Matthew Berry

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This article is about the ESPN sports analyst. For the former FCC General Counsel and Virginia politician, see Matthew Berry (politician).
Matthew Berry
Born Matthew Berry
(1969-12-29) December 29, 1969 (age 45)
Denver, Colorado
Nationality American
Other names Talented Mr. Roto, TMR
Alma mater Syracuse University
Occupation Fantasy Sports analyst, writer, author
Years active 1999-present

Matthew Berry (born December 29, 1969)[1] is an American writer, columnist, fantasy analyst, and television personality, ESPN fantasy sports analyst and ESPN.com columnist. Berry started as a writer for television and film and creating a few pilots and film scripts with his writing partner Eric Abrams with varying success. After beginning as a content writer for Rotoworld as a side-job, Berry launched his own fantasy sports websites, ‘’TalentedMr.Roto.com’’ in 2004 and ‘’Rotopass.com’’ once the former took off.[2] Berry’s websites were timed perfectly with the rise in fantasy popularity, as the internet aided in making fantasy more accessible. Berry currently works at ESPN, where he has been employed since 2007. He is ESPN’s Senior Fantasy Sports Analyst.[3]

Early Life and Personal Life[edit]

Matthew Berry was born in Denver, Colorado, to Nancy and Leonard Berry but moved several times as a youth, to Richmond, Virginia, Atlanta, Georgia, Charlottesville, Virginia. However, from the age of 12 to adulthood he was raised in College Station, Texas. His mother is currently the Mayor of the city and his father is a professor for Texas A&M.

Matthew Berry graduated from Syracuse University in 1992.

Berry’s sports team allegiances lie from coast to coast. He is a Texas A&M fan because of his close familial ties with the program, having season tickets in his youth. Due to his residences in Virginia, Berry’s favorite NFL team became the Washington Redskins.[4] During his time in Los Angeles, Berry gained an affinity for the 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..

Berry resides in Connecticut with his wife, Beth Berry (who also works for ESPN), and five children.[5]

Career[edit]

Hollywood writer[edit]

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 Thanks in part to the recommendation, to which Berry was accepted, officially getting him into the LA writing scene.[6] During his writing tenure, he worked on such movies as Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, and the final year of the TV show Married... with Children.[7] 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.[8] Berry gained further (possibly unwanted) attention for Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles after Paul Hogan filed a lawsuit against Berry and the Writer’s Guild of America because Berry and Eric Abrams were credited as writers, while Hogan insisted that he was the only one who wrote it.[9] Berry and Abrams maintained their writing credits.

Transition to fantasy sports[edit]

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.[10]

Berry then started two fantasy web sites in addition to his Hollywood writing. He started RotoPass.com, a site which aggregates multiple fantasy sports sites that use paywalls, and TalentedMrRoto.com, a fantasy content site. The popularity of these sites, and his inability to focus on script writing in lieu of keeping the sites active, led to him dropping his full-time job and focusing on fantasy sports. He also appeared on several media outlets as a fantasy expert.[11]

ESPN and the Fantasy Explosion[edit]

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 TMR 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 to staff in the ESPN base of Britol, Connecticut. 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 relationship with ESPN grew to the point that it purchased TalentedMrRoto.com and hired Berry as director of fantasy sports in February 2007.[12]

As the popularity and demand for fantasy sports rose, so did Matthew Berry’s profile on the network. Berry appeared on the Fantasy Insider on ESPNEWS and First Take once or twice a week, doing a "Fantasy Minute". Berry is also featured on SportsCenter, NFL Live, Olbermann, Football Today, etc.

Berry also has a frequent presence on ESPN.com in various mediums outside of his columns. Berry has been featured in fantasy videos, which have included "Fantasy Football Now", "Start 'Em, Sit 'Em", "GMC Pro Grade League", "Working the Wire", and the "Fantasy Focus VideoCasts"—both football and baseball. Berry and Ravitz co-starred the VideoCasts along with Paul Severino, Molly Qerim, Jon Anik, and various others. He also chats with fans on ESPN SportsNation. 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.

The popularity of fantasy sports, and Berry’s status as one of the leading voices of them, led to him stepping in front of the camera in numerous occasions. In 2008, Berry played a guest role on the soap opera ‘’One Life to Live’’. In 2009, Berry filmed a segment for ‘’Dancing with the Stars’’, a fellow Disney product. Berry also made a guest appearance as himself in an episode of the FX fantasy sports sitcom The League in 2011.

Fantasy Focus Podcast[edit]

Matthew Berry began his first foray into audio podcasting in 2006 with the “Fantasy Forget (Four Get)” where he gave “four players to leave off your roster this week.”[13] In June 2007, Berry and fellow ESPN fantasy analyst Nate Ravitz were announced as the full-time hosts of the "Fantasy Focus Baseball Podcast" and, soon after, the “Fantasy Focus Football Podcast.” The shows are produced by Daniel Dopp and have featured many recurring ESPN guests such as Stephania Bell, Mike Clay, and Tristan Cockcroft.

These podcasts, much like Berry’s columns, involve a mix of fantasy advice and comedic musings. Common features on the shows include the “Name Game,” “Over-reaction Theater,” “Mailbag,” and “Double Trouble.” The Fantasy Focus uses user-created drops for certain features and other funny/off-kilter sounds, occasionally simply to test if their producer is actually paying attention.

