Last week, YES Network announced that Carlos Beltran was being added to the roster of analysts for New York Yankees telecasts. The former Yankees slugger is expected to call 36 games, making up for David Cone’s decreased workload after joining ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball crew.
More than calling games for his former team and taking a broadcast gig that has been a springboard to national baseball broadcasts, Beltran working for YES is being viewed in some circles as an attempt to redeem his reputation.
The veteran outfielder was considered the “ringleader” of the 2017 Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme in Major League Baseball’s investigation. That association with one of baseball’s worst cheating scandals in decades resulted in Beltran being fired as New York Mets manager before he could begin the 2020 season.
According to the New York Post‘s Ken Davidoff, the Yankees aren’t requiring Beltran to address the sign-stealing scandal as a condition of the job. But in the columnist’s view, YES could be missing out on an opportunity for some media goodwill and potential TV ratings.
What if Beltran held a press conference before spring training to answer questions from reporters about his role in the Astros’ scandal? What if YES aired a special with Beltran answering questions from one of the network’s reporters, like Jack Curry? That could presumably settle any concerns or quiet down any snark viewers might have about Beltran’s analysis.
If the Yankees end up signing free-agent shortstop Carlos Correa — who was a protégé of Beltran’s on that 2017 Astros team — after the MLB lockout ends, the matter will already have been addressed. Correa would still face questions about the sign-stealing, of course, since Houston defeated the Yankees in the 2017 American League Championship Series. But Beltran Could give Correa something to lean on.
Then there’s the larger-picture reason that Beltran may want to answer questions about the 2017 sign-stealing scandal. He’ll be on the 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. With a .270 career avearge, .837 OPS, 2m725 hits, 435 home runs, 1,587 RBI, and 312 stolen bases, Beltran presents a strong case for election, especially in a year when no other first-timers stand out while Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are no longer on the ballot.
As Davidoff points out, Beltran stands to benefit by talking about the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal far more than he would suffer. Rip off the Band-Aid quickly and move on.
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.