ESPN Ripped For Prioritizing MLB Blowout Over Stanley Cup Playoff Elimination Game

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Major League Baseball teams play 162 games over the course of the regular season, and while every contest may count,  a Sunday night showdown in May typically doesn’t fit the definition of “appointment television.”

However, it’s much easier to argue that label could be applied to an elimination game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs—especially when it features one of the best players (if not the best) in the NHL.

ESPN was hoping to treat viewers to both of those options with a slate of weekend programming featuring a Sunday Night Baseball showdown between the Red Sox and Cardinals preceding Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs series between the Golden Knights and the Oilers.

That first contest kicked off at 7 P.M., and based on how the pitch clock has impacted the speed of baseball games, it wasn’t a stretch to think it would wrap up before the puck dropped in Edmonton.

Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case, as the game between St. Louis and Boston was heading into the bottom of the ninth inning when the tilt between Las Vegas and Connor McDavid and Co. officially got underway.

When you consider the Cardinals were sporting a 9-1 lead, you’d think the network would’ve simply cut away to a slightly more compelling option.

However, it opted for an awkward split-screen that gave viewers a chance to watch St. Louis reliever Chris Stratton warm up while squinting in the hopes of viewing the goal Reilly Smith posted just 24 seconds into the first period (it’s worth noting NHL fans did have the option to flip over to ESPN2).

When everything was said and done, the Oilers and the Golden Knights managed to score three goals before the split-screen was mercifully abandoned.

Based on some rumors that made the rounds, it sounds like the NHL had lobbied ESPN to prioritize the Stanley Cup Playoffs and even floated a broadcast trade with TNT but was rebuffed.

While it’s not really clear why ESPN failed to let reason prevail, what is clear is the decision to not exercise some incredibly common sense didn’t sit well with plenty of viewers.

Do better, ESPN.

Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.