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Braden brings viewers to “The Perfect Spot” for Baseball Tonight

Dallas Braden (right) with Dodger Stadium's executive chef Jason Tingley.
ESPN MLB analyst Dallas Braden (right) visits with Dodger Stadium’s executive chef, Jason Tingley, during a recent “The Perfect Spot” segment.

One of the many new elements to ESPN’s Sunday Major League Baseball coverage is a segment called “The Perfect Spot” with Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) analyst Dallas Braden.

“Perfect Spot” producer Gregg Colli on the segment:
“‘The Perfect Spot’ is a fun and challenging element each week for our MLB production team. We want the segment to be something that a die-hard fan of that team or someone born and raised in the city agrees with and takes pride in. Hopefully, it’s a place that someone watching will visit when they get a chance to go to that city or park.

We are ready to roll out through the entire summer and hope to take in as many different cities and stadiums as possible.”

The recurring segment’s title references the May 10, 2010 perfect game Braden threw while playing for the Oakland Athletics. His feature explores key locations, either in the Sunday Night Baseball host city or inside the ballpark, in search of, “The Perfect Spot.”

For example, he toured Kansas City’s top barbecue spots and also interviewed Dodger Stadium’s top chef. His next segment on May 1, when Sunday Night Countdown is in Boston, will preview the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game (8 p.m., ESPN).

An MLB analyst for ESPN since 2014, Braden was recently named to the Monday Night Baseball team in addition to his role on Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown.

He tells Front Row about what goes into the weekly segments.

How did the concept for this segment come together?
The concept came about as ESPN producer Gregg Colli [see sidebar] and I tried to find a way to bring a national audience into the intimate setting of a ballpark or the city in which it resides. If you’re not at the ballpark, where is the “perfect spot” to catch the game? Is there a “perfect” pub or restaurant that embodies the city or the fan base? If so, let’s dive in!

What city or landmark are you most looking forward to visiting?
As we know, schedules in TV change all the time. As far as cities we are looking forward to visiting are concerned, all of them! That’s generic for “I have no idea what the future holds,” but it’s exciting to think about finding a hole-in-the-wall around town with some nostalgia or maybe uncovering a not so conventional vantage point for one to take in the game action.

How involved are you in selecting places of interest for each city?
My involvement can be as personal as visiting some of my favorite spots or commissioning our extremely fun and creative PA [production assistant] staff. I think we would be remiss if we didn’t bring the fans into the decision-making process in the near future. That’s what we’re here for, that is who we’re here for.

What’s your goal in bringing this segment to the overall telecast?
Overall, we aim to create a light-hearted moment in the broadcast that can connect the casual fan with the city, team and even the ballpark and its unwavering faithfuls that make each fan base a little crazy.

(L-R) Karl Ravech, Dallas Braden and Tim Kurkjian report from the Baseball Tonight set.
(L-R) Karl Ravech, Dallas Braden and Tim Kurkjian report from the Baseball Tonight set.
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