Kevin Burkhardt to Host New Los Angeles-Based Pregame Show;
Frank Thomas, Eric Karros, Gabe Kapler and C.J. Nitkowski Join as Analysts
New Nightly Highlights Show, MLB WHIPAROUND, Premieres March 31 on FOX Sports 1
Los Angeles – Since 1996, MLB on FOX is one of the most successful franchises in sports television, built on a foundation of 40 Emmy Awards, unprecedented coverage, innovations, legendary voices and some of the best moments in sports history. This season, MLB on FOX welcomes in a new era as the national Saturday home of the nation’s pastime with exciting new voices, a Los Angeles-based pregame show and a new nightly highlights program on FOX Sports 1, America’s new sports network.
FOX Sports lifts the curtain on 2014 by today announcing that Emmy Award-winning play-by-play broadcaster, Joe Buck, the voice of MLB on FOX since its inception, is joined by analysts Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci as the new lead game broadcast team for MLB on FOX. The announcement was made by Eric Shanks, President, COO & Executive Producer, FOX Sports, and John Entz, Executive Vice President, Production & Executive Producer, FOX Sports. Reporters Ken Rosenthal and Erin Andrews join the team throughout the regular season, All-Star Game and postseason, including the World Series. FOX Sports stalwarts Kenny Albert and Thom Brennaman also are scheduled for play-by-play assignments this season.
“Replacing an icon is never easy, and there is no doubt Tim McCarver revolutionized televised baseball analysis,” Entz said. “We’re convinced that in teaming Joe with Harold and Tom, we’ve built a crew with an all new dynamic that is as fresh, informative, opinionated and very entertaining. Each is extremely talented and brings a unique voice and role, and we look forward seeing this team’s chemistry develop throughout the season.”
In addition to unveiling its new lead broadcast team, the MLB on FOX pregame show returns to the FOX Network Studios in Los Angeles for the first time since the 2012 season, and precedes most Saturday telecasts on FOX Sports 1. Kevin Burkhardt is set as the main MLB on FOX studio host during the regular and entire postseason alongside a rotation of analysts including Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, former Dodger great Eric Karros, World Series Champion Gabe Kapler and former Reds pitcher C.J. Nitkowski. FOX SPORTS LIVE’S Ryan Field also hosts during the regular season. The pregame show premieres Saturday, April 5 (12:30-1:00 PM ET) on FOX Sports 1.
“This year, with the addition of FOX Sports 1 to our coverage plans, we’re able to provide more baseball content than ever before, and we are extremely excited about the possibilities,” Entz added.
“We’ve enjoyed our terrific partnership with the MLB Network the last two seasons, but given our investment in FOX Sports 1 infrastructure over the last year, the time was right to bring our baseball studio coverage back in-house.”
Furthering its commitment to the national pastime, MLB on FOX’s expanded studio coverage this season also includes the introduction of MLB WHIPAROUND on FOX Sports 1, a baseball-specific show airing weeknights with quick-turnaround highlights of in-progress games, news and analysis, also live from Los Angeles. Field and FOX Sports veteran Chris Myers host individual editions, with one or two analysts from the Thomas, Karros, Kapler and Nitkowski roster. MLB WHIPAROUND premieres Monday, March 31, and airs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights from 10:00-11:00 PM ET and most *Wednesdays from 12:00-1:00 AM ET (*airs at 10:00 PM ET on Wednesdays without prior programming conflict).
Buck (@Buck), winner of seven Emmy Awards for Outstanding Play-By-Play, has anchored FOX Sports’ national MLB coverage since its May 1996 debut, teaming with Hall of Famer Tim McCarver the last 17 seasons. The pair also broadcast games with Bob Brenly, Al Leiter and Bret Boone.
Reynolds continues his role with the MLB Network, where he serves as a studio analyst and was nominated for a Sports Emmy Award in 2010 and 2011. Prior to joining MLB Network, Reynolds served as a pregame and postgame analyst for TBS’ Sunday Afternoon MLB telecasts and the network’s coverage of the 2008 postseason. During this time, Reynolds also appeared on New York Mets’ pregame and postgame coverage on SportsNet New York and served as a commentator for MLB.com. From 1996 to 2006, he served as lead studio analyst for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight program, working on the network’s coverage of Sunday Night Baseball, the All-Star Game and postseason, including the World Series.
