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Pitchers turned broadcasters John Smoltz and Al Leiter have been thrown a curveball by the MLB Network. Because both Smoltz and Leiter have made the decision not to get a COVID-19 vaccination, the MLB Network has banned both from entering their studios. The former pitchers will still appear on MLB Network broadcasts, though they’ll be required to do so remotely.
NEWS: John Smoltz & Al Leiter will not appear in-studio for MLBN after refusing to receive COVID-19 vaccine, The Post has learned.https://t.co/mFuEMAh7Qf
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) September 1, 2021
Per a report from the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand: “MLBN has made it mandatory for all employees to be vaccinated, with the mandate going into effect Sept. 1. MLBN executives, Smoltz and Leiter made a compromise to keep them on-the-air, but not in the Secaucus studios. They will both appear remotely for the shows.”
Complicating matters, Marchand reported that even though MLB Network has made the curious decision to prevent Smoltz from entering the building, he’ll still work on-site for Fox’s divisional playoffs. With Fox airing this year’s World Series, things should get interesting as we head towards October baseball. Smoltz has worked as a color commentator for Fox Sports’ MLB coverage since 2014.
Upon retiring, Leiter turned to broadcasting, bouncing between numerous networks as a color commentator and analyst. He also currently works as a Mets advisor. Now that’s a team that could use a shot in the arm.