MLB was caught off guard by the polarizing reaction to news that it was pursuing a deal with Barstool Sports for its midweek game television package. That is because despite Dave Portnoy’s boasting that a major pro league wanted to be in business with Barstool and Andrew Marchand describing the talks as “significant,” Major League Baseball says all the league office did was take a single phone call.
JohnWallStreet reports that a source familiar with the negotiations believes Barstool fed the story to Marchand saying “Barstool called MLB because they knew these rights are on the block. MLB fielded the call. But it hasn’t gone further than that and likely won’t. In fact, MLB was surprised to read the Post article because the conversations are barely existent.”
Barstool reaching out to MLB is hardly absurd. It probably isn’t even the most outside-the-box option the league was presented with for its midweek TV package. It also isn’t crazy to think that Barstool would feed a story to a reporter in an attempt to create some momentum for the deal. Companies across a variety of industries do it all the time.
“For a company that courts publicity—good or bad—there is seemingly little downside to letting discussions with MLB be known,” JohnWallStreet writes. “The affiliation helps to legitimize the Barstool Sports brand outside of their target demo and may make the company look to be more credible the next time they are pursuing a rights package.”
The Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl may help even more. If the company’s unique presentation for an otherwise irrelevant bowl game moves the needle in a significant way, you can bet other leagues and conferences will be more apt to take Barstool seriously next time it inquires about media rights.
Neither Major League Baseball nor Barstool Sports commented for the story.
Dan Le Batard: ‘I’m Not Arguing Politics of Brittney Griner Release’
“I can’t swim in these waters. I don’t know what it takes to get a prisoner released. I can just be happy that Brittney Griner is coming home and is no longer being used as that political tool wrongly detained.”
The biggest news in the sports and current events worlds on Thursday was the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner from a penal colony in Russia. Her freedom comes as the result of a prisoner exchange between Russia and the United States.
Several media pundits began debating the logic of the decision immediately after President Joe Biden announced at a press conference that Griner was coming home and in exchange, Viktor Bout, a terrorist nicknamed “The Merchant of Death,” would be returning to Russia. Dan Le Batard isn’t going to participate in those conversations.
“I’m not interested in arguing the politics of this, whether it was a fair trade or if Biden did the right thing soon enough,” said on his show Thursday.
He added that while members of the media are pointing fingers and making accusations about why Brittney Griner is coming home and a former servicemember is not, the family of former Marine Paul Whelan is happy to see Griner released. The family released a statement Thursday morning saying that while they are disappointed that Whelan remains detained in Russia, they “do not begrudge” Griner or her wife.
“The Whelan family, that has more invested there than any of us, is saying ‘we are happy any time a wrongfully detained person can get to freedom,’” Le Batard said.
He added that he is also disappointed that Whelan remains a prisoner in Russia, but there was no perfect scenario that would result in everyone’s release and the United States not having to give something up.
“Hostage crises are tough. Getting people home [is] tough. I can’t swim in these waters. I don’t know what it takes to get a prisoner released. I can just be happy that Brittney Griner is coming home and is no longer being used as that political tool wrongly detained.”
Audacy Adds ‘Gimme The Hot Sauce’ Podcast To Portfolio
“We have great guests and add a lot of humor to our analysis which is what makes it so much fun.”
Audacy has added Stacey King’s Gimme the Hot Sauce podcast to its expanding 2400Sports portfolio.
King won three championships with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, before becoming an analyst for the team. He also is known as the “hot sauce king of Chicago” and his podcast will share stories, humor, and his insight about sports and movies among other topics. Previous guests have included Dominique Wilkins, Jim McMahon and other sports stars, as well as comedians and actors.
“I’m pleased to announce a partnership with Audacy and 2400Sports to grow the show and bring many more listeners to our insightful and entertaining podcast,” said King. “We have great guests and add a lot of humor to our analysis which is what makes it so much fun. Audacy will be a great partner in reaching many more fans, especially as Chicago builds the Bulls, Bears, Cubs, Blackhawks and Sox into champions!”
Audacy-owned 670 The Score will help support the podcast with on-air promotions voiced by King.
“We’re delighted to add Stacey King’s wildly entertaining podcast to 2400Sports’ growing network of NBA content,” said Audacy’s 2400Sports Vice President and Executive Producer Lena Moss Glaser. “This show is a must-listen for Bulls fans and Chicagoans everywhere, and we’re looking forward to delivering it to our listeners each week.”
Pat McAfee: I Don’t Have 45 Minutes To Read ESPN’s Andrew Luck Story
“I am happy I have smart people that are going to do it.”
Details about the reasons former Colts quarterback Andrew Luck decided to retire in 2019 are laid out in an ESPN+ article by Seth Wickersham that went live online on Tuesday.
It will take you a little while to get through the full piece, which is broken into 16 sections, but Luck’s former teammate Pat McAfee knows he isn’t going to make it through the whole thing.
Talking to another one of his former Colts teammates, Darius Butler, on Wednesday, McAfee said he didn’t have the time or the attention span to sit down and read the piece in its entirety.
“It was like a 45-minute read or something like that. A lot of words,” McAfee said. “I mean there’s a lot of gymnastics that you had to do. Super smart people talking to each other in Seth Wickersham and Andrew Luck, very smart people.”
He asked Butler if he too had read it, and Darius admitted he hadn’t yet. McAfee said he hopes Butler will so he can get his reaction.
“I will be excited to pick your brain about what you took in, because for me, it took (show contributor Ty Schmidt) – that guy got into Harvard – took him 35 minutes to read it. And when I asked Ty is that what it’s all like, he’s like ‘It’s all convoluted and this is his writing style.'”
Pat added that the way in which the profile is written based on what Ty and others in the Pat McAfee Show office told him is that it’s designed for more experienced readers. McAfee said Wickersham’s style just isn’t suitable for his reading ability.
“I don’t think I’m a good enough reader for the guy,” McAfee said. “I am happy I have smart people that are going to do it.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.