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ESPN’s Jeff Passan Apologizes For Phrasing Regarding MLB Owners’ Labor Offer

“I took the phrasing of a source and mistakenly did not make clear they were his words, not mine.”

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A remark made by ESPN baseball insider on the March 3 edition of the ESPN Daily podcast stirred up some controversy among Major League Baseball team owners and executives, who felt that the comment showed bias in favor of the players union and a lack of objectivity in reporting the MLB lockout.

Passan explained to ESPN Daily host Pablo Torre that he looked at the owners’ final offer after a long negotiating session at MLB’s imposed Feb. 28 deadline that ended past 2:30 a.m. and immediately asked players what they thought of it.

“I looked at the offer the next morning,” said Passan, “and I texted a few players, and I texted a few agents, and I said to all of them, ‘Are you really going to take this shit sandwich?'”

New York Daily News baseball columnist Bill Madden was among those who reported that MLB executives and team owners were “outraged” over Passan — who works for one of baseball’s TV partners in ESPN — encouraging players and agents to turn down the league’s final offer.

On Monday, Passan apologized in a statement ESPN issued to several media outlets, including the New York Post and Front Office Sports, and clarified what he intended to say on the ESPN Daily podcast.

“On a podcast recently, I took the phrasing of a source and mistakenly did not make clear they were his words, not mine,” said Passan. “ESPN and fans rightfully expect me to be objective, and my record shows I’m extremely committed to representing all sides of a story. In this instance, I fell short of that standard.”

According to both the Post‘s Ryan Glasspiegel and Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy, ESPN said that it addressed the matter with Passan and was satisfied with his statement.

“We’ve addressed the situation with Jeff directly and as you can see from his statement, he understands his mistake,” said an ESPN spokesperson (via the Post). “We fully trust that going forward he will cover this important and sensitive topic in a fair manner.”

McCarthy went on to report that he’d been told ESPN did not penalize Passan with a suspension or fine for the remark.

From that, the reasonable conclusion to draw is that the network accepted Passan’s explanation that he mispoke and intended to quote a source with the “shit sandwich” remark, rather than make it sound as if that was his interpretation of the MLB owners’ final offer in the most recent negotiations with players.

Sports TV News

Joe Girardi Joining Marquee Sports Network

“I’m excited to join Marquee and look forward to working alongside Boog, JD, and Taylor this weekend at Wrigley Field,” said Girardi.

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Marquee Sports Network has announced that former Chicago Cubs catcher, and Marlins, Yankees, and Phillies manager Joe Girardi is joining the network as a game analyst. Girardi will work this weekends series between the Cubs and Brewers, as well as a series against the Marlins in September.

Girardi has previously worked as an analyst for YES Network, MLB Network, and Fox Sports.

“I’m excited to join Marquee and look forward to working alongside Boog, JD, and Taylor this weekend at Wrigley Field,” said Girardi. “Growing up a Cubs fan and then having the chance to play for the team for a number of years, I’m honored to now have the opportunity to broadcast from the historic television broadcast booth.”

After a three-time World Series winner as a player, Girardi spent 15 seasons in the big leagues, seven of which came with the Cubs. The former catcher has spent parts of 14 seasons as a manager with the Marlins, Yankees, and Phillies. Girardi was fired as the manager of the Phillies on June 3rd.

“We’re pleased to welcome Joe Girardi to the Marquee Sports Network team,” said Marquee Sports Network General Manager, Mike McCarthy. “His insights as a long-time Cubs player and big league manager will be a valuable addition to the broadcasts. Welcome Joe!”

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Sports TV News

ACC Network Expands Women’s Basketball, Baseball Tournament Coverage

A report from Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal says ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips was the driving force in the move to ACC Network.

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ESPN and Raycom have struck a deal to make ACC Network the television home of the women’s basketball and baseball tournaments, beginning with the 2023 season.

A report from Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal says ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips was the driving force in the move to ACC Network. Previously, the championship events had been distributed on Bally Sports South, which confused viewers.

“We are thrilled. This is a significant moment that will enhance these premier events and provide much-needed access to our fans,” Phillips said. “We appreciate ESPN, Raycom Sports, and Bally for mutually agreeing to make this happen.”

ESPN or ESPN2 will continue to carry the championship games for both the women’s basketball and baseball tournaments.

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Sports TV News

Michael McCarthy: Craig Carton Will Debut On FS1 Within Month, Nick Wright Not Leaving

“That doesn’t mean viewers should expect Wright to be Craig Carton’s partner on television.”

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Michael McCarthy is the guest this week on The Jason Barrett Podcast. The Front Office Sports scribe is plugged into what is happening at FOX, and Barrett asked him to shed some light on the morning situation at FS1.

Jenna Wolfe recently announced her departure from First Things First. It is widely assumed that it is the first of many changes on the show to make way for WFAN’s Craig Carton, who will be starting his own morning show for the company.

“I think that Carton’s gonna get on the air literally within the next month,” McCarthy said. “I think the Jenna Wolfe move was the first in re-casting. It wouldn’t really surprise me to see some of the people from First Things First pop up on other shows.”

There is bound to be speculation about who is and isn’t safe amongst the First Things First cast. Michael McCarthy said one name no one needs to be worried about is Nick Wright.

McCarthy says he has been told by multiple people that FOX is high on Wright and has big plans for him.

“They think of him as the next Skip, the next Cowherd. So I think if anyone is sitting in a position to either of those talents at FOX, it’s Nick Wright. That’s how highly they think about him.”

That doesn’t mean viewers should expect Wright to be Craig Carton’s partner on television. McCarthy, who is a New Yorker, knows that not everyone is capable of being a good partner to the WFAN afternoon host. Not only is Nick Wright likely not a good fit for the role, but McCarthy couldn’t say who currently on the FOX payroll is.

“You really have to be secondary to [Carton’s] personality. He’s the show. So if you’re an Acho or a Marcellus or something like that, used to being the show, and you get together with a Carton, Carton’s gonna try and dominate the show. There could be a real clash of egos there.”

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