Fans tuning in to ESPN2 at 4:30 on Monday had something unexpected on their television screens – Baseball Tonight All-Access. The pregame show was announced with relatively short notice, but was put together pretty well. Adnan Virk, Eduardo Perez, and Aaron Boone had a desk on the field, and Tim Kurkjian served in his usual role as a roving reporter.

The All-Access idea largely worked, though I can see where some fans would think it’s a little much. During the show, ESPN showed live shots of batting practice (with heat maps overlaid on top of the strike zone…nice touch), had Kurkjian do various reports and interview players, and featured analysis from Perez and Boone. It made a relatively pedestrian Monday night game between the Red Sox and Rangers feel special, which is something baseball can use with the plethora of national TV games they have with their new television deal.

There’s no All-Access on the schedule next week, when Monday Night Baseball travels to Philadelphia for the Braves-Phillies contest. And really, it probably only took place this week because ESPN’s game was in Boston, a relatively short jaunt from the Bristol studios. Is this something that ESPN should consider doing more often?

My initial reaction is yes – ESPN isn’t exactly depriving their viewers of prime content at the time this took place, unless you’re a big fan of reruns of Around the Horn, PTI, and an endless barrage of studio shows like ESPN FC and College Football Live. While you could say that this emphasis on one game is overkill, I’m a fan of it – why not try to make national games special instead of the same run of the mill stuff you see every week? Fox doesn’t start their Saturday games cold, and ESPN doesn’t use SportsCenter to lead-in to Sunday Night Baseball – there’s a pregame show. Why shouldn’t ESPN do the same thing for their Monday and Wednesday games too?


About Joe Lucia

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