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Dick Vitale Emotional In Return To TV

“I never dreamt at 82 that I’d ever be courtside again.”

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The legendary Dick Vitale made his return to the broadcast booth Tuesday night for the first time since he was diagnosed with lymphoma. It was certainly an emotional scene.

Vitale and his broadcast partner Dave O’Brian were getting ready to call the highly anticipated matchup between #1 Gonzaga and #2 UCLA in Las Vegas. Vitale was very emotional during O’Brian’s intro and had a hard timing keeping himself together.

“Dickie, it is so great to see you,” said O’Brien. “I know that you would not miss this. All of you are aware that Dick is battling cancer. The fact that you’ve made it out to Las Vegas for a game that I know you had circled for a long, long time. It’s just awesome. Great to see you.”

“It’s great being here, Dave,” Dick Vitale said fighting back tears. “I didn’t wanna cry! I can’t believe I’m sitting here. It’s just really a big thrill for me. I wanna to thank all you people, sending me so many great messages.

“ESPN, [ESPN President] Jimmy Pitaro, all of my buddies at ESPN. I wanna thank, certainly, my family and all the fans. My, you’ve been unbelievable. On October 12th – I’ll be honest with you – when they walked in and told me I had cancer, they thought it was bile duct cancer and it really was going to be a serious surgery and all.

“I never dreamt at 82 that I’d ever be courtside again. But to be here today, I’m sorry. I hope I don’t cause a problem out there, but I mean, it’s a little emotional.”

“Don’t apologize for anything,” said O’Brien. “Well, and the game is the big thing,” said Vitale. “Let’s get this game going, talk some basketball.”

In the end, Gonzaga pulled away from UCLA, burying the Bruins 83-63. The outcome of the game wasn’t really the headline. Far more people took to Twitter to express their joy in seeing Dick Vitale back on TV.

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ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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ESPN Assigns Broadcast Teams for MLB Wild Card Round

In preparation for the postseason, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

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There are just a few games left in the MLB season and the postseason begins this weekend with the Wild Card round. In preparation, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

Andrew Marchand reports that the team assigned to the presumptive New York Mets Wild Card series will be Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez. The Mets still mathematically can win the NL East but they trail the Braves by two games with three to play.

He also reports that the St. Louis Wild Card series will be called by Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. The Cleveland series will be broadcast by Boog Sciambi and Doug Glanville while the Toronto series will be called by Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza and Tim Kurkjian.

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Stugotz: ‘Sean McDonough Hates The Aaron Judge Cut-Ins’

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

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College football fans are not being shy with how they feel about Aaron Judge. Whether it is private conversations or social media posts, people are making their disdain for the cut-ins to college football games on ESPN networks when the Yankee slugger comes to bat known. On Monday morning, Stugotz added that it isn’t just fans that are unhappy.

The Dan Le Batard Show discussed the second straight week of cut-ins on Monday morning. Stugotz pointed out that one of ESPN’s primary college football voices sounds just as annoyed as fans are.

“Sean McDonough hates the toss to Aaron Judge,” he said. Hates it!”

Last week, ESPN and ABC cut into games when Judge was sitting on 60 home runs. This week, he was sitting on 61. A 62nd home run would be the most in American League history.

Stugotz added that has to be part of McDonough’s frustration.

“In his defense, what are we cutting in for? I have no idea if [Aaron Judge] is breaking a record, what record he’s breaking, if he’s clean. I have no idea!”

Producer Mike Ryan Ruiz said the fact that Judge is yet to deliver is making the cut-ins more frustrating for fans.

“I think what hurts the whole thing is that Aaron Judge has been terrible during these cut-ins,” Ruiz said. “He’s been God awful during these cut-ins. I haven’t seen a single home runs during one of these cut-ins. There was genuine fury at a watch party I was at. Fury! At Aaron Judge.”

A popular criticism of ESPN has been that this kind of attention would not be paid to Aaron Judge if he was chasing a mark that wasn’t the home run record if he played anywhere other than New York. According to Ryan, the mistake is bigger than that. Why would regular season baseball ever interrupt college football?

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

There are four games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. You can bet college football fans will make plenty of signs for College GameDay if Judge cannot hit number 62 before the playoffs start.

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