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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Jimmy Traina

Fox Sports Has Only Itself to Blame for Amy Schneider First Pitch Controversy

1. During Saturday’s Dodgers-Giants game that aired regionally on Fox, the network showed a first pitch thrown out by Nascar driver Kurt Busch.

However, Busch threw out the first pitch before Thursday’s Giants’ game. Amy Schneider, known for a memorable 40-game winning streak on Jeopardy!, threw out the first pitch on Saturday, which was Pride Day at Oracle Park.

People assumed Fox swapped out Schneider’s first pitch for Busch’s first pitch because Schneider is transgender.

Giants broadcaster Duane Kiper brought attention to this story when he called out Fox for the first-pitch swap while calling Sunday’s game.

“Want to make a correction from what I watched yesterday on the Fox broadcast. The broadcast implied that Kurt Busch threw out the first pitch yesterday, which was not true. Kurt Busch threw out the first pitch on Thursday. It was Amy Schneider from Jeopardy! fame who threw out the first pitch on Pride Day yesterday. I just wanted to make sure she got her due.”

So, did Fox intentionally refuse to show Schneider’s first pitch? The network said no in a statement.

“On Saturday, as part of a promotional package for the weekend’s NASCAR race in northern California, we aired a taped first pitch of famed NASCAR driver Kurt Busch. This promotion was in no way meant to overshadow the ceremonial first pitch for the game as it is not routine for us to air.”

While it’s perfectly understandable not to give Fox the benefit of the doubt, this does seem to be a case of very sloppy production more than a nefarious plot.

The airing of Busch’s first pitch immediately went into a promo for a race that Fox was airing on Sunday.

Whether the blame falls on a producer or play-by-play man Adam Amin, it absolutely came across that Fox was trying to trick people into thinking Busch threw out the first pitch on Saturday.

“Kurt Busch threw out the first pitch,” said Amin. “Of course, we’ve got the NASCAR race tomorrow coming up from Sonoma. You’ll see that on the Fox networks, 2 eastern on FS1.”

That’s brutal. It’s beyond brutal. There is no way for any viewer to interpret that other than, Busch threw out the first pitch on Saturday. Whether Fox intentionally tried to fool people into thinking Busch threw out the pitch on Saturday or whether it was just careless production, I don’t know.

But if I were Amin and I read the promo how it was written, I’d be livid. And if I were a producer who intended for the promo to go differently and then Amin winged it, I’d be livid. This was such an avoidable controversy, but someone didn’t think enough to make it clear that the video footage was from Thursday and not Saturday, so now Fox has had to deal with backlash for several days.

However, it doesn’t seem like Fox concocted a plan to snub Schneider. If the network wanted to do that, they could’ve done so without airing Busch’s first pitch. Networks, outside of the World Series and maybe some other playoff games, never show first pitches, unless they go horribly wrong.

While Fox may not have intentionally ignored Schneider, it’s hard to have sympathy for them getting bashed.

It was terrible optics for Fox to show Busch’s first pitch on the day Schneider threw out the first pitch. It was also insulting to viewers to present Busch’s first pitch as if it was from that day. Just dreadful execution all around.

2. Joe Burrow is already a superstar. He's just 25 years old and he's only going to get better. He could easily take a pass on speaking out about gun control. However, he did just the opposite at a press conference on Tuesday. Props to him.

3. The New York Post reports that Shaq was feeling very generous Sunday night when he was dining in a New York City restaurant. Apparently, O'Neal picked up the check for every table while he was there and also took care of the servers. From Page Six:

"We’re told the bill amounted to 'well over $25,000' in checks. O’Neal was also 'extremely generous' to Jue Lan’s staff. 'He left them the biggest tip they’ve ever received,' the source said."

4. The Joc-Pederson-Tom Pham fantasy football kerfuffle continues. Giants players showed their support for Pederson on Tuesday by wearing T-shirts that read, "Stashing Players on The IR Isn't Cheating." This caught the attention of Pham, who didn't seem amused.

5. If you need a little pick-me-up today, this will do the trick.

View the original article to see embedded media.

6. This week’s SI Media Podcast features a conversation on the latest sports media news with The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis. Among the topics covered:

  • What went wrong between Drew Brees and NBC
  • Is a mainstream NFL outlet ready to take a chance on Pat McAfee?
  • ABC/ESPN’s NBA Finals studio show
  • Is LeBron getting a podcast?
  • Overuse of “breaking news” banners on TV

Following the conversation with Curtis, Sal Licata from WFAN/SNY in New York joins me our weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week, we do a deep dive into Kevin Durant’s response to Sal on Twitter and saying that sports talk radio “makes him nauseous.”

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on AppleSpotify and Google.

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