Both Awful Announcing and Andrew Marchand of The New York Post report that ESPN is considering bringing Baseball Tonight back to its daily lineup. The show switched to a Sundays-only schedule after the company went through a massive round of layoffs in 2017. Intentional Talk, which originates from MLB Network, has been airing on ESPN2 to fill the void since that time.
The deal with MLB Network ends in April, and according to Awful Announcing, ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro wants to bring back a daily baseball show. Whether or not that show would be called “Baseball Tonight” and when or where it airs are details that still need to be worked out.
The change in programming philosophy comes as a result of Pitaro wanting to add more play-by-play of the MLB Playoffs to ESPN’s portfolio. Currently the World Wide Leader only has rights to a single Wild Card game. Pitaro has described getting at least one full series as a “top priority” for ESPN.
ESPN already has an impressive staff if they want to revive a daily baseball show. Karl Ravech and Adnan Virk are still under contract. They both served as hosts of the show during the last two seasons. Analysts Mark Texiera, David Ross, and Eduardo Perez are still under contract. The network also has insiders Buster Olney, Pedro Gomez, and Tim Kurkjian still under contract.
Apparently ESPN is not resting its hat on those names alone. Marchand reports that the network isn’t done adding baseball talent to its roster.
ESPN already has had talks to add Ryan Howard, according to sources. The Post previously reported the network has signed Yahoo’s Jeff Passan to be its Adam Schefter of baseball. Passan will begin in January. ESPN may look to acquire another analyst or two.
Whether this show airs on ESPN, ESPN2, or even ESPN+ is still up for discussion. It could even float between networks to accommodate play-by-play schedules. Whatever the case is, it does appear that a daily baseball show is coming back to ESPN and that show will play a key role in the network expanding its involvement in broadcasting MLB Playoff games.
Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set
“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”
Charles Barkley is no stranger to being the object of fans’ ire. The cities of San Antonio and Cleveland have a history of being the butt of the Round Mound of Rebound’s jokes. Thursday night in San Francisco, fans of the Warriors took things to a different level, throwing objects at Barkley on the Inside the NBA set.
The TNT studio show was broadcasting live from outside the Chase Center. The crowd chanted “Chuck, you suck!” at Barkley before the game. After Golden State clinched a birth in the NBA Finals, things got physical.
Fans threw things at the set, including a rolled-up t-shirt, which hit Charles Barkley in the back of the head. That resulted in Barkley leaving his seat and bowing up to the audience.
“Come on Chuck!” Ernie Johnson pleaded as Kenny Smith repeatedly said “Sit down Chuck.”
Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.
Now that the Western Conference Finals are over, TNT’s NBA schedule has concluded. That doesn’t mean Charles Barkley won’t return to San Francisco for the NBA Finals, but it is highly unlikely given the reception he has received there.
Barkley spent most of the postseason telling Golden State fans they were annoying and need to shut up and saying the city of San Francisco has “dirty ass streets”.
Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock
“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”
Legendary play-by-play man Jon Miller will be returning to the national broadcast booth on Sunday. He will call the San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds game for Peacock. He’ll be joined in the booth by Barry Larkin and Shawn Estes.
According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict. Benetti, the regular play-by-play voice of Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff, is also the television voice of the Chicago White Sox. NBC Sports Chicago has prioritized this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Cubs, making Benetti unavailable to the national broadcast.
Miller has been calling Giants games since 1997 and previously shared the Sunday Night Baseball booth on ESPN with hall of famer Joe Morgan.
The broadcast, called MLB Sunday Leadoff, will begin at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage hosted by Ahmed Fareed. The game broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.
The game will take place in an exclusive two-hour broadcast window prior to the start of the rest of the league’s day of games.
Amazon Eyeing Pat McAfee For Thursday Night Football Megacast
“No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.’
First it was the Mannings. Now it’s McAfee. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Pat McAfee could be at the center of an alternate broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Amazon in the 2022 season.
No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.
Rumors of Amazon’s interest in McAfee began to bubble up last month. While he never directly addressed them, he did make mention on his show that he was “up to something” and insinuated that Amazon wasn’t the only company he was talking to.
McAfee has said on his show in the past that he wants to be part of an NFL broadcast. However, he is firm in that it would not be in the broadcast booth.
“I can’t call games. Not yet,” McAfee said on a show in February. “Have to be done with this show to call games. Because that’s like a 3-day, 4-day thing.”
In addition to his daily show, McAfee is also committed to the WWE. He is on the road for Smackdown every Friday.
There is no word on exactly what a Pat McAfee-centered broadcast would look like. When reports first came out regarding discussions with McAfee, Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported that moving The Pat McAfee Show to Amazon was on the table. If that happens, it would make sense to use his entire crew on the Thursday Night Football presentation.