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Baseball Tonight
E BaseballTonight CLR Pos.jpg
Format Baseball
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 18th Season
Production
Running time 20, 30, 40, 60, or 90 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel ESPN (1990-)
Original run March 19, 1990 – Present
Chronology
Related shows Sunday Night Baseball
Monday Night Baseball
Wednesday Night Baseball
External links
Official website

Baseball Tonight is a program that airs on ESPN. The show, which recapitulates the day's Major League Baseball action, has been on the air since 1990.

Contents

Air times

Baseball Tonight usually appears nightly on ESPN throughout the baseball season at 10:00 p.m. ET and 12:00 a.m. ET (the show may air on ESPN2 when there are conflicts with college football or the NBA). Following the cancellation of The Trifecta in late 2006, the 12:00 a.m. run of Baseball Tonight was expanded to a full 40 minutes. The show has permission from Major League Baseball to show in-progress highlights. The show is also seen at 12:30 p.m. ET and 7:00 p.m. ET on Sundays, the latter show leading up to the Sunday Night Baseball telecast. The late-night edition on Sundays is usually just a re-air of the 7:00 show, with a SportsCenter anchor providing highlights of the Sunday night game in place of a game preview segment that airs during the live broadcast. The midnight edition usually re-airs at 12:00 p.m. ET the following day (excluding Saturday, when the show is usually a full-hour in length).

Live, on-location episodes

The show also appears live at events throughout the year, such as spring training, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the World Series sites, at ESPN the Weekend, and occasionally has remote stunts, i.e. shows from rooftops at Fenway Park and Wrigley Field in 2005. It aired live from the field at Fenway Park on April 26, 2009 before the Sunday Night Baseball game between the YankeesRed Sox game, which featured an interview with Dustin Pedroia.[1] On June 28, 2009, it aired from Citi Field in anticipation of that night's Subway Series game between the Mets and the Yankees.

History

On January 3, 2000, the segment "Web Gems" was coined and created by then-producer Judson Burch. The segment originally featured great defensive plays followed by viewer internet voting on the "web." The phrase "web gem" is now common vernacular in baseball broadcasts and circles to describe outstanding glove-work.

In 2002, the home run segment "Going, Going, Gone", complete with the immensely popular "screaming baseball" animation was replaced with a tamer segment "Touch 'Em All" sans screaming baseball.

Beginning with the 2005 season, Baseball Tonight has been broadcast in high-definition on ESPNHD from the opposite side of the studio used for Sunday NFL Countdown, NBA Shows and College Football Scoreboard shows, albeit with a baseball demonstration field laid on top of the NFL floor. Airing begins in March during spring training and ends after the World Series in October.

In 2006, Baseball Tonight introduced new graphics. The opening sequence features players on baseball cards moving and a ball going from one to another via a throw or off a bat. A much longer variation of this is also used to open ESPN's live game broadcasts. The theme music also was updated from the normal orchestral treatment to a livelier rock vamp.

In 2007, a new segment entitled "That's Nasty!" was introduced. The new segment featured top pitching performances of the day, including the best individual pitches. These clips often include extremely high velocity fastballs, 12 - 6 curveballs, or change-ups that completely fool the opposing batters. Prior to the 2007 All-Star Game, a modified version of the opening sequence was used which featured various San Francisco landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge.

In 2008, they replaced Roger Clemens with Josh Beckett in the baseball card opening sequence.

In 2009, they brought back the "screamin' baseball" graphic with the "Touch 'Em All" segment.

Logo history

Personalities

Featured segments

Baseball Tonight is split into a number of segments, each of which focuses on a particular aspect of baseball. These segments include:

  • 3 up, 3 down: 3 players/teams each that are either on the uprise or downside of their seasons or careers (in the case of players).
  • Analysis: a more in-depth look at baseball topics, players, and upcoming games.
  • Chatter Up: This segment is new for the 2007 season, in which fans get to submit their thoughts on certain subjects via ESPN.com and then they are shown at the bottom of the screen and discussed on the show.
  • Diamond Cuts: Airs on the Sunday edition, a montage of the week's best plays set to music.
  • Extra Bases: a more in-depth look at a particular game after the highlights have aired.
  • Highlights: the most important happenings from the days' Major League Baseball, occasionally also featuring other baseball competitions such as the World Baseball Classic, the College World Series, Minor League Baseball, or the Little League World Series. Virtually every MLB game is shown at least once, more if there are in-progress highlights to report on.
  • Inside Pitch: This segment usually features Peter Gammons giving his insight on the latest news and rumors from around baseball.
  • Leading Off: usually the first segment of the show, giving the day's most significant baseball news, for example, trades, injury updates and hirings and firings of managers.
  • Kurk Gems: Tim Kurkjian gives unusual stats from the world of baseball. The segment is a play on the analyst's name and the popular web gems segment.
  • Most Important Thing: Analysts' comments on the most important story from the day's happenings in MLB. This is usually the final segment of the show.
  • On The Phone: a live phone interview with an MLB player, coach, or general manager, usually regarding the most recent game played and outlooks on the future of the team.
  • Out of the Box: This segment is similar to Leading Off, where they preview what is coming up on the show.
  • Stat of the Night: an interesting baseball statistic from the day's happenings in MLB.
  • That's Nasty: New in 2007, a segment showing the best pitches, usually with the most movement, of the night.
  • Touch 'Em All: significant home runs of the day.
  • Smash of the Night: The most significant home run of the day. Usually the longest or biggest scorer like a "Grand Slam."
  • Web Gems: the day's five best defensive plays. On Sundays, the best defensive plays of the entire week air. On July 1, 2007, the day's ten best defensive plays were shown; there were too many for that day. Prior to the 2007 All-Star Game, the season's 10 worst defensive plays were featured in a similar segment. Points are given to each player and at the end of the season the player with the most points wins a trophy.
  • Greatest Home Runs: begun as a temporary segment in honor of Barry Bonds' ascension to the all-time MLB home run champion. Featured the greatest five home runs in the history of a different franchise every day for the duration of the segment; on August 26 (the final day of the segment), the Top 10 Home Runs of All-Time were featured.

One featured running gag on the show is the spoof segment "Name That Molina", where one of the personalities has to guess which of the three Molina catcher brothers – Bengie, Jose, or Yadier – is being shown. "Name that LaRoche" is another spoof segment featuring the two brothers who play for the Pittsburgh Pirates Andy and the Atlanta Braves Adam. Another running gag is the Umpire Fantasy League in which "owners" of umpires in this fictitious league are rewarded for their umpires ejecting players or coaches. It is unclear whether this is reference to the real-life Umpire Ejection Fantasy League.

Criticism

Since MLB Network went on the air on January 1, 2009, Baseball Tonight has been the target of criticism because of its perceived bias in favor of certain ballclubs such as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, in particular. The most vocal comment was expressed by Heath Bell:

I truly believe ESPN only cares about promoting the Red Sox and Yankees and Mets - and nobody else. That's why I like the MLB Network, because they promote everybody. I'm really turned off by ESPN and 'Baseball Tonight.' When Jake Peavy threw 8 1/3 innings on Saturday, they showed one pitch in the third inning and that was it. It's all about the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.[2]

See also

References

External links








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