At the start of the 2013 Major League Baseball season, ESPN announced an unconventional concept for its Wednesday Night Baseball telecasts: a rotating booth. The idea served two purposes: 1) to strategically place ESPN MLB analysts in the booth when they have a distinct connection to a game; 2) to utilize ESPN’s deep roster of baseball commentators.
This Wednesday, analysts Mark Mulder and Doug Glanville will join play-by-play commentator Sean McDonough to call the Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves game — the third consecutive night Nationals’ star Bryce Harper will be front and center on ESPN. (ESPN televised Nationals-Braves on Monday Night Baseball and debuts the one-hour special Bryce Begins tonight at 9 p.m. ET).
This week’s catch? Mulder and Glanville will each be stationed outside of a team’s dugout — Mulder with the Braves and Glanville with the Nationals — while they provide analysis.
Mike McQuade, ESPN Vice President, Production, discussed what the network hopes MLB fans and viewers gain from this unique commentary experience: “Ultimately, we want our viewers to gain more access, and have a greater understanding of baseball strategy, through the eyes and ears of our analysts.”
McDonough added: “I hope that more than anything else that we get unique sights from Mark and Doug as a result of their location near the dugout as opposed to the booth. It’s a chance to perhaps have the ability to come up with different bits of information that they wouldn’t get high above the field. I’m excited to try something new.”
For Glanville, it’s a chance to offer fans a unique perspective they might not always get when watching an MLB game.
“The focal point is how these players are communicating with each other and with their coaches. There is a lot of nonverbal communication that happens and I think it’s gold. My goal is to translate that and to get the camera on it,” said Glanville.
Mulder is also expecting some unique interaction due to his spot near the dugout — and not just from Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
From 2000 through 2004, Mulder and current Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson were stars in the Oakland A’s rotation.
“I’m going to be next to the Atlanta dugout so as soon as Hudson finds out I will be there, I’m sure something will happen,” Mulder said.
“I’m hoping to give the fan the dugout experience and talk about what I see from my point of view.”\