Baseball Tonight

Baseball Tonight was a program that aired on ESPN. The show, which covered the day's Major League Baseball action, was on the air from 1990 to 2018.

Its namesake program also airs on ESPN Radio at various times of the day during the baseball season, with Marc Kestecher as host.

Baseball Tonight is also the title of a daily podcast hosted by Buster Olney with frequent appearances by Jayson Stark, Tim Kurkjian, Karl Ravech, and Jerry Crasnick. As of April 27, 2017, all airings of the program, other than its Sunday airing, have been replaced by MLB Network's Intentional Talk.[1]

Baseball Tonight
ESPN Baseball Tonight logo 2018
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons26
Production
Running time60 minutes
Release
Original networkESPN, ESPN2 (1990–2018)
Original releaseMarch 19, 1990 –
October 28, 2018
Chronology
Related showsSunday Night Baseball
Monday Night Baseball
Wednesday Night Baseball
External links
Website

Air times

Baseball Tonight appeared nightly on ESPN throughout the baseball season at 10:00 p.m. ET and 12:00 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The 10 PM show aired on ESPN2 in the event of a conflict. Following the cancellation of The Trifecta in late 2006, the 12:00 a.m. run of Baseball Tonight was expanded to a full 40 minutes. The show has permission from Major League Baseball to show in-progress highlights. The show was also seen at 12:30 p.m. ET and 7:00 p.m. ET on Sundays, the latter show leading up to the Sunday Night Baseball telecast. The late-night edition on Sundays was usually just a re-air of the 7:00 show, with a SportsCenter anchor providing highlights of the Sunday night game in place of a game preview segment that airs during the live broadcast. The midnight edition usually re-aired at 12:00 p.m. ET the following day (excluding Saturday, when the show is usually 40 minutes to a full hour). That practice ended Monday August 11, 2008, when SportsCenter went to live editions in the mornings. As of April 27, 2017 the weekday and Saturday editions of Baseball Tonight was replaced by the MLB Network-produced program Intentional Talk.

Live, on-location episodes

The show also appeared live at events throughout the year, such as spring training, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the World Series sites, at ESPN the Weekend, and occasionally had remote stunts, i.e. a show from the rooftop at Fenway Park and a show from one of the Wrigley Rooftops at Wrigley Field in 2005. It aired live from the field at Fenway Park on April 26, 2009 before the Sunday Night Baseball game between the YankeesRed Sox game, which featured an interview with Dustin Pedroia.[2] On June 28, 2009, it aired from Citi Field in anticipation of that night's Subway Series game between the Mets and the Yankees.

History

EPSN Baseball Tonight logo
Former logo

On January 3, 2000, the segment "Web Gems" was coined and created by then-producer Judson Burch. The segment originally featured great defensive plays followed by viewer internet voting on the "web." The phrase "web gem" is now common vernacular in baseball broadcasts and circles to describe outstanding glove-work.

In 2007, a new segment entitled "That's Nasty!" was introduced. The new segment featured top pitching performances of the day, including the best individual pitches. These clips often include extremely high velocity fastballs, 12–6 curveballs, or changeups that completely fool the opposing batters.

In 2013, Adnan Virk replaced Berthiaume as one of the program's hosts, joining Karl Ravech.

In May 2017, as the result of major staff cuts implemented by ESPN (which saw the layoff of several ESPN baseball reporters), the network cancelled the weekday editions of Baseball Tonight, leaving only the editions that are broadcast before Sunday Night Baseball and on special occasions such as the Little League World Series and during the postseason.[3]

In January 2019, the network announced that Baseball Tonight would not return to the network's lineup as apart of its MLB coverage in 2019.

