ESPN’s made it clear that its 25th season of broadcasting Major League Baseball won’t be spent looking backwards, for the most part. They’ve been consistently trying out new things with their baseball coverage this season. From taking the studio show on the road again, to inviting celebrities in the booth, to continuing their practice of putting analysts in different spots in the ballpark.
The Worldwide Leader will take that latter notion to the extreme with this Sunday’s broadcast of Pirates/Dodgers. The lead broadcast team of Dan Shulman and John Kruk will get the night off, but seemingly no one else in ESPN’s MLB department will. Seven different people will be heard across the network’s broadcast.
First of all, Karl Ravech and Barry Larkin will have the call of the game, and mainly anchor Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown prior to the 8 p.m. ET start. Then there are four other analysts, and a reporter. Buster Olney will contribute news from the Dodger Stadium press box, while Eric Wedge (behind home plate), Mark Mulder (Pirates’ dugout), Aaron Boone (Dodgers’ dugout) and Doug Glanville (right field pavilion) will all contribute analysis on different facets of the game from different parts of the ballpark.
“We are committed to expanding our Major League Baseball coverage by finding new methods of informing and entertaining fans,” said ESPN VP of production Mike McQuade in a press release. ”
We’ll look to bring viewers closer to the game through the vantage points of our Baseball Tonight experts, who will be strategically placed in positions where they can capture all of the storylines happening during a baseball game.”
Will it work? There will certainly be some stumbles in this first attempt. But in a world where everything is intensely specialized within sports, why not give this a shot? You’ll have to see why not (or why yes) on Sunday, I suppose.