The hole in the Sunday Night Baseball announcing lineup caused by Terry Francona leaving to manage the Cleveland Indians has been filled by current ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst John Kruk. Kruk will join the duo of Dan Shulman and Orel Hershiser as the third man in the booth, following in the footsteps of Bobby Valentine and Francona over the past two seasons.
This has the potential to be a disaster for ESPN. I don't think Kruk's loudmouthed approach will fit in well with the soft-spoken, intelligent pairing of Shulman and Hershiser. It seems to be a poor fit chemistry-wise. Analytically speaking, the downgrade from Francona to Kruk is a meteoric shift. Kruk has limited experience calling games and his analysis isn't exactly very thoughtful or compelling when sitting behind the desk on Baseball Tonight.
Sometimes, ESPN tries too hard to reinvent the wheel (SEE: Tony Kornheiser, Monday Night Football color commentator), and this is another example of trying to fix something that isn't broke. A two-man team of Shulman and Hershiser would have been a really good pairing that could be in contention for one of the best national teams going. Perhaps I'll be wrong and Kruk will be a surprise in a new environment. But ESPN's three man booth has been a revolving door for a few years now. With this latest move, I have a hard time seeing that end anytime soon.