Featured segments

Baseball Tonight is split into a number of segments, each of which focuses on a particular aspect of baseball. These segments include:

  • 3 up, 3 down: 3 players/teams each that are either on the uprise or downside of their seasons or careers (in the case of players).
  • Analysis: a more in-depth look at baseball topics, players, and upcoming games.
  • Best Seat in the House: Airs during live editions of Baseball Tonight before Sunday Night Baseball, John Kruk takes a tour on a ballpark and seeks for what he thinks is the best seat in the ballpark.
  • Chatter Up: This segment is new for the 2007 season, in which fans get to submit their thoughts on certain subjects via ESPN.com and then they are shown at the bottom of the screen and discussed on the show.
  • Cutting The Wedge: an in-depth analysis of a play or situation by former manager and studio analyst Eric Wedge
  • Diamond Cuts: Airs on the Sunday edition, a montage of the week's best plays set to music.
  • Extra Bases: a more in-depth look at a particular game after the highlights have aired.
  • Going, Going, Gone: the day's longest home runs. (Usually one of the last segments of the day.)
  • Highlights: the most important happenings from the days' Major League Baseball, occasionally also featuring other baseball competitions such as the World Baseball Classic, the College World Series, Minor League Baseball, or the Little League World Series. Virtually every MLB game is shown at least once, more if there are in-progress highlights to report on.
  • Inside Pitch: This segment usually features Buster Olney, or another reporter, giving his insight on the latest news and rumors from around baseball.
  • Leading Off: usually the first segment of the show, giving the day's most significant baseball news, for example, trades, injury updates and hirings and firings of managers.
  • The Week with Tim "Quirkjian": Tim Kurkjian gives unusual stats from the world of baseball. The segment is a play on the analyst's name.
  • Most Important Thing: Analysts' comments on the most important story from the day's happenings in MLB. This is usually the final segment of the show.
  • On The Phone: a live phone interview with an MLB player, coach, or general manager, usually regarding the most recent game played and outlooks on the future of the team.
  • Out of the Box: This segment is similar to Leading Off, where they preview what is coming up on the show.
  • Ridiculous Plays of the Week: Usually aired on Fridays, it recaps the five most hilarious plays (and moments) from the past week.
  • Stat of the Night: an interesting baseball statistic from the day's happenings in MLB.
  • That's Nasty: New in 2007, a segment showing the best pitches, usually with the most movement, of the night.
  • Touch 'Em All: significant home runs of the day, replaced "Going, Going, Gone!"
  • Smash of the Night: The most significant home run of the day. Usually the longest or biggest scorer like a "Grand Slam."
  • Sport Science: Hosted by John Brenkus, this five-minute segment examines a key play through scientific analysis.
  • Web Gems: the day's five best defensive plays. On Sundays, the best defensive plays of the entire week air. Points are given to each player and at the end of the season the player with the most points wins a trophy.
  • Greatest Home Runs: begun as a temporary segment in honor of Barry Bonds' ascension to the all-time MLB home run champion. Featured the greatest five home runs in the history of a different franchise every day for the duration of the segment; on August 26 (the final day of the segment), the Top 10 Home Runs of All-Time were featured.

One featured running gag on the show is the spoof segment "Name That Molina", where one of the personalities has to guess which of the three Molina catcher brothers – Bengie, Jose, or Yadier – is being shown. "Name that LaRoche" is another spoof segment featuring the two brothers who play for the Toronto Blue Jays Andy and the Washington Nationals Adam. Another running gag is the Umpire Fantasy League in which "owners" of umpires in this fictitious league are rewarded for their umpires ejecting players or coaches. It is unclear whether this is reference to the real-life Umpire Ejection Fantasy League. Also another gag in session is when an analyst on the show uses the "Stump the host" slogan. This is when the analyst has information on a certain players milestone that has just happened on the telecast. An example is when a player hits a home run, double, steals a base, or strikes someone out and the analyst will say "Stump the Host; Career hr/strikeout/2-B/SB/etc. number __? The host very seldom knows the answer but will take a reasonable, and sometimes ludicrous, guess at what the answer might be. This gag is very seldom used but sometimes is quite comical for the fact that the host has no idea what the answer may be.

