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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Television Newsbeat

Monday, November 16, 2015

Despite Risks, Cubs Eyeing Own TV Network

Can I still watch “Family Matters” reruns before games?

The Cubs are making $60 million to $70 million per season under their current TV contracts, a figure that is below market compared to other big markets like New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, and Philadelphia. However, the deal is still around the back end of the top-third in all of baseball. The Cardinals’ new billion dollar contract, which doesn’t kick in for a few more years, is set to pay the Cardinals an average sum roughly equivalent to that which the Cubs currently receive. A new television deal might solve some of the Cubs’ pre-existing problems, but it is those problems themselves that are keeping payroll down, not the Cubs’ current television contract.

The Cubs will wait a few more years before inking their deal. According to recent quotes from business operations president Crane Kenney, the Cubs will indeed start their own network in 2020, and believe the club can carry a network by themselves. There is some risk in waiting for 2020 to start their own network. For several years there has been a fear of the cable bubble bursting, and while the Dodgers might have set the mark a bit too high, teams that have negotiated deals since that time have still made out well. The Cubs could choose to renegotiate with Comcast, and much like the Cardinals deal, hedge their bets a bit on the future of cable television. Their current tack indicates that they still believe there will be a heavy market for their broadcasts in four years.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 16, 2015 at 11:01 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, media, regional sports networks, television

Friday, November 06, 2015

Arizona Fall League - MLB Network |

ICYMI Peoria Javelinas at Surprise Saguaros on at 2:30 PM today. Click the link for the AFL telecast schedule.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2015 at 07:57 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: afl, television

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pete Rose no longer part of Fox Sports’ coverage team

He can apply for reinstatement to the FOX sports coverage team in one year.

Pete Rose is done photobombing on Fox Sports — at least until next season.

That’s right, Rose will no longer appear on Fox Sports’ pre- and postgame coverage of the World Series, host Kevin Burkhardt announced after the Mets’ 9-3 rout of the Royals in Game 3.

MORE: Best photos from the World Series

“This is the best October I’ve had since 1980 when I won my last World Series,” Rose said. “Thanks, guys. Thanks, Fox.”

Baseball’s all-time hits leader joined Fox Sports in May, appearing on multiple shows, including “MLB Whiparound,” “America’s Pregame” and “Fox Sports Live.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 31, 2015 at 10:50 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: fox, media, pete rose, television, world series

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Raissman: Alex Rodriguez a star in Fox analyst audition - NY Daily News

Four people are at least two people too many.

The network uses three other analysts (Raul Ibanez, Pete Rose, Frank Thomas) on its pre and postgame shows but through the first two tilts only A-Rod has made half-inning appearances during the games, making it a four-mouth booth with Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 29, 2015 at 09:02 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, television, world series

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fox has major technical difficulties during World Series - Oct. 27, 2015

In the future they should continue playing and put the radio broadcast on. To stop play isn’t fair to the players.

With the teams tied 1-1 in the fourth inning, an electronics failure cut the power to the primary and backup generators inside Fox Sports’ production compound, Fox Sports said.

The result: a four-minute outage in the game broadcast and a lot of confused baseball fans.

“The issue was immediately addressed, although it resulted in the audience missing one at-bat during the time needed to switch to carriage of Major League Baseball’s international feed, powered by a different generator on site,” Fox Sports said in a statement.

Fox Sports apologized for the broadcast’s interruption.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 28, 2015 at 06:08 AM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: fox, television, world series

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The worst commercials of the 2015 MLB postseason -

Merkle’s Boner would be a great tie in.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 27, 2015 at 02:32 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: advertising, television

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

TBS, Please Fix Your Strike Zone Graphic | FanGraphs Baseball

David Cameron doesn’t like the TBS strike zone. He’s right.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 14, 2015 at 06:15 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: strike zone, television, umpires

Friday, October 09, 2015

MLB not enforcing new pace-of-play rules during playoffs

Time is a construct. Its ALWAYS OCTOBER

Major League Baseball’s attempt to speed up the pace of play shaved, on average, six minutes off the length of regular-season games. But don’t expect the time of games to drop well into the playoffs.

