Other than Andrew Miller and Javy Baez, the biggest revelation of these MLB playoffs has been Alex Rodriguez. In a reversal of the way it usually goes, when we love an athlete until he gets in the broadcast booth, a hated player has become a beloved broadcaster right before our eyes.

A-Rod, who has appeared throughout the postseason on FS1’s pre- and post-game studio show, is smart, handsome and surprisingly funny, but what makes him really exceptional is his preparedness and knowledge of baseball. He has always been known as a baseball nerd, as exemplified in the oft-repeated story about when he went over to Derek Jeter’s house as a young player and was shocked there was no baseball package on the television.

So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that, per SI.com’s Richard Deitsch, A-Rod is sending his FS1 producers late-night emails about the just-completed show.

“He’ll email me at midnight sometimes and say something like, ‘You know what? I re-watched [Cubs first baseman] Anthony Rizzo’s at-bat and here’s what I’m thinking as a demo,’” said [Fox Sports vice president of production Bardia] Shah-Rais. “He’s vested into owning the content. He loves baseball. He is a true baseball nerd.”

Shah-Rais also said he has been pleased with the analyst trio of Rodriguez, Pete Rose and Frank Thomas. Given Rose’s eccentricity and the chemistry between The Hit King and A-Rod, he said, the show has worked best with less structure than a typical studio show.

Then the producer offered some more nerdy A-Rod facts:

“I think he gets a certain fix doing this,” Shah-Rais said. “Only Alex can answer if he wants to do this full time but I can say after getting to know him over the past two years is that this is not a hobby for him. It’s not a parachute in. He’s invested. If we have a noon meeting, he’s there at 11:30 a.m. He’s emailing story ideas in the morning. He wants research. He’s almost all-in to the point where it’s annoying. I tell him sometimes to trust himself and not worry so much about all his notes. Alex is probably over-prepared and Pete makes fun of the fact that Alex has a binder of notes where Pete just comes in and says whatever. Sometimes Pete will bring up a B-Block discussion in the A-Block and we just have to go with it.”

Arriving early for meetings, emailing story ideas, preparing copious notes. It turns out A-Rod is the ultimate try-hard.

But honestly, A-Rod’s hyper-preparedness alongside Rose’s wackiness is producing some amazing shows. So keep those emails coming during the World Series, A-Rod.



About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

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