SBD/January 13, 2014/Media

MLB Network Explains Its Quick Response For Saturday's Arbitration Ruling On Rodriguez

Rodriguez' alleged PED usage was the subject of a "60 Minutes" exposé last night
It appeared MLB Network officials had an idea the ruling on Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez' 211-game suspension would come down Saturday morning, as the net "had a number of their top analysts and reporters in place in their Secaucus, N.J., studios, ready to leap into action," according to Neil Best of NEWSDAY. Following the news that the suspension had been reduced to 162 games, MLB Network featured "thorough reporting and analysis from every angle, and with no apparent pro-MLB bias, a trademark of the network since it launched" in '09. An MLB spokesperson explained why the net had many on-air analysts in place by saying, "Since news reports all week were saying that the decision could be announced at any day, we put several of our on-air staff on call in the studio over the weekend so they could be in position to cover the story when the news of the decision broke. ... We were prepared to cover the story at any point this weekend." Best reported ESPN and ESPN2 "were tied up with live college basketball games at the time the ruling was announced, but ESPNews covered the story with its top baseball people." YES Network "was showing a replay of Friday night's Heat-Nets game, but it did include the A-Rod news in a crawl on the bottom of the screen." YES "rarely goes live with news developments, even those involving the Yankees, because it is not set up as a breaking news operation, especially in the offseason" (NEWSDAY, 1/12).The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers wrote on his Twitter feed, “Great collection of clips on MLB Network showing A-Rod's ever-changing take on his PED use from 2007 forward in interviews. Crazy swings" (TWITTER.com, 1/11).

"60 MINUTES" SPOTLIGHT: CBS' "60 Minutes" last night aired an exposé on the Biogenesis scandal, and FOXSPORTS.com's Jon Paul Morosi wrote any "serious reporter would have loved to land" the interviews that the show did for the segment. CBS' Scott Pelley, who interviewed MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, MLB COO Rob Manfred and Biogenesis Founder Anthony Bosch for the segment, "is one of the finest journalists in America," and he "proved it again" last night (FOXSPORTS.com, 1/13). However, SPORTING NEWS' Jesse Spector wrote the segment "was a half-hour infomercial designed to restore and maintain the public trust in a sport that has faced more scrutiny for performance-enhancing drugs than any other." MLB "chose a venue that would garner a favorable audience, and came out with a story whose happy ending was being anointed as a shining beacon of clean athletic pursuit, with the commissioner riding off into the sunset, head held high and job well done" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 1/12). THE NATION's Dave Zirin wrote nowhere in the "60 Minutes" piece did it "analyze or even mention the fact" that Rodriguez’ suspension will mean the Yankees organization, "much to their glee, is saving" $27.5M. It also did not "ask about why, if according to the Joint Drug Agreement, Rodriguez should have received 50 games for a first offense, he ended up with 162." Zirin wrote "60 Minutes" reported the story "in a fashion that the MLB Network could not have done more effectively" (THENATION.com, 1/12). ESPN N.Y.'s Wallace Matthews wrote on Twitter, "I still don't know why A-rod got 162 when the CBA calls for 50. How about asking that one, Scott Pelley?" Yahoo Sports' Dave Brown: "60 Minutes, at least tonight, not a very complete telling of the story. And the first words out of Pelley's mouth about Bosch was false. ... Pelley asked some unbelievably inappropriate and unhelpful questions to Bosch" (TWITTER.com, 1/12).

THE FRANCESA FACTOR
: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes the "last thing Yankees brass wants to see" is Rodriguez doing another interview with WFAN-AM's Mike Francesa in which he criticizes Selig's office, yet Yankees execs' hands "are tied." Francesa's days "are numbered on YES," but "allowing A-Rod to once again use Francesa as his lap dog would still be a huge coup" for the host. If YES "pulled the plug on the interview, A-Rod would have another reason to whine about the deck being stacked against him" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/13).
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