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Jimmy Traina: CBS, ESPN Have To Let Dick Vitale Call Tournament Games

“Vitale has never called an NCAA Tournament game—for an American audience—and Traina would love to see it happen.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN Images

ESPN’s Dick Vitale returned to calling college basketball games on Tuesday night in No. 1 Gonzaga’s blowout victory over No. 2 UCLA. Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina floated a great idea that ESPN and CBS/Turner could work together on.

Vitale has never called an NCAA Tournament game—for an American audience—and Traina would love to see it happen.

“Dick Vitale has been calling college basketball game for ESPN for 41 years. Forty. One,” Traina explained in his Traina Thoughts column. “Yet, he has never called an NCAA Tournament game* simply because ESPN has never had the rights to the NCAA Tournament.

“I added the asterisk because Vitale has called NCAA Tournament games for ESPN’s international feed. However, that is not the same thing as calling the games for CBS and the U.S. audience.”

Traina highlighted prior instances where all of the sides worked together to make a special moment happen.

“Like his style or not,” Traina wrote. “There has not been a bigger ambassador for college basketball than Vitale. No one has had more passion and enthusiasm for the sport. He should’ve been thrown a bone a long time ago, and ESPN should’ve worked out some kind of deal with CBS/Turner to allow Vitale to call a tournament game. There is precedence for an arrangement. ESPN’s Jay Bilas was able to call tournament games for CBS/Turner for several years. And ESPN had TNT’s Craig Sager work the sidelines for an NBA Finals game for the first and only time in his career in 2016.”

The idea doesn’t seem like it would take moving mountains to pull off. If anything, it could be a selling point for CBS/Turner to promote the tournament even more. ESPN would likely want something in return for Vitale’s services. Time will tell whether Vitale ever gets to call the NCAA Tournament for an American audience.

Sports TV News

ESPN Assigns Broadcast Teams for MLB Wild Card Round

In preparation for the postseason, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

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David Berding/Getty Images

There are just a few games left in the MLB season and the postseason begins this weekend with the Wild Card round. In preparation, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

Andrew Marchand reports that the team assigned to the presumptive New York Mets Wild Card series will be Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez. The Mets still mathematically can win the NL East but they trail the Braves by two games with three to play.

He also reports that the St. Louis Wild Card series will be called by Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. The Cleveland series will be broadcast by Boog Sciambi and Doug Glanville while the Toronto series will be called by Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza and Tim Kurkjian.

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Sports TV News

Stugotz: ‘Sean McDonough Hates The Aaron Judge Cut-Ins’

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

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College football fans are not being shy with how they feel about Aaron Judge. Whether it is private conversations or social media posts, people are making their disdain for the cut-ins to college football games on ESPN networks when the Yankee slugger comes to bat known. On Monday morning, Stugotz added that it isn’t just fans that are unhappy.

The Dan Le Batard Show discussed the second straight week of cut-ins on Monday morning. Stugotz pointed out that one of ESPN’s primary college football voices sounds just as annoyed as fans are.

“Sean McDonough hates the toss to Aaron Judge,” he said. Hates it!”

Last week, ESPN and ABC cut into games when Judge was sitting on 60 home runs. This week, he was sitting on 61. A 62nd home run would be the most in American League history.

Stugotz added that has to be part of McDonough’s frustration.

“In his defense, what are we cutting in for? I have no idea if [Aaron Judge] is breaking a record, what record he’s breaking, if he’s clean. I have no idea!”

Producer Mike Ryan Ruiz said the fact that Judge is yet to deliver is making the cut-ins more frustrating for fans.

“I think what hurts the whole thing is that Aaron Judge has been terrible during these cut-ins,” Ruiz said. “He’s been God awful during these cut-ins. I haven’t seen a single home runs during one of these cut-ins. There was genuine fury at a watch party I was at. Fury! At Aaron Judge.”

A popular criticism of ESPN has been that this kind of attention would not be paid to Aaron Judge if he was chasing a mark that wasn’t the home run record if he played anywhere other than New York. According to Ryan, the mistake is bigger than that. Why would regular season baseball ever interrupt college football?

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

There are four games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. You can bet college football fans will make plenty of signs for College GameDay if Judge cannot hit number 62 before the playoffs start.

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Sports TV News

Terry Bradshaw Is Cancer Free

Bradshaw’s candor comes after struggling through a sentence during the September 25th edition of the show, in which Howie Long helped finish his sentence.

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During FOX NFL Sunday, Terry Bradshaw revealed he was diagnosed with two different forms of cancer in the last year.

However, after surgeries and treatments, Bradshaw said he is now cancer free.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer said he was diagnosed with bladder cancer in November of last year and surgery and treatments removed the cancer. Then, in March of this year, a tumor was found on the left-side of his neck. Bradshaw called it a “Merkel cell tumor”, which he had removed.

Bradshaw’s candor comes after struggling through a sentence during the September 25th edition of the show, in which Howie Long helped finish his sentence.

The 74-year-old has worked on FOX NFL Sunday since its inception in 1994. He will be inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame later this year.

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