NBC: NO KIDDING, IT REALLY DOES MEAN "NO BASEBALL COVERAGE"
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,