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Rob Parker Bringing MLBBro.com Podcast To iHeartRadio

“I’m thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking project – this sound has never been heard before in connection with Major League Baseball.”

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Rob Parker loves Major League Baseball and he is expanding his reach in the sport. His site MLBBro.com is taking another step forward just weeks after announcing a partnership with the league to provide coverage of minority players from the past and present.

He will add a podcast to the brand’s portfolio. The MLBBro Show Podcast – The Mixtape will join the iHeartRadio podcast lineup. While Parker oversees the brand, the show will be led by MLBbro.com’s Vice President of Operations JR Gamble.

Gamble brings more than two decades of experience covering the league to the show. The first episode drops right after Opening Day on March 31.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking project – this sound has never been heard before in connection with Major League Baseball,” said Parker, who has been a Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) member since 1990.

“It’s baseball coverage with hot sauce, loud and proud and in living color. Get on board from day one!”

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Elle Duncan Calls Out Charles Barkley, LeBron James

“It’s not okay, and it’s not Caitlin Clark’s fault.”

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Elle Duncan

The WNBA continues to find itself on a growth trajectory with augmented interest in the league and its players. Indiana Fever guard and first-overall draft selection Caitlin Clark has helped the league attain record audiences for early games. Clark is believed to be one of the catalysts for league growth and has led several commentators to express their opinions on the WNBA. TNT Sports analyst Charles Barkley in particular called out other WNBA athletes to implore them to be thankful for Clark instead of petty towards her. The commentary, however, is something that was addressed by ESPN host Elle Duncan this week during an appearance on The Right Time with Bomani Jones.

Duncan, who covers the WNBA as both a SportsCenter anchor and host of WNBA Countdown, explained to Jones that women in the league have sacrificed throughout their whole careers to allow the next group of players to have better conditions. Clark is among the latter cohort and is widely extolled by her peers and fans. The characterization Barkley insinuated though was something that ostensibly misrepresented those in the league. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James attributed Clark as a reason behind growth in the WNBA during last week’s episode of Mind the Game with JJ Redick.

“That’s all they do is fight for the next generation – to have more visibility; to have these platforms and these stages – and for you to paint them as just some old, jealous women, it’s bullsh**,” Duncan said. “It’s not okay, and it’s not Caitlin Clark’s fault. It’s everyone else that’s othering her – it’s the so-called fans that are making her the other.”

Duncan explained that Clark just wants to play and that she is able to take care of herself. Moreover, she expressed that she is tired of hearing men discuss the game when they cannot grasp and delineate any of the storylines going on in the league. Duncan also mentioned earlier in the conversation that she believes the coverage surrounding Clark on ESPN is apropos and elucidated on the process to determine what merits discussion.

“We don’t make these decisions in a vacuum, guys,” Duncan said. “You can get mad at me all we want because we’re rehashing Cowboys talk. We literally have metrics that show that when you talk about the Cowboys, you watch, and when we talk about something else, you turn, and that’s how these things are guided. So people watch Caitlin Clark, they love Caitlin Clark. It’s true — I think she is getting the appropriate amount of coverage, and it’s deserved”

Within her discourse, Duncan tried to adumbrate the parallels between the WNBA and other professional sports leagues. An agitating part of the issue is in having people who are more unfamiliar with the league delivering commentaries and opinions just to have their voices as part of the conversation. Duncan, along with her colleagues Chiney Ogwumike and Andraya Carter, have all been covering the WNBA for several years and receive plaudits as an informed and entertaining studio program.

“This is not specific to Caitlin Clark,” Duncan said. “You’re just new in this space, and so while you’re new before you put your f***ing feet on my couch, look around. Get the lay of the land; get to know it a little bit before you just jump in and continue to fan flames of divisiveness that frankly target Black and brown women. It’s not okay.”

Jones replied by hypothesizing the chance that women in the league are jealous of Clark, something he perceives not to be a bad thing if that is the case. In fact, he recalled the perceived freezing of Michael Jordan out of the 1985 NBA All-Star Game upon Isiah Thomas telling people not to pass the ball to Jordan. Although he did not personally see broadcasters mention to take it easy on Clark, he believes it to be an insane assumption.

“I think for a lot of people, it’s going to be interesting watching men migrate into this,” Jones said. “I’ve talked about this a few different times in the past. The way that we talk about sports is very specific to the way that we talk about men and reconciling the way that we generally talk about women in public and polite company with how we talk about sports is going to be a very interesting endeavor as we try to bring these things together. And so I think for a lot of dudes, they don’t necessarily know how to talk about women in public doing the things that these women are doing.”

Drawing a parallel to the monologue delivered by America Ferrara in the Barbie movie last summer, Duncan claimed Jones to have provided a fair assessment. There are times where she thinks it is unfair when women always have to appeal to morality and do things under market value because it is good for the game. While Duncan believes that race plays a factor in the popularity of Clark, she also articulated that she is “wildly fricking talented” and benefitting in a time where the platform has never been bigger or commanded more attention.

“It does feel a little bit impossible, and I think that to understand that we are all still competitors, and I think women have to show levels of humility and deference that men never have to show, and so much of that we naturally carry with us because we are beholden to something better,” Duncan said. “Like a white top prospect doesn’t have to worry that if he doesn’t do the job well, no white man will ever get the job again.”

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Mike Ryan: Pat Riley Got Udonis Haslem to Make Things Ugly While on ESPN

“Yeah, two weeks later, Tyler Herro’s listing his house. That’s how that one goes.”

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Throughout the last month, former Miami Heat forward and team captain Udonis Haslem has appeared across ESPN programming and provided his opinion on various topics. Haslem was in studio for Tuesday’s edition of First Take with host Molly Qerim and commentators Shannon Sharpe and Kendrick Perkins where the show discussed the NBA Playoffs, including the Boston Celtics making the NBA Finals for the second time in three years.

