Fox’s World Series talent has given studio analyst Alex Rodriguez high marks for his on air work, noting how the rookie broadcaster, who recently concluded a season as designated hitter for the New York Yankees, works his butt off to prepare for the telecast.
“Alex is someone we always felt had the potential to be an outstanding television analyst, if he chose to do it,” says John Entz, president of production, Fox Sports and executive producer, noting Rodriguez’s astute on-field perspective and student-of-the-game approach.
Lead announcer Joe Buck noted how a number of current players enter the booth riding high on their on-field reputation, without much thought to preparation. Rodriguez, he said, is the opposite. “I’m impressed by how hard he has worked at it,” said Buck. “For those of us who make our living doing this, that means a lot.”
Buck is guessing that the Series, which starts Tuesday and pits the Kansas City Royals versus the New York Mets, will go long, citing the evenly matched participants and their respective attributes. “Maybe this is the kiss of death, and John [Entz] is pounding his desk right now,” said Buck. “But this doesn’t feel like four or five [games] and out. I think this is really well balanced, one team’s strength is another team’s weakness, and vice versa. It’s gonna be a heckuva run here.”
Buck saluted director Bill Webb, his longtime telecast partner, who is missing the World Series as he battles cancer. Webb directs Mets for SNY during the regular season.
Rodriguez, owner of 687 Major League home runs, three MVP trophies and a season-long suspension related to performance enhancing substances, described growing up on Mets telecasts on WOR New York, and being booted to bed by his mother during the post-game Kiner’s Korner. He said he was “incredibly surprised” when Fox came knocking about being on air.
A-Rod is thankful for an audience this fall that extends beyond his own four walls.
“I figured, I’ll be watching every game at home anyways,” said Rodriguez, “talking back to the TV.”