Transcript: KayRod Cast Media Conference Call with Alex Rodriguez and Michael Kay


Transcript: KayRod Cast Media Conference Call with Alex Rodriguez and Michael Kay

ESPN hosted a media conference call with World Series Champion Alex Rodriguez and premier New York sports voice Michael Kay, who are teaming up to host KayRod Cast, which debuts on Sunday, April 10, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 as the New York Yankees host the Boston Red Sox. The new presentation will accompany Sunday Night Baseball on eight Sundays throughout the season.

ESPN’s 33rd consecutive Major League Baseball season is the first year of its new multiplatform rights extension with MLB. ESPN will have the 25 exclusive Sunday Night Baseball games as well as five additional exclusive windows throughout the year, plus the new MLB Wild Card series.

Below is a transcript of the call with Kay and Rodriguez, plus Mark Gross, ESPN senior vice president, production and remote events.

MARK GROSS: Thank s for everybody’s interest today. Obviously as a company we’re excited that baseball returns tomorrow, and we continue to kick it into gear on Sunday with two telecasts going on simultaneously, and KayRod obviously being one of them on ESPN2.

We think or we know that we’ve got two guys in Alex and Michael with great chemistry, and two guys who obviously get along and have a long relationship over many, many years from Alex’s days of playing in New York.

So usually that can be always a challenge, making sure the chemistry is good from the get-go, but I think that’s one thing we can certainly check off the list is that we have good chemistry, so we’re fortunate about that.

The other thing is I think that the focus is still on the game, so some people call it an alternate broadcast; we call it KayRod Cast, where the focus is still on the game. So fans can still watch the game on ESPN2 or they can obviously watch the game on ESPN.

Alex has a ton of anecdotes, a ton of stories to share, and I would say that this format allows for those stories to be shared much more easily than in a conventional telecast.

Michael has been mentioned as the premier talk show radio host in New York and longtime play-by-play announcer for the Yankees, and I’m a believer that the people who are in talk radio, sports talk radio hosts, have a great ability for long-form TV and getting the most out of their analyst or their partner.

I think that Michael in his own unique way and given he has the great relationship with Alex, that the banter and the stories from both of them will certainly be memorable and should really differentiate the broadcast.

Some people have asked in the past or as a lead-up on guests and this and that. Again, to us it’s still documenting the game. It’s guests, it’s entertainment, it’s humor, it’s unpredictability.

Things will happen during the course of the night that we didn’t think would happen but will happen, so we’ll adjust to those. And whether that’s a surprise guest or whether it’s a surprise element or two, we’re going to keep this laid back, relaxed, fun, entertaining and informative for all eight of these.

So we’re excited. Again, I would say this — I would just add that this is the latest innovation in the world of, call it, different broadcasts or simultaneous broadcasts, but this is the latest innovation from our company to viewers at home.

Q: Alex, were you surprised at all by the reception in the Hall of Fame vote, and do you think there’s anything you can do over the next few years that would change the results for you?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Thanks for the question. Good to see you. I didn’t have any expectations. I was asked by some folks in the media to sit down and do kind of a long form about it. The past is the past.

I’m the No. 1 cheerleader. I hope I get in one day. It would be an incredible honor. I will be terribly disappointed if I don’t get in. But if I don’t get in, I have no one to blame but myself.

But I’m certainly going to make it a point, and have so far, to stay out of it and play it straight and let the chips fall where they fall.

Q: Michael, you guys have been and will be compared to the Manningcast, obviously, because that’s sort of the frame of reference. How do you see — what do you see from that that you guys can take for this telecast, and in what other ways is it just going to be different?

MICHAEL KAY: Well, we’re presently in the legal maneuverings to get adopted by a pair of people so we can actually be brothers, so that will give us more of a Manningcast feel.

I thought the Manningcast was great. If I could think that we could improve on it, it’s just going to be different, and I think we’re going to pay a little bit more attention to the game.

