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Turner Sports expands rights deal with MLB through 2028



Turner Sports will continue broadcasting Major League Baseball after agreeing to an extension of rights through the 2028 season.

The seven-year agreement will take effect in 2022 and includes a Tuesday night game as well as additional postseason games. It also includes expanded digital rights for Bleacher Report and other WarnerMedia platforms.

This is the second of the three rights deals that MLB has extended. It reached an extension with Fox two years ago that also runs through 2028. Commissioner Rob Manfred said negotiations with ESPN are ongoing about renewing that network’s deal beyond the 2021 season.

The Fox and Turner deals are similar in that each includes an increase over 40% when they begin in 2022. Turner will pay an average of $470 million per season.

“The commitment to baseball from Turner is as strong today as it has ever been,” WarnerMedia Sports and News chairman Jeff Zucker said. “Our strategy is to present premium live sports and obviously extending our deal was an important pillar.”

While the increased playoff games carry their own value, Zucker did say the deal would not have been reached if there wasn’t an expansion of the digital rights. The increased use of MLB footage and highlights for Bleacher Report could attract a younger audience, which baseball has struggled to build.

“The digital rights only used to be a language issue in the contracts but now they are substantive, economic rights,” Manfred said. “It was with Fox, it is with ESPN and it was significant in this deal. It is a recognition of the way the world now consumes entertainment.”

Turner Sports has aired baseball since 1973, when Atlanta Braves games were televised on WTCG in Atlanta, before it became known as SuperStation TBS. Turner began a national package of regular season and postseason games in 2007.

The new deal includes exclusive rights to one wild-card game, two of the four Division Series and one of the League Championship Series. The coverage will alternate between leagues each year and gives Turner the most postseason games on a network.

It also includes a season-long Game of the Week on Tuesday nights. Turner currently has a Sunday afternoon game over the last half of the season.

Manfred believes moving to Tuesdays gives Turner more opportunities to expand its baseball reach.

“We think summer Sunday afternoons aren’t a great place to have them. Fans have a lot of other things to do and there are two national windows the same day,” Manfred said.

Zucker also likes the Tuesday night window because there generally will be a full slate of games to choose from.

Turner also is retooling its studio show beginning with this year’s AL Division Series. Ernie Johnson will anchor the show and will be joined by Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, Jimmy Rollins and newcomer Curtis Granderson. Granderson will also contribute to Bleacher Report.

“The studio show to me is important and shows our commitment to the sport. I wanted to put our best foot forward,” Zucker said. “In all candor, I thought we could improve. We have the best studio host there is in Ernie Johnson. It won’t be `Inside the NBA’ but it will be its own, unique show.”

Manfred said there are provisions in the deal if there are changes in the postseason format.

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World Series Daily – Can Blake Snell stop Dodgers, even series for Rays?



After all the oddities of the MLB regular season and postseason, the 2020 World Series pits baseball’s top two teams against each other, which is something that doesn’t happen every year. And while we’ve grown accustomed to seeing the Dodgers playing for the championship, this is the first Fall Classic for the Rays since 2008 and only the second in franchise history.

After the Dodgers’ 8-3 win in Game 1 on Tuesday evening, here’s what you need to know for Game 2 on Wednesday night, including a look at the pitching matchup, predictions, odds, other key numbers and more.

Key links: Viewers guide | Schedule | Playoff Baseball Classic

What’s on tap

World Series Game 2: Tampa Bay Rays (Blake Snell) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (TBD), 8:08 p.m. ET in Arlington, Texas

The last time we saw Blake Snell pitch, he was unhappy after Kevin Cash removed him from Game 6 of the American League Championship Series in the fifth inning while he was still spinning a shutout (although he had allowed a walk and a single to start the inning). Look for a similar quick hook in this game, no matter how well Snell is pitching, given the Rays didn’t use any of their top three relievers (Nick Anderson, Diego Castillo, Peter Fairbanks) in Game 1 — especially considering Cash’s curious decision to let Tyler Glasnow throw 112 pitches, the most of any Rays starter this season.

