ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball KayRod Cast combines the baseball resumes of three-time MVP and former World Series champion Alex Rodriguez and the familiar iconic voice of broadcaster Michael Kay.
The ingredients whip up the perfect balance of knowledge and entertainment that provides an extra layer to your typical baseball coverage. The second season will host eight shows of the alternate broadcast for Sunday Night Baseball with some enhancements thrown in for 2023.
Rodriguez, Kay and ESPN senior vice president of production and remote events, Mark Gross, spoke to members of the media on Tuesday, including Awful Announcing to detail the upcoming casts.
For starters, some of the rule changes implemented in Major League Baseball will impact the shows.
It’s possible the guest interviews will be on for a more limited time due to the new pitch clock.
“So, you know, we’re going to have to adjust on the fly,” Kay said. “If the guest is great, we’ll just keep he or she a little bit longer, but it could have an impact for sure.”
Last season, the show had a total of 36 guests which included Barry Bonds, David Ortiz, Roger Clemens, Billy Crystal, and Matthew Broderick — just to name a few.
Both of the hosts admitted they’re very much embracing the new changes. Rodriguez said that even though the new rules weren’t used in the World Baseball Classic, it’s the feel he anticipates in 2023.
“The quality of baseball was magnificent,” Rodriguez said. “Even though we didn’t adapt to these rules to the WBC, we got the pace and the times were actually shorter, and it seemed a lot more like ’90s baseball, and it was fun to watch. It was fun to commentate. There was just a lot of action.”
“I do like the changes, and I think the pace is going to be both better to watch and to announce,” he added.
Gross said viewers will be able to see the pitch clock throughout the shows and possibly some form of access to the replay room. Another new addition that could be used during Sunday Night Baseball, which has been successful during the College World Series, is the umpire cam.
While many other sports have shown success during conducive broadcasts like this, baseball is the best sport to do so. Especially as the game is constantly changing.
“You know, after we did the first two last year,” Kay said. “I got a call from a really — I’m not going to say his name — from a really high-placed person in the baseball world who said that’s the future of baseball broadcasts right there. ‘What you guys are doing because before the pitch clock and things like that, the game did move really, really slow.'”
The essence of it all is no different than if someone were to be watching the game, talking amongst their buddies. That shows between Rodriguez and Kay who have had a longstanding relationship. They’ve both embraced the way media coverage has changed the game.
“I know Michael Kay, Kevin, the Joel Shermans of the world, Jack Curry going back to my early days in Seattle, going back to the mid-’90s when I was just a child at 18 years old, I would say that back then it was a little bit more of a camaraderie,” Rodriguez said. “You could actually go to a bar and have drinks with reporters, believe it or not, and everything was pretty much off the record.”
“What I appreciate about guys like Joel Sherman, Bob, Jack Curry, all the people that I mentioned, they’re going to call it straight as an arrow,” Rodriguez continued. “Every once in a while they’re going to give you the benefit of the doubt because there is a human relationship, but they are not going to cover for you, and they shouldn’t cover for you because it’s not their job.”
The entirety of the broadcast is just as authentic as these two present themselves. Both are prepared for the pace the new rules will bring the broadcasts, and believe it won’t change how they present it.
KayRod Cast will begin its season on Saturday, April 2 when the Texas Rangers host the Philadelphia Phillies at 7 p.m. ET. The duo also will be taking the show internationally for the London Series 2023 when the Chicago Cubs take on the St. Louis Cardinals in late June.