A two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award-winning second baseman during his 12-year career, Reynolds played with the Seattle Mariners from 1983-1992, Baltimore Orioles in 1993 and the then-California Angels in 1994. He led the American League in stolen bases with 60 in 1987, in triples with 11 in 1988 and at-bats with 642 in 1990. He is the only player other than the great Ricky Henderson to lead the AL in stolen bases during any season in the 1980s. In 1991, Reynolds received the Roberto Clemente Award given annually to an MLB player selected for his character and charitable contributions to his community.
Already one of the top journalists to ever cover the game, Emmy Award-winner Tom Verducci begins his second season in the MLB on FOX game broadcast booth. He earned an Outstanding Sports Personality/Sports Reporter Emmy Award as a field reporter for TBS’ and MLB Network’s regular and postseason coverage, and In 2013, in addition to his role with MLB Network, worked 20 MLB on FOX national broadcasts before serving as a studio analyst for TBS’ coverage of the Division Series and American League Championship Series. Verducci began working as a field reporter for TBS in October 2008. He also currently serves a senior baseball writer at Sports Illustrated where he contributes inside information and analysis for the magazine and SI.com. Before joining Sports Illustrated, Verducci spent 10 years as a sports reporter for Newsday, serving as its national baseball columnist from 1990 to 1993. With Joe Torre, Verducci co-authored “The Yankee Years,” a book published in 2009 that chronicled the New York Yankees’ dugout and organization.
One of the most talented young broadcasters in the country, Burkhardt (@kevinburkhardt) joined FOX Sports in July 2013, calling NFL games alongside analyst John Lynch and sideline reporter Erin Andrews. An immediate success, Burkhardt, along with Lynch and Andrews, earned a playoff assignment in his first season calling national NFL games. Prior to FOX, Burkhardt spent several seasons with SNY covering the New York Mets in a myriad of roles from on-field reporting to play-by-play and in studio hosting duties.
Recently elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year eligible, Thomas (@TheBigHurt_35) is one of the game’s all-time top sluggers. A two-time AL MVP and five-time All-Star, he finished his 19-year career with a .301 average, 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI before announcing his retirement in February 2010. Thomas spent the bulk of his career with the Chicago White Sox, and following his playing days worked as a pre- and postgame studio analyst for Comcast SportsNet Chicago, also occasionally filling in on game broadcasts. Thomas also appeared as a guest analyst during TBS’ coverage of the 2007 MLB Playoffs.
Karros has been with FOX Sports since 2007, serving as an MLB on FOX game and studio analyst and has worked each of the network’s All-Star Games and World Series since his arrival. A 14-year MLB veteran, Karros spent 12 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he was named NL Rookie of the Year in 1992 and set franchise records for career home runs (270) and career home runs at Dodger Stadium (130).
Already a familiar face on FOX Sports 1, Kapler (@gabekapler) is a panelist on FOX SPORTS LIVE, FOX Sports 1’s signature nightly news, highlights and opinion show. Kapler played for seven different Major League teams, making his debut with the Detroit Tigers in 1998 and playing his final season in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Rays. Kapler won a World Series with the 2004 Red Sox, and was on the field when the squad snapped its 86-year title drought.
A first-round draft pick by the Cincinnati Reds, Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) played a decade in the Majors before spending an additional five years playing professionally overseas. After retiring from the game, the left-hander began his career in sports media, working as a writer, studio and radio host and color analyst. In 2013, he co-hosted “Eye on Baseball” for CBS Sports Radio, and also has served as an analyst for MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM.
FOX Sports, MLB’s primary broadcast rights holder since 1996 and exclusive national broadcast partner since 2001, this year begins a new eight-year, multiplatform media rights agreement that adds national cable and digital coverage to its portfolio, doubling regular season exposures, mostly on Saturdays, from 26 to 52 combined on the FOX Broadcast Network and FOX Sports 1, with 20 Saturday doubleheaders, 10 exclusively on FOX Sports 1 and 10 split between FOX Sports 1 and the FOX Broadcast Network. For the first time ever, all regular season games, Division Series, League Championship Series, World Series games and the All-Star Game broadcast by FOX Sports are being streamed live via FOX Sports GO through participating video providers. Click here for the MLB on FOX schedule: http://foxs.pt/OHkT1X.
– FOX SPORTS –