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Sutton Added as Color Analyst for Nationals PDF Print E-mail
Written by Press Release   
Monday, 15 January 2007 05:07
Don SuttonThe Washington Nationals and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network announced Monday that Hall-of-Fame pitcher Don Sutton will be the new color analyst for Washington Nationals telecasts in 2007.  He will join play-by-play broadcaster Bob Carpenter in the booth for over 150 regular season Nationals games carried over the team’s regional sports network, MASN. 

The four-time All Star spent the majority of his playing days with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  His career highlights include 324 wins and 3,574 career strikeouts – one of only nine major league pitchers to achieve such a feat.  

“Don’s Hall-of-Fame credentials coupled with a special ability to communicate the inner workings of the game in an easy-going manner will greatly enhance the viewing experience for our MASN audience,” said Nationals President Stan Kasten.  “His presence will also benefit our players, coaching staff and front office as we build and develop our future around young pitching.”

Sutton retired from baseball in 1988 and made a successful transition to the broadcast booth.  Working with the Atlanta Braves on TBS, Sutton provided play-by-play commentary until last season. 

“Coming to Washington was an easy choice for me,” said Sutton.  “This is the beginning of what is going to be an exciting era in Washington baseball history and MASN puts on a first-class broadcast.  The only catch was the list of conditions from my 10-year old daughter, who wants to meet Gilbert Arenas, play catch with Nick Johnson and wear her hat like Chad Cordero.  I’m still working on them! 

“In all seriousness, I am looking forward to being in Washington , to working with the Nationals and to being part of MASN,” Sutton continued.

Fans will be able to hear Sutton and veteran play-by-play man Bob Carpenter call regular season games starting on Monday, April 2 as the Nationals host the Florida Marlins in the club’s home opener.  MASN will also televise selected Spring Training games beginning in March.

“Don Sutton is a baseball Hall-of-Famer, destined to be a broadcasting hall of famer, who brings tremendous experience, knowledge of the game and perspective to the MASN telecast,” said MASN spokesman Todd Webster.  “Of all the new enhancements MASN is planning for 2007, none will be more entertaining than having Don Sutton in the Nationals’ broadcast booth.” 

The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network is the region’s first team-owned regional sports network.  MASN is the television home of the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles, and will telecast more than 320 Major League Baseball games annually starting in 2007. 

MASN’s television territory stretches from Harrisburg , PA to Charlotte , NC and covers all or parts of six states and the District of Columbia .

Fox Sports Midwest gets Royals TV deal PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
Written by The Staff   
Wednesday, 06 December 2006 07:18

RoyalsStarting in 2008, the Kansas City Royals will increase the number of games seen on television to 140 in total. That's due to a deal with Fox Sports Midwest. It will also mark the end of Royals Sports Television Network (RSTN), the Royals attempt at a regional sports network (RSN).

As Jeffery Flanagan of the Kansas City Star reports:

Fox Sports Net Midwest has struck a multiyear deal with the Royals to become its new television rights holder. FSN executives and Royals officials are mum about the terms of the deal, but it is believed to be 12 years.

“It’s a helluva long time,” one source said.

The financial impact on the Royals could be huge, considering the Angels, albeit in a larger market, signed a 10-year deal last spring with Fox Sports Net West worth $500 million.

FSN general manager Jack Donovan confirmed the deal but would not get into specifics other than it was “a great deal for the fans.”

The new deal will not affect viewers in 2007 when RSTN is expected to televise 114 games, including 14 over-the-air games.

Owners Approve New TV Deal PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Friday, 17 November 2006 02:18

MLBYesterday, owners approved the new national television broadcast deal that includes Fox and Turner Broadcasting (TBS). The new deal kicks in next season and runs through 2013. Total value of the agreement is valued at more than $3 billion.

You can read more on the new television deal from this article by Maury Brown on Baseball Prospectus: The Ledger Domain: MLB's 7-Year-Hitch to Fox and the All-Star Game

Paciorek fired by MASN PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
Written by The Staff   
Wednesday, 08 November 2006 01:50

Tom PaciorekNationals television commentator Tom Paciorek was released by Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) yesterday. Paciorek was hired last season by MASN to work with play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter. MASN executive producer Chris Glass has said that the decision was made jointly between MASN and the Nationals, but that differs from Paciorek's claims. As reported:

Paciorek said he was told the decision came from team officials.

"I have never appealed to upper management people," Paciorek said. "It's happened my entire life. People in command, I don't associate well with them and they certainly don't associate well with me."

Former Braves commentator Don Sutton and Orioles announcer Buck Martinez could be candidates to replace Paciorek.

Glass said MASN has been interviewing a large list of candidates and he would like to make a decision by December. Carpenter is under contract through next season. Paciorek said he is likely to retire from broadcasting.

(The Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star)

Reynolds will sue ESPN over firing PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Monday, 30 October 2006 17:42

Harold ReynoldsHarold Reynolds,who was fired from ESPN this past summer plans to sue the network over the firing.

“I have tried everything possible to handle this situation quietly behind closed doors. After numerous conversations and multiple mediation discussions with ESPN executives, it is clear that ESPN had no intention of solving this problem amicably,” Reynolds said in a statement.

“For 11 years, I served ESPN with enthusiasm and dedication. It is unfortunate that ESPN has handled this process in an unprofessional manner. At the end of the day, my integrity, reputation and family are my top priorities, and for those reasons I need to set the record straight and clear my name.”

A spokesman for ESPN has said that the "suit is without merit."

(The AP

An interview with Reynolds regarding his firing can be read here on The Baseball Journals.

