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HBO has had a profound impact on any TV watcher’s life, especially concerning Sunday nights. With 130 million subscribers to the powerhouse network, very few shows outside of The Walking Dead can compete with the channels programming. But with 2018 to be void of the Game Of Thrones final season, ESPN could see an uptick in viewership this summer, by the hands of Sunday Night Baseball. And what definitely won’t hurt is the addition of Alex Rodriguez and Matt Vasgersian to the team, following the departures of Dan Shulman and Aaron Boone.
After pillaging the Ranger and Yankee organizations for not one, but two historic contracts of $252 and $275 million, Alex Rodriguez agreed on yet another big money deal, this one coming at the hands of ESPN. The sporting network is revamping their SNB lineup, which was inevitable following the firing of Joe Girardi and hiring of Boone. With Shulman announcing he wouldn’t be returning for play-by-play, this opened up a spot for longtime announcer Vasgersian. For the readers who enjoy the outdoors and socializing over sitting in a dark room surrounded by junk food, Vasgersian –amongst other things– has been a mainstay on MLB The Show, which has monopolized the PlayStation and Xbox market of MLB video games.
So what does this mean for us, as Red Sox fans?
One, our perception of the insufferable dink that Alex Rodriguez was for all of his playing years may begin to cascade into a more accepting, if not likable opinion. His rapport on Fox Sports with Frank Thomas and Pete Rose last season (amongst others) was top notch, as Rodriguez was a looser version of himself, often exchanging friendly barbs with Rose regarding the promiscuous follies of their playing careers. The 3x MVP offered an entertaining and informative insight on the game, and being only a few years removed from his playing days means he still has a pulse on current players tendencies, strengths and weaknesses that he experienced first hand.
Secondly, we no longer have to partake in the dreadful monotony that was Boone and Shulman. Despite ESPN’s efforts to inject a more energetic presence in Mendoza to the three person booth, the telecasts were lackluster at best. Their performance as a team became a running joke amongst the Red Sox sub Reddit community last year, amongst other places. Is it true we’re spoiled by the likes of Joe Castiglione and his announcing partners over the years, as well as the lauded former pairing of Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo? You bet. So it’s only fitting as fans who find a way to take in every ballgame, day in and day out, that we should experience what could be a fun crew of Vasgersian-Rodriguez-Mendoza, along with Buster Olney returning as well to check in from the field.