ready to talk sports on new STO show
By Kevin Kelley
Published March 28, 2007
Drennan had a problem many people think they would like to have.
“Unlike 95 percent of the people that bet through
an illegal bookmaker — they lose — I won,” Drennan said.
The former radio sports talker and Indians announcer
recently served a five-month prison sentence for filing false tax
statements after not reporting sports gambling revenue.
He said he met bookmakers through golf leagues. He
never bet on the Internet, he said, and he never became addicted
Drennan had something to keep his spirits up while
doing his time — the possibility of a comeback doing a sports talk
show on SportsTime Ohio when his sentence was over. STO President
Jim Liberatore had brought up the idea with him before he entered
“That motivated me and inspired me the five months
I was in (the federal penitentiary at) Morgantown (W.Va.),” Drennan
said. “It helped me beyond words to do the time.”
STO, the cable home of the Cleveland Indians, has
tapped Drennan to host its main sports talk show, which will air
Sunday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.
A guest host will run the show on Fridays.
The show’s name – “All Bets Are Off.”
Liberatore said the name has two meanings. First is
the reference to the gambling situation Drennan recently found himself
The second meaning is that all topics will be
open for discussion on the show.
“Bruce is a perfect match because he has some of the
traits that STO wants to have — a local affiliation with the fans,
a passion, an expertise and understanding of this community,” Liberatore
“The name of the show was not my idea,” Drennan said,
“but I guess it’s fitting.”
Drennan said his time in prison was a humbling experience.
But even worse were the months of investigation that preceded that,
Drennan said he’s prepared to discuss his brush with
the law on the show.
“I fully intend to incorporate my story, my case,
my experiences leading up to the five months at Morgantown, and
my five months at Morgantown,” said Drennan, who is also in discussions
to work part time for WOIO/Action 19 News.
“Everything that happened was by my own doing, my
own fault — nobody to blame but me,” Drennan said. “And certainly
I’ve paid the price.”
Drennan said his most humbling experience in prison
was when Florida beat Ohio State in college football’s championship
game and his southern jailmates teased him about it.
“Well what’s the great big sportscaster from Cleveland
say about Ohio State now?” Drennan said with a Southern accent,
imitating the ribbing he got from southerners at the prison.
“I had to tuck by Buckeye tail between my legs and
shut my big mouth,” Drennan said. “And that’s never easy for me.”
What does Drennan think about whether Pete Rose should
get in the Hall of Fame?
Rose was a baseball manager while he was betting on
baseball, Drennan noted. And “Charlie Hustle” was in denial for
a long time about his gambling, he added. But Drennan said he has
a real problem with Rose not being in the Hall of Fame based on
his baseball accomplishments, especially when many others in the
hall, like Ty Cobb, weren’t exactly shining examples of upright
Drennan still faces five months of home confinement
as part of his sentencing, but he does have work privileges.
“I’m a homebody anyway,” Drennan said. “I like nothing
more than spending time at home with my (93-year-old) mother, my
wife, my dogs. I really don’t go out much anyway.”
Drennan said his perspective on life has changed dramatically
because of his time in prison.
“I appreciate the smallest things,” he said.
“Scotch tape, a paper clip, drinking out of a real glass, using
real silverware, being able to wear a regular belt buckle.”
Drennan said STO has given him a blank check on how
to conduct his show. He says interviews with local as well as national
sports figures will be a big part of the broadcast.
But his approach to sports talk won’t change. Except
for one thing.
“I have my own style. Obviously I’m very opinionated,”
Drennan said. “I’m not going to jump to judgment if an athlete gets
in trouble from now on.”
False allegations spread about him taught him to sit
back and get the facts first, he said.