Mornings are the final frontier for sports networks. Just a handful program the block between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. ET, i.e., ESPN2 with its ESPN Radio simulcast of Mike and Mike, Golf Channel with Morning Drive and NFL Network with NFL AM. Other networks either run repeats of their late night highlight shows or as in the case of NBCSN, run a fitness series called Radius.

Well, MLB Network which airs a live morning show, Hot Stove, during the offseason has decided to start airing one in-season. TheWrap reports that it will be called “MLB Central” and feature two personalities who were on Hot Stove, Matt Vasgersian and Lauren Shehadi. Unlike Hot Stove which had Harold Reynolds as the co-host, former infielder Mark DeRosa will be Vasgersian’s co-host.

TheWrap says the show will three hours and be produced from new studios at the MLB Network complex in Secaucus, NJ.

In addition to originating from a new studio, the show’s format will be a combination of morning TV and Pregame show:

“MLB Central” will air live each weekday morning, with updates and context on the latest news, on-field highlights, and long-form conversations with guests, celebrities, and insiders from around the league.

Each show will begin with “The Wake-Up Call,” a look at the biggest highlights and news stories in the game. DeRosa will give his opinion on the latest on-field performances in “The D-Train,” and the show’s analysts will offer their daily take on the hottest players and best moves in the world of fantasy baseball. Towards the end of the 180-minute block, as the 1 p.m. ET baseball games ready their first pitch, “MLB Central” will shift into pregame mode.

This certainly is better than having “Quick Pitch” repeated throughout the morning and this is most likely the better in-season vehicle for Vasgersian who can be irreverent and even a loose cannon at times.

We’ll see if MLB Central will lead to more live sports morning shows or if it will just be a big fish in a little pond. Time will tell.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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