Thursday, May 26, 2016

Opposing Team Exec Interrupts Telecast

This may be well be the first time that a team executive has interrupted another team's broadcast, but AZ Diamondbacks executive Tony LaRussa did just that on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. The Pirates and Diamondbacks were continuing their series which has included players being hit by pitches and taking some "very" inside as well.

On the Pirates telecast on ROOT Sports on Tuesday (5/24) night, they aired a series of "highlights" which showed the times that both teams appeared to be throwing pitches at each other. Play-by-play voice Greg Brown said on the air that LaRussa "has a history of retaliation", even though LaRussa is not the current manager of the Diamondbacks, but is in attendance for this road series.

Then, on Wednesday (5/25) night, LaRussa went as far as to enter the Pirates' TV booth to confront Brown about his comments, literally keeping Brown off the air during part of an inning.

On Thursday (5/26), Brown spent the majority of the 4th inning of the telecast (which, significantly, also aired nationally on MLB Network) talking about what happened. Brown explained how LaRussa kept him from his broadcast responsibilities while taking issue with his (Brown's) on air comments.

To his credit, Brown said that he did not intend to create anything controversial, and added that he "stands behind" his remarks.

While LaRussa has every right to defend direct criticism, even after all of these years he does not have the right to a direct confrontation in an attempt to provoke the other party. This is far from his first time doing this, or trying to do this, to a member of the media.

When he was managing the White Sox, TV analyst Jimmie Piersall, the former controversial partner with Harry Caray, was often critical of LaRussa's managing during his studio analysis during and after certain games. One night in late July 1982, LaRussa and (then) 3rd base coach Jim Leyland both went to the TV studio (in downtown Chicago - not at the ballpark) to confront Piersall following the broadcast about his remarks. Accounts of the incident varied as to whether or not there was any physical contact.

Years later, when LaRussa was managing the A's, there was a game in Chicago during which A's catcher Terry Steinbach was injured from being hit by a pitch followed by what appeared to be some retaliation pitches.

Following that game, Associated Press reporter Bob Glass was the victim of a verbal outburst by LaRussa after asking questions about the incident. This incident was recorded on audio tape.
This makes a total of three such instances of LaRussa provoking a member of the media doing his job - that we know of.

Whether you agree with him or not, good job by Greg Brown of standing his ground against LaRussa's own "pitch" of retaliation.

This coming Sunday's Indy 500 will make history. But not because of anything that may happen within the race itself. For the first time ever, the Speedway has announced a "sellout" of all tickets, with this being the 100th running of the race.

As a result, the race will be shown live in the Indianapolis market for the first time ever. It has been shown on delay previously.

The coincidence of the NHL not having any of its Canadian teams go as far as round two of the playoffs and the NBA Toronto Raptors advancing to round three has had quite the ratings impact. Never thought we would see the day when NBA television ratings are higher in Canada than Stanley Cup Playoff telecasts, but it happened twice last weekend when the Raptors were playing at the same time.

In fact, the Monday (5/24) telecast of the Raptors Game 4 vs. Cleveland set an all-time basketball viewership record for TSN's national (Canada) telecast.

HOUSTON: KILT 610 starts a new morning show on Tuesday (5/31). Actually, they are moving the successful midday show with Mike Meltser and Seth Payne into the morning spot.

John Lopez and Marc Vandermeer will move into the midday slot, and will be jointed by former Texas A&M and NFL receiver and return man Dante Hall.

BUFFALO: It's a good thing when a team official knows to publicly clarify a comment made which didn't come out as intended. Such was the case for Bills GM Doug Whaley. While appearing on WGR Radio on Tuesday morning, Whaley, when talking about concerns over serious injuries, made a comment to the effect of "humans are supposed to play".

Realizing later that the comment did not come out as he intended, he issued an apology. However, it wasn't by calling back to or going on WGR again to do so. Instead, the apology was issued by way of the Bills' team Twitter account.

From here, he should issue an apology to WGR and its audience by not directly apologizing to them. Social media has its place, but it should not be a place to hide behind.

CHICAGO: A bizarre set of circumstances made for a rough stretch on Monday (5/24) night for Comcast SportsNet Chicago. The regional sports network had the entire White Sox vs. Indians doubleheader on its main channel as well as the Cubs vs. Cardinals on its "Plus" channel.

For nearly an hour, only Comcast Cable subscribers were unable to receive the feed of either game. Ironically, it meant that DirecTV and other carrier subscribers were able to see the Comcast SportsNet feeds as usual, while Comcast's own subscribers could not.

ALLENTOWN: It's another of those "only in radio" stories for WSAN 1470. The station has dropped Fox Sports Radio as well as English language regular programming. At least most of it. As of this week, WSAN now airs ESPN Deportes, the Spanish sports network.

However, the station intends to continue airing Phillies baseball and Eagles football - in English.

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