Justin Morneau is taking on an increased role as part of the Minnesota Twins broadcast team. First reported by Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune, the retired first baseman will be in the Twins TV booth as an analyst for 80 games this season.
FOX Sports North recently stated their Twins’ broadcast lineup hasn’t been finalized, but according to Hartman, Morneau is adding to his schedule, while Hall of Fame pitcher and longtime analyst Burt Blyleven will work less games. The 68-year old Blyleven contributed as an analyst for 80 games in 2018, 50 last year and will likely reduce his schedule to 30 broadcasts this season.
Meanwhile, Morneau has continued to increase his analyst work for the Twins in recent years. After sitting out the 2017 season, the former MVP and four-time All-Star officially retired and joined the Twins TV broadcast team in 2018, calling more games in 2019 and now taking over as their lead analyst this season.
In addition to joining their broadcast team in 2018, Morneau also took on a role in the front office which was described as assisting with “position player development by focusing on transition programs and teaching an understanding of major league expectations, environment, and culture.” Whether or not that has changed was not announced, but recently, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made it clear he was not comfortable with journalists moonlighting as front office personnel.
“Let me give you a short answer on that one: No. I’m not all that comfortable with it. I’m really not,” Manfred said earlier this month according to the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff. “But it’s a topic that remains under discussion internally. As you know, it causes a lot of complications, not just on this particular incident or comments, but in general.”
“This particular incident” referred to Pedro Martinez and Jessica Mendoza criticizing Mike Fiers for exposing the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. Martinez works for MLB Network and TBS as an analyst, while also contributing as a special assistant to the Boston Red Sox. Mendoza is an ESPN analyst and has since resigned from her role as a baseball operations adviser to the New York Mets.
Unlike Mendoza and Martinez, Morneau will not be working as an analyst on the national stage. Similarly, Kirk Gibson continues to call games locally for the Tigers on FOX Sports Detroit while working as an adviser to general manager Al Avila. But again, whether or not Morneau is still working in the Twins front office has not been reported in conjunction with the news that he’ll be taking on an increased analyst role.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.