Look for the Dodgers to take the same approach against Snell that they did with Glasnow, making him throw strikes with his fastball and spitting on the breaking ball. The difference is that while Glasnow is just a two-pitch pitcher, Snell has four offerings with his four-seamer, curveball, slider and a changeup that he throws exclusively to right-handed batters. Snell has a 3.20 ERA with seven runs over 19⅔ innings in the postseason, but his fastball command has been shaky, and he has run up high pitch counts and walked 10 batters. In the regular season, his fastball was located in the strike zone 58% of the time, but in the playoffs, that has dropped to 49%. Maybe that adds up to only a few strikes over one start, but a 1-0 count instead of 0-1 can be a huge factor.

Watch that first-strike percentage for Snell. Also keep in mind that the Dodgers have been crushing lefties in the postseason — posting a .990 OPS while homering every 14.7 at-bats — and 11 of their 20 postseason homers overall have been off southpaws. The key for the Rays will be getting the ball to Anderson, Castillo and Fairbanks with a lead. With the off day and trailing in the series, Cash will certainly allow all three of those guys to get more than three outs, as needed.

For the Dodgers, Tony Gonsolin is starting, but this looks like a bullpen game. Gonsolin has pitched just twice, with one start, for a total of 6⅓ IP. Maybe Dave Roberts will see if he can get a few innings from Gonsolin before he turns the game over to the bullpen, but he doesn’t have to go too far with Gonsolin. The wild card would be Julio Urias, who finished off Game 7 of the National League Championship Series with three perfect innings. He only threw 39 pitches in that outing, but that came on three days of rest after throwing 101 pitches in Game 3. Roberts might want to preserve Urias for a Game 4 start. (Walker Buehler goes in Game 3.) That leaves Gonsolin and Dustin May as the likely options to get the game to the shorter-stint relievers. But given the Tampa Bay lineup, look for a lot of mixing and matching from Roberts between the lefties and righties in the pen and forcing Cash to counteract with his own lineup moves. — David Schoenfield

Running World Series odds

Dodgers 80.9%; Rays 19.1%

Game 2 predictions

David Schoenfield: The Dodgers showed everything in Game 1: great approach against Glasnow, power, speed and defense. They became the first team since the Minnesota Twins in Game 1 of the 1991 World Series to hit at least two home runs and steal three bases. We can analyze many ways, but maybe it comes down to this simple fact: The Rays’ cleanup hitter batted .156 in the regular season. (Granted, the Dodgers’ cleanup hitter also hit under .200. Baseball in 2020!) Anyway, this game comes down to Snell having to hold down the Dodgers and then handing the ball to the shutdown part of the Tampa Bay bullpen. Unfortunately, I think Snell’s control will be a problem and the Dodgers will get to him for a few runs, while seven L.A. pitchers do shut down Tampa Bay. Dodgers 4, Rays 2

Alden Gonzalez: The Dodgers, who taxed their pitching staff through the tail end of a seven-game NLCS that didn’t end until Sunday night, will have to stage some semblance of a bullpen day in Game 2. And their bullpen hasn’t been great this month. Also: Mookie Betts has surprisingly struggled against lefties this year, and the Dodgers’ offense doesn’t function as efficiently when he isn’t producing. Rays 6, Dodgers 2

Dan Mullen: The Rays are starting a former Cy Young winner in Game 2. The Dodgers are throwing up a shrug emoji in Game 2. Tampa Bay needs to win this game or this series could be over in a hurry. And I do think the Rays will get this one with Snell able to get deeper into the game than Glasnow did and an offense that hit the ball hard after Clayton Kershaw exited. Rays 5, Dodgers 3

Stat of the day

Betts joined Chase Utley as the only players in World Series history with a home run and two stolen bases in a World Series game. Utley did it in Game 1 of the 2008 World Series — also against the Rays.

Social media post of the day

Best moment of the MLB playoffs to date

Cody Bellinger managed to one-up … Cody Bellinger. The Dodgers outfielder had held this crown since he robbed Fernando Tatis Jr. of a home run in a thrilling Dodgers-San Diego Padres NL Division Series Game 2; but his NLCS-deciding Game 7 home run to put Los Angeles in the 2020 World Series was just enough to take over the top spot.

