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NBC: NO KIDDING, IT REALLY DOES MEAN "NO BASEBALL COVERAGE"
Published June 27, 1995
NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol "yesterday rejected suggestions that he and ABC counterpart Dennis Swanson were only 'posturing' in declaring The Baseball Network dead," according to Jim Baker in this morning's BOSTON HERALD. Ebersol: "What they really wanted was all four of us (ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS) bidding in August. They wanted to keep us on the spit, but we won't be involved with baseball and I don't think ABC will either" (BOSTON HERALD, 6/27). NBC Sports spokesperson Ed Markey echoes Ebersol in this week's BROADCASTING & CABLE: "This is not a negotiating ploy. This is not something that we're using to force baseball into a decision. We're not turning back after this; both networks are out of baseball. Under no circumstances would we negotiate with baseball again" (B&C, 6/26 issue). "LITTLE DICKIE"?? Fox Sports execs have taken aim at Ebersol for his comment that baseball on Fox would mean MLB has traded "the No. 1 and No. 2 networks for a pushcart." Fox Sports President David Hill: "I just see it as Little Dickie thrashing about. He invested so much of himself in The Baseball Network, he's being puerile. Little Dickie was just reacting when he said all that stuff. Why on earth he was talking about Fox when we're sideline observers, blew us all away." Fox CEO Chase Carey: "I only know Dick Ebersol casually. But, it's apparent from reading about him that he spends as much time manipulating his profile through the press as he does anything else" (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 6/27). More Carey on Ebersol: "He's trying to create an impression that defies reality. ... If he wasn't so paranoid about us why is he so focused on us?" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 6/27). One unnamed Fox exec: "It's funny how when Swanson talks, Ebersol's lips move -- and vice versa" (Jim Baker, BOSTON HERALD, 6/27). BIG, BAD BUD? Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "should not have ignored the networks' requests to decide TBN's future," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. "He kept telling them he needed to study, as if he were cramming for his sixth bar exam. Selig contractually had the right to ignore them until Aug. 15, when the parties could legally separate from TBN. Good faith in a partnership should have compelled him to tell ABC and NBC where he was headed" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/27). Ross Newhan of the L.A. TIMES writes that "the image of baseball as an indecisive, leaderless industry has only been underscored by the collapse" of TBN. Dodger President Peter O'Malley: "More and more clubs are coming to the conclusion that we need a full-time, outside, independent commissioner to lead the industry. The attempt to reach decisions through committees isn't working. We not only don't have a commissioner, we don't have a director of marketing, we don't have a TV director and we don't have a director of player relations" (L.A. TIMES/Hamilton SPECTATOR, 6/27).