Sometimes the game became secondary with the Manningcast. They were brilliant, and in big moments they were locked in. I think we’ll be locked in, as well.

But the way Alex and I see this, I don’t want to speak for Alex, is to sit there as if we were sitting in the stands and we are on TV and we’re just talking about the game with a couple of friends that sit down next to us.

If that compares to the Manningcast, that will compare to the Manningcast. This is going to be its own thing: two people who love baseball talking about the game in front of us.

Q: Alex, the reality is when you do these additive broadcasts or megacast broadcasts, the actual viewership total is significantly less than the main broadcast, many times, like 10X less. Both you and Michael are competitive guys. Michael obviously has competed in New York radio for a long time and viewership and numbers matter to him. How will you judge success, Alex, if the viewership comes in and it is likely to come in at just 10 percent of the main broadcast?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, the one thing in my career, whether it’s been sports or business, I’ve been just maniacal about the process, about preparing, about being present.

The way I look at it is like we’re going to the Michael Kay Pub and we’re inviting whoever wants to show up and just eavesdrop, and we’re going to have in depth conversation. We have a great friendship.

I think the product will take care of everything. If we’re really in the moment, if we have great surprising guests who dive in — what’s worked so well in podcasts in the long format is you’re able to chew on the bone and go deeper and deeper, rather than go wider and shallow. We have the ability to go deep and engage into some great topics.

To Mark Gross’s point, Michael has that ability to hold the attention of the fans because he’s been trained for radio and a former writer. I’m going to benefit from that. I’m excited. I have trust with him. I think it’s going to be a great product.

Whoever shows up, shows up, but it’s going to be our little party on Sunday, and we welcome everybody to come.

MICHAEL KAY: That’s the way I look at it. Any kind of viewership that we get is going to be viewership for ESPN. We’re not in competition with the main broadcast. They’re all our friends.

I work with David Cone on the YES Network. I think Alex said it best: we’re going to have a party on ESPN2, and whoever shows up at the party, we want them to have the best time that they can possibly have.

And then maybe the next week tell more friends you’ve got to come to this party. It’s great, and the numbers will be where they are. But all the numbers are for ESPN. We’re not going to look at it and be upset if the main broadcast obviously will get more viewership than we have.

Q: You have almost a brand new format. You have a lot of room to say whatever you’d like. Where should you not go? What are some topics you might not want to talk about during this presentation?

MICHAEL KAY: I don’t think there are any guardrails. I think that’s what’s going to make it fun. It’s going to be irreverent. I think Alex and I are going to be sitting there like two friends. We’ll probably be ragging on each other joking with the guests.

I don’t think there’s a hot button issue we won’t get into. The things that have gone on in Alex’s life he’s been extremely forthright about it, he’s spoken about everything that’s gone on, so it’s not like there’s a third rail issue we wouldn’t touch.

I think that kind of unpredictability is going to make this KayRod Cast something people want to tune into because anything could happen on any given day.

Q: Alex, why do you think this format will be better than what you did with Matt and Jessica the past four years?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I think this is the most natural for me. I’ve been very, very lucky to work with a couple five-tool players, Kevin Burkhardt being one of them and Matt Vasgersian being the other, and now I get to work with a very close friend, and someone who I think — I was trying to think about this the other day, and what Michael Kay reminds me of is Pedro Martinez. The reason why is because every time I faced Pedro Martinez it was like he can read your mind, and whatever I was thinking he would throw me the opposite pitch and I would never hit it.

What I mean by that is Michael has this kind of savant way about him that he knows exactly what to talk about next or what question to ask.

I don’t know if you saw maybe three, four years ago, I had a great time, I had an opportunity to do a game with Michael and with David Cone, and we were the best — it was Yankees versus Dodgers in Dodger Stadium, and I think it was the best four innings I’ve ever done on TV because I was in the middle of two very close friends, and it was going back and forth.

And Michael knows exactly how to set me up because he knows me so well, so I think this format will do well for me.