The running MLB playoffs MVP

Randy Arozarena has gone from an unknown outfielder to this October’s breakout star. Going into the playoffs, you might have been asking, “Who is this guy?” But the Rays’ trade for him has been a huge factor in their postseason run. And while his MLB-high seven long balls have made a big impression, Arozarena also leads all hitters in the postseason with 47 total bases (and is leading in hits and tied for the lead in runs). Also, he has been flashing some leather in the outfield and some sweet celebration dance moves on the field.

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Tampa Bay Rays’ Randy Arozarena joins Magic Johnson, Patrick Roy, Fernando Valenzuela among top rookie playoff performers



The Tampa Bay Rays lost Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They’re playing in only their second World Series appearance in franchise history, last losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2008 series.

The Rays’ 2020 run to winning their division and then the American League has been aided by the breakout performance of rookie outfielder Randy Arozarena.

Arozarena already has a number of postseason accomplishments, including seven home runs — the most by a rookie in a single postseason and tied for the second-most all-time by any player in a single postseason.

  • First rookie position player (fourth rookie overall) to win LCS MVP (Michael Wacha, Liván Hernández, Mike Boddicker).

  • 47 total bases are tied for the second-most in a single postseason in MLB history, trailing only David Freese (50 in 2011).

Can the Rays and Arozarena’s magic carry them to a World Series win?

Great rookie postseason performances are always worth celebrating. Here are some notable rookie playoff runs:

Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) was the star of the Bucks in only their second season as a team. In the 1970 postseason, his stat line was jaw-dropping: 35.2 PPG, 16.8 RPG and 4.1 APG. Despite dropping nine straight 30-point games in the postseason — he only played 10 games — the Bucks did not make it out of the second round. His 352 points are still a rookie playoff record, and a reminder that he accomplished that playing in only 10 games. The Bucks would win an NBA title the following season.

With a stuffed stat line of 18.3 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 9.4 APG in 16 games, Johnson nearly averaged a triple-double in his first postseason. The postseason run is remembered for Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers. With Abdul-Jabbar out with an injured ankle, Johnson filled in at center. He went for 42 points (a rookie record), 15 rebounds and 7 assists in the series-clinching game. In winning his first of five NBA titles, Johnson became the first rookie in NBA history to ever win finals MVP.

Hello Fernandomania! Valenzuela became the first player to win both the Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young award in the same year. In pitching a rookie-record 40 2/3 innings with a 2.21 ERA in five postseason starts, he went 3-1. That included a complete-game, four-hitter to prevent elimination in Game 4 of the division series and a 147-pitch, complete game in Game 3 of the World Series. The Dodgers won the 1981 World Series against the New York Yankees in six games after losing the first two.

Just 20 years old, Roy became the youngest player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1986, awarded to the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Final. He went 15-5 with 1.93 GAA — pushing the Canadiens to a surprising Stanley Cup title win over the Calgary Flames. Considered one of the greatest goaltenders of all time, Roy won two Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and two with the Colorado Avalanche.

At the age of 23, Smith set a rookie playoff record with 342 rushing yards — 204 of which came in Washington’s 42-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. That is the most rushing yards by any player in Super Bowl history. Wildly enough, Smith’s first career start came in Super Bowl XXII, in which he also punched in two touchdowns.

Derek Jeter (1996 New York Yankees)

At the age of 22, Jeter won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1996 and, in the playoffs, turned in a rookie-record 22 hits. Hitting leadoff in the playoffs, Jeter batted .361 in 15 postseason games and the Yankees won the World Series.

Murray won two Stanley Cup titles — and was considered a rookie both times. In 2016, he appeared in just 13 regular-season games with the Penguins but was the starting goaltender throughout the playoffs and started every game of the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals. The Penguins won again in 2017. In the 2016 postseason run, he posted a .923 save percentage and 2.08 GAA. Murray also has the rookie record for wins by a goaltender with 22.

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San Diego Padres’ Luis Perdomo has Tommy John surgery



San Diego Padres reliever Luis Perdomo will miss the 2021 season after opting to have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Perdomo, who is eligible for arbitration this offseason, was found to have a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament after the season.

The 27-year-old reliever, who missed time this season due to forearm inflammation, gave up 11 earned runs in 17.1 innings over 10 games for a 5.19 ERA. He had 16 strikeouts and 10 walks.

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