- Berry, Matthew, "TRUM: No rest for the TMR"
- Di Fino, Nando (May 29, 2008). "The Thick-Skinned Mr. Roto". The Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones). Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- Berry, Matthew, "Love/Hate for 2008
- Berry, Matthew, "Week 17 Love/Hate"