Q: Just the evolution of your relationship with Michael because during Biogenesis and all that he was pretty harsh on you and you were with the Francesa Show. How did that evolve from where you were then to where you are now?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Look, my brother Joe is 11 years older than me. Joe was born on the same day, July 27th, and for my 46 years it hasn’t been a straight line.

Michael and I have been great friends for over two and a half decades, and I don’t blame Michael, I blame me. I was the jackass that got in trouble. Michael was doing his job, and that’s why he’s good at his job.

That’s what’s going to make this show really, I think, good, is because you’re going to get forthrightness from both him and I.

Honestly, pre-suspension I think the show wouldn’t have been as good because I wasn’t as comfortable, and I think I’m just more comfortable in my skin today, and we’re going to let it rip.

Q: Michael and Alex, is baseball kind of the perfect form for doing a broadcast like this in terms of both focusing on the game and getting guests involved and everything?

MICHAEL KAY: I think so. I think the pace is perfect for it, the time between pitches is perfect for it. It’s always been a storytelling game, and now with the video aspect of it where you don’t have to be beholden to ball one, strike two, where people can actually see it, conversations are freer, they’re easier. There’s so many things to pick apart in a game.

The thing that I hope comes out of this is I want to get Alex Rodriguez to be the Alex Rodriguez that I used to speak to in front of a locker where there wasn’t the confinement of this has to be done for television, you have to look here, you have to break here, because I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody who knows more baseball than Alex.

I look at him as like a baseball genius, and to give people the opportunity to like peel back the layers. And again, this format gives us the perfect opportunity to do that. I think people are going to be shocked at the stuff they hear from him because he really knows the game so well. And I think you bring it up perfectly, this is the perfect venue for it.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I agree. Look, for us, anytime I have anything important to say I’m going to wait until these eight Sundays. It gives me an opportunity to communicate with the audience. I do very little Twitter, so this is kind of my time to interact with the fans.

I think we’ll have a surprise around Twitter, which will be very exciting for the fans. That’s a shameless plug for something we think we’re going to be having fun with.

But I think part of it is also just making fun of ourselves, talking about Michael’s head and how big it is, and he’s going to talk about some of the things that he rags on me.

I think it’s what comes through hopefully — not two brothers, but two really good friends that have one common goal and one common interest is that we all love baseball.

If you come in, you’re a baseball lover, and I’ve always thought that the long format of baseball, I’ve always thought that we get dinged a lot about how long the game of baseball is, but that’s an opportunity really to create great content and to have great conversation and to mix the past with the present with the future.

I’ve got to tell you, there is so much to talk about. Every time I talk to Michael on FaceTime or on Zoom or on a conversation, I feel like I want to continue the conversation, whether you talk about labor issues, free agencies, the who’s who, the haves and the have notes.

Baseball has a lot to talk about and a lot to unpack, and we’re excited to dive in.

MICHAEL KAY: I would like to correct Alex in one thing. I don’t have a big head. I have a long face. There’s a big difference.

Q: Alex, just wondering your thoughts on the new technology being used as far as pitcher signs and everything. As an infielder you would probably be one, two, three infielders involved with the receiver, but just as a batter, too, not being able to read what the pitcher is throwing or something.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I mean, look, I give baseball credit for pushing the envelope. I think baseball has to continue to be provocative. I think the NFL and NBA has been provocative because baseball has been No. 1 for so long, and the NBA and NFL have gone a long ways.

I think baseball has to do things like this — look, not everything is going to land. You can always take it back, right? But I’m excited to learn more about it, to be quite honest with you. I don’t know much about it. I want to talk to some of the players and see what are the pros and cons and then talk about it on our Sunday games.

Q: Just a quick question for you about the guests. Will these guests in some way be related to the game or is it going to run the gamut across sports entertaining similar to the Manningcast, and will they be advertised in advance or just a surprise?

