1. Throughout the World Baseball Classic, we kept hearing about how the tournament exists to help grow the game of baseball. Grow the game. Grow the game. Grow the game. People love to use that phrase.
Personally, I don’t see how someone who isn’t an MLB fan will now tune into ESPN next Thursday to watch the Astros play the White Sox just because they got wrapped up in the WBC, but that’s me.
When it comes to growing the game, MLB should start with evaluating some of its TV deals. We all know the blackout restrictions are archaic and do nothing but frustrate fans. The LCS airs on FS1 instead of Fox, which hurts the game as well.
And then we have MLB’s absurd streaming deals with Peacock and Apple TV+.
The Apple TV+ deal, which began last year, was so bad it was hard to believe it was real. And now it’s about to get worse.
The streaming service will once again air exclusive games on Friday nights. However, last year, Friday Night Baseball was free even if you didn’t have Apple TV+. This year the games will be available to only Apple TV+ subscribers for $6.99 a month.
That’s right. MLB wants you to pay $7 a month to stream national games on Friday nights. And if you don’t pay, you will be completely shut out from watching your local team on the one or two occasions they’re on Apple TV+.
Grow the game.
2. We need more of this from broadcasters across all sports. Clippers analyst Mike Fratello spoke bluntly about an NBA ref who ejected Los Angeles guard Terance Mann on Tuesday night.
3. If it’s Wednesday, that means Chris “Mad Dog” Russo was causing havoc on First Take. I’m sure ESPN executives did a double take with this one.
4. Some Mariners players took quite a trip to In-N-Out's drive-through Tuesday.
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5. Coverage like this will now be part of Aaron Rodgers’s world when he becomes a Jet. I guarantee the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel didn’t run stories like this about the QB. How Rodgers handles the New York spotlight will be more fascinating that what he does on the field.
6. The latest SI Media With Jimmy Traina features an interview with ESPN NBA analyst Richard Jefferson.
Jefferson, who also hosts a podcast and calls Nets games for the YES Network, discusses his rise in sports media, what his ultimate goal is in broadcasting and how important social media is for his career. Jefferson also talks about how he approaches TikTok and accumulated 1.4 million followers, why he hates Twitter, the load management controversy, Ja Morant, his ongoing feud with Knicks fans and much more.
Following Jefferson, Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV in New York joins me for our weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week we discuss filling out NCAA tournament brackets, the World Baseball Classic, two highlights from the Oscars and the overall movie-going experience in 2023.
You can also watch the SI Media with Jimmy Traina on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Happy 71st birthday to Bob Costas.