ESPN Baseball Tonight has aired live from a variety of places over the years – in the studio, outside of ballparks, inside of ballparks, from Spring Training… they’ve broadcast a show from nearly every avenue you could think of. Well, add another location to the list – a Hollywood movie premiere.

Next Tuesday, May 6th, Baseball Tonight is going to tap into its Disney connections and broadcast live from the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles during the premiere of the Disney-produced film Million Dollar Arm starring Jon Hamm and Bill Paxton. Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, and Tim Kurkjian will be on Tuesday’s episode, which features interviews with Hamm, Paxton, and other members of the film’s cast. Ravech and Larkin, along with fellow ESPNers Curt Schilling and Steve Levy, make cameo appearances in the film.

You really can’t fault anyone for this – it’s a Disney film, Bill Simmons is an executive producer, and it simply makes sense for ESPN to give some promotion to the film.  I actually can see some blowback comes towards ESPN for this though. There’s a full slate of games on Tuesday night, including some pretty solid matchups (Cardinals-Braves, Dodgers-Nationals, Yankees-Angels), and fans who just want to see highlights and analysis may be more than a little frustrated that they’re getting what is essentially an hour-long commercial for a movie shoved down their throats.

I don’t think this is broadcast is necessarily going to go over *poorly*, but it may not be all that well received. For as much as ESPN has improved Baseball Tonight over the past couple of seasons, constantly rotating analysts with different backgrounds and viewpoints, this seems like a step to placate Disney corporate synergy – at least it’s just for one night.

[Hollywood Reporter]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.