Roy Wood Jr. rehearses for the All-MLB Show. Roy Wood Jr. rehearses for the All-MLB Show. (MLB Network.)

Last year, the announcement of the All-MLB Teams came just in a Winter Meetings announcement. This year, the All-MLB Team Show will be a live broadcast on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, from the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. And that broadcast will feature comedian Roy Wood Jr. as host. Here’s more on that from a MLBN release:

Renowned comedian and diehard baseball fan Roy Wood Jr. will host Saturday’s special program alongside a group of All-MLB electees, Hall of Famer Fred McGriff and MLB Network broadcasters Greg Amsinger, Mark DeRosa, Harold Reynolds and Lauren Shehadi, as the selections for the All-MLB Teams and Hank Aaron Award are revealed to the world.

Wood Jr., who most recently served for eight years as a Daily Show correspondent says of hosting the program, “A night celebrating the best in the game, hosted by a man who can’t hit a pitch over 50 mph. It’s an honor to prove my high school coach wrong, I actually DID make it to the majors…in December.”

Interspersed throughout the program, which will also stream on MLB.com, MLB.TV and in the MLB app, will be entertainment by the mesmerizing and iconic Blue Man Group and Vegas native and music sensation DJ Joe Green. Special appearances will also be made by former MLB All-Stars Bartolo Colón and Andre Ethier.

Reynolds, a two-time MLB All-Star says of the program, “This will be a night unlike any other that Major League Baseball and its fans have experienced. Getting the stars together to celebrate the great year baseball has had, while having a few laughs along the way thanks to Roy, is something we’re all excited about.”

Ahead of Saturday’s event, Wood spoke to CBS Sports’ Matt Snyder, and said there are particular challenges in doing a set for an in-person audience of athletes:

“Professional athletes, in my opinion, are one of the toughest audiences in entertainment,” he said. “Even more so than a room full of politicians. What athletes do is so difficult. For someone to come in and make a joke about it and them feel comfortable to laugh about it, they have to respect you. No. 1 as a comedian, I am not their peer. You’re more likely to get laughs if people feel like they’re your peer.”

…”When I walk on that stage, the room is going to give me ample space to be myself and be funny, but don’t come in here and disrespect what we’re doing, because this is a family and we’re just not letting you in,” he said. “For a non-athlete to perform for athletes, you treat it the same as meeting a woman’s father for the first time. It’s that type of energy, so I need to be charming and by the end of dinner, you’ll like me and we’ll be fine.”

That’s an interesting perspective from Wood, and it illustrates some of the challenges we’ve sometimes seen come up with jokes about sports for a sports audience in the past (including at the ESPYs). And it seems like he has the right idea on how to approach this; there will be plenty of jokes (he also told Snyder this will be a set “specific to just baseball,” and “the Baseball Gods give you a gift of Shohei Ohtani’s jillion bajillion dollar contract the week before the show. So we got some things to talk about!”), but it will be stuff that the athletes involved can relate to, not mockery of them.

At any rate, it’s certainly notable to see MLBN making the All-MLB Teams announcement a broadcast special. And it fits with their increased focus on televising MLB awards over the last several years, something definitely seen this year:

We’ll see how this broadcast turns out for them, and if the All-MLB Teams selection becomes a regular broadcast pick going forward.

[CBS Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.