Fox’s MLB postseason roster just got a lot more interesting.
After adding Pete Rose in April as an MLB analyst for Fox and FS1, the network announced on Sunday during Fox NFL Sunday that they have added another all-time controversial baseball figure:
On Sunday, Rodriguez was a guest of the Los Angeles-based pregame show where Fox NFL Sunday host Curt Menefee introduced him as “one of the most popular guys in all of sports.” Rodriguez will be part of Fox’s coverage beginning with Game 3 of the ALCS and throughout the World Series. He missed the entire 2014 season after being suspended for ties to performance-enhancing drugs. In 2015 he had a comeback year both on and off the field, hitting 33 home runs with 86 RBI and zero controversies.
The Daily News first reported the Rodriguez hire on Sunday. New York Post baseball columnist Joel Sherman reported that MLB did not have veto power to prevent this, but was given a heads-up by the network and did not fight it.
Sports television executives rarely factor in off-the-field issues with hires unless their league partners have issues with the hire. The Rodriguez announcement is an interesting move, and potentially a good one. The expectations will be low and they’ll be a tune-factor given Rodriguez’s name recognition. (I’d also expect some hate-watching, which still counts in the ratings.) Yankee beat reporters will tell you that Rodriguez’s baseball knowledge is off the charts. He has a habit of seeing everything on the field and a number of them emailed me on Sunday to say that he’s particularly good at diagnosing pitching issues, which is counter to what you might think given he’s a hitter.
“Alex has always impressed us from afar with his ability to articulate the game extraordinarily well,” said John Entz, President of Production of Fox Sports, in a statement. “In meeting with him, it was obvious he has strong recall when it comes to information, a great familiarity with the remaining teams in the field and we have no doubt that he’ll be an excellent fit with our guys.”
Rodriguez appeared nervous on Sunday, which is normal. He said he was “excited” about the Fox opportunity and told viewers not to count out the Blue Jays—trailing 2–0—given their power pitching and home record. He spent the rest of the segment answering questions about the NFL, the University of Miami, and throwing a football to Jay Glazer, which ended up breaking a monitor on set. Quipped Menefee: “Alex you know that comes out of your check at Fox.”