Haslem officially retired from the NBA last summer and had his jersey retired by the Miami Heat. He is the host of The OGs Show alongside former Heat teammate Mike Miller and has also been on ESPN since retiring, the latter of which is a surprise to Dan Le Batard. In fact, he asked if anyone in the studio felt similarly about Haslem during Tuesday’s edition of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. The question elicited a collective response of “No” from everyone within the Shipping Container.

Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, however, dissented from that viewpoint and agrees with Le Batard that it is surprising Haslem is at ESPN. Le Batard then explained that he was, in reality, astonished that Haslem was doing things in sports media to begin with.

“I shouldn’t be surprised that he’s good at it,” Le Batard explained, “but I’m surprised that he’s doing any of it, and he said the other day in terms of getting geared up for the take. He’s like, ‘LeBron’s not going anywhere. He’s not leaving Los Angeles under any circumstances.’”

Haslem joined the Heat front office last season as the team’s vice president of basketball development, a conflict of interest that producer Chris Cote made mention of during the show on Tuesday. A few weeks ago while appearing on NBA Today, Haslem expressed that Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro would progress next season; however, he qualified the remark on Herro to do that as a sixth man. Cote conjectured that Heat team president Pat Riley was not happy with Haslem’s remarks, an opinion that producer Mike Ryan countered.

“You believe that?,” Ryan said. “Yeah, no. UD showed up to TV with a mission in mind that day to make it ugly. Yeah, two weeks later, Tyler Herro’s listing his house. That’s how that one goes.”

Ryan later suggested that one might think that Haslem is acting as a rogue agent, leading Cote to question why Riley had to later come out and defend Herro by stating that he is worthy of a starting role in the NBA. Show producer Jeremy Taché then expressed that he had several questions pertaining to who is supposed to be planting stories in certain places.

“Finally, a Heat voice, I guess, in national media on ESPN,” Taché said, “but he’s there to try to tear down a player who’s value the Heat would want higher if they were trying to trade him, so I’m just sort of a little confused about the thread.”

“He got UD to make it ugly,” Ryan replied. “Ordered the code red.”

Weiner entered the discussion by stating that Haslem did not execute his role on First Take correctly. He asserted that Haslem needs to have a take rather than simply saying that LeBron James is going to stay on the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, he encouraged him to make something up on the morning debate show in that circumstance.

After explaining the situation and perception that the Lakers are trying to keep James next season, Le Batard wanted Weiner to come up with a better take that he would present on the show. “‘He’s going anywhere but LA,’” Weiner said. “That’s the take.” Le Batard surmised this to be an uninformed opinion, but Weiner clarified his statement by explaining that it was a guess.

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Dan Le Batard: I Didn’t Give Them ‘Exactly What They Wanted’ in Interview for ‘Up for Debate’ ESPN Docuseries

“I sat down with their team for about 90 minutes, and I don’t know if I was cut out of it.”

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Dan Le Batard

Earlier in the week, ESPN, Religion of Sports and Mr. SAS Productions released a new docuseries titled Up for Debate, which chronicles the history of sports debate programming. The three-part venture outlines innovation and adoption of the format in multiple capacities spanning several decades and includes sit-down interviews with various sports media personalities, including Stephen A. Smith. Dan Le Batard, a former ESPN television and radio host who left the network in December 2020 and subsequently launched Meadowlark Media with former ESPN president John Skipper, shares a dissenting viewpoint on what the format has done for sports television and sat for an interview as well.

During a previous episode of South Beach Sessions, Le Batard expressed to Smith that he had ruined sports television because of the imitators that the content has precipitated. Although Le Batard did not watch the documentary at the time of recording Thursday’s edition of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, he perceived that he may have been left out. Le Batard observed that Smith was discussing the project on First Take and was ultimately skeptical as to whether or not he had been included.

“I’m not totally sure,” Le Batard said. “I sat down with their team for about 90 minutes, and I don’t know if I was cut out of it. I don’t know. I haven’t seen it yet. I remember that the interview wasn’t great between me and them where I wasn’t giving them exactly what they wanted. I did not know exactly what they wanted, but I’m an opposing viewpoint on what debate television has done in general, corrosively, to how it is the athlete is covered and how cruel some of the coverage is.”

Le Batard and Smith have discussed their contrasting perspectives on debate television in previous times, and the beginning of the second episode of the docuseries outlines their thoughts on the matter. Not having seen the presentation at the time though, he was unsure if his interview was ultimately left on the cutting room floor. In the description of the documentary as read in studio, Le Batard’s name was not included on the list of people interviewed, rather being grouped into an ‘Others’ category.

“That part is interesting if I can get the insult of just being ‘Others,’” Le Batard said, “but I want to be able to kick and scream about the fact that my viewpoint was simply cut out of a documentary that I spent 90 minutes interviewing on, but I haven’t seen it and don’t know if I can make the accusation.”

Amin Elhassan was in studio co-hosting the program on Thursday and eventually reacted to Jeremy Taché reading the list of names, ostensibly to determine whether their level of celebrity and/or eminence was larger than that of Le Batard. Before that though, he reminisced on the relationship he deciphers between Le Batard and ESPN, and recognized the outcome of the interview may have been indicative of tension.

“I’ll be honest with you Dan,” Elhassan said. “If I were ESPN and I hated you as much as they hate you, I would make you sit down for 90 minutes and then cut you out.”

“It is perfect torture, right?,” Taché replied. “Sit down for 90 minutes, explain this to us.”

“As soon as you walk out, delete that sh**,” added JuJu Gotti.

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