Behind The ScenesMLB

Colleagues hail Baseball Tonight host Karl Ravech, who today celebrates his 20th anniversary with ESPN

On May 8, 1993, Karl Ravech joined ESPN.

Twenty years later, Ravech remains one of ESPN’s most prominent voices and one of Major League Baseball’s most respected commentators.

During his two decades in Bristol, Ravech has touched nearly every ESPN platform and property. Known best for being the iconic host of Baseball Tonight (10 p.m. and Midnight ET), Ravech also has contributed to SportsCenter, the U.S. Open and Little League World Series coverage. He even hosted ESPN2’s College Hoops 2Nite.

According to his colleagues, he makes his fellow commentators better. Here’s some of their thoughts as Ravech celebrates his anniversary:

Dan Shulman, Sunday Night Baseball play-by-play commentator:
Karl brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the BBTN set. His passion for the sport comes across in his work, and you know you’re going to get great information and insightful opinions when you tune into the show.

Curt Schilling, Baseball Tonight analyst:
His affinity for made-up nicknames aside, he is as much a professional, and as good at what he does, as anyone I’ve ever been around.

Tim Kurkjian, ESPN MLB Insider and Baseball Tonight analyst:
Karl Ravech is the best show host I’ve ever worked with because he is so calm. We did an emergency Baseball Tonight show 16 years ago without a rundown, a script, nothing. Before the show, our producer, Judson Burch, got in our ear and said, “Good luck, you’re going to need it.” We did a seamless one-hour show because “Ravy” never panicked, he steered the analysts through it all. That’s when I knew how great he is.

Buster Olney, ESPN MLB Insider and Baseball Tonight analyst:
The rest of us are born with chaos-filled brains — and then there’s Karl Ravech, who has spent the last 20 years deftly sifting through highlights and information to make us all smarter.

Pete McConville, Baseball Tonight Coordinating Producer:
I learn something daily about how to produce TV from Karl. His instincts about what makes good television are as good as anyone I have met at ESPN. I can’t thank him enough for his commitment to BBTN and the friendship we have developed over the years.

Steve Levy, SportsCenter anchor:
From the day I first met him, I thought he was going to be taller…seriously. I anchored my first ever SportsCenter with him and on the 2-shot he gave me a big welcome to ESPN and then I was supposed to turn to my camera 1-shot and instead I did my entire first lead-in on the 2-shot not referencing him at all…quite embarrassing for me.

Ravy is quick-witted, knowledgeable and smart. He’s everything that’s great about old-school ESPN. Oh-by-the-way, he anchors the most difficult show on the network and does it so smoothly.

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