Blah: '06 the lowest rated World Series ever PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 29 October 2006 15:09

MLBUnsurprisingly, the 2006 World Series was the worst-rated Fall Classic in television history. What is surprising is just how bad it was.

By comparison, last season's World Series ratings (the worst, at the time) pulled an 11.1 with a 19 share Nielson television rating (The national rating is the percentage of U.S. television households tuned to a program, and each point represents 1,114,000 homes. The share is the percentage of households watching a broadcast among those homes with televisions in use at the time). 2006 sees a 9% drop from last year's mark for viewership futility at 10.1 television rating and 17 share.

As reported by Ronald Blum of the AP:

What made the low rating more remarkable was that this year's Series went five games and was not a sweep. St. Louis' 4-2 victory in Friday night's finale got a 10.3/18 in figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research, just above the record low for a Game 5, a 10.0/17 for the San Francisco Giants' 16-4 rout of the Anaheim Angels in 2002.

Games 1 (8.0), 3 (10.2) and 4 (10.4) also were record lows for their games, and Game 2 (11.6) was above the low of 11.1, set last year.

Still, in an era of declining network ratings because of the spread of cable television, Fox was pleased it won prime time in all five nights among viewers 18-49. In an effort to avoid low-rated Saturday night games, the World Series will start on a Tuesday next year, the first season of baseball's new TV contracts. 

The 2006 postseason saw a record for rainouts with 4 total.  As I wrote for Baseball Prospectus during the League Championship Series:

If you've got the blahs watching the 2006 postseason, you’re not alone if you use television ratings as a barometer. Yes, maybe you or I would sit transfixed watching the Devil Rays and Pirates in the World Series if they made it, but for the average fan, the ratings numbers indicate where their interests lie. Why is this important to the rest of us? Because it impacts what Fox does, or does not do, with telecasts in the future. For those that say, "Ratings don’t matter," in this case, they do, to all of us.

Weisman of SI.com covers MLB TV ratings PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 9
Written by The Staff   
Monday, 23 October 2006 06:27

MLBJon Weisman of SI.com goes over the yearly national ratings for the World Series, with Neilson ratings back to 1968, today. The lengthy article covers the malaise that has hit World Series viewership, with a number of quotes on the topic.

  • From Weisman: Just as baseball's top brass continues to agonize over what to do about its shrinking TV audience, core fans have every reason to wonder how sagging ratings will affect the way their sport is broadcast.

    It's no fun being part of a diminishing society. But sadly, the once robust Television Republic of United Baseball Lovers Everywhere (TROUBLE) seems to be losing people every year.

  • From Variety reporter and TV analyst Rick Kissell: "[The ratings] have definitely disappointed, although it's not at all surprising given the lopsided series and quick exit of the Yankees."
  • Los Angeles Daily News sports media columnist Tom Hoffarth: "I'm constantly amazed at how much stock TV execs put into Nielsen ratings," Hoffarth said, "because they weren't created to assess the actual 'viewer attendance' but to give them some kind of vague measurement that could be used to show advertisers that this is what we think people are doing with their TV sets. Any ratings system that doesn't take into account those watching in sports bars, dorms, hotels and office buildings, and has no accountability for TiVo or DVR players, or who's watching on MLB.com on video streaming, plus has a different measure for those watching over-the-air vs. cable, just seems to be very unstable and hard to bank on.

    "I'm of the Billy Packer thinking -- gasp -- that it's crazy to assume viewership is down year after year when all you read and hear and feel is that the sport is a very healthy spectator activity."
  • From Maury Brown, editor of The Biz of Baseball: "MLB has been working toward better parity through revenue sharing," Baseball Prospectus business analyst Maury Brown said. "They've added the wild card, and with that, we're on the verge of the seventh different club to win the World Series in as many years. With parity comes the fact that you might wind up with matchups that might not be compelling for the average fan."

 Also, as reported:

[A]nother ongoing question concerns whether MLB needs to bring the World Series back to the daytime, at least for one game. It certainly wouldn't help the short-term ratings, because more television sets are on at night, but it could be a valuable loss-leader to attract more kids, not to mention their parents and grandparents.

"I think it would recapture some of the older fans that can still remember what day games were like, and how it influenced the American culture," Brown said. "Ask some of our older fans how many skipped out of school, or listened to the game on transistor radio in class, what kind of memories those day games invoked."

Disclosure: I had about 15 classmates gathered around me and my '70s-era portable radio, out in front of the school library in ninth grade, clock ticking on my first class after lunch, when Rick Monday homered to win the 1981 NL pennant in a deciding Game 5 for the Dodgers.

Stories will always be baseball's bread and butter. Baseball's postseason ratings suffered early because, as Brown said, "some teams backed into the playoffs this year, and the [series] were not compelling, with a number of sweeps or near-sweeps."



Piniella Says Lyons Was Just Kidding PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Wednesday, 18 October 2006 01:00

Steve LyonsLou Piniella, the new manager for the Chicago Cubs said yesterday that Steve Lyons' firing was "an unfortunate thing" and said he thought his TV colleague was just kidding when he made comments deemed to be racially insensitive by Fox.

"There isn't a racist bone in his body. Not one," Piniella said Tuesday. "I've known the guy personally. He was kidding with me, nothing more and nothing less. It was an unfortunate thing."

Lyons claimed he was kidding and Piniella accepted that explanation.

"If I offended anybody, I'm truly sorry," Lyons said. "But my comment about Lou taking my wallet was a joke and in no way racially motivated."

(The AP

To read Maury Brown's interview with Steve Lyons, select the link here on The Biz of Baseball.


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