The World Baseball Classic is finally upon us after a four year break, and MLB's answer to a World Cup of baseball begins on Friday, live from Taichung, Taiwan. MLB Network will be exclusively airing all 39 games of the Classic live, and will also be providing studio coverage of the tournament.
Pool A will begin on Friday evening, while pool B follows shortly thereafter on Saturday morning. Pool A takes place in Fukuoka, Japan, and will be broadcast by Rich Waltz and Buck Martinez. Pool B takes place in Taichung, Taiwan, and will be broadcast by JB Long and Joe Magrane. Waltz and Long are unfamiliar names on a major stage, and will likely continue to fly under the radar broadcasting games in the early morning house from Asia. Waltz is the current Miami Marlins play by play announcer (and someone whose work grew on me a lot in 2012), while Long is the play by play voice of the Pac-12 Network.
Pool C, taking place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has a pair of more familiar names doing commentary: the wonderful Gary Thorne and Jose Mota, Angels radio broadcaster and former MLB on Fox broadcaster. Pool D in Phoenix, also known as the pool featuring Team USA, will feature two announce teams: Matt Yallof and Jeff Nelson, and a three person team of Matt Vasgersian, Jim Kaat, and Sam Ryan.
The second round in Tokyo will be called by Waltz and Martinez, while the second round in Miami will be called by a variety of broadcasters from the "A-team", including Vasgersian, John Smoltz, Harold Reynolds, Tom Verducci, and Heidi Watney. Harold Reynolds, color commentator is something that will need to be seen to be believed. The semifinals in San Francisco will be called by Vasgersian, Kaat, and Verducci, while Bob Costas replaces Vasgersian for the championship game.
Overall, MLB Network did a pretty solid job picking broadcasters for the Classic, and I'm excited to see Waltz branch out and expose his skills to a wider audience. But the broadcast team choices for the rounds in America seem a little bizarre. Verducci serving as a color commentator for one game is odd considering that he's typically just a reporter with the network, and throwing Reynolds into the fire by putting him in the booth is another odd move considering that his most significant non-studio work was calling the Little League World Series with ESPN during his career there.
Also, if you're going to bring in high-level announcers like Costas, Kaat, and Smoltz, why use them so infrequently? The issue is probably related to money and importance, but the A-team always broadcasts throughout the playoffs in all of the other sports. Why should the WBC be so different when MLB is pushing it as such a huge deal?
MLB Network will also be airing a studio show, entitled World Baseball Classic Today, providing analysis of the tournament. The only talent announced for the show is Joey Cora, a former coach with the Chicago White Sox, who will only be on the show from March 7-9. OK, what about the weekend before that, and the week after that? And who will be hosting? Who are the other analysts? It almost seems to be like MLB Network just realized this week that the WBC is starting soon and they needed to slap something together, and this is the result.
Suprisingly only the 1st round game between Korea VS Netherland will be the only game from this year's World Baseball Classic on MLB Network and ESPN Deportes that will be running on a Tape Delay.
However since MLB Network and ESPN Deportes only have 3 to 3 and a half hours separated for 12 of the games doing their coverage of the 1st 2 rounds of this year's World Baseball Classic, what will they do if the game before it starts cutting into the time slot of the game after it???
Will they join the game in progress or will they move the game to another channel???
What i think is cool is that of the 8 Stadiums hosting the World Baseball Classic, 5 of those 8 stadiums have played at least 2 MLB Regular Season games in them and 4 out of those 5 have had a team play a full or at 36 MLB Regular Seasom games in them!!!
Also MLB Network will have Intentional Talk and MLB Tonight will be taking their shows on the road to the San Francisco Giants Stadium for the World Baseball Classic Semi-Finals and Championship Game this year too!!!
Actually Joe it looks like that Tom Verducci will be a Color Commentator for 2 games instead of 1 game , because it looks like that both Tom Verducci and Harold Reynolds will be working with Matt Vasgersian and Heidi Watney will be the Field Level Reporter on March 16th according to the MLB Network Press Release and don't forget that Tom Verducci was the Color Commentator for 2-3 games produced by MLB Network last year too!!!
I am suprised that John Smoltz will only be working games on March 12th and 13th,that Harold Reynolds will be working as the only Color Commentator on March 15th before Tom Verducci joins him as a Color Commentator on March 16th,that Jim Kaat will be 1 of the 2 Color Commentator's for Pool D in the 1st round and not return as Color Commentator untill the World Baseball Classic Semi-Finals and Championship game, that Heidi Watney will only be a Field Level Reporter for pool 2 of the 2nd round and that Sam Ryan will only be a Field Level Reporter for 1 of the 2 broadcast crews in Pool D of the 1st round,but am not suprised that Tom Verducci will be the Field Level Reporter for the World Baseball Classic Semi-Finals and Championship game!
Mat Yalloff and Jeff Nelson are doing 1 Pool D game on March 7 and 1 Pool D game on March 8th while Matt Vasgersian, Jim Kaat and Field Level Reporter Sam Ryan will be doing 1 Pool D game on March 8th, 2 Pool D games on March 9th and 1 pool D game on March 10th too!!!
Does anybody know who will fill in for Buck Martinez as PBP voice for the Toronto Bluejays on TSN while he is working as an analyst for the 1st 2 rounds of this year's World Baseball Classic for the MLB Network and for Rich Waltz as PBP voice for the Miami Marlins on Sun Sports, because Craig Minervini might not be able to fill in for him, due to his obligation as also being the TV Voice for the Florida Panthers too ???
Because we already know who will fill in for Gary Thorne as the PBP voice for the Baltimore Orioles on MASN and Jose Mota for the Anaheim Angels on FSN West.
Before Rich Waltz became the TV PBP man for the Miami Marlins, for a few years he was the Studio Host for the Pre and Postgame show and ocasionally filled in as the PBP man for the Seattle Mariners on Tv and Radio!
Rich Waltz also did PBP for MLB Network's coverage of the 2009 World Baseball Classic too!!!
Okay, two things:
1) Pool B actually kicks off first on Friday evening.
2) "the wonderful Gary Thorne and Jose Mota". Jose Mota is wonderful, whereas Gary Thorne is awful.
What i find interesting is that the MLB Network will have 8 broadcast crews of 16 people working it's coverage of all 8 rounds of the World Baseball Classic this year and that of those 8 Broadcast Crews that only 5 of those 16 Broadcasters will be working more than 1 round of MLB Network's coverage of the World Baseball Classic this year and that 11 of the 16 broadcasters will only be doing PBP, Analysis or working as an Field Level Reporter for only 1 round of MLB Network's coverage of the World Baseball Classic this year.
I also find it odd but am not suprised that some Local Networks and the Pac-12 Network loaned their broadcasters to MLB Network for this year's coverage of the World Baseball Classic, like they do for the big Sporting events for 5 of the 16 Broadcasters working MLB Network's coverage of this year's World Baseball Classic, who will also be working games for MLB Network for the 1st time too!!!
Ugh, of course they would bring in Costas to snub Vasgersian for the championship game.
In the playoffs last year and in general, Vasgersian >>> Costas. All Bob wants to do these days is just talk about stories, stories, and more stories.