Who thought dark days were behind him
own since it last hosted in 1990. Toronto’s Rogers Centre, which last hosted in 1991, is also undergoing massive new upgrades, and Baltimore’s Camden Yards remains one of baseball’s most beautiful parks even 30 years after it first hosted in 1993.
Needless to say the Red Sox have some tough competition, but whether in 2025 or after Fenway Park should be well positioned to host its fourth All-Star Game at some point before the end of the decade.
Bally Sports forfeits Padres broadcast rights
The San Diego Padres have several of the most exciting stars in baseball, among them Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Xander Bogaerts.
What they no longer have, however, is a local broadcast partner.
Diamond Sports Group, a Sinclair subsidiary which operates a family of regional sports networks under the Bally Sports brand, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in March and thrust the 14 MLB clubs whose games it broadcasts into a state of uncertainty. Diamond has continued broadcasting its partner clubs’ games while the bankruptcy proceedings play out, but recently the company missed a rights payment to the Padres, giving it until the end of a two-week grace period to pay or the Padres broadcast rights would revert back to the team.
That deadline passed on Tuesday, forcing MLB and the Padres to begin producing and distributing their games themselves.
“We have been preparing for this groundbreaking moment,” Padres CEO Erik Greupner said in a press release following the announcement. “The Padres are excited to be the first team to partner with Major League Baseball to offer a direct-toconsumer streaming option through MLB.TV without blackouts while preserving our in-market distribution through traditional cable and satellite television providers. Our fans will now have unprecedented access to Padres games through both digital and traditional platforms throughout San Diego and beyond.”
Though MLB and the Padres have enacted contingency plans to ensure games are still widely available — and fans may not notice dramatic changes other than a different channel number given that broadcasters Don Orsillo, Mark Grant and Bob Scanlan are all employed by the team, not Bally Sports — this is still a dramatic and unprecedented development, especially for such a high-profile team in the middle of its season. So, what happens now? In the short term the Padres shouldn’t experience catastrophic financial losses. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said at a hearing Wednesday that the league will backstop the club and any others who find themselves in a similar situation up to 80% of whatever rights fees they were due.
That will only be the case for this year, however, and it’s not clear how MLB is going to make up the difference in rights fees over the longhaul given the same changing market realities that have made regional sports networks less profitable and contributed to Diamond declaring bankruptcy in the first place.
What is clear, this is only the beginning, and while the Padres are the first club to confront the upcoming broadcast upheaval head-on, they likely won’t be the last.
Eovaldi, Wacha named Pitchers of the Month
In news that no doubt raised eyebrows across New England, MLB announced this week that former Red Sox starters Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Wacha have been named AL and NL Pitchers of the Month, respectively.
Eovaldi, now with the Texas Rangers, went 4-0 with a 0.96 ERA and one
complete game across five starts in May. Over 37.2 innings he allowed four earned runs while holding opposing batters to a .178 average, and at one point he strung together 29.2 consecutive scoreless innings.
Wacha, meanwhile, went 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in five starts with the San Diego Padres. He allowed three runs over 32 innings and led the majors in ERA, WHIP (0.72), opposing batting average (.147) and opposing OPS (.405) for the month.
Both pitchers spent last season with Boston and left the Red Sox in free agency over the offseason after signing multi-year deals with their new clubs. The Red Sox instead signed Corey Kluber, who was recently removed
from the starting rotation due to poor performance.
Keegan dominating first year of pro ball
Ex-Central Catholic star Dom Keegan is having a monster start to his first full year of pro ball. Entering the weekend he was leading the Carolina League with a .341 average while ranking top three in on-base percentage (.427) and slugging percentage (.522), and he’s also hit four home runs with 25 RBI in 41 games with the Charleston RiverDogs (Tampa Bay, Low-A). The Methuen native, a fourth-round pick out of Vanderbilt last summer, also leads all catchers, both in the majors and minors, with four triples on the year.