As it always does, MLB rolled out the red carpet for Mother’s Day, outfitting players in pink hats, wristbands, gloves and bats, among other accessories. ESPN’s broadcast of Sunday Night Baseball similarly leaned into its Mother’s Day theme with an elaborate graphics package and heartfelt pregame segments involving Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar and Red Sox manager Alex Cora, connecting them with their mothers over Zoom.
This Mother's Day surprise ?
?: ESPN pic.twitter.com/i5PTSq3Lj0
— ESPN (@espn) May 14, 2023
It was all going great until the third inning, when veteran play-by-play voice Karl Ravech conducted a live interview with Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas. Ravech got surprisingly personal during their chat, asking Casas about his mother, who died when he was nine.
"I know your mom passed away when you were young, what does Mother's Day mean to you and your brother?" – Karl Ravech question to Triston Casas while playing first base on Sunday Night Baseball. pic.twitter.com/5HEwa5dVhw
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 15, 2023
To his credit, the Red Sox rookie gave an honest and respectful answer, citing his mother’s passing as a formative experience, one that inspired him to pursue his big-league dreams.
“What happened to me was unfortunate, but I have so many mother figures in my life. Whether they have my last name or whether they don’t, I have so much support from everybody in and around my circle. I don’t even feel like I missed out on anything,” said Casas, who got off to a slow start but is rounding into form, batting .345 with two homers and six RBI over 29 at-bats this month. “I know she’s watching me every day. Smiling, proud of me. But, I think, for the most part, I’ve been alright.”
Many felt Ravech overstepped with his intrusive line of questioning, drudging up a painful memory from Casas’ past. Of course, proper context is needed, with Casas’ thoughtful response suggesting the question, however indelicate, may have been agreed upon beforehand.
I’d like to give Ravech the benefit of the doubt and assume he ran this by Casas, but this is a brutal question to ask while a guy is trying to play first base.
What do you think Mother’s Day means for someone who lost their mother?pic.twitter.com/w4r5VDNA5u
— Aram Leighton (@AramLeighton8) May 15, 2023
ESPN, I'm not sure I'd ask this question DURING the game.pic.twitter.com/lypJgM8V10
— Thomas Carrieri (@Thomas_Carrieri) May 15, 2023
Karl Ravech last night… yikes ? https://t.co/B0S6nu9qiV
— The Game Day MLB (@TheGameDayMLB) May 15, 2023
Fire Karl Ravech and cancel in game interviews with players immediately https://t.co/0B0XkFj4Qf
— not kyle (@Yank33Clipp3r) May 15, 2023
Either way, it was a tough night all around for the worldwide leader with ESPN garnering well-deserved criticism for relegating a Stanley Cup playoff game between the Vegas Golden Knights and Edmonton Oilers to afterthought status by burying it on ESPN2, staying with its baseball feed even with St. Louis holding a commanding 9-1 lead in the ninth inning.