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Don Mattingly Featured in Next ‘MLB Network Presents’ Documentary

‘Donnie Baseball’ premieres Sunday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET on MLB Network.

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Don Mattingly retired as an active Major League Baseball player after the 1995 season. So it’s been 27 years since he’s taken the field with a glove or bat.

A generation of baseball fans only know Mattingly as a manager, leading the Los Angeles for five years and going into his seventh season as the Miami Marlins’ skipper. But an upcoming MLB Network documentary can remind longtime fans and inform younger viewers on what a great player he was, No. 23 for the New York Yankees.

MLB Network Presents: Donnie Baseball premieres Sunday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Just before Opening Day on April 7, the documentary can provide an appetizer for the upcoming 2022 season and a dose of nostalgia for those who enjoyed watching Mattingly play.

Check out the trailer below:

As New York Post baseball columnist Joel Sherman notes in the trailer, Mattingly was the face of MLB — certainly the face of the Yankees — during the 1980s. For a four- to five-year span, he was one of the best hitters in baseball. In 1985, he won the American League Most Valuable Player award, batting .324 with a .939 OPS, 35 home runs, 48 doubles, and 145 RBI.

If only Mattingly played in a different decade, or his back allowed him to play longer, he might be even more highly regarded. His career unfortunately ended as the Yankees regained their standing as one of the top teams in baseball. They won the World Series in 1996, the year after Mattingly retired, and went on to win another four championships in the next 11 seasons.

Donnie Baseball also chronicles Mattingly’s battles with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who threatened to trade him. Mattingly played in an era when Steinbrenner was one of the most infamous figures in baseball, constantly firing managers, alienating star players, and interfering with how the roster was put together.

In addition to Mattingly being interviewed, former players, reporters, and broadcasters appearing in the documentary include George Brett, Wade Boggs, Mike Pagliarulo, Bernie Williams, Buck Showalter, Joe Torre, Michael Kay, and Suzyn Waldman.

MLB Network Presents: Donnie Baseball premieres Sunday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m ET.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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