Major League Baseball is not above using its media properties to get its way during these labor negotiations. According to a report from The Athletic, MLB.com and MLB Network have wiped virtually all evidence of any current players from their platforms.
According to the story, MLB.com reporters have been instructed not to write stories about current players. They have also been told not to mention any of them by name on social media.
“MLB.com reporters initially were instructed to maintain a low profile on social media during the lockout, according to sources, but hours before the CBA expiration that directive changed: Writers are to avoid posting about baseball on social media until further notice. (That restriction was eased the following day, yet reporters were asked not to mention 40-man players or comment on the labor situation.)”
Awful Announcing highlights the current look of MLB.com. Joe Lucia describes it as “Hall of Fame and evergreen-centric, with a pair of links to information about the CBA stuck in between news and charity sections.”
The bigger change may be at MLB Network. The network has essentially ceased all live programming. Shows like Hot Stove, High Heat, and MLB Tonight have been replaced by game replays and movies.
“MLB.com reporters and MLB Network on-air personalities may cover breaking news and CBA negotiations, according to the league, but will not create content featured around current players until a new CBA has been agreed to,” The Athletic’s story reads. “That means very rare mentions of players on the league’s website or network due to a Catch-22: MLB Network and MLB.com can still mention players where breaking news warrants it, but because there will be no transactions and little news for the considerable future there will be few occasions to discuss them by name.”
Major League Baseball and its players association have never had a rosy relationship. It looks like the league’s media arm has been dragged right into the middle of the latest fight and is being used as part of the skirmish.
Erin Andrews, Charissa Thompson Admit They’ve Made Up Sideline Reports
“Former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler was the featured guest on the show, and at one point he was asked about questions reporters asked that annoyed him the most.”
Being a sideline reporter or just reporting in general, particularly with poor-performing teams, can be a challenge.
Often, no matter how a reporter forms the question, a coach or player isn’t going to give the full in-depth answer the reporter was hoping for. But when the interviewee doesn’t give the answer a reporter wants to hear, that puts the reporter in a difficult situation. On the most recent edition of the podcast Calm Down with Erin and Charissa, sideline reporters Erin Andrews and Charissa Thompson admitted they’ve had to make up reports based on the answers, or non-answers, they were given.
Former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler was the featured guest on the show, and at one point he was asked about questions reporters asked that annoyed him the most. He answered that often it was a question along the lines of “What happened” or “Why did you throw a pass there” on a particular play.
“Sometimes the receiver just fell down, but you can’t be like, ‘Hey, the receiver fell down,’” he said. “You can’t be like, ‘You know what, the O.C. called an awful play, and I just ran it.’…You can’t say those things.”
As the conversation continued, and Cutler talked about having his own conversations with coaches breaking down what happened on the field, that’s when Thompson made the admission.
At the time, she was a newer reporter and covered the Detroit Lions during the 2008 season, when the Lions went 0-16. When things were going tough, then-head coach Rod Marinelli would tell her things like, “That’s a great perfume you’re wearing,” when Thompson would ask about making adjustments at halftime.
“I was like ‘oh f**k, this isn’t gonna work,” she said. “I’m like, alright I’ve got to make up a report. I’m not kidding, I made up a report.”
Andrews added that she, too, had to do the same thing because “he was telling me all the wrong stuff.”
“You’re not going to say anything that’s going to put them in a bad spot,” Thompson said.
Mike Tirico To Return From Beijing To Host Super Bowl
“The plan is to have Tirico on location in Beijing for the first seven days of the Olympics. He’ll then fly to Los Angeles in time to host the network’s primetime coverage on Friday, February 11.”
NBC Sports host Mike Tirico is going to log a metric ton of frequent flier miles at the beginning of February, as the network gears up to present two of the world’s biggest sporting events all within a span of a couple weeks.
The 2022 Winter Olympics are set to open on February 4. Given the time difference between the East Coast here in the U.S. and China’s capital city, American audiences will be seeing things unfold beginning February 3.
The plan is to have Tirico on location in Beijing for the first seven days of the Olympics. He’ll then fly to Los Angeles in time to host the network’s primetime coverage on Friday, February 11. Mike Tirico will be presenting from a special set located outside SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, where Super Bowl LVI will take place on Sunday, February 13.
He’ll host Olympic coverage on Saturday night and then host NBC’s five-hour Super Bowl pre-game coverage the next day. But he won’t be done when pre-game coverage is done, as he’ll then go back to the Olympic set to host the primetime show.
“It is a career highlight to host the biggest sports broadcast day any media company has ever undertaken,” Mike Tirico said in a statement. “The foundation of our Olympic and NFL productions are the incredible people behind the camera. It is their planning and excellence that make this possible.”
“Mike’s knowledge, preparation and ability to converse on anything from figure skating to football are second-to-none,” added NBC Olympics Production president and executive producer Molly Solomon. “We are counting down until it all begins next month.”
Thankfully, it doesn’t appear that Tirico will have to make a return flight to China for the final days of the Olympics. But the man will undoubtedly deserve a long break from TV hosting duties when all is said and done.
Joel Klatt: I ‘Should’ve Pushed Back’ On Kayvon Thibodeaux
“Klatt didn’t go into detail about why he chose to apologize the following day, but on Thursday he took to Twitter to acknowledge that he shouldn’t have let Thibodeaux’s comments about the University of Alabama go unchallenged.”
Kayvon Thibodeaux will be one of the first three players off the board when the NFL Draft rolls around. In an interview with FOX’s Joel Klatt, Thibodeaux explained that it was thinking about life after football that lead him to choose the University of Oregon over the University of Alabama. He told Klatt that Oregon’s association with Nike made him feel like it was the smarter long-term choice.
Explaining his choice in that way is barely noteworthy, particularly in the age of Name, Image and Likeness deals for college athletes. It was Kayvon Thibodeaux’s further explaining why he did not want to go to the University of Alabama that drew the ire of some fans.
“For me, I already hate the stigmatism of football players being dumb jocks. Now, do you know the stigmatism of Alabama education? It ain’t the West Coast. It ain’t Harvard,” Thibodeaux said.
He would go on to say that he didn’t “know if my degree would mean anything” if he had chosen to play his college football in Tuscaloosa.
Klatt didn’t push back at all. In fact, he said that Kayvon Thibodeaux had “a great perspective” on his college decision.
That opened the floodgates of criticism for the FOX Sports college football analyst. Klatt didn’t go into detail about why he chose to apologize the following day, but on Thursday he took to Twitter to acknowledge that he shouldn’t have let Thibodeaux’s comments about the University of Alabama go unchallenged.
This seems like a non-issue at this point. Kayvon Thibodeaux is leaving college for the NFL, so aside from maybe hearing it from teammates that spent their college years in Alabama, he never has to worry about crossing paths with the school. Joel Klatt works for FOX, which does not have a rights deal with the SEC.
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