Last week, the ESPN Baseball Today podcast turned itself into the ESPN Baseball Tonight podcast. The difference was far more substantial than a few hours time difference. (Actually, the Baseball Tonight podcast is posted earlier than the Baseball Today podcast, which’ll blow your mind if you start to think about it.)
ESPN’s Baseball Today was hosted by ESPN fantasy expert Eric Karabell and featured, primarily, senior baseball writer for ESPN Insider Keith Law and ESPN Stats & Information’s Baseball Research Specialist Mark Simon. The podcast has gone through several incarnations hosted by Karabell, from fun co-hosts like Peter Pascarelli—who reportedly lost his gig because he insulted Bud Selig—to less-than-fun ones like Seth Everett, but with those three, they’d finally found the right formula. Basically, Baseball Today featured three smart baseball fans talking about baseball in an accessible, intelligent and entertaining way. (Law, in particular, was a standout; I’m a huge fan of pretty much everything Law does.) It was sabermetrically friendly, it was logical and straightforward and it was 100 percent John Kruk-free. If you hadn’t known any better, you wouldn’t have thought it an ESPN production at all.
It was, of course, too beautiful to live. Karbell announced last week that the show would be ending, to be replaced by “ESPN Baseball Tonight,” a riff on the ESPN program that once featured Tim Kurkjian and Jayson Stark having a nightly celebration of our greatest game but now features Aaron Boone, Nomar Garciaparra, Curt Schilling and other former athletes snapping towels at each other. The new show is hosted by Buster Olney, a veteran reporter who nevertheless spends more of his time telling us what Stephen Strasburg had for dinner before Jordan Zimmermann’s wedding or asking “Krukie” to tell his favorite spring training stories, ho ho, than talking much baseball. The show has its positives—Olney runs through the biggest stories of the day in the same breezy fashion as his daily must-read Web column, and the first ever-show briefly featured Olney, Krukjian and Stark all talking shop, like the old days—but it’s not the same as the old Baseball Today podcast. It doesn’t feel like a podcast at all: It feels like a television program, only without video.
Posted: February 14, 2013 at 06:13 AM | 46 comment(s)
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