Wally's Opening Day Red Sox

Sports teams all over the world are starting to produce more and more internal media, from website articles and video segments to podcasts to even club TV programs (especially from European soccer teams), but the Boston Red Sox are taking this to a new level. The Red Sox announced Tuesday that they’ve become the first MLB team to produce an animated television special in their market. They’ll be airing the half-hour Wally’s Opening Day, focused on their mascot Wally The Green Monster (celebrating his 20th year with the club), on NESN on Opening Day Eve. There are plenty of notable stars involved, too. Here are some more details from the release:

As part of the club’s “Calling All Kids” initiative, an ongoing effort to connect baseball to the next generation of fans, the Red Sox today announced the creation of a special 30-minute animated show, Wally’s Opening Day, featuring the loveable mascot and a star-studded cast set to premiere on April 2, the eve of Red Sox Opening Day. April also marks the 20th anniversary of Wally’s introduction to Red Sox fans.

Wally the Green Monster springs to life in this animated special geared towards 4-8-year-old baseball fans, with humor the whole family can enjoy. It’s Wally’s job to get Fenway Park ready for Opening Day, but when he misses his ride back home from Spring Training and a freak spring snowstorm rolls in, Boston’s annual April tradition is almost cancelled. Wally realizes that relying on his team is what he needs to save the day.

Here’s a short trailer:

And some details on the cast:

The animated show is the first time that the Red Sox mascot will have a voice. The typically silent Green Monster is played by Tom Kenny, most well known as the voice of the popular kids cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants.

Wally’s Opening Day features a number of well-known stars, many with ties to the Boston area, including Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), H Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burger, Archer), Lenny Clarke (Rescue Me), Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie, Two Broke Girls), John Michael Higgins (The Break-Up), Arif Kinchen (House Party, Christmas in Compton), Kate Micucci (The Lego Batman Movie, The Big Bang Theory), Shelby Rabara (17 Again), and Sedale Threatt, Jr. (Roots).

That is quite the impressive cast, but viewers shouldn’t expect the edge of Archer or Orange is the New Black; this is aimed at 4-8 year olds, of course. Still, it could be interesting, especially for the younger demographic. And it’s certainly interesting that a MLB team is venturing into these waters.

It helps that Linda Henry (the wife of principal owner John Henry) is an executive producer on this (which is done in collaboration with Take The Cake Productions), and that she’s already done children-focused TV for the Red Sox (she’s the executive producer of NESN Clubhouse, a weekly Sunday show aimed at those 7-12). But even beyond that, this seems like a smart market for the Red Sox to explore.

There’s always a lot of griping about baseball not having enough younger fans. Efforts like these might help to get it on the radar for younger kids, and for their parents. We’ll see if other teams follow the Red Sox here.

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.