MLB Network has picked out a name and set the talent lineup for its first-ever regular season morning show, The Wrap has learned exclusively.
On professional baseball’s highly anticipated Opening Day, Monday, April 6, “MLB Central” will debut with hosts Matt Vasgersian, Mark DeRosa and Lauren Shehadi.
“Fans are thirsting for baseball around the clock, and live is always better,” Coordinating Producer Josh Bernstein told TheWrap as he explained the programming decision and the show’s timing. “Starting our programming day a little bit earlier with live stuff — it’s exciting, and if news breaks in the middle of the night, if something changes in the morning, we’re there.”
Previously, the network rebroadcast highlights show “Quick Pitch” in the timeslot.
The three-hour morning show will be the first program to originate from MLB Network’s new, state-of-the-art 8,000 square foot Studio 21, named in honor of Hall-of-Fame baseball player Roberto Clemente’s number — a space that Bernstein promised is “mind-blowing.” The studio will also become home to the aforementioned “Quick Pitch” and the series “MLB Now.”
Of course, a huge set doesn’t solely launch a series, and Bernstein had equal praise for the trio they selected to man “MLB Central,” touting the “off-the-charts” chemistry of announcer Vasgersian, former long-term pro ballplayer DeRosa and internal talent Shehadi (“The Rundown,” “Hot Stove”).
Those three are pretty stoked for their new morning show too.
“I’m looking forward to the fact that this show is going to be a little bit different in that it’s not as tightly formatted based on games in progress,” Vasgersian told TheWrap. “I appreciate the collaboration element of this a lot, and we’ve all taken equal stakes in coming up with segment ideas in pre-production.”
“MLB Central” will air live each weekday morning, with updates and context on the latest news, on-field highlights, and long-form conversations with guests, celebrities, and insiders from around the league.
Each show will begin with “The Wake-Up Call,” a look at the biggest highlights and news stories in the game. DeRosa will give his opinion on the latest on-field performances in “The D-Train,” and the show’s analysts will offer their daily take on the hottest players and best moves in the world of fantasy baseball. Towards the end of the 180-minute block, as the 1 p.m. ET baseball games ready their first pitch, “MLB Central” will shift into pregame mode.
Other recurring features will include interviews with MLB players, managers and others inside the clubhouse and a segment inspired by the MLB Network trivia show “Baseball IQ.”
“We’re going to strike the right balance between entertainment and baseball,” Bernstein told TheWrap.
“Baseball is … America’s pastime and we breathe it here,” Bernstein concluded. “We serve the fans that are craving it. It’s never been better and that’s why the time has never been better to do the show.”
Credit to the Boston Herald who originally published this article
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at [email protected].
Chris Garagiola to Replace Greg Schulte As Arizona Diamondbacks Radio Voice
“I have a few big-ticket things I want to achieve in my life and being the voice of a major league baseball team is one of them.”
After 25 years as the only radio voice in the history of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Greg Schulte stepped aside after the 2023 season. Chris Garagiola will step into the team’s broadcast booth moving forward.
Garagiola has spent the past two seasons working as the fill-in voice for the club while Schulte missed time to undergo chemotherapy treatments as he battled cancer. He also served as the pregame and postgame host for the D-backs.
“This is the byproduct of a lot of hoping, a lot of being in the right place at the right time and a lot of hard work,” Garagiola told AZCentral.com. “This was a major life goal. It really was. I have a few big-ticket things I want to achieve in my life and being the voice of a major league baseball team is one of them.”
The 31-year-old previously worked as the voice of the AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He said if he had the opportunity to choose any MLB play-by-play job, this was the one he wanted.
“People would ask if you could pick any team what would you pick? My pick would have been Arizona,” Chris Garagiola said. “That was my team. That was my childhood team and some of the best sporting memories I ever had.”
Chiefs Radio Voice Mitch Holthus Misses 1st Game in 30 Years After COVID Diagnosis
Mitch Holthus claimed he had not missed a Chiefs broadcast in 30 years — calling more than 500 consecutive games for the team.
Mitch Holthus has been one of the most distinctive NFL radio voices during his 30 years as the play-by-play announcer of the Kansas City Chiefs. His voice was absent Sunday for the franchise’s game after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
In a post to X, Holthus said he tested positive for the virus on Friday, and attempted to find a way to broadcast Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers remotely, before ultimately coming to the realization that it wasn’t feasible.
“I appreciate everyone who spent most of the day Friday trying to figure out how I could broadcast this game 2020 studio style,” Holthus wrote. “If it was (a) home game could maybe have had (an) isolated booth. But no way to pull it off on road, and (I) would never put anyone in that travel party in jeopardy, especially those who are immune compromised.”
He called the situation a “challenging 60+ hours”.
Mitch Holthus claimed he had not missed a Chiefs broadcast in 30 years — calling more than 500 consecutive games for the team. However, he concluded that he would start a new streak of broadcasting the team’s games next week.
Bob Fescoe: CFP Selection Show Should Be on Monday
“Today, how much debate would be going on right now?”
On Sunday prior to the start of NFL action, ESPN broadcast the College Football Playoff Selection Show, which revealed the four teams that have been deemed as eligible to compete for the CFP National Championship. On Monday’s edition of Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio, co-host Bob Fescoe discussed how the CFP will soon expand to 12 teams, which he says will not be as intriguing because of the addition of several games, and argued that ESPN and the CFP missed the boat by hosting the show when it does.
In fact, Fescoe did not tune into the reveal live, instead learning of the teams selected through social media and ESPN platforms.
Fescoe’s argument centered around the fact that there were several marquee NFL matchups on the schedule, including a showdown between two NFC contenders expected to compete for a Super Bowl championship – the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles. Later in the day on Sunday Night Football, the Green Bay Packers defeated the rival Kansas City Chiefs with both award-winning singer/songwriter Taylor Swift and the most decorated gymnast in Olympics history, Simone Biles, in attendance at Lambeau Field.
“When they announce it yesterday, they’re taking a lot of good show topics away from a lot of people,” Fescoe said. “You’re screwing us, ESPN, by doing that, right? You’re screwing your own people by doing that.”
Bob Fescoe suggested that the teams should have been announced during halftime of the Monday Night Football matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars, retaining a captive audience and driving conversation about the choices on Tuesday. With the NFL playing 13 games throughout the day on Sunday, he asserted that the league took away momentum from the College Football Playoff, something that could ultimately harm the scope of sports media coverage.
“Today, how much debate would be going on right now?,” Fescoe asked. “How awesome would it be to have a Monday to have all the blowhards like us have the opportunity to debate who should be in and who shouldn’t be in, and what [Paul] Finebaum says and what this guy says? It would have been outstanding to hear the calls from Alabama [and] other people screaming why they should be in. They missed out on that – they did.”
Starting in the next college football campaign, the CFP will officially expand to 12 teams and add more games ahead of the expiration of its media rights deal with ESPN after the 2025 season.
In the final selection show under the existing four-team format, Fescoe believes that it missed the mark by having it take place on the same day as a packed slate of NFL games. He does agree with the decisions of the committee and affirmed that it will be exciting to watch the teams face off to play for a National Championship.
As a radio host though, Bob Fescoe expressed the downsides to such a move and the other shortcomings therein.
“That’s why the four-team playoff is fun because everybody has an opinion; everybody has a feeling,” Fescoe said. “I think they got it right. It’s a TV show, and the sooner we can all realize that sports is a glorified TV show, the better off we’re going to be, and they’ve got the best made-for-TV matchups.”