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Stephen A. Smith Sends Jeff Passan Into Hysterics With Derek Jeter Outburst

“He is a Yankee! El Capitan! The champion extraordinaire! The leader! He is… he is Derek Jeter! What is this?”

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Stephen A. Smith would really like to see Derek Jeter return to the New York Yankees. Let him be clear: He’d really like to see the Yankees’ Hall of Fame shortstop, No. 2, back with the team. (That may not be the company line if ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro wants to hire Jeter.)

And not just “in some capacity,” like a special advisor, assistant to the general manager, or assistant to the assistant to the general manager. Jeter was the CEO and a shareholder with the Miami Marlins before stepping down on Monday, and Stephen A. believes that he should have a similar position at Yankee Stadium.

If the position doesn’t exist in the Yankees organization, create one. Move Brian Cashman up to president of baseball operations and make Jeter the GM. Or vice versa. Jeter can be president of baseball ops while Cashman remains GM. The Yankees have 13 senior vice presidents. Make it 14 with Jeter. Nine vice presidents? Make it an even 10 with The Captain.

The point, as Stephen A. sees it, is that Jeter should have a position that matters, a position of authority, with the team for which he became a legend. And when ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan was a guest on Tuesday’s First Take and wasn’t embracing that assertion as enthusiastically, Stephen A. couldn’t handle it.

“Jeff… ! Jeff Passan! I have to say, I don’t like the way you sound right now,” said Smith as he tried to maintain his composure. “‘Derek Jeter has to be involved in some capacity’… What do you mean, ‘some capacity’? We know where he belongs!”

“He is a Yankee!” Smith yelled, as he slapped the desk and Passan grew increasingly amused at the comedic outrage. “El Capitan! The champion extraordinaire! The leader! He is… he is Derek Jeter! What is this?”

Smith’s use of the “El Capitan” nickname sent Passan into a belly laugh not often seen on TV while personalities are trying to keep their cool. He leaned back in his chair laughing and clapped, providing a viewers that should be material for GIFs and memes for days, weeks, and months to come. (Even Stephen A. was laughing at himself, possibly in response to Passan leaning back.)

It was a hilarious moment that we screen-capped it for the featured image on this post. You can see it at the 0:16 mark of the video embedded above. This was Stephen A. going meta, making fun of his own rants for a subject that surely didn’t warrant the indignation.

Then, for punctuation, Passan simply responded, “I don’t tell a man where to work.” Mic drop.

It was the ideal follow-up to Passan’s tweet late Monday night/early Tuesday morning as the negotiations between Major League Baseball team owners and the players union wrapped up, hopefully closer to an agreement that means the 2022 season will happen.

Passan had been quiet on Twitter while colleagues Jon Heyman and Bob Nightengale were providing play-by-play on what could have been performative behavior by the owners and MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem.

The MLB lockout has been tiresome. But Passan has provided some levity, some entertainment to a situation that’s been anything but entertaining. He deserves some applause. And maybe he’ll get to tweet some good news in the next day or two.

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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