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ESPN hires Alex Rodriguez to join ‘Sunday Night Baseball’

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You did not expect to read those words a couple of years ago.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball announcing team of Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza broke up after 2017, and not by ESPN’s choice. Shulman left to spend more time with his family in Toronto (he’ll still do some Blue Jays games) and Boone was named manager of the Yankees.

Tuesday, the network named Matt Vasgersian to succeed Shulman as the play-by-play voice of SNB, and Alex Rodriguez to join him and Mendoza as an analyst. Both Vasgersian will continue his work for MLB Network as well, and A-Rod will continue to work for Fox on postseason coverage.

Here’s what all three had to say about the new announcing booth for the Worldwide Leader.

Alex Rodriguez:

“I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my broadcasting career. It’s an exciting time in baseball and now I get that front row seat to tell that story every Sunday night on ESPN as well as calling my fourth post season on Fox where I started this journey.”

Matt Vasgersian:

“Jon and Dan set the bar super high for Sunday Night Baseball play-by-play, so it’s a real thrill for someone who still remembers his first Minor League bus trip in 1991 to have a chair like this one. I know firsthand how passionate both Alex and Jessica are about baseball, and I can’t wait to get started with them.”

Jessica Mendoza:

“I am incredibly excited to work with both Alex and Matt. Matt has been a friend for a long time and someone whose work I’ve long admired. Alex’s achievements as a player speak for themselves, and I’ve been greatly impressed by the passion and dedication he has put into his broadcasting career. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”

A-Rod has been a very good analyst on postseason coverage for Fox, engaging and knowledgeable. I didn’t expect that from him, and you probably didn’t either. Vasgersian has broadcast Padres games as well as national assignments for Fox postseason games on MLB International with John Smoltz. Mendoza has been part of the SNB team for the last two-plus seasons.

I like this team; they should bring some new energy to SNB as well as A-Rod’s knowledge of the game. Buster Olney will return as a field reporter.

Not only did you not expect A-Rod to be in this spot, but three years ago, would you have guessed A-Rod would be better liked and respected in retirement than Derek Jeter?

And if it doesn’t work out?

ESPN’s first SNB game of 2018 will be April 1, when the Giants visit the Dodgers. The Cubs’ first appearance on SNB will be May 6, a game vs. the Cardinals at St. Louis, and they’ll be on again May 27, when the Giants visit Wrigley Field.

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