MARK GROSS: I think where we’re headed in the world of guests is I think the more topical, the better. So I think we’re going to be or we are going to be aggressive with reaching out to players who had a big day or a pitcher who had a big day on that particular Sunday, or maybe even the day before on Saturday.

So I think we’re going to be more topical and less reliant on the past, meaning previous legends — we’ll still have those, but I think we’re trying to be much more topical, as I’ve mentioned.

As far as like the entertainment world, sure, if they’re a fan of baseball and/or if they’re a fan of one of the teams playing, we’ll reach out to those people. But at the same time we don’t want to get overly bogged down in guests that don’t have a connection to the game.

Because one of our priorities, as I mentioned, and as Michael mentioned, is to keep the focus on the game. I think that’s really important to us.

As far as announcing before, if we have them booked before we’ll try to get them out, but I think as all you guys know, getting people to commit days in advance is certainly a challenge.

Q: Michael, a question on your general career trajectory. I was fascinated thinking about it. What was a more gratifying career accomplishment for you, becoming the play-by-play voice of the Yankees, which had to be a lifelong dream, or in his final quarter beating Mike Francesa in the ratings after a long battle?

MICHAEL KAY: Well, as it was brought up earlier, I’m pretty competitive. I think Richard brought that up. That was something that I wanted to do, but I didn’t even think I would have a talk show. I didn’t know who Mike Francesa was when I was nine years old, and since I was nine years old growing up in the South Bronx, all I ever wanted to do was be the voice of the Yankees.

To reach that, when I walked into that booth on Friday for opening day, I never lose sight of that. I never forget how special it is, and every year I spend in that booth is an added gift.

Although beating Mike Francesa was certainly gratifying and nice, nothing compares to having gotten the job that I dreamed about having since I was nine.

Q: Michael and Alex, a baseball question. Right now Aaron Judge and the Yankees are going at it over contract negotiations. There’s a lot that goes into his situation. Do you guys believe that the Yankees should lock him up right now or does a year of team control, they could wait it out? How do you guys see it?

MICHAEL KAY: I’ll go first. Listen, it can go either way. If you don’t sign him now, then you’re opening up the bidding to 29 other teams at the end of the year. Right now you have exclusive negotiating rights for him, and if you sign him now you’re probably going to get a better deal than you would at the end of the year.

But if you’re Aaron Judge, if you don’t sign now and you got hurt during the year, that’s going to cost you some money. So for both of them it’s a big time gamble. I’ve always thought Aaron is the face of the team. He’s one of the faces of baseball. If you can lock him up — I think he said all the right things during the offseason, during Spring Training, hasn’t put any pressure on anybody, said this is where he wants to be.

I think it’s a marriage waiting to happen, and if the numbers jive it’s probably the way to go, do it before time.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: For me I go with what Michael said. I would have tried to sign him three years ago. It was a no-brainer. From the time he came up you could just tell that he fit the Yankee way, has always been an incredible young man on and off the field, drafted, and hopefully he’ll become a world champion.

But yeah, without a question. I’ve never been a big believer of having supreme talents wait. I would dare say don’t let an asset that you love become a free agent, because now you’re competing with the field. So the sooner the better.

Q: Alex, what made you want to get into broadcasting? Is this something you thought about quite a bit when your playing career was going on? How did it evolve that you wanted to end up in this profession?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I can tell you that the one thing I knew I would never, ever do, and I think I’ve had many conversations with Michael because he’s pushed me on it over the years, is would I ever manage or coach, and I was adamant, and I’ve never wavered from that.

The answer is no, and it’s a hard no, with caps.

Broadcasting I’ve got to tell you, I never thought about it. I’ve always been a big fan of great broadcasters going back to Ralph Kiner, Tim McCarver, Vin Scully, Jack Buck and others, just being such a great fan of the game of baseball.

But I think one of the things that I talk to young kids about when I travel and talk to universities is really what is your passion. I never thought I would be any good at broadcasting and I’ve had — my main focus and my first love is baseball, and I knew that. I knew it, I studied it, and I watched it.