MLB has elected not to warn players for any pace-of-play violations for the postseason due to the importance of the games.

MORE: Lessons from KC vs HOU | 12 players with dubious postseason distinctions

Even as commercial breaks in the postseason have increased, certain pitchers in the wild-card games still weren’t ready to pitch within the recommended time frame.

For example, Pirates reliever Antonio Bastardo’s discussion with catcher Francisco Cervelli in Wednesday’s NL wild-card game lengthened the break between innings to nearly four minutes. But since it is the playoffs, MLB will look the other way.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 09, 2015 at 11:26 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: commercials, pace of play, rob manfred, television

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


Baseball continues to die.

Baseball brought big ratings to Fox Sports this season. MLB telecasts drew higher numbers on both Fox and FS1, while several Fox Sports regional networks finished No. 1 in primetime ratings in their respective markets.

Here’s the breakdown: MLB on Fox telecasts enjoyed a 22 percent boost in viewership, with an average audience of 2.2 million compared to last season’s 1.9 million. Baseball broadcasts on FS1 increased by 22 percent, jumping to an average of 504,000 from 413,000.

Perhaps more impressive is the success of baseball telecasts on Fox Sports regional networks, which ranked first in average primetime ratings in six markets. We already covered how successful ratings for Royals games were in Kansas City, coming off a World Series appearance and finishing with the best record in the American League this season. Fox Sports Kansas City enjoyed a household rating of 12.33, a 90 percent increase over last season. That includes a 13.0 household rating in primetime.

Ratings were also big in St. Louis, where Fox Sports Midwest averaged a 10.0 rating (including 10.8 in primetime) for Cardinals game broadcasts, jumping from a 7.9 mark last season. This year’s rating also beats out the 9.4 FS Midwest Cardinals games drew in 2010.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 07, 2015 at 11:12 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: fox, media, regional sports networks, television, tv ratings

Monday, September 14, 2015

Wisdom and Links: Ferrell Takes The Field - Hall of Very Good

For example, arguably the best bit of the entire film comes when Billy Beane, after Ferrell’s stint at shortstop with the Athletics, tells Ferrell he’s been traded. Ferrell, of course, doesn’t take the news well, and intercut with his reaction to Beane in the Athletics dugout is a (presumably facetious) long monologue by Ferrell about how Billy Beane is a blood-sucking liar who loves his numbers so much that he doesn’t care about heart or guts at all and doesn’t realize that players are people, and that presumably anytime you go visit him he’s watching “Moneyball”, which he probably likes to namedrop and watch with everybody he meets, since it’s about him. My description of this bit does not do it justice, and it gets a great callback at the end.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 14, 2015 at 09:18 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: television

Friday, August 28, 2015

Dan Shaughnessy: With Don Orsillo news, Red Sox drop the ball again - The Boston Globe

It’s not often that I agree with Shaughnessy.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 28, 2015 at 07:05 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcaster, red sox, television

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Don Orsillo will not return on Red Sox telecasts next season - The Boston Globe

NESN is getting rid of the very entertaining and likable Don Orsillo. Orsillo is immensely popular among all the Red Sox fans I know. Do any of the Sox fans here disagree?

According to industry sources, Orsillo was never a favorite of Joseph Maar, NESN’s vice president of programming and production/executive producer who arrived at the network in July 2012. Last year, Maar implemented the policy of having its broadcasters — Orsillo and analyst Jerry Remy, in this case — take in-season breaks.

