Richard Sandomir of The New York Times lays out the landscape facing Major League Baseball for when its TV rights come up for bid next year. Short version: MLB is gonna make boatloads of money as ESPN, Fox, TBS, maybe CBS and, especially, NBC all look to stay in or get in the live televised baseball business.
Full disclosure: I work for NBC. And I’d squeal like a little girl if NBC got MLB rights.
Seriously, though. Such decisions are way above my pay grade. Even third-hand discussion of such decisions are above my pay grade. Gleeman and I are only permitted to talk about baseball on TV with a six day delay, and only if we know anything, which we don’t, so I can’t intelligently or coherently comment about what NBC may or may not do that I didn’t first read in an article like the linked one here.
But Major League Baseball is my beat, and I can say what having a ton of eager competitors means for the league: a ton of money. Much, much more money than Major League Baseball has ever seen from a national TV deal.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.