I’m crazy about baseball, and I’ve always been. It was my first love.

Then the question became can I articulate a story that’s digestible and say it in a way that’s understandable, and that’s kind of been the hardest challenge. I think some people are really good at communicating, they just don’t know the game as well.

For me it was opposite and I had to kind of tackle this part. And I think being at FOX, they kind of first gave me the opportunity with — I met John Entz and Bardia, and this kind of weaved into the ESPN opportunity, so I’ve enjoyed it.

Q: Michael but maybe to Alex, as well. Michael, you seem to have a very good idea of what you think the KayRod Cast will be. You mentioned it feeling like a party, like two friends in the stands watching a game. Do you anticipate any challenges or any differences, old habits in calling play-by-play versus this more open format?

MICHAEL KAY: Absolutely. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I actually gave it a lot of thought. I think there’s going to be a real challenge of the balance of am I doing play-by-play or am I hosting a radio show.

In a perfect world it’s kind of fusing the two, and I never want to forget that the game is the thing. People tuned in for the game.

I think it’s almost equal to when I went from radio with John Sterling and then I went to TV. It’s a completely different sort of broadcasting.

I think in a perfect world the fusion of a radio show vibe or the show CenterStage that I have on 98.7 in New York, if I can do that and also pay attention to the game, then I think it’s also going to hit the sweet spot.

It’s not going to be something that’s completely easy right away, but I think it’s going to be certainly a thing that I hope that we can grow into exactly what feels right.

I hope I answered your question.

Q: Mark, how are you going to be judging success for the show a few weeks in, a month in, and how are you going to be tinkering with it as it evolves?

MARK GROSS: I think we’ll measure success by how entertaining, how informative the show is, how are the quality of the guests, how are we staying focused on the game.

Sure, everybody is going to immediately look to the ratings on Monday morning. I probably won’t, to be honest with you. I think it’ll be more of just, how do we think we’re doing and how do we want to grow.

But the show is this Sunday. It’ll probably be somewhat different on April 17 and probably somewhat different in show No. 3.

So it’ll evolve over time, but we’ll be patient and play with things and tinker with things. I think that’s how at least I’ll measure it.

Part of it will be — I think when we get done with it, with a game on Sunday night, is how much fun do we think we had, and then how much information and insight do we think we imparted to the audience?

If we’re nailing those two things, then I think we’ll be feeling pretty good.

Q: Alex, since you’ve retired you’ve had various media appearances or partnerships; you’ve appeared on Shark Tank; you chatted with Big Cat on a podcast. I’m curious what you hope to carry over to this broadcast to give people the understanding of what you are like as a human being rather than just as an athlete?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Just like if I was going to dinner Friday night in the city with Michael and have a couple bottles of wine and a nice big fat steak with some fries. Did I learn something? Did I laugh a lot? Did I entertain myself? I think ratings — and ESPN is not going to want to hear this, but I think they’re overrated.

I think this cast is really set for great content and to entertain, to learn something. I think I’m going to have an opportunity to have a bat in my hand and a glove and talk about why a particular player is doing really well or struggling, if a pitcher is tipping, what to look for.

Michael asked me on the air once in real time, and this is one of the greatest moments that I’ve had on TV with Michael, was Filippelli, who was our executive producer at FOX, put a big screen of the entire field.

I circled the second baseman and I said, notice the second baseman is moving to the left and a little bit to the right just before the pitch. That tells me when he moves to the left, if the second baseman moves closer to first base it’s going to be a fastball away.

How many home runs have you hit in your career? Have you hit more than three home runs with that type of movement? I said I’ve probably hit more than 50 home runs. Those are in-game conversations that if you’re a baseball nerd like that you really like, because you’re not going to learn that anywhere else besides somebody who’s done it over 10,000 times in their career.

