ESPN is expected to announce a deal, possibly as early as today, for Alex Rodriguez of Fox Sports to join the cast of “Sunday Night Baseball,” sources tell Sporting News.
During the regular season, A-Rod would work “Sunday Night Baseball” with Jessica Mendoza, Buster Olney and incoming hire Matt Vasgersian, who will take over as play-by-play announcer succeeding Dan Shulman. During the postseason, when Fox Sports and TBS control the TV rights, A-Rod would continue to serve as a Fox Sports baseball analyst with Kevin Burkhardt, Frank Thomas and guests such as David Ortiz and Keith Hernandez. via Sporting News
This is one of the BEST moves ESPN has made in the LAST year since getting rid of Barstool Van Talk last year. The Sunday Night Baseball crew last season was Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone, AND Jessica Mendoza. BOTH Boone and Shulman are NOT going to return to the booth in 2018, as Boone is the NEW Yankees manager and Shulman stepped down from his role.
ESPN is YET to OFFICIALLY announce the replacements for both Shulman and Boone, but all signs are pointed towards Alex Rodriguez replacing Boone in the Sunday Night Baseball booth. This is the SECOND time that A-Rod has replaced Boone as he was the third baseman for the Yankees in 2004 after Boone left that spot VACANT after the 2003 season.
I personally LOVE this hire for ESPN because I think that A-Rod is the BEST analyst in baseball right now. He has INCREDIBLE knowledge of the game and that was EVIDENT in his role as a Studio Analyst for FOX in the Postseason over the last THREE years.
A-Rod called a COUPLE of games last season for FOX and one of them was a Yankees game against the Royals and I came out IMPRESSED. He has the ability to talk about EXACTLY what the player is thinking at all times and points out things that only GREAT baseball minds can see. He is going to add a lot of FLAIR to the booth for ESPN so this was a NO-BRAINER for them to try and get some POSITIVE vibes around ESPN after having a BUNCH of controversies over the past FEW months.
A-Rod was GREAT in the studio for FOX, so I am HAPPY that he will return to that role in the Postseason, because ESPN does NOT have rights to Postseason baseball and A-Rod is so GOOD, that he deserves to be in the studio for the most MEANINGFUL games of the baseball season.
It will be INTERESTING to see who ESPN picks as the Play-by-Play announcer alongside Mendoza and A-Rod. Will they make an IN-HOUSE replacement like Jon Sciambi or they will go OUT of ESPN again by hiring someone like Matt Vasgersian, who is someone that A-Rod has worked with in the past.
The Sunday Night Baseball booth was VANILLA but GREAT for ESPN over the past few seasons, they are now making some SPLASHES by hiring the BEST available analyst and I LOVE it. Thankfully, A-Rod will benefit from FAMILIARITY as he will be calling a BUNCH of Yankee games this season, because they are going to be REALLY good and A-Rod only deals with the BEST.