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David Cone Looks Forward to ESPN ‘Sunday Night Baseball,’ ‘Kay-Rod’ Competition

“Obviously, there is a little bit of competition there when we are going head-to-head… But they are not doing a full schedule… We’ll have plenty of games where it’s the regular Sunday Night booth.”

Ricky Keeler

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Sunday night, April 10, viewers will have the option to watch Red Sox-Yankees via the main telecast on ESPN (with new broadcast team Karl Ravech, David Cone, and Eduardo Perez) or the alternate Kay-Rod broadcast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez on ESPN2.

Cone works with Kay on the YES Network calling Yankees games and they will now be “competing” with each other eight Sundays out of the year.

On the latest episode of The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Cone joined Andrew Marchand and John Ourand and he was asked about the Kay-Rod broadcast and whether or not he views it as competition to the main broadcast.

“Obviously, there is a little bit of competition there when we are going head-to-head,” said Cone. “You just can’t deny that, but they are not doing a full schedule… We’ll have plenty of games where it’s the regular Sunday Night booth. It’s a nice alternative.”

At the same time, Cone is curious to see how that alternate broadcast turns out and he knows that Kay is going to bring the best out of Rodriguez once the microphones turn on.

“I think it’s going to be really interesting to see what Michael can do with Alex,” he said. “I have a feeling Michael is going to bring some things out of A-Rod. That’s Michael Kay’s forte, knowing him very well over the years. I think he is going to loosen up Alex a little bit and get him in a different format. Alex has a lot to offer. I think the right guy bringing it out of him is the key.”

Throughout the interview, Cone talked about other job opportunities that he could have taken in the past, such as almost working at SNY when the network was starting.

Most recently, Cone interviewed for the Yankees pitching coach position in 2019. While the veteran pitcher has been one of the broadcasters helping viewers with how he explains analytics and sabermetrics in baseball, he knew he would need some work to catch up with what the Yankees are doing now.

“I’m not sure how close I came, but it was a serious interview, so I was thankful for that,” said Cone. “They really put me through the car wash, as they say. It was the entire organization and every department that I went through. It was very thorough. I would have taken the job had it been offered, but I think I had sat out a little too long. From a technological standpoint, I needed some more continuing education.”

“Even though I cover that in broadcasting now in terms of analytics, sabermetrics, or what not,” he added. “If you’ve heard my broadcasts, you know I have a growth mentality towards those things. But I would have had to play a lot of catch-up in order to get up to speed and that was just a little daunting for the Yankees to take that chance at that point.”

While Cone isn’t a pitching coach now, the audience that watches Yankees games enjoys the analysis he brings to the table. Starting next week, a national ESPN audience will get its chance to hear what people in the tri-state area get to listen to often. 

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Chris Fallica Leaving ESPN for FOX

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Jordan Bondurant

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A prominent sports betting voice featured on ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to rival FOX and their Big Noon Kickoff show starting in 2023. According to Awful Announcing, Chris Fallica, affectionately known as “The Bear”, will make his last appearance on GameDay will be this weekend.

Fallica has been with ESPN since 1995. Since 2013, Fallica had been featured on GameDay making betting picks with his patented “Bear’s Board”.

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Fallica joins Tom Rinaldi as the second former GameDay voice to jump over to FOX and be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.

Both shows have experienced incredible viewership growth this season. For GameDay, there have been several weeks this season that have seen some of the largest audiences in the show’s history.

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Tim Brando Believes Executives Look For Familiarity, Not Great Voices For Announcers

“Executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio. As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Tim Brando has seen the broadcasting industry has evolved in a lot of ways through the years, but one thing that’s remained constant is how infrequently some of the announcing gigs with major networks open up to younger voices.

That’s mainly because you have veteran talent already occupying those positions with no plans for the immediate future to step aside.

On a recent edition of The Sports Talkers Podcast, FOX Sports broadcaster and host Tim Brando spoke to Stephen Strom about the reality that many broadcasters face.

“Yeah there are a lot more jobs, but there are fewer great jobs,” Brando said. “A lot of guys are getting jobs, but it’s like a dead end.”

But in terms of hiring younger talent for network jobs, he thinks it’s become more about adding faces to broadcast booths rather than voices.

“There’s a tendency I think now in our business to hire more visible and perhaps more popular talent because they’ve been in the studio,” he said. “But they’re not ready to be in the booth. Not everybody can do both well.”

Tim added that there’s a nuance to calling play-by-play versus working studio coverage. Brando said that perhaps it has a lot more to do with young broadcasters bypassing getting their start in radio and going right into TV.

“It seems to me that in some circles anyway in our business, executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio,” he said. “As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Brando did mention some of the younger voices at FOX who have risen to the bigger opportunities in the booth, and how they ultimately worked their way up. He said he’s had the chance to offer advice to a few of them and act as a mentor in a way, because that’s how it was for him breaking into the industry.

“I believe in pouring into the young broadcasters out there, I really do,” he said. “Because Curt Gowdy poured into me. I think there’s a responsibility and a level of accountability for the generation before to help those that are coming up that you really respect.”

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Sports TV News

MLB Network Airing 38 Hours of Winter Meetings Coverage

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Jordan Bondurant

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The annual winter meetings for MLB are set to take place in-person for the first time since 2019 next week, and MLB Network is ready to bring viewers all the coverage possible from San Diego.

The network is devoting 38 hours of live programming on-site, with shows like MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, High Heat, MLB Now and Intentional Talk emanating from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fans tuning in to MLB Network can expect to see Greg Amsinger, Fran Charles, Brian Kenny, Stephen Nelson, Alanna Rizzo, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Lauren Shehadi and Matt Vasgersian hosting their respective shows throughout the week. Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Al Leiter, Cameron Maybin, Kevin Millar, Dan O’Dowd, Steve Phillips and Harold Reynolds will contribute coverage as analysts.

MLB Network will also carry coverage of the inaugural draft lottery from the winter meetings on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m.

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