Fox Sports Chose New Lead MLB Team On Strength Of Rehearsal Broadcast
Fox Sports execs said that the company has known that Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci "would be its lead MLB team for a couple of months after the three had a practice broadcast together in St. Louis late last year," according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com. Rehearsal games "often do not go well in sports broadcasting, but management said it was particularly impressed by the chemistry between the three men." Fox execs said that they "did not enter the search with a preconceived notion about using a two-person or three-person booth." Fox Sports Exec Producer John Entz said that he was "impressed by the hundreds of hours Verducci and Reynolds worked together in the studio at MLB Network." Buck said that he was "nervous during the practice broadcasts because he had developed such an innate feel" with retired Fox broadcaster Tim McCarver "over 18 years together." Buck said, "I can tell you literally, within five minutes, this was going to be the combination if my opinion had anything to do with it. This felt very easy, and three-man booths are not easy." Reynolds said that "having to offer commentary during live look-ins on MLB Network helped sharpen his mindset from studio to game work." Meanwhile, Deitsch noted Fox "will have a second national broadcast team that will include some combination of Kenny Albert, Thom Brennaman, Eric Karros, regional broadcasters and potentially John Smoltz, with whom Fox Sports is currently in discussions to be an in-game analyst" (SI.com, 3/3). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes the lead team of Buck, Reynolds and Verducci "will not be together every week of the season." The team "at the least" will call "eight prime-time games on the Fox broadcast network between May 24 and July 12, along with the All-Star Game and the postseason" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/4). In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht noted the trio "will make their debut" at 3:00pm CT on April 5 with Giants-Dodgers on FS1 (NEWSOK.com, 3/3).