Bad, bad day for the haters. Your living rooms will be overtaken by former New York Yankees and/or current New York Yankees play-by-play announcers every Sunday night during the baseball season.
In what was widely speculated news on Wednesday, the Sunday Night Baseball crew was reportedly finalized by ESPN late Thursday night, and more information about it came pouring out on Friday when the Worldwide Leader in Sports announced the changes.
The Alex Rodriguez “Manningcast”-type show is actually real. A-Rod is out of the main SNB booth and will be joined by YES Network’s Michael Kay. Here are the details, per Andrew Marchand of the New York Post:
"“The exact format of the ‘Kay-Rod’ broadcasts has not been finalized, but presumably will include guests, just like Peyton and Eli. ESPN has been doing alternative “Megacasts” for years, so it has a wide variety of choices to pick out of its bag.“The Kay-Rodriguez duo will do somewhere between 10-12 games. ESPN has about 25 weeks of ‘Sunday Night Baseball.'”"
The main booth will feature Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and another YES Network fixture in David Cone! The rumors turned out to be true, and this no doubt elevates the broadcast that had A-Rod and Matt Vasgersian the past few years.
But how will this affect Kay and Cone in their roles calling Yankees games?
Yankees’ David Cone and Michael Kay will be joining ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
Well, we sure have some good news for ya … it won’t at all! Marchand noted in his report that Kay will continue to call his full slate of Yankees games on the YES Network while Cone will remain with the network and continue calling games, but his workload will be “reduced.”
That’s a small price to pay if Yankees fans are getting Cone on the national stage, plus perhaps it paves the way for more Ryan Ruocco in the YES booth with Kay and Paul O’Neill? Or another former Yankee? CC Sabathia, anyone? Something cool has to happen.
Cone has famously elevated the local Yankees’ broadcasts, and if he’s leaving in any capacity then the organization needs a reputable replacement, even if it is on a part-time basis.
As for Kay and A-Rod, Marchand noted that duo could call a first-round playoff series/game should ESPN be awarded the rights when a new collective bargaining agreement is finally settled. They would go from the B-squad to the spotlight in that scenario.
All in all, this is great news for Yankees fans. More national spotlight, not much heavy lifting to be done with the local broadcasts, and an opportunity to set a new personality up for the future of the YES Network booth.