TRUM: Who is Matthew Berry?


Welcome to the first edition of TRUM: Phone it in Fridays. I'll be working up an updated Love/Hate column later today for weekend drafts for the draft kit, so I'm not being nearly as lazy today as I want to. In the meantime, however, today's cut and paste job is some background on me. This is for those folks who have been wondering... Who is this guy that just showed up on ESPN? On my ESPN?

So, here, now, is who I am, and for objectiveness' sake, this bio was written by my best friend who is infinitely smarter and better looking...

Matthew Berry, The Talented Mr. Roto, has been playing fantasy baseball since he was 14 years old. He discovered a lot of things he liked to do that year that he had never done and high up on that list was Rotisserie League Baseball. He had found this weird, green book and devoured it. Who knew it was to become a lifelong addiction.

He played in a league with 11 others that year, a league that continues to this day. April 7, 2007 marks the 23rd annual Fat Dog League Auction, with eight of the original 12 members -- including Matthew -- still playing.

Since 1983, a number of things have happened. There were some wars and presidents and apparently some big wall fell overseas at some point, but probably most importantly, we no longer have to wait until Wednesdays for USA Today to come out so we can do our standings by hand. And oh yeah, Matthew Berry has somehow turned 23 years of playing fantasy sports into a semi-legitimate career. Today, he is the senior director of fantasy for ESPN. It is too a real job.

From 1999 to 2004, Matthew was the senior columnist for one of the largest pure fantasy sports sites on the web, a site he'd rather not mention. His column, "The Talented Mr. Roto," appeared weekly for fantasy football, basketball and baseball for more than four years.

Then he was fired.

Now you know why he doesn't want to mention them. They had their reasons, mostly the fact that after four years, he refused to take a 300 percent pay cut. A less talked about, but still credible, theory is that he was just too damn good-looking. His boyish good looks have been a curse his whole life.

So, Matthew created and launched two fantasy Web sites. He started a portal site called RotoPass.com and then came his "own" site, TalentedMrRoto.com. Since launching in March 2004, TalentedMrRoto.com has received four nomination from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, including for Best Site, Best New Site and Best Draft Kit. In the past three years, the site also has gotten 51, you heard us, 51, nominations in all fantasy sports from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association -- the most of any site. Ever. In the history of time.

TalentedMrRoto.com quickly became an industry favorite, providing content for many of the world's largest media companies, including ESPN. And, as a result of this relationship, the Worldwide Leader acquired TalentedMrRoto.com so it could beef up its already terrific fantasy content with a wealth of talented writers who provide in-depth analysis across every major sport. A less talked about, but still credible theory is that the boyish good looks finally came in handy.

Over the years, as a fantasy expert and personality, Matthew has written for and/or appeared on NFL Network, NBA TV, Fox Sports Net, Sporting News Radio, SportsIllustrated.com, Fox Sports Radio, NPR, The Sporting News, Slam Magazine, and XM and Sirius satellite radio. In addition, he has spent the past two years writing the daily fantasy blog for Major League Baseball on MLB.com, a weekly column for NBA.com and a weekly fantasy football column for NFLPlayers.com. He is the only analyst to work for the fantasy rights holders of all three major sports leagues.

And, of course, he has been (and continues to be) seen on every possible ESPN platform known to man. ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Radio, ESPN 360 and, as soon as he learns to say "groundball/flyball ratio" in Spanish, ESPN Deportes.

Matthew has been profiled or interviewed in books, magazines and newspapers across the country, including the Tampa Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Kansas City Star, The Associated Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Honolulu Observer, "The Savvy Guide to Fantasy Sports" and Sports Business Journal. He has written analysis and done mock expert drafts for way too many national fantasy magazines to mention.

Over the past three years, Matthew has personally been nominated 17 times and won five awards from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, including nominations for writer of the year in all three major sports. He is the current Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year. He has more wins, more nominations and the longest ego-stroking bio in the industry. Even his mom is like, "Honey, pouring it on a little thick, no?"

He has won and placed high in a bunch of expert leagues. He also has gotten pasted in a lot of them. He doesn't think either is indicative of someone's ability to tell you how to play, whom to grab, etc. His job is not to win leagues, it's to help you win, and over the past nine years, he's helped thousands upon thousands of people win thousands and thousands of leagues. Just see these testimonials for proof.

Matthew speaks extensively at various fantasy sports conventions around the country, he is on the FSWA board of directors and plays in many of the most famous "expert leagues" in the industry, including the American League Tout Wars Expert League, as featured in the best-selling Viking Press book "Fantasyland" by Wall Street Journal columnist Sam Walker.

Matthew started his career as a television and film screenwriter and producer. Since graduating from Syracuse University in 1992, Matthew (with writing partner Eric Abrams) has written on and/or produced more than a hundred half-hour episodes of television comedy. It's a résumé that includes "Married... With Children" and working with such industry luminaries as Diane English ("Murphy Brown") and James Burrows ("Cheers," "Will & Grace"). It also includes working on some of the worst sitcoms in recent history, which he is too shamed to mention. He was young, he needed the money.

He spent two years as the supervising producer on a critically acclaimed Claymation show no one ever saw called "Gary & Mike," and in 2004 had an overall deal for producing and writing TV pilots with 20th Century Fox.

A Razzie Award nominee for his work as the co-author of the family film "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles" (which he agreed to write when he got the answer to the question "They want to pay me how much?"), he has written film projects for such stars as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Hilary Swank and Tim Allen. They were different projects, don't worry.

The showbiz folks who still constantly bug Matthew for advice since his departure from Hollywood are the head of drama for the Fox TV network, the agent for Jessica Simpson, the consulting producer of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and the co-creator of "Lost." He is represented at legendary talent agency Creative Artists.

Matthew is a Capricorn and a "winter," and this year he's hoping to avoid J.D. Drew, a guy he hates for no rational reason whatsoever. Just one of those things.

Matthew Berry, the Talented Mr. Roto, is the senior director of fantasy games. Cyberstalk the TMR at TalentedMrRoto@aol.com