Berry announced on the last episode of the 2013 Fantasy Focus Baseball Podcast that he would not return to host the podcast for the 2014 season. This was announced immediately after Nate Ravitz announced his departure from the show.

The Fantasy Focus Football podcast is 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.[14]

ESPN.com Columns and Articles[edit]

Berry has a comedic and often self-depreciating voice in his articles. He more often than not acknowledges his false predictions rather than his correct ones, both in the form of angry e-mails and tweets from people who followed his advice for the worse. 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."[15] His articles generally begin with a short introduction involving experiences from his personal life. Pop culture references and quips will often be found during the otherwise serious fantasy advice portions.

Matthew Berry initially wrote two main fantasy columns for ESPN, "The Talented Mr. Roto" and "TRUM: Thoughts, Ramblings, Useless Info and Musings".[16] However, his last post on the TRUM blog post was written in October 2011.

Currently, Matthew Berry writes a number of larger fantasy articles annually for what is now know as ESPN’s Fantasy Football Draft Kit. First, there is “100 Facts”, which is both printed in ESPN The Magazine and posted on ESPN.com. Second is the “Draft Day Manifesto,” where he goes over basic and advanced stats and tips to help ensure you succeed in your draft without necessarily recommending certain players. Third is Berry’s pre-draft Love/Hate. Love/Hate focuses on players who he feels are being over or under drafted. He originally wrote Love/Hate, 100 Facts, and a Bold Predictions column for Fantasy baseball as well, but penned his final editions of these in 2014 to focus on football.[17]

Along with the articles, Berry also maintains a top 200 rankings and individual position rankings for the NFL from preseason through week 17.

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.[18] In the football articles, he names the players he likes significantly better than the other ESPN rankers for that week (i.e., 'Love'), and the guys who he likes significantly less than the other ESPN rankers for that weeks (i.e., 'Hate').

Filmography, Television, and Audio[edit]

Year Title Roles Notes
1995 Kirk (TV series) Writer TV series
1996 Ink (TV series) Story Editor TV series
1996-1997 Married...with Children Story editor/writer (Season 11) TV series
1998 Conrad Bloom Co-producer TV Series
2001 Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles Writer Feature film
2001 Gary & Mike Supervising producer TV series
2003 Abby Supervising producer/writer (1 ep) TV series
2003 Oliver Beene Story TV series
2006- ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews Fantasy football analyst Appears on multiple ESPN broadcasts to give fantasy analysis, especially during football season.
2007- ESPN Fantasy Focus Podcast Fantasy Analyst Podcast. Left FF Baseball in 2013.
2008 One Life to Live Actor, “Neil Silver” TV series
2008- Fantasy Football Now Co-host Sports show
2009 Dancing with the Stars Guest appearance Competition show
2011 The League Guest appearance TV series/Radio
2011-2013 Mike & Mike Guest appearance TV series/Radio
2013 60 Minutes Sports Himself TV Series documentary
2013 How Did This Get Made? Himself Podcast

All information from IMDB.[19]

Awards and Achievements[edit]

  • New York Times Bestseller, ‘’A Fantasy Life’’
  • Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding New Approach, ‘’Fantasy Football Now’’ on ESPN.com [20]
  • Fantasy Sports Trade Association Hall of Fame Class of 2012 [21]
  • Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall of Fame Class of 2010 [22]
  • Five-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards (2005-06) winner[23]
    • Writer of the Year (Basketball)
    • Best Article on the Web (Football)
    • Most Humorous Article, Best Major Media Article x2 (Baseball)
  • Five-time Podcast Awards Winner (w/ co-host Nate Ravitz)[24]
    • People’s Choice (2009, ’12), ’’ESPN Fantasy Focus Football’’
    • Sports (2009, ’11, ’12), ’’ESPN Fantasy Focus Football’’
    • Sports (2013), ‘’ESPN Fantasy Focus Baseball’’

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=mlbdk2k10manifesto
  2. ^ http://espnmediazone.com/us/bios/berry_matthew/
  3. ^ "ESPN's Matthew Berry Bios". Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  4. ^ Berry, Matthew. ‘’A Fantasy Life’’. Riverhead/Penguin:2013.
  5. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/articles/fantasy-518482-espn-sports.html
  6. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=tmr080624
  7. ^ "Matthew Berry's International Movie Database page"
  8. ^ "2001 Razzie Award Nominees and Winners"
  9. ^ http://www.hollywood.com/news/brief/386469/quick-takes-hogan-contests-new-dundee-screenplay-credits
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Andrew C. Stone. "ESPN's Matthew Berry on Sports, Comedy, and Happiness". Los Angeles Confidential Magazine. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  12. ^ "The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons: 7/26"
  13. ^ http://search.espn.go.com/roto/audio/7
  14. ^ http://www.podcastawards.com/
  15. ^ Di Fino, Nando (May 29, 2008). "The Thick-Skinned Mr. Roto". The Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones). Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  16. ^ Berry, Matthew, "TRUM: No rest for the TMR"
  17. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=tmr100422
  18. ^ Berry, Matthew, "Love/Hate for 2008
  19. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4578753/
  20. ^ http://awardsandwinners.com/category/sports-emmy-award/2008/
  21. ^ http://www.fsta.org/?page=HallofFame
  22. ^ http://fswa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3401:fswa-hall-of-fame
  23. ^ http://fswa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=6
  24. ^ http://www.podcastawards.com/index.php?option=pastwinners

External links[edit]