I don’t think this is a display of who I am as a person. I think this is really going to show off, I hope, my experience, my knowledge, my highs, my lows, and really kind of share my experiences and lessons that I’ve learned over my volatile career.

Q: Mark, what can we expect in terms of the in-studio look, the graphics look, that type of thing? Are these guys going to be in La-Z-Boy chairs? I assume it’s going to be a pretty relaxed look. Give us an idea of what else we can expect on the broadcast.

MARK GROSS: This Sunday will be relaxed because Alex and Michael will be together in Seaport, but sometimes they won’t be together in the same building.

I think next Sunday Michael will end up in Baltimore and Alex will not be in Baltimore.

But for this Sunday, yes, we’re coming out of the Seaport studios, where Get Up and First Take operate out of — but it is a more relaxed feel, couches, chairs, more relaxed chairs. There’s no set; there’s no desk.

There’s an entirely new — it’s obviously the first year, new graphics package, new animation package, customized open, those types of things that you would expect.

And then Joe McCoy is producing the show, but he’ll end up producing the show from a control room in Bristol, which is similar to what we do with other shows that originate out of the Seaport. But it looks sharp, it really does. We’re excited to debut it on Sunday.

MICHAEL KAY: Mark has also promised that it will be extensively catered and there will be a lot of eating during the show.

MARK GROSS: That seems to be the hottest topic as I sit here right now is getting Alex — I actually just responded to an email, in all honesty, that somebody says, yeah, Alex likes this place, and they emailed me the menu, and I literally said, there’s no way Michael Kay will find anything on this menu.

MICHAEL KAY: There’s no steak there?

MARK GROSS: You know you don’t have any condiments or anything touching your steak, so that’s a challenge. Yes, we will have probably an extensive catering list ranging from pretzels and hot dogs outside to something more along the lines of what Alex is looking for.

MICHAEL KAY: That could be the joy of this because Alex is going to gravitate to the high-end places with the fancy food, and they can save money with me with White Castle. I’m great. Have you ever had a White Castle?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I’m a Chick-Fil-a guy.

Q: Especially when you guys are in Seaport, is there a demo area or anything along those lines?

MARK GROSS: Yep, plenty of space. More space than Alex has ever experienced in the booth for sure. His own glove, his own bat. Actually the glove and bat to the point of the ones that he used when he was playing will be made available or are available to him.

Q: Alex, I know you answered why you wanted to get into broadcasting, but what made you stay? Very few prominent athletes like you have stayed in it. What made you stay in broadcasting, especially teaming up with Michael this year?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I mean, honestly, I watch more baseball than anyone that I know. My daughters think I’m crazy. My ex teammates think I’m crazy. I would go into dinners with my teammates and they stopped going to dinner with me because all I wanted to do was talk about baseball, and they banned me from talking about it.

I might as well get paid if I’m going to be watching and I get to hang out with my buddy Michael.

Look, I’ve built some incredible friendships over the years, Papi, Frank Thomas, Kevin Burkhardt, Matt Vasgersian and others. For me the big thing is my daughters next year, Natasha will be a rising senior; Ella will be a rising freshman. We’re starting to take college visits. I’ll be in Michigan next week visiting Michigan for the second time.

I’m having Tom Brady talk to her to try to convince her to go to Michigan. With the Timberwolves here in Minnesota, I’ve got a little snow behind me, lost was a tough one last night, but I didn’t think I would be spending this much time with the Timberwolves.

I told Jimmy Pitaro, I don’t think I had the bandwidth to do another 30 games, and the opportunity with Michael was one that I couldn’t pass down, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Working with friends. That was a terrible, long answer, but working with friends has kept me in.

Q: Alex, you’ve talked about where Major League Baseball stands in relation to the NBA. You’re now an NBA owner. I was curious after the lockout there’s a lot of negativity surrounding baseball. Do you feel like the game is further behind the pace of the NBA than it was perhaps heading into the offseason?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I think baseball has an incredible opportunity. We have a new deal in place. I think we have an opportunity. And they’ve already started to be a bit more provocative, open up the flood gates, and just a few simple things like mic’ing more players, putting cameras on bases.

