ESPN sent out a press release titled, “ESPN.com Expands NFL Nation Network with Sites for All 32 NFL Teams” today, and there were a couple of local surprises. Paul Gutierrez, who was CSN Bay Area’s Oakland Raiders Insider before recently taking over the Oakland A’s beat, is now leaving CSNBA altogether to cover the Raiders for ESPN.
The 49ers beat went to Bill Williamson, who up until this point had served as ESPN’s AFC West blogger. A recap of ESPN’s “NFL Nation” reporters, including their previous affiliations, can be found here. So far they’ve only designated full-time beat reporters for 24 teams. The bottom of the release reads:
“Note: ESPN is in the process of hiring reporters in the remaining NFL markets.”
So don’t fret, Jags fans. Your time will come.
For fans of the 49ers, not much changes. All of the regular beat writers stay with their respective publications, Williamson gives the team another full-time beat guy, and Mike Sando will leave his post as the network’s NFC West bloggers to become an ESPN Insider NFL columnist (meaning you’ll need to subscribe to ESPN’s paid service to read Sando).
What about the A’s?
From what I’m hearing, CSN Bay Area won’t rush into hiring a permanent “Insider” to cover the only baseball team in the region that has a shot at making the postseason.
Casey Pratt, who left his post as A’s Insider midseason to start a new Bay Area-themed sports blog (wonder where CSN got that idea*), won’t go back to covering the A’s on a full-time basis. It appears three people — Joe Stiglich, Rael Enteen and Nate Stuhlbarg — will share A’s duties for the time being, with the possibility that Andrew Baggarly might travel with the Athletics if they reach the postseason.
When it comes to covering the 2013 Oakland Athletics, CSNBA is content to mix and match almost the same way the 2013 San Francisco Giants patch together whatever it is they call an “outfield” on a night-to-night basis. The reason probably won’t surprise anyone who follows Bay Area sports and the local media scene — the A’s analytics (translation: ratings and pageviews) aren’t high enough to make covering the team a No. 1 priority at 3rd and Harrison. Not compared to the money spent on covering the Giants, anyway.
That’s why the Giants are on CSN Bay Area while A’s games are on the other CSN station, why CSN signed Andrew Baggarly away from Bay Area News Group to replace Mychael Urban, and why the Giants have Amy Gutierrez. On that note, maybe the A’s should switch their slogan from “Green Collar Baseball” to “Gutierrez-free since August 19.”