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CJ Nitkowski Tests Positive For Covid-19

“As a precautionary measure, the network and the Rangers chose not to allow any member of the broadcast with recent TV booth access to work Thursday night’s game, including television play-by-play voice Dave Raymond.”

Brandon Contes

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Thursday afternoon, the Texas Rangers announced TV broadcaster C.J. Nitkowski recently tested positive for COVID-19, which led to simulcasting their radio broadcast for that night’s game in Houston against the Astros. 

Since 2017, Nitkowski has worked as a TV analyst for the Rangers on FOX Sports Southwest. Although the Rangers are in the middle of a road trip, broadcasters haven’t been traveling with the team and instead call the games from inside their home stadium. As a precautionary measure, the network and the Rangers chose not to allow any member of the broadcast with recent TV booth access to work Thursday night’s game, including television play-by-play voice Dave Raymond. 

Instead, FOX Sports Southwest utilized a simulcast of 105.3 The Fan’s radio broadcast which features Eric Nadel, Matt Hicks, and Jared Sandler on the call. The 59-year old Hicks also tested positive for COVID-19 near the start of the season. 

The Rangers anticipate being able to use their TV announcers and production crew for Friday night’s game at the Los Angeles Angels, but Nitkowski won’t be allowed back until he receives consecutive negative COVID-19 tests.  

In the shortened 2020 season, Major League Baseball has so far needed to postpone 43 games because of COVID-19. Plans were recently announced to create a bubble for most of the Major League Baseball postseason, which includes the World Series taking place inside the Texas Rangers new stadium.

Sports TV News

Rece Davis: College GameDay Needed Someone Like Pete Thamel for Years

“It’s like because of this podcast and that, people have started to think of us as two guys who might someday star in a buddy movie.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN’s College GameDay has a formula to it that has made the show work for so long. It’s not scripted at all, but it’s organized in a way that gives the show structure.

And sometimes time constraints force producers and the hosts to have to make adjustments on the fly, like eliminating segments or elements within segments.

GameDay host Rece Davis talked about it on Monday’s edition of the College GameDay podcast with ESPN senior college football writer Pete Thamel. Davis praised Thamel for his contributions to the show but acknowledged that often Thamel whose hits on the show end up struck because of time.

“All of us sacrifice some, but you’re one of the ones who take heavy hits in terms of things getting cut,” Davis said. Thamel’s tweets are often featured throughout the show, and Davis makes it a point to recognize Thamel on the air. “That’s why I try to give you a shoutout when I see the tweets pop up on the screen, which are amazing by the way.”

Davis said Thamel’s ability to provide up to the second information on relevant and timely stories in college football has been a welcomed change to the show.

“You’ve brought something to GameDay that GameDay’s desperately needed for years,” he said. “It’s like because of this podcast and that, people have started to think of us as two guys who might someday star in a buddy movie.”

GameDay will be on location this weekend for the showdown between Michigan and Ohio State. This past weekend the show was live from Montana State.

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Sports TV News

Miami Marlins Continue Broadcast Changes, Drop J.P. Arencibia

The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida.

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After announcing last week that Miami Marlins play-by-play announcer Glenn Geffner wouldn’t return to the booth next year, the club continues to make changes. J.P. Arencibia won’t return as an analyst for the club in 2023.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Arencibia was informed he will no longer work on either the team’s television or radio broadcasts next season. The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida. It was his first season as a television analyst. According to Jackson, the reason for Arencibia’s departure is “unclear”, adding a reason “was not offered”.

The club will continue to use a rotation of analysts in 2023, with Jeff Nelson, Gaby Sanchez, Rod Allen, and Tommy Hutton working in the booth.

Arencibia was brought on for the 2022 season after the Marlins dropped former Rookie of the Year Todd Hollandsworth from the clubs televisions broadcasts after the previous season concluded.

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Sports TV News

Rebecca Lobo Signs Extension With ESPN

She has served as the analyst for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and the National Championship Game.

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ESPN and Rebecca Lobo have signed an extension to keep the women’s basketball legend with the network.

Lobo joined ESPN in 2004 as a WNBA and women’s college basketball analyst. She has served as the analyst for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and the National Championship Game.

“I am thrilled to continue doing what I love, calling women’s basketball games,” said Lobo. “It is an honor to be a part of the soundtrack for the games played by these incredible female athletes.”

Lobo had a storied career at UConn before winning an Olympic Gold Medal. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.

“Rebecca is one of the best in the business. She excels on both game coverage and studio coverage,” said Patricia Lowry, ESPN Vice President, Production. “Her knowledge, history, and passion for the game and its growth continue to make us better.  She is a true asset and a highly valued member of our team.”

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