Stephen A. Smith would really like to see Derek Jeter return to the New York Yankees. Let him be clear: He’d really like to see the Yankees’ Hall of Fame shortstop, No. 2, back with the team. (That may not be the company line if ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro wants to hire Jeter.)
And not just “in some capacity,” like a special advisor, assistant to the general manager, or assistant to the assistant to the general manager. Jeter was the CEO and a shareholder with the Miami Marlins before stepping down on Monday, and Stephen A. believes that he should have a similar position at Yankee Stadium.
If the position doesn’t exist in the Yankees organization, create one. Move Brian Cashman up to president of baseball operations and make Jeter the GM. Or vice versa. Jeter can be president of baseball ops while Cashman remains GM. The Yankees have 13 senior vice presidents. Make it 14 with Jeter. Nine vice presidents? Make it an even 10 with The Captain.
The point, as Stephen A. sees it, is that Jeter should have a position that matters, a position of authority, with the team for which he became a legend. And when ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan was a guest on Tuesday’s First Take and wasn’t embracing that assertion as enthusiastically, Stephen A. couldn’t handle it.
“Jeff… ! Jeff Passan! I have to say, I don’t like the way you sound right now,” said Smith as he tried to maintain his composure. “‘Derek Jeter has to be involved in some capacity’… What do you mean, ‘some capacity’? We know where he belongs!”
“He is a Yankee!” Smith yelled, as he slapped the desk and Passan grew increasingly amused at the comedic outrage. “El Capitan! The champion extraordinaire! The leader! He is… he is Derek Jeter! What is this?”
Smith’s use of the “El Capitan” nickname sent Passan into a belly laugh not often seen on TV while personalities are trying to keep their cool. He leaned back in his chair laughing and clapped, providing a viewers that should be material for GIFs and memes for days, weeks, and months to come. (Even Stephen A. was laughing at himself, possibly in response to Passan leaning back.)
It was a hilarious moment that we screen-capped it for the featured image on this post. You can see it at the 0:16 mark of the video embedded above. This was Stephen A. going meta, making fun of his own rants for a subject that surely didn’t warrant the indignation.
Then, for punctuation, Passan simply responded, “I don’t tell a man where to work.” Mic drop.
It was the ideal follow-up to Passan’s tweet late Monday night/early Tuesday morning as the negotiations between Major League Baseball team owners and the players union wrapped up, hopefully closer to an agreement that means the 2022 season will happen.
Passan had been quiet on Twitter while colleagues Jon Heyman and Bob Nightengale were providing play-by-play on what could have been performative behavior by the owners and MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem.
The MLB lockout has been tiresome. But Passan has provided some levity, some entertainment to a situation that’s been anything but entertaining. He deserves some applause. And maybe he’ll get to tweet some good news in the next day or two.
Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII
“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”
The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.
Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.
Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.
Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.
Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play 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.