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Team Player: David Ross and Gregg Colli

ESPN MLB analyst Ross on Baseball Tonight producer Colli: "It’s rare that you create a friendship so fast with someone who is also kind of your boss."

Ross (L) on working with Colli: “Sometimes in this role, a producer is running the show and has so much to focus on, but still some of the best conversations I have about baseball are with him.” (Gregg Colli/ESPN)

Front Row’s “Team Player” series returns to the diamond this week as two-time World Series Champion and MLB analyst David Ross shines the spotlight on Baseball Tonight producer Gregg Colli.

Ross, widely praised for being an ultimate team player during his MLB career, certainly knows what makes a great teammate. And, as the former Cubs and Red Sox catcher explains, Colli’s trust, knowledge, and friendship are “invaluable” to him in his analyst role.

Colli joined ESPN in 2002. He has produced the majority of Baseball Tonight telecasts over the last five years and has worked his way up to become the lead producer for the iconic show. Colli’s responsibilities include oversight of the production staff and collaboration with the production team and commentators to construct the show.

As ESPN MLB coordinating producer Tom Archer explained, “[Gregg’s] role requires someone who is in tune with the entire league and every team’s personnel, while also knowing the direction of the sport. What’s hot, what’s relevant, what’s changing on teams and overall.”

Ross answered these questions regarding Colli for Front Row.

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What makes Colli successful in his role?
He’s as knowledgeable as anyone in the room. Sometimes in this role, a producer is running the show and has so much to focus on, but still some of the best conversations I have about baseball are with him. That speaks to his love of the game and his knowledge. On the personal side, he is open and honest and wants what’s best for you and creates a trust factor where I know he’ll put me in position to succeed. That is invaluable to me.

How does he help you do your job to the best of your ability?
I think the biggest thing is he’ll bring up baseball questions about what’s going on in the sport. His firing those questions out there helps to spark my brain and helps me gather my thoughts so I can prep for the work I’m doing on television that night. His knowledge – as much as I love baseball, it’s one of those things that really helps me out – because you can’t always know every little thing that’s going on that day. Again, his help is invaluable.

Could you describe a specific instance when Gregg went above and beyond to help you?
More than any one instance, I would point to his friendship. Sometimes we talk about family life, his son and we show each other videos of the kids. It’s rare that you create a friendship so fast with someone who is also kind of your boss. That’s what I love about Gregg because he’s a friend and not just a colleague. He knows I don’t come from a television background and he understands how hard it can be to keep up with the game you’re covering on a day when say you have a SportsCenter hit during a game and you miss a couple innings. He’ll always fill you in and get you prepared.

 

Colli’s Thoughts On Working With Ross

 

David Ross Gregg Colli 2
David Ross (L) and Gregg Colli (Gregg Colli/ESPN)

“David Ross is the ultimate teammate. For a two-time World Series Champion, and someone who has labeled himself as ‘kind of a big deal,’ his infectious personality sets him apart. The best way to describe David is authentic. He wants his analysis for the show he is working on, or the game he is calling, to be great. He does that with a combination of spot-on insight and a light-hearted delivery. He is exactly what you see on TV. He is as easy to work with, as he is to get along with. He brings an energy that lifts the entire crew.”

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