Last Friday marked the first-ever MLB broadcasts on Apple TV. Apple paid the league $85 million for the rights to exclusively broadcast games on Friday night. And exclusively means just that. No RSNs, no MLB.TV. These games can only be found on Apple TV.
That means there will be a lot of scrutiny on the product. Especially this year, given it is the first time Apple has ever broadcasted live sports over the course of a full season. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post gave many thoughts on the inaugural broadcast yesterday, and among those thoughts was a fun little sports media note: Apple wanted Bill Simmons and Mina Kimes to fill color analysts roles, but both declined. Per the NYP:
Here’s a little news nugget: Apple looked into if Bill Simmons and Mina Kimes had any interest in being in their booths, according to sources. Neither did. But it shows Apple wanted to go outside the batter’s box for its third voice.
For clarification, Apple didn't want Simmons and Kimes in the booth together. The network has two three-person booths for each of the two games they want to broadcast each Friday and therefore four color analyst roles to fill. They presumably wanted Simmons or Kimes to fill the same role Katie Nolan ended up getting. As amusing a Simmons-Kimes booth would've been.
It's still a bit funny how Apple decided to go after the author of "The Big Book of Basketball" and one of the main stars of NFL Live to do baseball commentary. Both Kimes and Simmons are baseball fans, but they're just that-- fans. They'd be great on regional broadcasts, but a nationally-televised affair? Not so much.
Probably for the best this didn't work out. But man, what content we could've enjoyed if it did.