Major League Baseball is not above using its media properties to get its way during these labor negotiations. According to a report from The Athletic, MLB.com and MLB Network have wiped virtually all evidence of any current players from their platforms.
According to the story, MLB.com reporters have been instructed not to write stories about current players. They have also been told not to mention any of them by name on social media.
“MLB.com reporters initially were instructed to maintain a low profile on social media during the lockout, according to sources, but hours before the CBA expiration that directive changed: Writers are to avoid posting about baseball on social media until further notice. (That restriction was eased the following day, yet reporters were asked not to mention 40-man players or comment on the labor situation.)”
Awful Announcing highlights the current look of MLB.com. Joe Lucia describes it as “Hall of Fame and evergreen-centric, with a pair of links to information about the CBA stuck in between news and charity sections.”
The bigger change may be at MLB Network. The network has essentially ceased all live programming. Shows like Hot Stove, High Heat, and MLB Tonight have been replaced by game replays and movies.
“MLB.com reporters and MLB Network on-air personalities may cover breaking news and CBA negotiations, according to the league, but will not create content featured around current players until a new CBA has been agreed to,” The Athletic’s story reads. “That means very rare mentions of players on the league’s website or network due to a Catch-22: MLB Network and MLB.com can still mention players where breaking news warrants it, but because there will be no transactions and little news for the considerable future there will be few occasions to discuss them by name.”
Major League Baseball and its players association have never had a rosy relationship. It looks like the league’s media arm has been dragged right into the middle of the latest fight and is being used as part of the skirmish.
Stephen Watson Announced as New Host On Bally Sports Wisconsin
Bally Sports Wisconsin, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks, has announced a new host for their respective pre and postgame shows. Brewers Live and Bucks Live now have Stephen Watson as a host.
Bally Sports Wisconsin, the television home of the Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks, has announced a new host of it’s pre and postgame offerings. Stephen Watson was announced as a new host for Brewers Live and Bucks Live.
Watson comes to Bally Sports Wisconsin from WISN-TV (Channel 12). There he had spent the last seven years as a sports anchor/reporter/host and covered all of Wisconsin’s major teams. In those seven years, Watson won three Emmy Awards.
“This is a dream opportunity to continue to cover two of the most successful franchises in sports right now while working alongside some of the most talented people in this industry,” Watson said. “Wisconsin sports fans are among the most passionate and dedicated in the country, and I look forward to matching their enthusiasm in my Brewers and Bucks coverage as a host and storyteller.”
Watson will share duties of hosting Brewers Live with Craig Coshun airing before and after each Brewers telecast. He will have similar responsibilities when hosting Bucks Live.
“We’re thrilled to add Stephen to our Bally Sports Wisconsin team. He is a proven content creator; his local knowledge and relationships will greatly benefit our telecasts,” said Tony Tortorici, executive producer, Bally Sports Wisconsin.
Watson is also a collegiate graduate of the area, graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 2011.
NBA Draft Ratings Rise 32% For ESPN and ABC
“The event peaked at 8:15pm ET when four and a half million viewers tuned in.”
The 2022 NBA Draft may have lacked the high profile prospect that prior drafts have had, but the intrigue surrounding the top three picks led to strong audience interest.
With all eyes on the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston Rockets viewership for the draft rose 32% year over year for ESPN. The first round on ABC and ESPN averaged close to four million viewers (3,988,000).
Paolo Banchero wound up going #1 to the Magic, Chet Holmgren to #2 to the Thunder, and Jabari Smith Jr. #3 to the Rockets. The full two rounds of the draft averaged just over three million viewers (3,047,000). Round 2 aired exclusively on ESPN.
The first round on ESPN and ABC was the most-watched program for June 23rd across all of television in all key demos. The event peaked at 8:15pm ET when four and a half million viewers (4,500,000) tuned in.
Shannon Sharpe Apologizes to Richard Jefferson for Calling Him Lazy
FS1’s Shannon Sharpe took to social media to clear the air between him and ESPN’s Richard Jefferson over some comments Sharpe made about the former NBA champion.
Sharpe said Jefferson was lazy for only wanting to talk about basketball. Jefferson is an NBA analyst for ESPN and doesn’t normally appear on debate shows or provide analysis on other sports.
“There is not a person in this industry since I have retired that would ever refer to my work ethic as being lazy,” Jefferson said in a response video on his TikTok. “So as long as you live don’t ever do that again or this conversation is gonna be much different.”
Sharpe saw the video and apologized saying his assessment of Jefferson was lazy.
“I want to apologize, I come to you as a man, Rich, and apologize to you for my take on what you said,” he said.
Much like Jefferson did, Sharpe then went on to break down the differences between hosts on debate shows who have to watch and study various different sports and analysts like Jefferson who only specialize in analyzing one sport.
But ultimately Sharpe wanted to bury the hatchet and make it clear to the internet that there’s no problems between the two.
“Richard and I do not have a beef,” Sharpe said. “There is nothing going on, and this is my last time addressing this issue.”
Jefferson tweeted on Saturday accepting Shannon’s apology.