Prior to their weekly Saturday MLB broadcasts, FOX will air a half hour long pregame show, aptly titled the “Fox Saturday Baseball Pregame Show.” The show will be taped at the MLB Network studios in New Jersey (as opposed to on-site at the stadium), and the host of the show will be MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian. He’ll be joined by a rotating panel of analysts, most of whom are excellent. The show will air on FOX prior to the games, but not on MLB Network.
FOX has dabbled in pregame shows before their MLB Saturday broadcasts for years, with one hosted by Jeanne Zelasko and Kevin Kennedy ending in 2008. That show was taped at FOX’s studios in Los Angeles. Chris Rose also was the “host” of FOX’s Saturday baseball broadcasts for the last three seasons, but it was a less formal pregame show and more of just an introduction to the game. Rose is also an MLB Network employee.
Vasgersian had occasionally served as a commentator on some of FOX’s Saturday games, and it looks like he won’t be in that role in 2012 with the annoucement of the new pregame show. He has a lot of experience doing play by play, a position he held with the Brewers and Padres during his career, and is now mainly a studio host on MLB Network, though he usually is the play by play man for the network’s Thursday game. I don’t think FOX really could have picked a better person to host this show, as Vasgersian is one of the more likable studio personalities going in baseball today.
I’m a little irritated at the partnership between FOX and MLB Network though, because unlike with the Big Ten Network, FOX doesn’t own any of MLB Network. It obviously makes sense for MLB Network to partner up with FOX, who airs the league’s playoff games, but this also seems like a tacit approval of FOX’s Saturday programming and the draconian blackout rules that come with it. It seems weird for MLB Network to film this pregame show, preview all the games, then kick it over to your local game with no way of watching the other games airing at the same time. I’d have much less of a problem with this if MLB Tonight was extended to begin at the start of FOX telecast (almost like kicking over from FOX to MLB Network to keep seeing Vasgersian and crew), so we could at least stay up to date on the other games going on at the same time. This would be especially useful during the night-time extended blackouts FOX is experimenting with in the late spring and summer.
[h/t: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]