While most local Sixers fans watched the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia, those who tuned into ESPN’s broadcast just before tip-off were treated with snappy footage of Philadelphia icons such as the Rocky statue and Boathouse Row (and of course, Geno’s Steaks).
Not surprisingly, producers intended on including a shot of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Unfortunately, what ended up in the montage was a beautiful shot of the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock.
It’s easy to see how the mistake was made, considering there is a replica Liberty Bell (missing the crack) on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol building. But as eagle-eyed Sixers fans pointed out on social media, ESPN made the same exact mistake during its Dec. 20 broadcast of the Sixers’ loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
This isn’t the first time ESPN has whiffed when it comes to footage of Philadelphia. Back in 2016, the network aired outdated footage of of the city’s skyline during the broadcast of a Temple football game at Lincoln Financial Field. Earlier that year, they also used footage that included the iconic “PNB” letters atop the old Philadelphia National Bank, which had been removed two years earlier. And in 2015, ESPN showed footage during the Penn State-Temple football game that was so outdated, it didn’t include the Comcast Center, which opened in 2008.
ESPN will air tonight’s Sixers-Bulls game nationally, so keep an eye on the b-roll footage.
Jessica Mendoza didn’t do herself any favors on Thursday.
In the wake of the Astros cheating scandal, the Sunday Night Baseball analyst appeared on three popular ESPN morning shows offering a controversial take — that former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers “ratted out” his teammates by exposing the sign-stealing scheme to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich.
“To go public with it and call them out and start all of this, it’s hard to swallow,” Mendoza said on Golic and Wingo.
Many obviously disagreed with Mendoza’s take, including her ESPN colleague Keith Olbermann, who wrote on Twitter, “Mike Fiers is the sole named figure in this entire mess who has behaved honorably.”
Making the situation worse is that in addition to her role at ESPN, Mendoza is a baseball operations adviser with the New York Mets, and made the comments before Carlos Beltrán stepped down as the team’s manager due to his role in the scandal while a member of the Astros. Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen distanced the team from Mendoza, telling reporters she was “speaking as an ESPN analyst," not as a spokesperson for the Mets.
Mendoza later attempted to clarify her comments on Twitter, pointing out that “it’s very critical that this news was made public.” But she also doubled-down on her belief that Fiers was wrong to expose the cheating scandal to the media, something that didn’t impress sports reporters.
“Well, on the one hand, it’s not great for a Mets employee to say that the problem was the whistle-blowing,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri. “But, on the other hand, it’s not great for a media member to say that the problem was the whistle-blowing.”
• Many viewers might not be aware that Fox NFL Sunday co-host Curt Menefee, who succeeded James Brown in 2006, once served as an NFL play-by-play announcer for Fox. As part of the network’s lower-tiered crews, Menefee often called the network’s fourth or fifth game, for which he devised a perfect nickname.
“I was doing a lot of what I call ‘milk’ games. Two percent of the country was seeing it," Menefee said during an appearance on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast.
The entire interview with Jimmy Traina is worth a listen, and includes Menefee talking about how he ended up on Fox NFL Sunday and the time early in his run he upset Terry Bradshaw with a joke about all his divorces (he’s been married four times).
• A 94.1 WIP caller named Chris had the perfect sports talk response to the Astros cheating scandal Thursday, drawing a parallel to World War II to offer a pro-Astros take to hosts Jon Marks and Ike Reese.
“We would all be speaking Japanese and German today if we didn’t steal the signs from the Japanese and the Germans!” Chris said, adding that it’s American to get an edge on your opponent and other teams were “stupid” not to change their signs. [h/t to Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck]
• Speaking of WIP, the station finally moved into its new home at 2400 Market St. Thursday, with Marks and Reese broadcasting the first show from the new studio.
Entercom, WIP’s parent company, relocated its corporate headquarters to a refurbished and modernized building on the Schuylkill riverfront, which is also now home to just about all of WIP’s sister stations, including 98.1 WOGL and 1210 WPHT.