It’s not often that we see controversies over an MLB premiere, especially when not many premieres are aired these days. But Fox gave us one game last Saturday by airing the Los Angeles Dodgers-San Francisco Giants game. That match was Giants Pride Day, with both teams wearing pride emblems on their shirts and caps, and Risk! Champion Amy Schneider (the first transgender Jeopardy contestant to compete in the Champions Tour) knocked out first pitch. But the first pitch shown in the MLB National on Fox’s broadcast was two days earlier from NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, which Fox had used to promote coverage of Sunday’s NASCAR race, but implied it was from the current game rather than a game two days earlier:
“Kurt Bosch threw the first pitch.” pic.twitter.com/DzolTVrLey
– return (thecomeback) June 12 2022
This sparked some controversy over whether Fox had done it intentionally to reduce Schneider and Day’s pride, as well as controversy over their decision not to tell viewers that Bush’s first show was from a different game. Interestingly enough, though, the director of that game reached out to Schneider to later apologize, and said that showing Busch’s first show rather than hers was just about their desire to promote their NASCAR coverage rather than anything to do with it. Here’s what Schneider told TMZ about it in a story published Sunday morning:
“Risk!” Champion Amy Schneider says she’s taking Fox Sports at her word, and they didn’t intentionally cut her first throw in the Giants game to celebrate Court Pride Day.
Amy tells TMZ… “They say the reason they mislead their viewers is cross-promotion, not anything to do with me, so I’ll take their word for it.” The broadcast director personally contacted her to apologize and confirm that he has nothing to do with her identity. I believed him and accepted his apology.
…Fox Sports said the video for this stadium was part of a promotional package for the upcoming NASCAR race in Northern California.
They made it clear… The intention was not to disrespect Amy, adding that first pitches are rarely broadcast on the network during games.
Fox is not wrong about that; National radio shows, like theirs, tend to show fewer premieres than local broadcasts. The first pitches aren’t usually broadcast live, so they often appear as a highlight later if the number throwing one is particularly notable (or if there isn’t much worth discussing from the game yet). And if they simply didn’t show any initial show, it wouldn’t be so controversial. For the record, this is a clip from the stadium stands delivered by Schneider:
Fox Sports refused to show Jeopardy champion Amy Schneider throwing first pitch on Pride Day while covering the Giants/Dodgers game. Schneider is a moving icon with the second longest winning streak in Jeopardy history. This is an excerpt from it:pic.twitter.com/wgopQZOak1
– Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) June 13, 2022
Even if Fox had only shown Bush’s first move and correctly identified it as coming days before, that probably wouldn’t spark much controversy. It made sense for them to show it, given that this first step was part of the promotion for the upcoming NASCAR race in Sonoma, so it fits right in the Fox’s on-air promo for their upcoming broadcast of that race. But the decision to make it look like Bosch Stadium came from Saturday’s game made it look like they were ignoring Sneijder.
Sure enough, the Fox manager reached out to Schneider personally and offered an apology. And her decision to take their word likely means we can get rid of that particular controversy. But the situation here is a good reminder for networks to be honest with viewers about what they’re showing, even if honesty makes cross-promotional attempts somewhat less natural.
[TMZ; image from Queer News Tonight on YouTube]