A conflict of interests?

A Yankees fan friend of mine said something the other day about TV commentators that absolutely cracked me up. I’m curious to know if anyone else agrees with her opinion.

My friend was talking about a discussion between John Kruk and Bobby Valentine on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, in which they were making their predictions on who would win the World Series. Kruk said the Phillies would win, while Valentine predicted that the Yankees would win. My friend then stated that ESPN should not allow Kruk to comment on the World Series because “he played for one of the teams in contention.” She said that it is a “conflict of interests.”

Huh? Players who used to play for teams currently involved in the World Series should not be allowed to comment on the series? Seriously? If that’s the case, then ESPN should also not alow Orestes Destrade, Buck Showalter, and Dave Winfield (all former Yankees) to comment on the World Series this year. And MLB Network should not allow former Yankees Al Leiter and Tony Clark, and former Phillies Dan Plesac and Mitch Williams to comment on the World Series either. After all, there might be a “conflict of interests” for those guys too. Oh, and while we’re trying to prevent a so-called conflict of interests, ESPN should prohibit former Yankees beat writer Buster Olney and former Phillies beat writer and Jayson Stark from commenting on this World Series as well. Similarly, MLB Network shouldn’t allow Jon Heyman (former Yankees beat writer), Matt Yallof (who used to work at Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia), and Tom Verducci (co-author of The Yankee Years) to comment on the World Series.

I suppose MLB Network’s Jim Kaat would get a pass and be allowed to comment on this season’s World Series, since he played for both the Yankees and the Phillies. Ditto for Fox’s Tim McCarver. He played for the Phillies and was a Phillies broadcaster, but I’ve been told that he used to be a Yankees broadcaster too. So I guess Fox should continue to allow him to do commentary for the World Series. Or maybe they should both be banned from 2009 World Series commentary, just like the other gentlemen I mentioned above?

What do you think? Should former players be prohibited by national networks (i.e., ESPN, Fox and/or MLB Network) from commenting on the World Series if their former team is currently playing in it? Do you think it’s a conflict of interests if these players offer their thoughts about the World Series? Or…do you think that some fans should stop being paranoid just and let these guys just do their jobs?

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5 comments

  1. Saundra

    Considering the profession, I think that this is one of those “exceptions” where it’s not really a conflict of interest, per se. If they can be professional about it, I think who better than a former player to be on the national networks. Besides that, they bring some authenticity to the table as well. JMHO.
    –Saundra
    http://enjoyingtheballgame.mlblogs.com

  2. phillies_phollowers

    That compaint is ridiculous…I love hearing what former players have to say. They understand the game, understand the player mentality and most times, have access to players that other media may not. They are a great source of info. And it is better than Joe Buck who doesn’t even like baseball and thinks, in his words, that it is sometimes “boring.” THAT is a guy that should not be broadcasting baseball…give me my Mitchy-Poo, Kruker and Ricky Bo anyday!

    Jenn
    http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

  3. diamonddiva

    I agree with all of you. I enjoy the insight that former players can provide. Mind you, in my friend’s defense, I must say that the segment she described with Kruk and Valentine involved Kruk making a tactless crack about no MLB club hiring Valentine, which had nothing to do with the World Series. Frankly, I can’t stand John Kruk, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with his former team…I just think he’s a moron.
    And Jenn, speaking of morons — don’t even get me started on Joe Buck!!

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