Last year, ESPN opted not to replace Jessica Mendoza in the Sunday Night Baseball booth and rolled out the pairing of Matt Vasgersian and Alex Rodriguez, who worked with Mendoza in each of 2018 and 2019. There were some questions as to whether or not ESPN would bring back Vasgersian and/or Rodriguez in 2021, especially amidst the cost cutting at ESPN in recent months, but on Tuesday, those questions were answered.
The pairing will be back on Sunday Night Baseball in 2021, per an announcement from ESPN. Buster Olney also returns as the primary reporter for Sunday Night Baseball, a role he has held since 2011. Also of note: Eduardo Perez will take Mark Teixeira’s place on the Sunday Night Baseball pregame show with Karl Ravech and Tim Kurkjian. Newly minted Cubs play by play broadcaster Jon Sciambi also returns as the radio voice of the package, working with Chris Singleton.
Last month, ESPN announced a chunk of its Sunday Night Baseball schedule for the season.
This isn’t much of a surprise to me, despite the silly nature of paying guys who also work for other media outlets to call one game a week. ESPN is clearly enamored with the pair, despite the lukewarm (to put it nicely) reaction overall from fans.
The 2021 season marks the final year of ESPN’s rights deal with MLB, though the two parties are widely expected to continue their partnership. That new deal may include rights to expanded playoffs (which hasn’t been agreed to between MLB and the MLBPA yet) and could result in ESPN dumping the non-exclusive Monday and Wednesday Night Baseball broadcasts.