I’m really shocked by this news. Here’s Maar’s, and the Red Sox Twitter feeds, in case you want to voice your displeasure.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2015 at 02:35 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: don orsillo, red sox, television

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Brian Kenny is ready to televise the sabermetric revolution ... again | Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

Brian Kenny and Rob Neyer are two of my favorite baseball analysts. These experiments need a lot of tweaking, however. The game is what’s important. Focus on the game and inject smart analysis. Making the analysis the focal point of the broadcast is just too much.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 12, 2015 at 09:03 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: television

Monday, August 10, 2015

In Second Year, FOX Sports 1 Making Progress On Catching ESPN - Forbes

That’s true at my house. I barely watch ESPN now. I watch FOX Sports 1 a little less than ESPN.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 10, 2015 at 09:49 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: television

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Charter Communications to offer Dodgers TV channel - LA Times

Charter Communications plans to soon begin offering the Los Angeles Dodgers TV channel, SportsNet LA, in Southern California, breaking the year-long impasse that has prevented thousands of baseball fans from watching their favorite team on TV.

“We are going to get the Dodgers on,” Charter Communications Chief Executive Tom Rutledge said Tuesday morning in an interview with the L.A. Times.

“We want the Dodgers on every outlet and we are committed to making that happen,” Rutledge said.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2015 at 07:59 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, television

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Biz of Baseball: As 2012 MLB Season Approaches, Blackout Policy Likely to Remain

Adds Maury…“Pass the popcorn. The static’s on (again)”

File this one in the “broken record” department: prepare for yet another season of MLB’s blackout policy remaining in place.

The reason for the broken record? This story has been written repeatedly for years. A source at MLB said that for all practical purposes, the matter will likely not be addressed for the upcoming season.

For the uninitiated, the question is, “Why should I be concerned?” That depends on whether you are, or planning to, purchase MLB Extra Innings or subscribe to MLB.TV.

In a nutshell, there are two ways you can be hit with the “blackout blues”. National broadcast partners FOX and ESPN have exclusivity agreements in which no matter where you live, games are blacked out on MLB Extra Innings and MLB.TV.

...And about the national blackout policy, any chance that happens soon? In speaking with sources close to the matter, when asked if the possibility it won’t be considered until contracts are renewed with ESPN and FOX, the reply was, “Probably.”

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 06:11 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media, television

Friday, January 13, 2012

NYT: F.C.C. May Move to End N.F.L. Blackouts

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission took a step that may lead to the elimination of all sports blackouts, of which the N.F.L.’s are the most notable. The commission said it was seeking public comment on eliminating its own rules that have effectively backstopped league policies by prohibiting cable and satellite operators from carrying a game already blacked out by local broadcast stations.

“We’re asking the government to get out of the business of propping up sports blackouts,” said Brian Frederick, executive director of the Sports Fans Coalition, which filed a petition in November to end the F.C.C.’s blackout rule with four other interest groups. “The F.C.C. has had the rule since the 1970s and has never taken a comprehensive look at it.”

This would be awesome, especially for all those poor baseball fans in Nevada.

The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 13, 2012 at 03:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: television

Monday, December 26, 2011

Neyer: What’s To Be Done With Bill Conlin?

One old sparky chair comes to mind! Picks up torch and pitchfork (sees Bon Iver won year-ender…throws away in disgust)...

But what if we discover that one of the players in the actual Hall of Fame did something far more abhorrent than using steroids or testosterone? Say, murder. Would the Hall of Fame seriously consider removing that player? I honestly don’t know.

Of course, time plays a role here. Conlin just won the Spink Award. In the display in the Museum, he’s featured. If Conlin were dead, or if he’d won the award 10 years ago, this whole sordid affair might be a three-day story. But now? With Conlin still around? With an extra-big photo of him in the Museum? With Jerry Sandusky still running free?

Right now, everything is so raw. If given a chance, I suppose I would split the difference. I would not rescind Conlin’s Spink Award, but I would hasten to make him less visible in Cooperstown. We’ve got a new winner: Bob Elliott. Maybe it’s as easy as making him the center piece of the exhibit a few months earlier than scheduled.

Or maybe Conlin should simply be defrocked. I don’t have the answer yet. I do anticipate a spirited discussion. Which will be more than welcome.