Live look-ins

ESPN is generally prohibited by Major League Baseball from showing live look-ins of in-progress games, and limited to showing in-progress highlights after they happen. However, an exception is made when there is an extraordinary event taking place, such as a no-hitter or perfect game, and ESPN is allowed to show live look-ins during Baseball Tonight. Other circumstances include an ESPN-scheduled game which suffers a rain delay, or is completely rained out and postponed.

Criticism

Some have criticized the program because of a perceived bias in favor of certain teams. The most vocal comment was expressed by Heath Bell:

I truly believe ESPN only cares about promoting the Red Sox and Yankees and Mets – and nobody else. That's why I like the MLB Network, because they promote everybody. I'm really turned off by ESPN and 'Baseball Tonight.' When (then-Padre) Jake Peavy threw 8​13 innings on Saturday, they showed one pitch in the third inning and that was it. It's all about the Red Sox, Yankees, and Mets.[4]

Media

In late 2012, mobile game company SkyZone Entertainment and TheAppsGames released ESPN Going Going Gone, an arcade style home run derby game for both Android and iOS. The game features an intro and voice over by ESPN's Dan Shulman and ESPN trademark.

See also

References

  1. ^ Shaikin, Bill (2017-04-27). "ESPN's dropping of 'Baseball Tonight' most nights is a loss for independent sports journalism". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  2. ^ Hiestand, Michael (April 26, 2009). "NFL Network, ESPN have no limit on weekend draft coverage". USA Today.
  3. ^ "So long, and thanks for all the Web Gems: A tribute to ESPN's Baseball Tonight". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  4. ^ Krasovic, Tom (April 13, 2009). "Black tinkers with pitching rotation". The San Diego Union-Tribune.

External links

Aaron Boone

Aaron John Boone (born March 9, 1973) is an American former professional baseball infielder, broadcaster, and current manager for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). He is the son of Bob Boone, grandson of Ray Boone, and the brother of Bret Boone. He played in MLB for the Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Florida Marlins, Washington Nationals, and Houston Astros from 1997 through 2009.

Boone was an All-Star in 2003, and hit a series-winning walk-off home run in the 2003 American League Championship Series. From 2010 to 2017, Boone was employed by ESPN as a game analyst and was a color commentator for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball coverage, as well as a contributor to Baseball Tonight. In December 2017, the Yankees hired Boone to become the 33rd manager in franchise history.

Bob Holtzman

Bob Holtzman (born 1971) is a television bureau-reporter for ESPN located in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio. He contributes to stories on ESPN shows such as SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, Sunday NFL Countdown, and Baseball Tonight.Before joining ESPN in November 2000, he was a reporter at WCPO in Cincinnati, Ohio from 1996 to 2000. Prior to that, he served in a similar role at KCRA in Sacramento, California and KRQE in Albuquerque, New Mexico.Holtzman is a 1993 graduate of the University of Kansas with a degrees in journalism and psychology. He is also a certified meteorologist.

Holtzman was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but grew up in San Diego, California. He currently resides near Florence, Kentucky.

Buster Olney

Robert Stanbury "Buster" Olney III (born February 17, 1964) is an American columnist for ESPN: The Magazine, ESPN.com, and covered the New York Giants and New York Yankees for The New York Times. He is also a regular analyst for the ESPN's Baseball Tonight. He also hosts ESPN's Baseball Tonight daily podcast.

ESPN Baseball Tonight

ESPN Baseball Tonight is a baseball video game for the MS-DOS, Sega CD, Sega Genesis, and Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

ESPN Major League Baseball

ESPN Major League Baseball is a presentation of Major League Baseball on ESPN and ESPN2. ESPN's MLB coverage debuted on April 9, 1990 with three Opening Day telecasts. ESPN Major League Baseball is guaranteed to remain on air until 2021. Starting in 2014, ESPN will return to broadcasting postseason baseball. ESPN has rights to any potential tiebreaker games (Game 163) and one of the two wild card games (Turner Sports receiving the other game).

The different weekly regular-season packages that ESPN presents (as of 2014) are Sunday Night Baseball, Monday Night Baseball and Wednesday Night Baseball. The network also airs select games on Opening Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.

