The Nationals lost 8-5 to the Mets this afternoon in the first game of a critical three-game series at Nationals Park. It was noted on social media that a number of fans headed for the exits in the late innings. It was noticed by Nationals players. How do we know this? Well, National League MVP frontrunner Bryce Harper called them out on it after the game.
Yikes. It was a bit surprising to see how empty the ballpark was in the ninth inning, as the game was still very much within reach, but this sort of talk is a losing battle for a player and one he should probably stay away from. If Harper and company are disappointed in the fans, imagine how disappointed the fans are in a team that has largely underachieved this season.
Harper went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts this afternoon. The Nationals are now five games back of the Mets in the National League East with 25 games to play.
FOX Sports and Major League Baseball announced a few minutes ago that they have agreed to a multi-year broadcast rights extension. The deal keeps Fox as the lead MLB rights holder, and home of the World Series, All-Star Game and a good chunk of the playoffs through at least 2028.
While the press release does not announce the financial terms, Bob Nightengale of USA Today is reporting that it will pay Major League Baseball about 30-40% more than the previous contract. While ratings are not what they used to be, it would seem that the eyeballs Fox is getting are more valuable to it.
UPDATE: That bump is actually even bigger:
For the time being, things will look very much like they do now. Starting in 2022, there will be more games broadcast. There are no specifics about how many more. The release says “FOX Sports will also expand its digital rights,” but again, no specifics on what that means, exactly.
FOX Sports has been a baseball rights-holder since 1996 and has been the exclusive national non-cable rights holder since 2001. That’s gonna continue for at least another decade.