Fox replaces Pete Rose, ESPN experiences technical difficulties

Pete Rose is officially out at Fox Sports.

Fox Sports announced that the former Phillies and Reds all-star has been removed from its postseason telecasts following allegations of statutory rape that became public during testimony in federal court connected to a defamation lawsuit he filed in 2016.

Fox Sports will be replacing Rose with two iconic former players: SNY analyst Keith Hernandez and former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. Both will join fellow analysts Alex Rodriguez and Frank Thomas on the network’s postseason studio coverage, hosted by Kevin Burkhardt.

“I’m thrilled to death that I’m involved in this,” Hernandez told Newsday. “I understand that this is a big deal. It’s national TV . . . But it’s not like I haven’t done something like this before. I know the game and I’ve watched the show and it’s conversational and talking about the game.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the new crew meshes together. Not only have they not had time over the season to work on their chemistry, the off-beat relationship between Rodriguez and Rose over the past two seasons was a major reason for the show’s success.

Camera icon Fox Sports
Alex Rodriguez and Pete Rose laugh on the set of Fox Sports baseball coverage.

FS1 is scheduled to air the American League Division Series, which will feature the Cleveland Indians taking on the winner of Tuesday’s wild-card matchup between the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees, which airs on ESPN. Fox will air both the American League Championship Series and the World Series.

Meanwhile, Rose has been forced into greater obscurity. After the allegations surfaced, the Phillies canceled a ceremony to induct Rose into the team’s Wall of Fame. Comedian Joe Conklin followed suit, cancelling a planned roast of the former first baseman that was set to benefit Coaches vs. Cancer.

ESPN experiences some technical difficulties

If you were one of millions of people watching ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown awaiting the start of Monday night’s game between Washington and Kansas City (Philadelphia was among the top 10 television markets for the game with a 11.6 rating), you were probably wondering what happened around 7:45 p.m.

In the middle of a discussion between host Suzy Kolber and former 49ers quarterback Steve Young about Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s playbook, the screen froze for what seemed like an eternity before quickly cutting to an Applebee’s commercial, captured by Awful Announcing’s Matt Clapp.

As ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio put it, “the four-letter network has a four-letter-word problem.”

After several minutes of commercials, NFL analyst Chris Mortensen appeared to inform viewers the network was “experiencing technical difficulties in Kansas City” before cutting back to commercials. After several more minutes of commercials, ESPN finally shifted over to its ESPNews feed, which was airing SportsCenter and featured a “technical difficulties” scroll on the network’s ticker.

So what happened? According to sources at the network, a generator went down in Kansas City, causing the crew to lose power for about five minutes. It took nearly 20 minutes for the generator to power up, and ESPN was able to jump back to Monday Night Countdown just before the game’s 8:30 p.m. kickoff.

“And here we are, back at Arrowhead Stadium,” Kolber said as the feed returned. “We do apologize for our technical issues, but especially on a day like today, I think we have a pretty good perspective on what’s bad news.”

ESPN’s snafu is reminiscent of a similar incident that struck the now-defunct XFL in 2001. During the league’s second nationally televised game between the Chicago Enforcers and the Los Angeles Xtreme, the broadcast signal went dark for 20 minutes after someone forgot to gas up the generator.

ESPN will be in Philadelphia on Oct. 23 for the Eagles’ Week 7 match-up with Washington on Monday Night Football, so hopefully they’ll have the kinks worked out by then.

Fired ESPN editor becoming a Catholic priest

Talk about a career change.

In 2012, ESPN fired editor Anthony Federico over a controversial headline attached to a story about a poor game by then New York Knicks’ point guard Jeremy Lin that read, “Chink in the armor.”

“I went to the bathroom and vomited,” Federico told the Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer, as he witnessed the level of social media rage directed at him over a headline he referred to at the time as an “honest mistake.”

Five years later, Federico has resurfaced, trading in the world of sports for a completely difference calling — preaching the gospel.

“Looking back, I think God allowed this to happen to me to put me on a path to being a priest, a path that I was avoiding,” said Federico, who has been studying at Theological College in Washington D.C. and is on the brink of becoming a Catholic priest.

“Everyone thinking of me as a bad person, an evil person — it was the worst 30 days of my life,” Federico said. “To think I could be in a place now where I’m genuinely happy with my life and excited about serving the people of God — if you told me that then, I wouldn’t have believed it. I think the thing that Jesus does best is second chances.”