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Michael Kay “Anxious” About Aaron Judge Home Run Call

“I’m honestly more anxious about this than other calls, and I’m not quite sure why,” Kay said.

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There’s now only eight more games left for Aaron Judge to either tie or break Roger Maris’ American League single-season home run record, and YES Network play-by-play man Michael Kay is eagerly anticipating the moment he gets to call that historic milestone.

Of course, there’s a likelihood that it might not happen, and Judge will finish the 2022 season with 60 homers. Opposing pitchers in the last several days have started giving Judge the Barry Bonds treatment, basically giving the Yankees star nothing to hit and walking him.

Still, Kay says in his 31 years of calling Yankees games, there’s just a level of nervousness he feels when Judge steps into the batter’s box.

“I’m honestly more anxious about this than other calls, and I’m not quite sure why,” Kay told The Athletic. “I’ve had the privilege of other big calls having done the Yanks for 31 years, but there is something about the historical significance of this that has ramped up the butterflies. As for pressure, yes, you feel it. With the increased presence of social media, you have an entire planet of media critics, and it just seems people would pounce if there is a misstep, but it is what it is and you deal with it.”

Some broadcasters in this situation have a plan all drawn out in their head of what they’ll specifically say, but Kay admitted he’s just going to do what he’s always done and let the moment call itself.

“I don’t like to script it because it’s a recipe for disaster,” Kay said. “You can’t really script it because you don’t know what type of homer it will be and what the ramifications are for the game. That being said, I usually have guardrails I set up, things I would like to get in the call, but that could all go away when the homer is hit. I think the homer dictates what you say.”

Judge was walked four times in Tuesday night’s game in Toronto. New York will finish that series tonight, then head home for the final regular season homestand against the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees play four games at Texas in the final three days of the regular season next week.

Sports TV News

FOX Sports Sees Record-Setting Ratings Weekend

The World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

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FOX Sports has been home to a number of record-setting games in terms of viewership over the last several days.

In addition to FOX Sports setting a new mark for a Thanksgiving and regular season NFL audience, the World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

The network reported the U.S./England match in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup averaged 15.377 million. It was the most-watched English-language soccer game in the U.S. ever, topping the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil.

Viewership of the match was up 11% compared to the second group stage contest for the U.S. team in 2014 against Portugal. The audience peaked at 19.646 million from 3:30-3:45 p.m.

FOX Sports also reported the Michigan/Ohio State game on Saturday drew in 17 million, which made it the most-watched regular season college game on the network ever. That figure was also the highest of any regular season contest since 2011. That game also saw the audience peak at 19.6 million.

Viewership for the game was up 3% compared to last year.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Bowl Plans Could Be Altered By NFL Flex Scheduling

“While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules.”

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ESPN could be forced to adjust its upcoming bowl season schedule if the NFL decides to flex a Las Vegas Raiders game a week before Christmas.

ESPN announced its contingency plans for two bowl contests, the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl is currently planned to kick off from Allegiant Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on December 17. The Raiders right now are still planning to play in the Sunday night game the next night against the Patriots.

Should the NFL decide to flex the Raiders out of the SNF window, ESPN will swap kickoff times between the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. That would mean the game in sin city will kick off at 11:30 a.m. local time, with the contest in Albuquerque starting at 5:20 p.m. local time that evening.

“The SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl and New Mexico Bowl are both owned and operated by ESPN Events, so this change is a solution that will work for all parties,” ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby said. “While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules. We are more than prepared to move forward with this revised schedule if necessary.”

Kickoff times will be determined well enough ahead that the schools taking part in both games shouldn’t be adversely affected.

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Sports TV News

NFL Thanksgiving Games Set Ratings Records

FOX Sports added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021.

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The Thanksgiving slate of NFL games last week brought in the largest audiences ever. Viewership across all three games averaged 33.5 million.

The game with the largest viewership was Giants/Cowboys in the 4:30 p.m. window. FOX Sports reported that 42 million watched Dallas beat New York 28-20. It is the largest regular season audience ever, surpassing the previous leader set 32 years ago.

The network added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021. FOX carried the Detroit Lions traditional noon Thanksgiving game last year. Compared to the Cowboys turkey day contest on CBS in 2021, viewership was up 3%.

The Bills/Lions game in the early window on CBS averaged 31.627 million, with the audience peaking at 41.981 million. It was the most-watched early Thanksgiving game on record.

Patriots/Vikings on NBC in the nightcap averaged 25.9 million. That figure was up 24% compared to Bills/Saints a year ago, with NBC Sports claiming it’s the second most-watched primetime Thanksgiving game on record. The game was simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo, which averaged 565,000 viewers and made it the most-watched NFL game ever on the network.

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