In addition to regular-season games, ESPN also airs several spring training games per year, the Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game and Home Run Derby played the week of the All-Star Game, and (as of 2014) one of the two Wild Card games each postseason. ESPN also airs a weekly highlight show called Baseball Tonight at 7 p.m. ET on Sundays as a lead-in to Sunday Night Baseball; previously it was a daily program until 2017, when layoffs cut back the show’s airing to Sundays.

ESPN Radio has also been airing Major League Baseball since 1998 (succeeding CBS Radio), broadcasting Sunday Night Baseball as well as select other regular-season games, the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby, and the entire postseason including the Wild Card Game, Division Series, League Championship Series, and World Series.

Jay Harris (sportscaster)

Jay Harris (born February 22, 1965 in Norfolk, Virginia) is an American journalist who has worked for ESPN since February 2003. Jay currently calls late night his home, seen primarily on the 11pm and midnight eastern editions of SportsCenter, and sometimes on the west coast Sportscenter from Los Angeles. Jay has hosted a variety of shows during his tenure at ESPN, including Sportscenter, Outside The Lines, NFL Live, Baseball Tonight, Cold Pizza, First Take, Friday Night Fights, and ESPN Sports Saturday on ABC.

Karl Ravech

Karl Ravech (; born January 19, 1965) is an American journalist who works as the primary Baseball Tonight host for ESPN.

Kevin Negandhi

Kevin Negandhi is an American sports anchor for ESPN's SportsCenter as well as ESPN College Football on ABC.In addition to hosting SportsCenter, he also hosts Baseball Tonight, College Football Live and Outside the Lines on ESPN and is a fill-in anchor on NFL Live and Cold Pizza. He is the first anchor of Indian-American descent to be on a national sports network in American television history. Negandhi joined ESPN in September 2006 and made his debut on ESPNews in October 2006.

List of ESPN Major League Baseball broadcasters

ESPN Major League Baseball broadcasters are listed below, including games broadcast only on ESPN currently and formerly.

List of ESPN personalities

Present television personalities on the ESPN network.

Monday Night Baseball

Monday Night Baseball is a live game telecast of Major League Baseball that airs most Monday nights during the regular season on ESPN. The official name of the game is Monday Night Baseball presented by USAA. The game starts at 7 p.m. ET, following SportsCenter, and usually lasts around three hours leading up to an hour-long Baseball Tonight. The program sometimes airs on ESPN2 rather than ESPN, often due to NBA playoff coverage in April and May, and preseason Monday Night Football coverage in August.

Unlike ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, Monday Night Baseball is not exclusive, but unlike Wednesday Night Baseball, Monday Night Baseball since 2007 co-exists with the local markets' carriers and is not always subject to blackout; ESPN can show teams up to three times a year in local markets alongside the local broadcasts.

Robert Flores

Robert Flores (born July 7, 1970) is a sports journalist, who works for MLB Network and NHL Network as a studio host for each. He fills in for Hot stove on MLB Network. Flores formerly worked at ESPN. Joining the network in 2005, Flores was an anchor for ESPNEWS and for ESPN's SportsCenter (2007–2016). Flores provided studio updates during each game of ABC College Football, and Saturday Night Football. He also served as a substitute studio host for ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. Flores hosted the live afternoon edition of SportsCenter from noon - 3 p.m. with Chris McKendry until early September 2009, when he was replaced with John Buccigross. He was also a substitute host for Baseball Tonight. Flores announced on February 4, 2016 that he would be leaving ESPN after ten years.Flores is a native of Houston, Texas. He attended J. Frank Dobie High School in Houston and is in the JFD Hall of Fame. He graduated from the University of Houston with a B.A. in Radio/Television in 1992.A noted fan of professional wrestling, Flores is also the proud owner of a prized Louisville Slugger Ric Flair model bat, autographed by Flair himself.

Scott Reiss

Scott Reiss is an American broadcast journalist who works as a sports anchor/reporter at KTVU, the Fox affiliate in the Bay Area. He is also the voice of Stanford University athletics, handling play-by-play duties for Stanford Cardinal football and basketball.

