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Tim Kukjian Laments Baseball’s Media Failings

“Kurkjian acknowledged that the NBA has surpassed baseball in terms of popularity.”



ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian sat down with Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports to talk about the restart of the Major League Baseball season. He offered several opinions on the new season. He doesn’t like artificial crowd noise or fan cutouts, he will recognize whoever wins the World Series as a true World Series champion, and he thinks the Astros scandal is old news.

One of the most interesting parts of the interview though came when McCarthy asked about Major League Baseball’s place in the American sports hierarchy. The question was simple: Do you think MLB is still the number two league in America?

Kurkjian acknowledged that the NBA has surpassed baseball in terms of popularity. He says that fans feel a connection to the best players in basketball that may not be possible for baseball given the way the game is played.

“Let’s face it. A basketball player like LeBron James touches the ball on every possession,” he told McCarthy. “He’s the best player on the court – every time he plays. Whereas Mike Trout might get walked three times in the game and not even have a chance in centerfield. You leave thinking, ‘I just saw the best player I’ve ever seen and he didn’t do anything.’ Because the game wouldn’t allow him to.”

He acknowledged that that fact doesn’t have to be a negative if it were marketed correctly, but marketing has never been the league’s strong suit. When asked about the way baseball players are perceived, Kurkjian said that the league and the teams have a tendency to cause harm that the NBA and NFL don’t.

“They really value their players and they really prop them up and they make them into superstars on their own where baseball tends to knock their own guys down once in a while. Never quite understood that.”

One superstar that Kurkjian pointed to directly was Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge. He is marketable for reasons beyond just being the biggest star on one of the most famous teams in American sports. His talent and size grab the attention of even casual fans.

“He could have played basketball at a very high level. He could have played football. But he chose baseball and that’s a really good thing for baseball.”

Sports TV News

Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set

“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”



TNT/Larry Brown Sports

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”.

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Sports TV News

Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock

“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”



Rich Eisen Show

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.

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Sports TV News

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.

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