Repoz Posted: December 26, 2011 at 12:30 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, business, hall of fame, history, media, television

Thursday, December 15, 2011

MLB Network unveils brand new social media layer to studio

Krajewski’s Pig Farm goes high tech!

Even though it’s the off-season for the MLB, the MLB Network is hard at work leveraging social media by curating off-season chatter through their programming — and now they’ve rolled out a brand new social media area inside of their state-of-the-art Studio 3 in New Jersey.

The social area of the studio serves up 108-inch touchscreens for MLB Network talent to interact with fans through Facebook polls, Twitter and email. MLB Network has over 98,000 followers on Twitter and over 350,000 likes on Facebook.

...LR: How will social media be incorporated into the studio? On air?

MB: Fans can be part of the discussion and chime in on all the latest Major League Baseball news and rumors leading up to the 2012 regular season. As it has done throughout 2011, MLB Network will continue to interact with viewers and post questions and display select responses on-air in each studio show – including “Hot Stove,” “Clubhouse Confidential” and “Intentional Talk” this offseason – either on the in-studio touchscreen monitor or on-screen in our social media “ticker.”

We also want to bring fans the best and newest info shared by players and media via social media, so MLB Network on-air personalities will discuss tweets on-air, whether it’s a breaking news story or a photo that a player posted from a recent vacation. During the various Jewel Events on the MLB calendar, like Spring Training, Opening Day, the All-Star Game, Trade Deadline, Postseason and Winter Meetings, we monitor hashtags to stay on top of the most talked about storylines and display tweets and stories reported on Twitter from baseball beat writers.

Repoz Posted: December 15, 2011 at 06:04 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, business, media, television

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lou Piniella set to return to Bombers as YES Network television analyst

Tip: Buy a comb.

Lou Piniella, a fan favorite as both player and manager, is deep in negotiations and close to signing a deal to return to the Bombers as an analyst for the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network. He also will likely serve as a spring training instructor.

According to industry sources, Piniella will do a limited number of appearances for YES in the broadcast booth and studio.

Piniella would join YES’ cast of analysts that includes Ken Singleton, John Flaherty, Paul O’Neill, David Cone, Al Leiter and play-by-play man Michael Kay.

...Now, sources said, Piniella wants to stay to baseball. It looks like the Yankees are providing that opportunity. This likely means Yankees fans will see Piniella in the YES booth when the Bombers play the Rays in 2012. The Yankees open the season April 6 in Tampa. Piniella should have a role in that telecast.

After leaving Tampa in 2006, Piniella spent a season working for Fox Sports on its major league baseball package.

Repoz Posted: December 14, 2011 at 10:45 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, business, media, television, yankees

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hannibal Courier Post: Tim McCarver is not a Hall of Famer

Lifting from Mountaintop Motel Massacre’s sweet Evelyn here…“Please do not piss off Cardinal fans. They already are.”

Tim McCarver, that biased broadcaster, has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

From here on out, he’ll be referred to as a Hall of Famer.

But I’ll just call him Tim McCarver.

Because in my eyes, he is NOT a Hall of Famer. He is a dumbfounded broadcaster who, for whatever reason, has been on the air way too long.

...He is constantly negative toward the Cardinals and does not have any credibility. I can remember when he referred to former pitcher Donovan Osborne as Donovan “Os-burn.” Even during this past postseason, McCarver said the word strike was made up of five letters. Add all that to his sentence structure — that I’m sure makes English teachers squirm — that’s not excellence.

McCarver was a great ballplayer, I respect him for that. In that genre, he’s still not a Hall of Famer (didn’t have the numbers nor did he stand out), but he was certainly an impacting player for the teams he played on.

Losing out on the award this year is Texas Rangers broadcaster Eric Nadel, who is the best descriptive broadcaster there is; McCarver’s former teammate Mike Shannon, who is the most unique broadcaster in the game; and a large number of others who were so much more deserving.

