It’s the most wonderful time of the year to be a Hot Stove baseball fan. Check back with this very post throughout the day as our crack MLB staff continuously updates all the goings-on from Dallas.
As you will see above, during Tuesday night’s ESPN coverage of the MLB Winter Meetings, Karl Ravech interviewed new ESPN analyst Terry Francona and former ESPN analyst (and current Red Sox manager) Bobby Valentine. Together. Sitting side by side.
Karl talked about how the interview came together, what the mood was like on and off the set, and what ESPN tried to accomplish for the fans.
FR: How did the Francona/Valentine interview come about?
KR: It was Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Jed Drake’s idea. He worked with Bobby closely while he was here and he also helped bring Terry to ESPN. He thought it would be a great idea, and it was.
FR: What was the mood like before, during and after the segment?
KR: The mood was very loose and comfortable. They were both candid and nobody was afraid. They were both very cooperative. They laughed more than they were serious. They were so complimentary of each other.
FR: What were you trying to accomplish with this interview?
KR: The goal was that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I can’t imagine another situation where this will happen. Back-to-back former players/managers of the same team, essentially switching jobs. The uniqueness was great. I really do believe what allowed this to be okay was Bobby looked at the Red Sox job as an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. You are looking at two men that are no longer at jobs they really loved, but they’re very happy now. They are both great people and they deserve the best.
FR: What kind of feedback, both internal and external, did you receive?
KR: The feedback was mostly about how unique of a situation it was. Also, how professional they both were.
FR: As a Boston-area native, what do you think this meant to Red Sox fans to see these two together?
KR: I think for the Boston baseball fan it was compelling. It was must-see television. The guy that left had won two World Series championships – he was loved. To be sitting next to the new manager? If I’m a Boston Red Sox fan being told about that interview, it would be appointment viewing for me.