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Rod Allen Gets Fresh Start in Baseball Broadcasting With Miami Marlins

“I never lost hope. I knew what happened that day, I handled it the right way, and I was told by everybody… I knew that some day, I would get another opportunity to get into the broadcast booth.”

Jordan Bondurant

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When the curtain goes up for the start of the 2022 Major League Baseball season, broadcaster Rod Allen will be entering the Miami Marlins broadcast booth rejuvenated and redeemed.

Allen was hired by the Marlins full-time to primarily handle TV broadcasts on Bally Sports Florida with some radio assignments sprinkled in. The former major-leaguer had been out of broadcasting in a full-time capacity since 2018.

“It was a long three years,” Allen told Tony Paul of the Detroit News.

Allen previously served as the Tigers’ color commentator alongside play-by-play man Mario Impemba for 16 seasons. But he was ultimately let go, as was Impemba, by then-Fox Sports Detroit following a physical altercation with Impemba outside the broadcast booth at a Tigers-White Sox game in September 2018.

“I couldn’t even put into words what I’ve gone through the last three years, mentally and things like that,” Allen said. “But that’s not important. The important thing is I’ve been given another opportunity. I’m just grateful and thankful.”

The incident is something Allen doesn’t care to talk about, but he said the fallout from it put him in a dark place. He told Paul a mix of family, primarily his four grandchildren, and faith helped carry him through.

“(Grandkids) just kept you going, man, because they don’t see that pain that you’re feeling, they don’t see that anxiety, they don’t feel the worry,” he said. “All they saw is Paw Paw, and they love Paw Paw. They made me feel great. There were a lot of good days, but there were a lot of bad days.”

Some connections at Bally Sports ultimately helped Allen get his foot back in the broadcasting door, but ultimately Allen said he was determined to put on the headset once again.

“I never lost hope,” he said. “I knew what happened that day, I handled it the right way, and I was told by everybody, I knew I would get another opportunity. I knew that some day, I would get another opportunity to get into the broadcast booth.”

“God has given me another opportunity to do what I love to do,” Allen added.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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