EDITOR’S NOTE: Front Row continues its MLB on ESPN Spotlight series this week with an interview with with Andy Reichwald, the new Sunday Night Baseball producer.
Since he started working with ESPN 25 years ago, Andy Reichwald has produced Monday Night Baseball (2002-15) and served as associate director for the Monday Night Football (2006-15) and Sunday Night Football (2001-05) primetime NFL series. This year, he steps into a new role as producer of ESPN’s marquee Sunday Night Baseball franchise.
– Andy Reichwald, new
Sunday Night Baseball producer, on colleagues Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone, Jessica Mendoza and Buster Olney
Before ESPN’s MLB Opening Night World Series rematch between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.) – one of seven MLB telecasts over two days on ESPN/ESPN2 to start the season – Reichwald discusses the new SNB booth and previews the start of the baseball season with Front Row.
What are you most excited about as you start the Sunday Night Baseball season?
I am excited about the platform SNB provides, an exclusive national game of the week, and the opportunity that our new announcing team has to put its stamp on the game. I am looking forward to our team growing together and creating dynamic coverage of America’s pastime.
The SNB team met for the first time in January and worked a couple of spring training games together. What are your early impressions of the crew?
The chemistry with Dan [Shulman, play-by-play voice], Aaron [Boone, ESPN MLB analyst], Jess [Mendoza, ESPN MLB analyst] and Buster [Olney, MLB reporter] has been outstanding. They have all embraced our new team. Getting to do two spring training games was a great exercise for our crew and only whet everyone’s appetite to get the season started.
Dan is in the elite, upper-echelon of play-by-play announcers. Jess is very intelligent and passionate. She brings tremendous positive energy to her new, groundbreaking role. Aaron has matured into one of the finest baseball commentators on TV. His baseball knowledge, easy-going style and sense of humor make a great combination. Buster has his fingers on the pulse of baseball as well as anyone working in the media today. He has outstanding insight and can speak intelligently about any baseball topic put on the table. Together, the four SNB announcers create a dynamic team.
– Reichwald on the April 3 Mets-Royals game
Does your approach to SNB differ from how you produced Monday Night games?
The basic approach to producing SNB is the same as MNB – document the action on the field, entertain the viewer, engage the audience, personalize the players, give the viewer a sense of access and provide insight and analysis. The difference between the two shows is that on SNB, we have more tools to do these things. There are more cameras, more replay devices and a larger crew and support staff.
What do you have planned for the MLB Opening Night World Series rematch?
This is the first time that the two World Series teams from the previous season will meet on Opening Day. That kind of interleague matchup has not been possible for that long, but it creates unique and interesting storylines.
The starting pitchers on Sunday night are [the New York Mets’] Matt Harvey and [Kansas City Royals] Edinson Volquez. They each started Game 5 of the World Series, the last game of the season. So, in a sense, we are picking up right where last year ended. The Royals will unveil their new championship banner on Sunday during the pregame ceremony and this will be covered live in the Baseball Tonight show (7 p.m., ESPN2) that precedes us.
Do you have a favorite memory from Opening Day during your career, or even as a baseball fan?
I remember Hank Aaron hitting career home run No. 714 on Opening Day in 1974 against the Reds to tie Babe Ruth for first on the all-time list. And, then of course, he broke the Babe’s record two games later. Dusty Baker was in the on-deck circle for both of those home runs. Dusty spent a season with us in the booth on Monday Night Baseball between managing jobs and became a good friend. So, in some way, I feel a small connection to those historic home runs.