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Don Mattingly Featured in Next ‘MLB Network Presents’ Documentary

‘Donnie Baseball’ premieres Sunday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET on MLB Network.

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Don Mattingly retired as an active Major League Baseball player after the 1995 season. So it’s been 27 years since he’s taken the field with a glove or bat.

A generation of baseball fans only know Mattingly as a manager, leading the Los Angeles for five years and going into his seventh season as the Miami Marlins’ skipper. But an upcoming MLB Network documentary can remind longtime fans and inform younger viewers on what a great player he was, No. 23 for the New York Yankees.

MLB Network Presents: Donnie Baseball premieres Sunday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Just before Opening Day on April 7, the documentary can provide an appetizer for the upcoming 2022 season and a dose of nostalgia for those who enjoyed watching Mattingly play.

Check out the trailer below:

As New York Post baseball columnist Joel Sherman notes in the trailer, Mattingly was the face of MLB — certainly the face of the Yankees — during the 1980s. For a four- to five-year span, he was one of the best hitters in baseball. In 1985, he won the American League Most Valuable Player award, batting .324 with a .939 OPS, 35 home runs, 48 doubles, and 145 RBI.

If only Mattingly played in a different decade, or his back allowed him to play longer, he might be even more highly regarded. His career unfortunately ended as the Yankees regained their standing as one of the top teams in baseball. They won the World Series in 1996, the year after Mattingly retired, and went on to win another four championships in the next 11 seasons.

Donnie Baseball also chronicles Mattingly’s battles with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who threatened to trade him. Mattingly played in an era when Steinbrenner was one of the most infamous figures in baseball, constantly firing managers, alienating star players, and interfering with how the roster was put together.

In addition to Mattingly being interviewed, former players, reporters, and broadcasters appearing in the documentary include George Brett, Wade Boggs, Mike Pagliarulo, Bernie Williams, Buck Showalter, Joe Torre, Michael Kay, and Suzyn Waldman.

MLB Network Presents: Donnie Baseball premieres Sunday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m ET.

Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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