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Sports Media Colleagues Celebrate Tim Kurkjian Hall of Fame Induction

“The Baseball Writers Association of America awarded its Career Excellence Award to Kurkjian earlier this year.”

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Tim Kurkjian

ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian is one of the best-known baseball reporters in America. His passion for Major League Baseball is unmatched and won him plenty of fans. Those elements of his personality, along with his exceptional reporting, earned him enshrinement in Cooperstown over the weekend.

The Baseball Writers Association of America awarded its Career Excellence Award to Kurkjian earlier this year. That made him part of the most recent induction class for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The enshrinement ceremony happened this weekend. Plenty of Kurkjian’s colleagues from ESPN and other sports media outlets took to Twitter to celebrate his achievement.

A good sign of a media member’s influence is what the players have to say about them. Tim Kurkjian said in his induction speech that one former player reached out upon hearing the news to confirm that the ESPN reporter belongs in the Hall of Fame.

“The day I won this award I got a text from Jim Kaat saying, ‘Tim we are connected now,’” he said. “Connected forever to a player as great and a man as great as Jim Kaat is the thrill of a lifetime for me.”

Kurkjian concluded his remarks by praising the sport and noting that it has meant more to him than just a means to making a living. It has truly been an important part of his life.

“Baseball was the primary language spoken in my house growing up. My dad was a really good player. And he taught us three boys how to play the game, how to love the game, and he gave us a great feel for the game. It was a privilege to cover the game 40 years ago, and now 40 years later, it is still a privilege. Baseball is the greatest game. It’s the best game of all time. It’s the hardest game in the world to play. It is a beautiful game.”

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Sports TV News

Robert Griffin III Replaces Randy Moss on Monday Night Countdown

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program.

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Robert Griffin III
David Becker, Getty Images

With Monday Night Countdown set to lead into Thursday’s preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks, ESPN announced their lineup for the show.

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program. Robert Griffin III will join Booger McFarland and Steve Young as the show’s main analysts.

They will be partnered with Suzy Kolber who returns for her sixth year as the show’s host and news breaker Adam Schefter.

It was reported in July that analyst Randy Moss would not be returning to the show, opting instead to focus solely on Sunday Night Countdown.

The first regular season action featuring Monday Night Countdown will be on Monday, September 12 when the Seahawks play the Denver Broncos.

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Sports TV News

Leafs Nation Network, the Toronto Maple Leafs Channel, Is Going Off the Air

“Thank you for your viewership. As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

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The Toronto Maple Leafs launched Leafs TV, a team-specific specialty channel in 2001 and rebranded it as Leafs Nation Network in 2017. However, after nearly twenty-one years on the air, it will fade to black at the end of August.

“Thank you for your viewership,” the channel told viewers who have tuned in recently. “As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

The news was confirmed to the Sun. Staff said they had been informed of the news a few weeks ago however few jobs are expected to be lost, of any, as many of the LNN duties will be moved to the digital format.

Leafs TV was part of the sale of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise sale in 2011 to Bell-Rogers communications (worth $1.32 billion). With that sale, Leafs TV began to become a “redundant” channel focusing mainly on classic games and interviews once Rogers made a 2014 deal to become the dominant NHL network, grabbing the majority of live programming.

“Leafs TV was a big bargaining chip at the time of the (Rogers-Bell sale), but they’ve come to see that (lack of game broadcast presence) doesn’t work,” a source told the Sun.

A statement from MLSE on Tuesday read in part: “With new and increasing opportunities to share content on its digital platforms, subscribers to the Leafs Nation Network were informed earlier this month that the channel would cease being broadcast on Sept. 1. Maple Leafs game day and practice coverage will continue to be shared across the team’s digital platforms, combined with exciting new content on the team’s social and digital channels. The team will continue to produce live Marlies home games with details being shared in the weeks ahead about where those broadcasts will be made available.”

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Stephen A. Smith Says He Wants Mike Francesa on First Take

Russo smiled and chirped back, ““You can’t beat me, you’re never gonna beat him.”

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Stephen A. Smith, Mike Francesa

Stephen A. Smith seems to be looking to debate every major media personality with big opinions and he has set his eyes on Mike Francesa.

Smith was on First Take on Wednesday with weekly guest Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and chastising Russo for being upset with Aaron Rodgers calling out his wide receivers. That’s when Smith brought up the former WFAN tandem of Mike and the Mad Dog.

“The thing that disappoints me about you,” Smith said to Russo, “you’re upset with honesty. You are not only hosting your own radio show, you have your own channel.”

Smith continued, “You are one of the pioneers if not THE pioneer with Mike Francesa, who, by the way, I got to get him on this show one day too, with you. You understand what I’m saying? I mean it would be my honor to have Mike Francesa too.”

Russo smiled and chirped back, ““You can’t beat me, you’re never gonna beat him.”

Smith returned once more with “I ain’t scared. I’m never gonna beat him, but I’ll try, damn it.”

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