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ESPN Releasing Barry Bonds E:60 Special

“The slugger was a famously prickly personality who rubbed a lot of his teammates and the media the wrong way.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN is releasing BONDS on Sunday. An E:60 special feature on the life, career, and controversy that surrounds Barry Bonds to this day. Bonds has failed to crack the Baseball Hall of Fame every year of his eligibility so far and he’s running out of chances.

Bonds is entering his final year of eligibility and will be left to sands of baseball time should he not get 75% of the vote this winter.

The slugger was a famously prickly personality who rubbed a lot of his teammates and the media the wrong way. Bonds didn’t do his quest for the Hall of Fame any favors by acting like a heel to the media—especially at the end of his career.

One of the media members synonymous with Bonds during that time was Pedro Gomez, who unfortunately passed away in February at the age of 58.

ESPN did not list Gomez among the 18 names released as interviewees for the special, but he had plenty of first-hand interactions with Bonds throughout the years. 

“This was inevitable,” Gomez said when Bonds returned to San Francisco Giants Spring Training in 2014 as a hitting instructor. “The Giants and Barry Bonds will be linked forever. There’s no denying that. Bonds accomplished his greatest feats in a Giants uniform, so having him be a guest instructor is a no-brainer.”

Gomez was on the “Bonds Beat” in 2005 and 2007 as the star winded down his career.

“He was warm towards me today, reaching out to say hello and shake my hand,” said Gomez. “That was, to say the least, not always the case during my seasons of covering Bonds. He admitted [in Monday’s news conference] that was a ‘character’ that he may have needed [to portray] to play at such a high level.”

Gomez later joked that he wouldn’t be surprised if ESPN sent him back out to the Bay Area for another extended stint covering the all-time home run leader. We’ll see if the “Bonds Beat” sparks up again—from a hall of fame induction speech this time.

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ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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NFL Studio

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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ESPN Assigns Broadcast Teams for MLB Wild Card Round

In preparation for the postseason, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

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Wild Card
David Berding/Getty Images

There are just a few games left in the MLB season and the postseason begins this weekend with the Wild Card round. In preparation, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

Andrew Marchand reports that the team assigned to the presumptive New York Mets Wild Card series will be Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez. The Mets still mathematically can win the NL East but they trail the Braves by two games with three to play.

He also reports that the St. Louis Wild Card series will be called by Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. The Cleveland series will be broadcast by Boog Sciambi and Doug Glanville while the Toronto series will be called by Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza and Tim Kurkjian.

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Stugotz: ‘Sean McDonough Hates The Aaron Judge Cut-Ins’

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

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College football fans are not being shy with how they feel about Aaron Judge. Whether it is private conversations or social media posts, people are making their disdain for the cut-ins to college football games on ESPN networks when the Yankee slugger comes to bat known. On Monday morning, Stugotz added that it isn’t just fans that are unhappy.

The Dan Le Batard Show discussed the second straight week of cut-ins on Monday morning. Stugotz pointed out that one of ESPN’s primary college football voices sounds just as annoyed as fans are.

“Sean McDonough hates the toss to Aaron Judge,” he said. Hates it!”

Last week, ESPN and ABC cut into games when Judge was sitting on 60 home runs. This week, he was sitting on 61. A 62nd home run would be the most in American League history.

Stugotz added that has to be part of McDonough’s frustration.

“In his defense, what are we cutting in for? I have no idea if [Aaron Judge] is breaking a record, what record he’s breaking, if he’s clean. I have no idea!”

Producer Mike Ryan Ruiz said the fact that Judge is yet to deliver is making the cut-ins more frustrating for fans.

“I think what hurts the whole thing is that Aaron Judge has been terrible during these cut-ins,” Ruiz said. “He’s been God awful during these cut-ins. I haven’t seen a single home runs during one of these cut-ins. There was genuine fury at a watch party I was at. Fury! At Aaron Judge.”

A popular criticism of ESPN has been that this kind of attention would not be paid to Aaron Judge if he was chasing a mark that wasn’t the home run record if he played anywhere other than New York. According to Ryan, the mistake is bigger than that. Why would regular season baseball ever interrupt college football?

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

There are four games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. You can bet college football fans will make plenty of signs for College GameDay if Judge cannot hit number 62 before the playoffs start.

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