Repoz Posted: December 13, 2011 at 11:02 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, cardinals, hall of fame, history, media, television

Monday, December 12, 2011

Finn: Q&A with MLB Network’s Brian Kenny

I haven’t been this riveted to a TV show since Roy Thinnes got a severe pinky cramp and had to hide it during a whole The Invaders episode!

The resistance from—I guess you could call it the long-established media, since mainstream applies to the internet these days—seems to be fading. Writers such as Keith Law or Dave Cameron at Fangraphs have BBWAA membership, which is a wonderful, progressive development. But there’s still that challenge of making sabermetrics accessible to the those who are skeptical or intimidated. How do you approach that challenge on the show?

Kenny: “That’s always the challenge in knowing where the line is. I want any baseball fan to be able to tune into the show and have a passing knowledge of statistics to be able to watch the show and enjoy it. So I really take my time and take particular care to explain the methodology and to explain what some of these new analytical tools are and how they are used and why they work.

At the same time, I stress this is not math class, a lot of times I try to say, hey, this is wins above replacement. Try not to get caught up in what goes into the number, just look at what the numbers are telling us. We can look at OPS, we can look at weighted on-base average, let’s see what all the evidence is telling us. I don’t get caught up in one number because there is no magic number. A fan is already looking at the numbers. How do you know someone is a good hitter? He hits .300. He drives in 100 runs. Those are metrics. They’re just not the best possible metrics to analyze production and project future performance. There are other numbers for that and we’re going to teach people what they are and how to use them.”

...Before I let you go, I have to ask since he’s one of my favorite players and his Hall of Fame candidacy is cause of sabermetricians: Does Tim Raines belong in the Hall of Fame?

Kenny: “Tim Raines is two Hall of Famers.”

Repoz Posted: December 12, 2011 at 09:01 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, baseball geeks, history, media, projections, sabermetrics, television

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hardball Talk: Harrison Ford to play Branch Rickey in Jackie Robinson biopic

According to Spencer Fordin of, Legendary Pictures announced yesterday that Harrison Ford will play Hall of Fame Dodgers’ executive Branch Rickey in a biopic about Jackie Robinson.

Many prominent actors have been mentioned for the role of Rickey over the years, including Robert Redford this past April, but Ford was apparently their top choice. His work in “Cowboys and Aliens” probably put him over the top.

As for Robinson, he’ll be played by the relatively unknown Chadwick Boseman. The 27-year-old has appeared in television shows such as “Lincoln Heights” and NBC’s “Persons Unknown.”

The film, which is appropriated titled “42,” is being written and directed by Brian Helgeland of “L.A. Confidential” and “Mystic River” renown.

Shia LaBeouf will play Branch Rickey’s son who takes over the movie for no reason.

Tripon Posted: December 10, 2011 at 08:41 PM | 110 comment(s)
  Beats: business, dodgers, history, media, mets, negro leagues, special topics, television, yankees

Friday, December 09, 2011

LA Times: Angels, Fox to sign 20-year, $3 billion deal

The Angels have agreed to a new deal with Fox Sports worth at least $3 billion and expected to cover 20 years, two parties familiar with the deal said Thursday. The parties declined to be identified because the deal has yet to be officially announced.

Spokesmen for Fox and the Angels declined to comment.

Moreno last year opted out of a 10-year, $500-million contract with Fox, according to sports media consultant and former NBA TV President Ed Desser.

Desser, testifying Thursday in the Dodgers’ bankruptcy case, said the Angels and Fox agreed at the time to a one-year extension while the parties negotiated a new deal.

The Rangers agreed with Fox last year on a new contract worth an average of $80 million per year. The Angels’ deal is expected to top that in average annual rights fees — the rejected Dodgers’ deal had an average annual rights fee of about $85 million — and include an ownership stake in FSW.

The timing of this with the Pujols signing is curious.  I wonder if Arte prodded Fox into upping the rights fees once he had Pujols in the fold.  This would be much cooler if Fox was paying for an investment in the team, than Arte taking his windfall and turning around and spending it.

Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: December 09, 2011 at 09:27 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, business, dodgers, rangers, television

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