MLB Network has picked out a name and set the talent lineup for its first-ever regular season morning show, The Wrap has learned exclusively.
On professional baseball’s highly anticipated Opening Day, Monday, April 6, “MLB Central” will debut with hosts Matt Vasgersian, Mark DeRosa and Lauren Shehadi.
“Fans are thirsting for baseball around the clock, and live is always better,” Coordinating Producer Josh Bernstein told TheWrap as he explained the programming decision and the show’s timing. “Starting our programming day a little bit earlier with live stuff — it’s exciting, and if news breaks in the middle of the night, if something changes in the morning, we’re there.”
Previously, the network rebroadcast highlights show “Quick Pitch” in the timeslot.
The three-hour morning show will be the first program to originate from MLB Network’s new, state-of-the-art 8,000 square foot Studio 21, named in honor of Hall-of-Fame baseball player Roberto Clemente’s number — a space that Bernstein promised is “mind-blowing.” The studio will also become home to the aforementioned “Quick Pitch” and the series “MLB Now.”
Of course, a huge set doesn’t solely launch a series, and Bernstein had equal praise for the trio they selected to man “MLB Central,” touting the “off-the-charts” chemistry of announcer Vasgersian, former long-term pro ballplayer DeRosa and internal talent Shehadi (“The Rundown,” “Hot Stove”).
Those three are pretty stoked for their new morning show too.
“I’m looking forward to the fact that this show is going to be a little bit different in that it’s not as tightly formatted based on games in progress,” Vasgersian told TheWrap. “I appreciate the collaboration element of this a lot, and we’ve all taken equal stakes in coming up with segment ideas in pre-production.”
“MLB Central” will air live each weekday morning, with updates and context on the latest news, on-field highlights, and long-form conversations with guests, celebrities, and insiders from around the league.
Each show will begin with “The Wake-Up Call,” a look at the biggest highlights and news stories in the game. DeRosa will give his opinion on the latest on-field performances in “The D-Train,” and the show’s analysts will offer their daily take on the hottest players and best moves in the world of fantasy baseball. Towards the end of the 180-minute block, as the 1 p.m. ET baseball games ready their first pitch, “MLB Central” will shift into pregame mode.
Other recurring features will include interviews with MLB players, managers and others inside the clubhouse and a segment inspired by the MLB Network trivia show “Baseball IQ.”
“We’re going to strike the right balance between entertainment and baseball,” Bernstein told TheWrap.
“Baseball is … America’s pastime and we breathe it here,” Bernstein concluded. “We serve the fans that are craving it. It’s never been better and that’s why the time has never been better to do the show.”
Credit to the Boston Herald who originally published this article