The Dodgers’ World Series title has been overshadowed by two things. One is Kevin Cash’s decision to pull Blake Snell even while the Rays ace seemed to have Los Angeles on its knees. The other is the appearance of Justin Turner on the field to celebrate with his teammates after the Dodgers clinched the title.
BSM’s Jay Mariotti was disgusted by the lack of urgency shown by Major League Baseball after it learned that the Dodgers third baseman had tested positive for COVID-19 and even more upset by him returning to the field to celebrate rather than going into quarantine.
“Usually, the end of a baseball season smells like champagne,” Mariotti wrote. “This one smells like a skunk.”
“They really put the contagious guy right in the middle of the team photo, too, next to the trophy,” Jesse Spector wrote for Deadspin. “That’s cool, it probably works easiest that way to map out the contact tracing from patient zero.”
“The folks in Los Angeles may be euphoric having the Dodgers bring a World Series championship to town, but pardon their enthusiasm being dampened with the fear of a coronavirus outbreak coming with them,” Bob Knightengale wrote in an article for USA Today that said Turner’s presence on the field for the celebration “marred” the night.
That was the tone of most reactions to Turner returning to the field after the results of his COVID test were revealed.
Albert Burneko of Defector Media took a slight turn in his criticism. He wrote that every message Major League Baseball sent in this strange season, every decision it made indicated that it never had a firm grasp on how seriously to take the coronavirus.
Pat McAfee took an opposite stance from most. On his SiriusXM Radio show, the former NFL punter was surprised anyone expected Turner to follow what he was told in the first place after being allowed to play eight innings before the results of his test came back.
“If any Dodgers die, I know who I’m blaming – that red-haired son of a bitch!’ said McAfee.
McAfee’s argument was that Turner had already been around his teammates all day. They had already high-fives multiple times and thrown a baseball around all night. What difference does coming out to celebrate make at that point?
Freddy Rolón Elevated to SVP of Programming, Scheduling At ESPN
“The position leaves Rolón in charge of the schedule and content strategy for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPNEWS”
ESPN announced a promotion within their programming department this week. The network is elevating Freddy Rolón to senior vice president of programming and scheduling. Rolón previously held the vice president of programming and scheduling role.
The position leaves Rolón in charge of the schedule and content strategy for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, along with his role overseeing ESPN Deportes’ linear and digital business.
“The pause in sports caused by the COVID-19 break brought an unprecedented level of unpredictability due to the ever-changing landscape, thousands of cancelled events, altered or postponed seasons, and more,” said Burke Magnus, President, Programming and Original Content, ESPN. “Throughout that time, one factor remained constant – Freddy’s steady hand. While new to his role in programming and scheduling when the pandemic started, he led with excellence, and his strategic thinking guided us during a very tumultuous period.”
Rolón plays an integral part in ESPN’s appeal to Hispanic fans, working closely with production, audio, and digital areas to maximize the draw of English-language broadcasts.
The executive joined ESPN in 2004 and has spent the better part of this last decade building ESPN Deportes into the entity it is today. Rolón held the position of vice president & general manager at ESPN Deportes from 2016 to 2020. From 2011-2016, he served as vice president of ESPN Deportes programming and business initiatives. That title made Rolón responsible for overseeing all ESPN Deportes programming, from acquisitions and development, all the way to scheduling.
Like plenty of high-ranking ESPN voices before him, Rolón started at ESPN as an intern at the company. Shining in the ESPN International program. Rolón then joined the network as senior manager of marketing for ESPN Deportes upon earning his MBA.
That role led to a stint on the radio side of the network as senior director of marketing and integration of ESPN Radio from 2005 to 2007.
Michelle Beadle ‘In Talks With Several Suitors’ For Comeback
“Beadle has been out of the limelight for over a year now ever since ESPN bought out her $5 million per year contract in 2019.”
Michelle Beadle has been out of the spotlight for some time now, but Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy believes that’s about to change. McCarthy is reporting that Beadle could be back in the sports media saddle very soon.
“The former host of ESPN’s NBA Countdown is in talks with several suitors about possibly returning to sports media in time for the NBA’s 2021-22 season,” McCarthy wrote in his piece on the development.
Michelle Beadle has been away from the cameras ever since ESPN bought out her $5 million per year contract in 2019. During that time, plenty of ESPN ex-pats from Kenny Mayne to Dan Le Batard have found green pastures on the other side of ESPN life.
She rose in popularity alongside another former-ESPN stalwart in Colin Cowherd. The two hosted SportsNation together on ESPN2 starting in 2009, and the show saw instant success. Beadle eventually left for a short-lived show on NBCSN before returning to ESPN in 2014 to host SportsNation again and eventually take the reins of NBA Countdown three years later.
The host guided the NBA Countdown desk for one season before ESPN launched Get Up, with her, Mike Greenberg, and Jalen Rose as the headliners in 2018. The show never seemed to fit her style. Things came to a head with her and the network when she said she refused to watch the NFL or college football. Now Beadle can have her pick of the litter for a new role.
McCarthy expects Michelle Beadle to avoid a third stint with ESPN and instead explore a more independent follow-up act to ESPN a la Bill Simmons with The Ringer and Jemele Hill with her podcast network. Beadle’s representatives did not respond to McCarthy’s comment request.
Turner does not look like a great option in McCarthy’s eyes either, given that Ernie Johnson is their lead NBA host for the foreseeable future. Time will tell where Beadle eventually lands as the NBA season fast approaches.
Candace Parker, Stan Van Gundy Get New Deals With Turner
”We’re thrilled for them to continue to be a part of our dynamic commentator roster”
Turner Sports has announced that they are bringing two analysts back for the 2021-22 NBA season. Both Stan Van Gundy and Candace Parker have signed ”multi-year agreements” with the company.
Tara August, the Senior VP of Talent Services & Special Projects for Turner had plenty of high praise for the two. “Candace and Stan are two of the most highly-regarded analysts in the game of basketball, and we’re thrilled for them to continue to be a part of our dynamic commentator roster.”
Parker will be a studio analyst for the network’s coverage of Tuesday night games. She served in the same role last season alongside Shaquille O’Neal, Dwayne Wade, and host Adam Lefkoe. She won praise from fans and the industry alike for the way she held her ground in debates with Shaq regarding the way the game is played.
Van Gundy will be a game analyst for TNT. He last worked for Turner during the 2019-20 NBA season before deciding to return to the sidelines as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans.
“Candace brings a passionate player perspective to every telecast and marries it with a grace and style that keeps viewers entertained and engaged at every turn.” said August. “We missed Stan’s irreverent coaching voice and are honored to have him back to educate fans on Xs and Os and bring them a bit closer to the game.”
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