I love to see a mic and a camera on umpires, so fans at home realize how hard it is to hit 95 to 100 miles an hour, the movement.

I think gaming is going to be something that is going to be really beneficial for baseball, and the one thing that we have to do, I think, ASAP, and is a must, is we have 60 assets out there that we don’t utilize, and that’s the 60 batting cages that every day on our phone, all of us who love baseball, should be able to look on our phone and see Aaron Judge and Mike Trout, and Ohtani, hit every day on BP.

I know all of us would have it, hedge fund traders would have it, teachers would have it. Watching them prepare for the game, the sound, the smell, and uncover some of these incredible young players. I don’t remember an era, and I don’t know about Michael, that we had so many incredible players under the age of 23 that have potential to be Hall of Fame players and are incredible young men, and half the country does not know them well enough.

I’m excited for Rob Manfred. I’m excited for Tony Clark. I’m excited for the players. I am proud that they came together and got a deal done, and now it’s time to push the envelope a little bit and get a little naughty and provocative. And I think baseball, I’m very bullish in it.

Q: Since you guys have known each other for so long, what do you think are some strengths you’re going to bring to the cast and what are some, not weaknesses but things you guys can work on together throughout the different sportscasts you guys do?

MICHAEL KAY: Well, Alex spoke about the time that we did a game with David Cone, a Yankees-Dodgers in LA. I think the ESPN executives saw it and it spurred the idea for the KayRod Cast.

Somebody got hit by a pitch and we looked up at Alex that’s been hit by pitches a lot, and I said to Alex, why did you get hit so much? He went into some explanation, I was so on top of the plate, I wanted to reach for the outside corner, the way to pitch me was inside, and thus I got hit a lot.

And I just stopped a beat and I said, and also, people didn’t like you, and he just broke up laughing.

If that’s the kind of exchange that we can have, I think this is going to be really, really fun, because I don’t know — again, when you’re on network television like Alex is with FOX and ESPN, everything is so polished.

Now, this is going to be network television obviously at the highest level with ESPN, but we’re going to be allowed to be a little bit out there where we can joke with each other.

I want people to see a side of Alex that I’ve seen, that maybe he doesn’t show on Sunday Night Baseball in the past four years, maybe he doesn’t show — because you’re really relegated to small snippets of what you can say on a pregame show during the World Series.

You can’t really free flow. We’re going to be able to free flow, and I think that’s going to allow people to see the personality of Alex that I’ve experienced in front of a locker, that I experienced that day in the Dodger Stadium booth.

I think that’s what we’re looking forward to the most.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, let me just add one more thing. If you’ve been eavesdropping into conversations with Michael and I over the last 25 years, I would say about 60 percent of them have been about baseball.

But there’s been a large percentage about the fight we had with Jason Varitek or my relationship with Derek Jeter or what I’ve learned from Mariano Rivera or who am I dating.

Well, who are you dating? He talks about finances, he talks about — I ask him for advice about this.

The great thing about what we will be able to do is you’ve never seen it before, and anything you have in the regular cast, we wouldn’t be able to free flow, and Michael would ask anything, and he’s nuts, and that’s actually what I love about him.

He has a very provocative mind when it comes to pushing the envelope and being a contrarian, and in many ways I am, too.

I think you’ll hear things from me and from him partly because he’s the one asking the questions and I trust him, and we have a friendship that you’ve never heard from me before and hopefully get to learn and educate about baseball.

By the way, Twitter, we’re going to be able to learn a little bit from the fans, too. Hopefully there will be a little bit of back and forth. We want to hear from the audience, as well, and strap it up a little bit.

MICHAEL KAY: One of the things we’ll be asking on Sunday, Alex, who are you dating? So we’ll find that out on Sunday.



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