This Latest MLB Disgrace Involves a New York Broadcaster Being ‘Traded’?
Stop me if you've heard this before: Major League Baseball messed something up, then proceeded to make it worse.
As my colleague and co-host Charlie Voelker wrote earlier this week, Major League Baseball's partnership with Apple TV+ has resulted in one or two games every Friday being pushed to the streaming service. When Apple TV+ claims a game for their broadcast, they get exclusivity, meaning that no one else can broadcast the game on television.
This week, Apple TV+ has wisely laid claim on the New York Yankees' game against the Boston Red Sox, which will also feature Aaron Judge's continued pursuit of home run history. Major League Baseball had the chance to right the wrong, chose not to do so, and now, it's devolved into a clown show in the broadcast booth.
Yankees - Apple TV+ Debacle Leads to Possible Broadcaster Trade
So, here's where baseball fans find themselves on Friday, September 23rd. Major League Baseball chose not to move the Yankees-Red Sox game to another network (national or local, like YES and NESN) opting to keep it on the streaming service Apple TV+.
Here's a review of the typical quality of the broadcasts, in case you were curious how it's been going for the network.
Then, things went from bad to sad, when rumors began to swirl that a "broadcaster trade" was being discussed by Apple TV+ and the YES Network, with the league seemingly presiding over it all.
Let me put on my Woj Bomb hat here. The trade would've looked like this, per Andrew Marchand of The New York Post:
Apple TV+ Receives
- Michael Kay
- David Cone
- Paul O’Neill
- Production support to Apple
YES Network Receives
- Tandem broadcast rights to the game itself
So, in theory, Yankees' fans could watch the game on YES, the rest of the world could watch it on Apple, and everyone would hear the Yankees' broadcast crew call what could be Aaron Judge's 61st home run of the season. It's ridiculous, but it was an option.
Apple and MLB, however, turned down the blockbuster.
As a result, the deal was shortened significantly. YES offered to send just Michael Kay to the booth, keeping the rest of the broadcast team intact. It was Kay, however, who informed Front Office Sports that he had declined the offer to call the game, not wanting to boot the streaming service's usual lead broadcaster, Stephen Nelson, on such a big occasion.
So, where does that leave us now?
To put it bluntly: it leaves us in the exact same embarrassing predicament that we've had to deal with all week.
Major League Baseball made a mistake in not moving this game off of the streaming service. People have enough problems with the quality of national TV broadcasts on traditional cable networks, let alone trying to figure out how to fire up a streaming service.
Here's how tonight is going to go for most people:
That all being said, it's clear that MLB wants to preserve its relationship with Apple, and I can't necessarily fault them for doing that. What made it worse, in my eyes at least, was the subsequent nonsense of "trading broadcasters" to try to put a Band-Aid over the decision.
So, you want the game on Apple, but you don't want any other part of what Apple does being involved? You want local fans to be happy, but not at the expense of a quick buck you're making off of this contract?
Major League Baseball embarrasses itself, once again.
Information from MSN also was used in the writing of this article.