TV Q&A: Questions answered about Pirates coverage on AT&T SportsNet

Q: Why does AT&T SportsNet not include the player’s position abbreviation after their name during the at-bat appearance? Other networks include this information. This would be a good addition considering all of the new call-ups and rotation of Pirates players. It would also be useful for identifying opposing players.

– Denny, North Huntingdon

Rob: AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh has discussed this issue internally quite a bit, and when it did its last rebranding about five years ago the decision was made to reduce on-screen clutter by prioritizing on-screen graphics and giving more of the screen back to the action.

But they’ve also heard from fans like Denny and are reevaluating that decision and talking about adding the position abbreviation back to the on-screen graphics though a final decision has not been made.

Q: Why do the Pirates have so many color analysts? They used to have three – Bob Walk, John Wehner, Steve Blass – but now seem to rotate through a lot more. Some of them are very new to broadcasting. Are they doing it this way to save money?

– Paul via email

Rob: The biggest difference between the era of three announcers and now is the number of Pirates games broadcast on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh – up from 125 a season to now more than 150 – and that’s despite just a few games going to streaming.

Blass retired after the 2019 season, necessitating the need to replenish the color analyst ranks.

Pirates announcers are technically Pirates employees and they’ve chosen to go with three additional announcers with a variety of baseball backgrounds from different time periods: Matt Capps (pitcher, 2005-12), Neil Walker (position player, 2009-20 and Kevin Young (position player, 1992-2003.

Q: How does the proposed sale of The CW to Nexstar impact the “Babylon 5” reboot The CW has had in development?

– @Kostuch on Twitter

Rob: When Nexstar bought WGN America, it dumped all the premium scripted programming, including filmed-in-Pittsburgh “Outsiders,” and replaced it first with low-cost Canadian shows. Then, it scrapped those and rebranded the network as NewsNation, including hours of news coverage in prime time.

Whether or not the future of The CW is that bleak remains to be seen, but the sale of The CW is certainly not great news for any scripted shows currently on The CW or in development for The CW.

I asked CW CEO Mark Pedowitz about the “Babylon 5” reboot specifically in a May conference call with reporters.

“It is very much in active development,” Pedowitz said at the time. “I am a huge ‘Babylon 5’ fan on a personal basis. I have seen every episode of the series. I used to get them on DVD [before episodes aired], given to me quietly by the producers. I’ve known [‘Babylon 5’ creator] Joe Straczynski for a long, long time. I would love to bring back that story in some way, shape or form. I think it’s perfect for TV. ”

As a “B5” by myself – and a one-time extra on flop spin-off series “Crusade” – it’s good to hear that vote of confidence from The CW CEO. But when companies trade hands, there are often changes in the executive ranks, so whether or not Pedowitz will even be the person ordering CW series for the 2023-24 TV season remains an open question.

The silver lining, of course, is that “Babylon 5” as a property remains owned by Warner Bros., which still needs to feed content to HBO Max so even if The CW withers away, there’s still another possible outlet for a remake.

You can reach TV writer Rob Owen at [email protected] or 412-380-8559. Follow Rob on Twitter or Facebook. Ask TV questions by email or phone. Please include your first name and location.

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