Seven months after Peyton and Eli Manning provided a blueprint on how an alternate broadcast could be successful, Alex Rodriguez and Michael Kay think they can improve.
The “Kerrod Cast” with Rodriguez and Kay debuts Sunday night on ESPN 2 when the Boston Red Sox take on the New York Yankees. It will be the first of eight this season that “Sunday Night Baseball” airs on ESPN.
“Well, we’re currently in the legal maneuver to be adopted by a pair of guys so that we can actually be brothers, making us feel like a ‘manningcast,'” Kay said during a conference call earlier this week. Said jokingly. , “I thought ‘Manningcast’ was great. I think we’re going to focus on the game a little bit more.”
Alternative broadcasts can be derailed as the game becomes secondary to interviews and personalities, but baseball can be a sport that mixes the two because of the pace of the game.
While not as related as Rodriguez and Kay Mannings, they have been friends for a long time. Kay has broadcast Yankees games since 1992, while Rodriguez has spent 12 of his 22 major league seasons at the pinstripes.
Despite some controversy on and off the field, Rodriguez has managed to make the transition to broadcasting. While he has been busy doing studio work for Fox, he struggled as an analyst during his four seasons as an analyst in the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth.
But Rodriguez thinks he did his best analyst job, briefly in the “YES Network” booth with Kay and David Coen during a 2019 game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I think it was the best four innings ever on TV because I was between two very close friends, and it was going back and forth,” Rodriguez said. “Michael knows exactly how to set me up because he knows me very well, so I think this format will do well for me.
Rodriguez also thinks about his suspension for taking performance-enhancing drugs – and the criticism he has received from many, including Kay, has helped prepare him for his new opportunity.
“That’s what’s going to make this show really, I think, good, because you’re going to get clarity from both him and I,” he said. “Honestly, pre-suspension, I think the show wouldn’t have been as good because I wasn’t as comfortable. I think I’m more comfortable in my own skin today, and we’ll let that rip.”
ESPN’s senior vice president for production and remote programming Mark Gross said during the broadcast, guests are more likely to gravitate toward players who played well on Sunday afternoons or during the past week. It will also include batting and fielding demos by Rodriguez.
Kay and Rodriguez will be together at ESPN’s Seaport District studios in New York on Sunday’s show. Some subsequent broadcasts may take place remotely, depending on their schedule. Rodriguez has been spending most of his time in Minnesota as part of the NBA’s ownership group of the Timberwolves.
When it comes to ratings, it would be unfair to compare “Carrod Cast” to “Manningcast”. “Manningcast” averaged 1.58 million viewers per game last season. By comparison, “Sunday Night Baseball” was up 18% in 2021, according to Nielsen, and averaged 1.46 million.
A better gauge might be audience percentage. Last season, 12% of the total viewers of “Monday Night Football” watched Mannings compared to the main broadcast.
Ratings aside, Kay said that his main goal is for Rodriguez to present his natural personality.
“I want to make Alex Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez, who I used to speak to in front of a locker where it wasn’t confinement for television, you gotta watch here, you gotta break in here, because I don’t think I’ll ever talk to someone like that.” I’ve met someone who knows baseball more than Alex,” he said.
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