Resiliency, honor, talent, and respect for the craft are qualities synonymous with most all-time greats. When it comes to sports journalism, few have displayed these qualities as consistently and genuinely as Rob Parker.
Parker is a bona fide pioneer in sports journalism.
In his 35-year career, Parker has both broken down barriers and reached back to mentor younger sportswriters on the come-up.
In 2012, after an eight-year run on ESPN, Parker’s contract wasn’t renewed after a controversial episode of First Take in which he referred to former Washington Redskins quarterback RGIII, who was the darling of the NFL at the time, as a cornball brother.
His most controversial soundbite as a journalist has turned out to be one of his defining moments. It showed the world what Rob Parker was made of.
ESPN refused to renew Rob’s contract and some even claimed that he would never rise to such heights again.
It turned out to be the step backward that he needed to eventually ascend to his current lofty status as a fixture in the corporate sports talk game for FS1 and Fox Sports Radio.
He has a popular radio show, “The Odd Couple” with fellow sports reporter Chris Broussard, that runs during afternoon drive time Monday through Friday on Fox Sports Radio.
The podcasts are abundant and his hot takes on “Undisputed” and other programming leave the ears melting at times.
The Shadow League spoke to the 2018 NABJ Sports Journalist of the Year and Baseball Writers Association of America Hall of Fame voter to catch up on his career. To see what he has cooking these days.
The Shadow League: How is “The Odd Couple” radio show going?
Rob Parker: On Friday, “The Odd Couple” celebrated its third anniversary. The show has been amazing and continues to grow. Chris Broussard and I have both recently signed new three-year contracts.
Rob Parker and I jamming to “The Jeffersons” theme song. Only The Odd Couple! https://t.co/VcUAiB4Dp7
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) January 3, 2020
It’s the chemistry and honesty that make the show sound so different from most other National shows.
The other two things that separate us; We’re talking MLB on a regular and we take calls. Listeners have ownership in our show.
Chris and I met 29 years ago at the National Association of Black Journalists in Detroit in 1992.
We appreciate Fox Sports Radio giving two brothers a national platform, reaching nearly 400 stations.
TSL: You went on a post-pandemic visitation tour in 2021, traveling to different cities to connect with friends, family and fans. How was that ?
Rob: My summer was amazing. I decided I wanted to live again after being shut in basically from the pandemic.
I wanted to see my family and friends. I had three different trips that totaled 16 cities and 28 days. It was a whirlwind.
I must have connected with 150 different people. And yes, I’m vaxed. It was great to pop bottles — I’m being inducted into my HS HOF, Martin Van Buren in Queens Village, New York, in 2022 — grab a meal and get to a number of ballparks.
Baseball is the perfect quality time. Saw a bunch of friends in ATL and Cincy. I saw my nephew’s new son in Virginia Beach and caught a Mets game with my godson, JC.
Here’s a video of my trek.
TSL: You started a groundbreaking project in April called MLBbro.com, covering Black and Brown Major League Baseball players. How has that experience been?
Rob: MLBbro.com has had an awesome first year. The site has grown to go-to, if you want to keep up with Black and brown players in the Major Leagues.
The Black players have embraced the site. So has MLB’s commissioner’s office. That’s a testament when you think we just launched April 1st.
Our staff is all Black and everyone working there loves baseball.
We are here to cover the game and develop the future Black baseball writers in this country.
We are on our way. We have some wonderful young writers putting out great content. If you haven’t checked the site, please do. It’s MLB coverage with hot sauce on it.
TSL: You’ve covered MLB since the ‘80s and have seen it all. What are the best three stories of the 2021 season?
Rob: First is the Vlad Jr. and Shohei Ohtani AL MVP debate. We all thought Ohtani had it on lock — pitching and playing every day — but if Vlad Jr. wins the Triple Crown how can he be denied?
The last triple crown winning hitter was Miguel Cabrera when he did it in 2012
The last time a player was an elite hitter and a very good pitcher was…never
What Shohei Ohtani is doing is unprecedented, the MVP race shouldn’t even be a debate between him and Vlad Jr rn 🤷🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/0l3aMgSFHP
— Jake (@D1SCHER) September 15, 2021
Only five players have won the award since 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. This will be a fantastic finish.
2. Cedric Mullins’ breakout year in Baltimore. Has a chance for a 30-30 year, joining an exclusive club. He’s fun to watch.
3. The dominance of Triston McKenzie. This dude from NYC has gas. Cleveland has an ace, the next Dwight Gooden. He’s must-see.
TSL: What projects do you have going right now ?
So many new projects on my plate for the next year, including some new TV outlets you will be able to see me on. Stay tuned.
Plus, I’m working hard on getting an MLBbro TV and radio show ready to go for next season.
I will be on former ESPN host Michael Smith’s show on Monday. Hence, there’s a lot of work ahead.