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The Disney-BamTech deal will give ESPN one game a night to stream

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A source familiar with the big Disney-BAMTech acquisition tells NBC Sports that, as a result of the deal, Disney will get one major league game a night to stream on its new ESPN-branded streaming service. The game will be behind a pay wall. In exchange Disney will pay Major League Baseball a “significant” sum, over and above what it already pays MLB for ESPN’s broadcast rights and over and above the $1.58 billion Disney paid for the additional 42% of BAMTech it acquired. The exact figures were not disclosed.

The game will not be exclusive, meaning that fans of the local teams involved will still get the exclusive TV broadcast on their regional sports network and out-of-market MLB.tv subscribers will still get the game as well. The game will be an out-of-market game for all ESPN streaming users. It will not be the same game(s) that ESPN already broadcasts on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday nights. The source said that MLB.tv subscribers will see no difference in the product and will not have to subscribe to ESPN’s service to see the same number of games they can see now.

Given that this does not radically alter the existing baseball streaming ecosystem, it would appear that the point of the extra game a night is to give ESPN some reliable, daily actual sports content for its new platform much the way Australian Rules Football and stuff used to fill time on the ESPN network back when it first got going. And, to be clear, as a guy in his 40s who remembers it, I mean that with sincere affection. Actual live sports, even lesser sports, are preferable to studio shout-fests. At the very least, ESPN seems to be acknowledging with this deal that it can’t live on self-produced content alone.

For baseball, of course, it means a “significant” amount of money, whatever that means. But who doesn’t like the sound of that?

Nationals’ Strasburg ejected for arguing from the stands

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — A pitcher getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes – on his day off? And, from the stands?

Nationals star Stephen Strasburg earned one of baseball’s most unique ejections – probably ever – in the third inning of Washington’s game against the New York Mets on Thursday.

Strasburg was sitting in Section 121 at Citi Field in this socially distant season because he’s scheduled to start Friday against Baltimore Orioles. He was apparently unhappy with the strike zone of plate umpire Carlos Torres after Austin Voth‘s 2-2 pitch to Pete Alonso on the outside corner was ruled a ball.

Moments later, Torres ejected last year’s World Series MVP, though it took a few seconds to realize who had been tossed.

Someone was heard yelling: “You’re (expletive) brutal” shortly before television cameras captured Strasburg doffing his cap as he walked up the staircase on his way out of the park.

“Sorry, folks – sorry, FCC,” Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen said on SNY.

The usually stoic Strasburg appeared to be grinning underneath his blue mask as he made his exit.