Tonight, ESPN has a special treat for viewers at 8 p.m. ET. The Wednesday Night Baseball telecast of the Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals game will implement “The Shift.”
Several ESPN MLB analysts will be strategically positioned around Busch Stadium in order to provide them with unique vantage points to analyze the game. Studio analysts Eduardo Perez and Eric Wedge have both been added to the Wednesday Night Baseball crew, which regularly consists of play-by-play commentator Jon Sciambi as well as analysts Doug Glanville and Rick Sutcliffe.
“We call this ‘The Shift,’ and the idea originally came from a game last season from Dodger Stadium,” said Jeff Dufine, producer of ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball coverage.
Viewers will see Glanville located in right field. That’s the perfect spot for the nine-year MLB outfielder with more than 1,000 games of experience to dissect each team’s defense, shifting and base-running.
For instance, “Doug will be less than 50 yards from two-time Gold Glove Cardinals outfielder Jason Heyward to breakdown his mechanics,” Dufine said.
Perez will be located next to the Cardinals dugout and will offer a hitter’s approach. He was the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins in 2011 and bench coach for the Houston Astros in 2013. Perez, who played four years with the Cardinals, has more than 1,800 career at-bats in the majors.
“I’m really excited to see [Cardinals slugger] Matt Carpenter up close to see how he prepares for his at-bats from the bench, to the on deck circle and then to the hitters box,” said Perez.
Eric Wedge will be located next to the Phillies dugout just a few feet from Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. Wedge has 10 years of MLB managing experience, including seven with the Cleveland Indians. He was named American League Manager of the Year in 2007. His primary focus will be on each team’s strategy.
“We’ve asked him to continue to think like a manager and talk about why Sandberg or Cardinals manager Mike Matheny would be implementing something like a hit and run, stealing bases, shifting certain batters, pinch hitting, or getting a reliever up in the pen,” Dufine said of Wedge’s role.
Situated in the booth with Sciambi, former Cy Young winner Sutcliffe will focus primarily on the pitching aspect of the game. He’ll also monitor how each team’s catcher calls the game.
“The Shift” will help viewers understand the game from all angles.
Editor’s Note: “The Shift” is part of a MLB initiative that includes “Sunday from the Seats” where Sunday announcers will call four games in July from the stands and “The Global Game,” a series of games throughout the season focusing on baseball in other countries.