Fox Sports is giving Alex Rodriguez star treatment. And that is an understatement.
The network uses three other analysts (Raul Ibanez, Pete Rose, Frank Thomas) on its pre and postgame shows but through the first two tilts only A-Rod has made half-inning appearances during the games, making it a four-mouth booth with Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci.
It’s far from a reach to suggest these in-game appearances, along with the remote studio work at the Series, amount to an audition for A-Rod. Fox Sports suits see a star who can communicate. And while their current booth is efficient, it lacks true star power. The suits have been known to look down the road and plan for the future, especially when they know Rodriguez’s playing career is coming down the home stretch.
All the stops are being pulled out. Buck has even quoted A-Rod a few times, highlighting what he said on the pregame show, which provides the tarnished slugger with even more in-game exposure.
During Game 2, Rodriguez joined Buck & Co. in the fourth inning. He was okay, not spectacular. The same was the case during his in-game spot in Tuesday’s opener. On Wednesday night, he talked mostly about facing Jacob deGrom.
“When you’re in the batter’s box, 60 feet, 6 inches, forget mechanics, forget hard work,” Rodriguez said. “It’s all about mano y mano. And every one of these guys (the Mets young guns), especially deGrom, wants a one-on-one matchup.” Then again, the Royals did quite well “mano y mano” vs. deGrom during Game 2.
In his first two pregame show appearances, Rodriguez delivered some insight in a clear and concise manner. He is engaging, but at times seems above it all, not one of the guys. He’s going to have to work on developing some likeability, try to engage in some serious interaction with his colleagues. He needs to laugh a little and try busting chops.
At times A-Rod seemed scripted. In fact on Fox’s Game 1 pregame show A-Rod delivered the same soliloquy, almost word for word, on what the World Series means as he did a half-hour earlier on FS1’s World Series pregame offering.
Unless he’s engaging in some great acting, Rodriguez, despite some obvious shortcomings, appears to like talking baseball on TV. His performance and the way the Foxies are using him suggest Rodriguez has a big-time TV future.
If he wants it.
To read more visit the NY Daily News where this story was originally published