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Manfred Unhappy With Broadcasters Working For Teams

“According to Manfred’s comments, it seems like the commissioner would prefer for both Martinez and Mendoza to choose between working as a journalist or a team official.”

Brandon Contes

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Last month, Pedro Martinez and Jessica Mendoza both criticized MLB pitcher Mike Fiers for his role in exposing the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. Speaking as media members, there is no issue with the opinion, but doubling as paid baseball team officials caused some concern, including from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Both Martinez and Mendoza were criticized for their comments as their dual roles were highlighted. Martinez works as an analyst for TBS and MLB Network, while also serving as a special assistant to the Boston Red Sox. Mendoza is both an ESPN employee and baseball operations adviser to the New York Mets. The Red Sox and Mets lost their managers this offseason because of the scandal and were mulling those decisions while Martinez and Mendoza spoke out against Fiers. 

“Jessica was speaking as an ESPN analyst, not as a spokesperson for the Mets,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said shortly after Mendoza’s comments about Fiers. “I have not had the opportunity to speak with her yet.”

According to The New York Post’s Ken Davidoff, Commissioner Rob Manfred discussed Martinez and Mendoza following the MLB Owners’ Meetings in Orlando, FL. Manfred said he had not spoken to either of them about their public opinions of Fiers. 

“In what mode they were speaking, whether they were speaking as journalists or club employees, I think we were satisfied that their comments were being made in their role as journalists,” Manfred said. “And anybody that we have a relationship with, we don’t really try to control what they say in that role as media person. So the short answer is no, we do not reach out.”

But as far as whether or not Manfred is comfortable with people being able to speak as both journalists and MLB team officials, the commissioner leans on the side of not.

“Let me give you a short answer on that one: No. I’m not all that comfortable with it. I’m really not,” Manfred said according to Davidoff. “But it’s a topic that remains under discussion internally. As you know, it causes a lot of complications, not just on this particular incident or comments, but in general.”

Martinez signed a multiyear contract with TBS prior to the 2019 season and is unlikely to depart the media anytime soon. Mendoza also signed a multiyear agreement before the 2019 season with ESPN, although unrelated, it appears her role on their Sunday Night Baseball broadcast could be coming to an end.

According to Manfred’s comments, it seems like the commissioner would prefer for both Martinez and Mendoza to choose between working as a journalist or a team official.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here

Sports TV News

Ian Rapoport: I Have Never Thought It is Me vs Adam Schefter

“I don’t even think that, it’s just I report what I know, and he reports what he knows.”

Jordan Bondurant

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In terms of NFL insiders, Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter are the two biggest names out there. And sometimes it can be a race between the two to get the biggest scoops first. Especially now with the NFL coaching carousel in full swing.

This week two teams hired new head coaches – the Broncos traded two first round picks to the Saints to acquire the rights to Sean Payton and the Texans signed DeMeco Ryans.

Rapoport tweeted that Denver had pursued Ryans up until the day they announced the trade for Payton.

Not even 15 minutes later, Schefter appeared to clarify the information out there with the two teams.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Thursday, Pat McAfee referred to the conflicting information as a “source off.”

Ian said he stood behind what he put out there.

“I know it’s fun to call it a source off or whatever, but for me I reported what I had based on the best information I can get – based on talking to many, many people throughout the course of the last month,” Rapoport said from the Senior Bowl. “And then whatever happens as a result of this I don’t really mind.”

In terms of any sort of rivalry between him and Schefter, Rapoport doesn’t view it as a head-to-head matchup.

“I don’t even think that, it’s just I report what I know, and he reports what he knows,” he said. “And everyone can sort of judge for themselves whichever way to go.”

McAfee gave kudos to Rapoport for his reporting on the Ryans situation. He also said it’s a good thing Rapoport doesn’t worry himself too much about what other insiders are doing.

“I think you should feel good about it, but I do like a good source off,” McAfee said. “And I appreciate the fact that you don’t view it as you versus Schefter. But you two are at the top of the game. So that’s a compliment more so than anything.”

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Sports TV News

AEW Considers Launching Streaming Service

“It’s possible an AEW streaming service could be independent, but many are hopeful AEW’s offerings would be available on HBO Max or Discovery+ akin to how WWE Network is now available on Peacock.”

Jordan Bondurant

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All Elite Wrestling is looking into launching its own streaming service.

According to reporting from Bloomberg, a source “familiar with management’s thinking” said AEW is looking to strike a deal with broadcast partner Warner Bros. Discovery.

Since launching in 2019, AEW now puts on two weekly shows on Warner channels TBS and TNT and airs two shows on YouTube.

Last year AEW acquired Ring of Honor from Sinclair Broadcast Group. As part of that deal, AEW took ownership of RoH’s extensive content library Honor Club. So much like WWE did with WWE Network when it launched in 2014, AEW could launch its streaming service and have all of Ring of Honor’s content in a one-stop shop.

It’s possible an AEW streaming service could be independent, but many are hopeful AEW’s offerings would be available on HBO Max or Discovery+ akin to how WWE Network is now available on Peacock.

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Sports TV News

NBC Officially Unveils Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge as New Big Ten Booth

“With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

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It’s officially official: Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge, and Kathryn Tappen will join the Big Ten on NBC booth when the network begins airing the conference’s football package in 2023.

NBC made the announcement Thursday, after weeks of speculation about the moves.

“We are excited to showcase Big Ten Saturday Night on the NBC Sports’ primetime marquee,” said NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood. “When you hear Todd’s voice, you know it’s a big college football game. It has been that way for decades.

“Noah is one of the industry’s rising young play-by-play commentators, who has excelled calling numerous sports across multiple platforms for a wide range of audiences. We are thrilled to pair him in the booth with Todd.

“Kathryn has told the stories of so many memorable Notre Dame Football moments over the last decade in her on-field reporting and interviews,” Flood continued. “With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

Blackledge joins NBC after working as a college football analyst for the network for the past 17 seasons. Previously, he was the an analyst for CBS and ABC, making 2023 his 30th consecutive season covering college football as an analyst.

Eagle is the son of broadcasting legend Ian Eagle, and currently serves as the radio voice of the Los Angeles Clippers. He comes to NBC after calling college football games for FOX Sports in 2022.

Tappen has spent the past nine seasons working NBC’s college football coverage with Notre Dame. Eight of those nine seasons were spent as the network’s sideline reporter before anchoring the studio coverage from South Bend in 2022.

2023 will mark the beginning of a seven-year contract for NBC to air Big Ten football games in primetime. The move is one of the biggest notable expansions in the college football arena for the network since its partnership with Notre Dame began in 1991.

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