Stephen A. Smith would really like to see Derek Jeter return to the New York Yankees. Let him be clear: He’d really like to see the Yankees’ Hall of Fame shortstop, No. 2, back with the team. (That may not be the company line if ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro wants to hire Jeter.)
And not just “in some capacity,” like a special advisor, assistant to the general manager, or assistant to the assistant to the general manager. Jeter was the CEO and a shareholder with the Miami Marlins before stepping down on Monday, and Stephen A. believes that he should have a similar position at Yankee Stadium.
If the position doesn’t exist in the Yankees organization, create one. Move Brian Cashman up to president of baseball operations and make Jeter the GM. Or vice versa. Jeter can be president of baseball ops while Cashman remains GM. The Yankees have 13 senior vice presidents. Make it 14 with Jeter. Nine vice presidents? Make it an even 10 with The Captain.
The point, as Stephen A. sees it, is that Jeter should have a position that matters, a position of authority, with the team for which he became a legend. And when ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan was a guest on Tuesday’s First Take and wasn’t embracing that assertion as enthusiastically, Stephen A. couldn’t handle it.
“Jeff… ! Jeff Passan! I have to say, I don’t like the way you sound right now,” said Smith as he tried to maintain his composure. “‘Derek Jeter has to be involved in some capacity’… What do you mean, ‘some capacity’? We know where he belongs!”
“He is a Yankee!” Smith yelled, as he slapped the desk and Passan grew increasingly amused at the comedic outrage. “El Capitan! The champion extraordinaire! The leader! He is… he is Derek Jeter! What is this?”
Smith’s use of the “El Capitan” nickname sent Passan into a belly laugh not often seen on TV while personalities are trying to keep their cool. He leaned back in his chair laughing and clapped, providing a viewers that should be material for GIFs and memes for days, weeks, and months to come. (Even Stephen A. was laughing at himself, possibly in response to Passan leaning back.)
It was a hilarious moment that we screen-capped it for the featured image on this post. You can see it at the 0:16 mark of the video embedded above. This was Stephen A. going meta, making fun of his own rants for a subject that surely didn’t warrant the indignation.
Then, for punctuation, Passan simply responded, “I don’t tell a man where to work.” Mic drop.
It was the ideal follow-up to Passan’s tweet late Monday night/early Tuesday morning as the negotiations between Major League Baseball team owners and the players union wrapped up, hopefully closer to an agreement that means the 2022 season will happen.
Passan had been quiet on Twitter while colleagues Jon Heyman and Bob Nightengale were providing play-by-play on what could have been performative behavior by the owners and MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem.
The MLB lockout has been tiresome. But Passan has provided some levity, some entertainment to a situation that’s been anything but entertaining. He deserves some applause. And maybe he’ll get to tweet some good news in the next day or two.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at email@example.com.
ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years
“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”
The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. While the game’s controversial finish left LeBron James and Patrick Beverly upset, executives at the Walt Disney Company had nothing but smiles thanks to the performance of ABC.
The game drew 3.7 million viewers. That means the Celtics’ win is the most-watched game in the ABC Saturday night prime-time window in the last four years. A February 2019 game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors drew 4.1 million.
Boston also delivered the highest-rated game of the NBA season so far outside of the league’s stacked Christmas Day slate.
NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC is experiencing a nice uptick in viewership this season. Through the weekend, the Saturday night games are averaging over 3.4 million viewers according to an ESPN press release.
That number represents a 16% jump from last season. The edition of NBA Countdown that airs before the Saturday night game is having a good season as well. It’s average audience is up 3% to just under 1.5 million.
NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.
Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.
ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.
The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.
At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.
AFC Championship Game Delivers New Viewership High For CBS
53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI.
The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals drew a massive audience for CBS.
53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs’ controversial victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI. Additionally, the event is the most-watched NFL Conference Championship Game since 2017.
CBS claims the game peaked with 59.3 million viewers and was also the most-streamed live sporting event in the history of Paramount+.
With an audience of 53.1 million, CBS concludes its NFL playoff coverage averaging 40.798 million viewers for each game. That leads all networks thus far. The 2022 NFL season was the most-watched regular season on CBS in the past seven seasons.