Baseball executives told ESPN that it couldn't telecast from AT&T Park in San Francisco where the game is being held, meaning that coverage of the 78th All Star Game will be done at ESPN's headquarters in Bristol, Conn., rather than having "Baseball Tonight" and a portion of "SportsCenter" originate from the West Coast.
The brouhaha started late Sunday afternoon when MLB had unveiled the All-Star selections in an hourlong show that was scheduled by contract to be exclusive to new rights-holder Turner Broadcasting. Other media, including ESPN, were prevented from disclosing the names until after the Turner show. Sources familiar with the situation said that ESPN had asked for permission to do a special All-Star selection show but was told that as in the past when it was ESPN's under the rights deal this was an exclusive.
Turner originally planned to do the show between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET, following the Atlanta Braves-Florida Marlins telecast. But the Braves game was delayed 85 minutes by rain and then went into extra innings so that the All-Star telecast started two hours later at 6 p.m.
Sources said ESPN had scheduled a selection show between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. but, having no names, filled it with other baseball issues like Barry Bonds' effort to break the career home run record. But after 6 p.m., ESPN's "SportsCenter" announced the names of the National and American League All-Stars a few minutes after they were announced on Turner.