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ARod Won’t Call Mets Games For ESPN This Season

“The adjusted 60-game schedule will see the Mets featured on Sunday Night Baseball just once, July 26 on opening weekend.”

Brandon Contes

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Alex Rodriguez won’t be calling any Mets games this season. As the 14-time All Star continues his efforts to buy the Mets, ESPN announced they’ll keep their Sunday Night Baseball analyst out of the broadcast booth when the NL club is on the schedule.

“We don’t want to put the team, Alex or Matt [Vasgersian] in a difficult position,” ESPN senior VP Mark Gross said on a conference call. “[We’ll] shy away from having Alex do a Mets game,” he added. 

This potential conflict of interest is a more recent issue, as ESPN never shied away from allowing A-Rod to call Yankees games when he was an advisor for the Bronx Bombers in 2018. From 2015 – 2019, Jessica Mendoza was an analyst for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast. But last season, she was also an advisor to the Mets, which caused the Dodgers to limit her clubhouse access. 

While holding both titles as an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball analyst and Mets advisor, Mendoza was blasted earlier this year when she criticized pitcher Mike Fiers for his role in uncovering the Astros sign-stealing scandal. 

In response to Mendoza’s comments, league Commissioner Rob Manfred publicly expressed concern over someone owning the ability to speak as both a journalist and MLB team official. Ultimately, Mendoza left her role with the Mets and signed a new contract with ESPN, but not as a contributor to Sunday Night Baseball

For A-Rod, he’ll only miss one game due to the potential conflict of interest. The adjusted 60-game schedule will see the Mets featured on Sunday Night Baseball just once, July 26 on opening weekend. Rodriguez will instead work the Dodgers-Giants game, while being replaced by Chipper Jones for the Sunday Night Baseball Mets-Braves telecast. 

Jones was hired by ESPN as an analyst earlier this year after he worked one game for The Worldwide Leader last season.

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Sports TV News

Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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