MLB Network is doing something different and interesting with its three live MLB Network Showcase games this week. The three games will each have a different broadcast style, from a traditional broadcast to a Statcast broadcast to a studio-centric broadcast.
On Monday, the Nationals-Mets game will be called from the studio by Scott Braun, Jim Kaat, and Lauren Shehadi. This is nothing groundbreaking, and will feel a lot like the broadcasts we’ve grown accustomed to this season.
On Thursday, things will get somewhat more interesting. The network’s broadcast of Nationals-Mets will be a Statcast-centric broadcast, as we’ve seen from various networks over the years (including both ESPN and MLB Network). Brian Kenny, Cliff Floyd, and MLB.com’s Sarah Langs will be on the call, with Jon Heyman and a variety of others also contributing to the broadcast. MLB Network plans to follow up the Statcast game with two more this month: Rays-Yankees on August 20th and Angels-Astros on August 27th.
As for Friday, this is the most different game broadcast of the week for MLB Network. The MLB Tonight crew of Greg Amsinger, Dan Plesac, and Harold Reynolds will call the Brewers-Cubs game, and their focus might not just be on that game. Friday night is traditionally the most packed night of the MLB schedule each week, and as such, the broadcast could bounce around to other games in a multi-box format for live look-ins of other games. The MLB Tonight style broadcast could also include live demos from the studio, as we typically see during the whiparound show. This prospect was first brought up by MLB Network President Rob McGlarry in July, though the idea won’t necessarily continue on past this Friday’s game.
Here’s a mini announcing schedule for the three MLB Network Showcase games this week.
- August 10th: Nationals vs Mets, 7 PM; Scott Braun, Jim Kaat, Lauren Shehadi
- August 13th: Nationals vs Mets, 1 PM; Brian Kenny, Cliff Floyd, Sarah Langs, Jon Heyman, others
- August 14th: Brewers vs Cubs, 8 PM; Greg Amsinger, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds
I have no idea if any of these broadcasts will actually be good or not, but networks have been experimenting more and more in recent years with new broadcast styles (the “broadcasters in the seats” format became quite popular before this season). In a season where many broadcasters are calling live games from studios or broadcast booths in their home stadiums, why not break the mold a bit and do something unique? If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, and we can move on to the next thing. If it does work, then hey, networks have a new way to broadcast games going forward.
Next, can we get an MLB Central broadcast going for one of these games? That one would be delightfully ridiculous (in the best way possible).