Get ready to see plenty of Alex Rodriguez's living room.
A day after floating the possibility of ESPN giving Alex Rodriguez his own broadcast in the same vein as the Manning brother' successful "Monday Night Football" show, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post is reporting the network is moving forward with the idea, pairing the former MVP with Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay.
The show will give Rodriguez a familiar face to work with. Kay has been calling Yankees games since Rodriguez arrived in New York during his playing career.
The "Kay-Rod" duo will reportedly call 10-12 games out of ESPN's 25-week "Sunday Night Baseball" schedule. Playoff games could also be in the mix depending on how the current collective bargaining agreement negotiations go.
Normal 'Sunday Night Baseball' crew getting shaken up
Play-by-play man Matt Vasgersian is already out of "Sunday Night Baseball," so we now figure to see an entirely new booth in 2022 with Rodriguez doing his own thing.
Per Marchand, ESPN is turning to the in-house Eduardo Perez and YES Network's David Cone to fill the void left by Rodriguez, while "Baseball Tonight" mainstay Karl Ravech will take over the mic from Vasgersian.
The changes could extend down to the field, as longtime SNB reporter Buster Olney's role on the main telecast is also reportedly in question.
Can the success of Peyton and Eli Manning be replicated in MLB?
Given how much buzz the Manning brothers have created just by sitting in their living rooms, you can't blame ESPN for trying to find a way to replicate their success in other sports. It's not a given they'll get it with Rodriguez and Kay, though, and the reasons why are already apparent.
At its core, the Manning broadcast features two players providing a unique perspective and chemistry. Where your standard broadcast features a play-by-play man calling out action and a former player or coach reacting, the Mannings will only react and discuss among each other and with a guest.
That's where the problems could start for "Kay-Rod." In trying to reproduce something unique, ESPN turned to something that could be very familiar: Kay, a play-by-play man, speaking with Rodriguez, a former player. Maybe Kay won't do his usual job of calling out plays, but it still feels like a missed opportunity that we won't hear Rodriguez speaking with another former player, particularly a pitcher who can break down that aspect of the game.
Both Mannings have been lauded for how serious and unserious things can get, going from a full tactical breakdown to needling each other and guests with plenty of viral moments in between. Their comedic timing was already well-known before getting their show.
Can Rodriguez and Kay joke around like two brothers while also providing serious breakdowns of what's happening on the field? It seems unlikely. Rodriguez may be a big name, but his time in the "Sunday Night Baseball" booth hasn't exactly done much for his reputation as an on-field analyst or comedian.
There's also the matter of how heavy this thing will skew toward the New York Yankees, between its former Yankees player and current Yankees broadcaster. That's never been an issue before for ESPN, though.
The Manningcast chemistry was always going to be difficult to replicate because of how rare its components are in other sports. Maybe "Kay-Rod" can succeed, but it's hard to see a smooth translation here.
Source: Read Full Article