Reiss formerly worked for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and Comcast SportsNet California, where he hosted SportsNet Central, as well as pre- and post-game shows for the San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, Golden State Warriors, and San Jose Sharks.

Prior to that, Reiss was an anchor at ESPN, where he hosted shows including College GameNight, SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, and ESPNEWS. In addition, he was a fill-in host for both College Football Live and NFL Live. He also hosted ESPN Radio College Gameday with analysts Todd McShay and Trevor Matich.

Before joining ESPN, Reiss worked as a sports/news anchor and reporter at WUTR-TV in Utica, New York from 1995 to 1997, and sports director at KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California from 1997 to 2000.

Reiss was born in Chicago and raised in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in communications in 1993 and a master's degree in sociology in 1994.

Sunday Night Baseball

Sunday Night Baseball is an exclusive weekly telecast of a Major League Baseball game that airs Sunday nights at 7:00 p.m. EDT on ESPN during the regular season (the official name is ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball Presented by Taco Bell).

The games are preceded most weeks by the studio show Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet prior to the first pitch. A few telecasts each season appear on ESPN2 rather than ESPN due to conflicts with other programming.

The Baseball Show

The Baseball Show is a Major League Baseball talk show on ESPN Radio. It is heard every Sunday for three hours and thirty-five minutes from 4 p.m. ET to 7:35 p.m. ET during the Major League Baseball regular season. The program is hosted by GameNight personality Ryen Russillo (since 2007) and featured former New York Mets GM and former Baseball Tonight analyst Steve Phillips until his firing from ESPN. The show was previously hosted by Karl Ravech in 2005 and John Seibel in 2006.

For affiliates carrying the Sunday Night Baseball game on radio, The Baseball Show goes on leading up to the games at 8 p.m. ET.

Throughout the program, Russillo discusses some of the biggest stories in baseball and updates you on all of the happening around the league. They are often joined by either players or coaches following the games to get instant reaction. Dan Shulman joins the program weekly to discuss the Sunday Night Baseball game, which he calls on ESPN Radio. The Baseball Tonight update anchor is Joe D'Ambrosio.

For the 2008 post-season, ESPN Radio had SportsNation on ESPN Radio replaced for The Baseball Show on Tuesday through Thursday, typically leading up to the ESPN Radio baseball pre-game show for the late game, but hosts John Seibel and former MLB player Orestes Destrade kept the same responsibilities they have for SportsNation by hosting the 2​1⁄2 show, mostly focusing on baseball but with occasional football talk due to the season.

Tim Kurkjian

Timothy Bell Kurkjian (; born December 10, 1956) is a Major League Baseball analyst on ESPN's Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter. He is also a contributor to ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com.

He guests on Golic and Wingo on Thursdays at 7:44 a.m., discussing the latest in happenings in Major League Baseball. He is a frequent contributor to Buster Olney's podcast. He also appears regularly on The Dan LeBatard Show and The Tony Kornheiser Show.

Wednesday Night Baseball

Wednesday Night Baseball is a live game telecast of Major League Baseball that airs every Wednesday night during the regular season on ESPN. The game starts at 7pm ET, following SportsCenter, and usually lasts around three hours with an hour-long Baseball Tonight following the game leading up to the 11pm ET SportsCenter (1am ET for September games with Baseball Tonight moving to ESPN2 at 12am ET). The official name is ESPN Wednesday Night Baseball presented by Hankook Tire. Every April some broadcasts air on ESPN2 due to ESPN's priority with Wednesday's NBA coverage.

Wednesday Night Baseball is not exclusive to ESPN. The teams' local broadcasters may still air the game. ESPNEWS is seen on ESPN during the game in the teams' designated markets, unless local broadcasters choose not to televise the game. ESPN's blackout (100-mile radius from the stadium, and all of a team's designated market) can be lifted in the latter scenario. On double-headers in September, due to the broadcast of Monday Night Football, either one of the Wednesday Night Baseball games will co-exist with the local markets' carriers and will not always be subject to blackout.

Languages

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