MLB Network's Greg Amsinger Previews Tonight's Draft, Future Of Event As TV Product
The MLB Draft starts tonight at 7:00pm ET, with MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger hosting the net’s coverage of the first 75 picks, alongside HOFers including Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Peter Gammons, among others. Amsinger began his preparation nearly two months prior, and after pouring over research from Baseball America, MLB.com and the MLB Network research team, he is ready to get going. THE DAILY spoke with Amsinger ahead of tonight's telecast to learn more about his prep work and why he is so bullish on the event as a TV product.
Q: How do you get ready for a draft that will see some 1,000 players over 40 rounds?
Amsinger: We're really trying to find all the details about these kids. I need to sound well-versed, because this is one of the biggest nights of these young men's lives. It’s got to be factual. It’s got to be good. You want to tell some unique stories about their personal lives and weave it all together. I’ve never had that moment where I don’t know a lot about a young man that’s drafted. I never want that to happen, but the fear of that happening is what drives me to get this done.
Q: How has the telecast developed since MLB Net began broadcasting the event back in ’09?
Amsinger: That’s when I knew MLB Network was going to be a huge success. The baseball gods and TV gods came together and blessed MLB Network. In ’09, we were a fledgling sports network. We have the Draft, which has always been this awkward event on other networks. We could only get one kid to come to the studio, and then we’re worried this kid isn’t even going to be drafted in the first round, which is all we’re airing. So we’re panicking, but a team drafts him, and it’s Mike Trout. So the only kid that showed up is a local kid (laughs). Now he’s one of the best players in baseball now. I love telling that story. That was Year 1 of the Draft, and it’s only gotten bigger and better from there.
Q: MLB as a property seems ahead of the curve with tech. How does that impact you on the air and MLB Network’s coverage as a whole?
Amsinger: It’s all about access to content. There is more content at our fingertips thanks to MLBAM and the relationship with MLB Network. It is a cohesive unit that MLB has put together. There is so much information now because of this partnership, I am clicking on links every five seconds on players. The content is what drives media right now, and people want more content. They’re taking in content on so many different platforms -- they want it in their hand, on their phone, sitting in a car in the backseat -- they want content.
Q: How do you balance the crew of analysts, as well as everything that goes into the broadcast?
Amsinger: Our Coordinating Producer for this event, Marc Weiner, put together a spreadsheet of which analyst will be talking about which players. We’ll all get together and have a meeting discussing who has the most information on all these prospects. We’ve got people everywhere ready to give analysis, but we only have so much time in between picks. We have a plan for each kid when they get picked. For analysis, it’s all organized. It’s the hardest show I host all year, but that is kind of what makes it exciting.
Q: Where does MLB Network go from here with its coverage?
Amsinger: MLB Network recognizes what it has in the Draft as an asset. The league does as well. In five years, watch the progression of this event. It’s going to become more and more marquee every single year.