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Team Player: Jeff Passan And Kevin Davies

Senior MLB Insider Passan, who has reached a multi-year extension with ESPN, celebrates coverage producer Davies, who delivers everything from necessary perspective to pizzas

Jeff Passan reports from the set of Baseball Tonight during the 2021 AL Wild Card Playoff Game in Fenway Park.
(Allen Kee/ESPN Images)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the latest installment of Front Row’s Team Player series, where an ESPN on-air commentator selects a behind-the-scenes colleague to spotlight.

The 2021 Major League Baseball season might be over, but ESPN’s baseball coverage never stops.

As free agency opens, ESPN Senior MLB Insider Jeff Passan continues the year-round bear that is baseball reporting. ESPN today announces it has reached a multi-year extension with the intrepid reporter, who joined ESPN in January 2019.

Passan has enjoyed plenty of success across ESPN platforms, and as always, it’s a team effort.

Front Row caught up with Passan today, who explains why Kevin Davies, ESPN coverage producer, is a quintessential “Team Player” and why his clutch Frank Pepe’s pizza run was a difference-maker.

What attributes does Davies possess that make him effective in his role?
Kevin is relentlessly present. Staying engaged all the time, in a news cycle that never abates, with subject matter that’s constantly evolving and demanding more of you, is an exercise in stamina. Whether it’s at the trade deadline when the stress levels are high or the postseason when the games mean everything and attention to detail is paramount, Kevin isn’t just around — he’s sensing how he can best help you do your job. There’s a special selflessness there.

In what way does Davies help you do your job to the best of your ability?
In lots of different ways, which is why it’s so great to work with him. If I’m on SportsCenter and a source missed the hit and wanted to see what I said, Kevin will cut the video and send a copy to me. If I’m in the green room during the trade deadline and want a better sense of what baseball fans are interested in, he’ll guide me out of the myopia that sometimes comes with the job and help make that segment better. And if it’s any time between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m., he’ll complain about the Mets, which lets me know that all is right with the world.

Kevin was the literal pied piper, and his willingness to try to be everything for everyone illustrates how hard he works and how much he cares. – Jeff Passan recalling Kevin Davies going beyond the call and providing pizza for colleagues during a marathon sports night

Could you share a favorite moment working with Davies?
I was in Bristol during the division series and got a text from him: “U hungry, just picked up Pepe’s Pizza.” It was the first night we were broadcasting the NHL, and Kevin was good enough to run to Frank Pepe’s and return with eight large pies for the staff to split. There is no greater glue guy than the person who brings food back to famished people. And as someone who only recently discovered the glory that is Pepe’s, calling it mere “food” is too great an undersell. Kevin was the literal pied piper, and his willingness to try to be everything for everyone illustrates how hard he works and how much he cares.

DAVIES ON WORKING WITH PASSAN:


ESPN MLB coverage producer Kevin Davies (Kevin Davies/ESPN)
“Jeff is one of the most genuine and devoted people I have ever worked with. His commitment and passion to providing our viewers/readers with the latest breaking news are beyond compare and admirable. I always look forward to whatever Jeff is doing- whether chatting with [SportsCenter] anchor Scott Van Pelt, powerful storytelling, or his latest column. He makes my job easier with his upbeat attitude and eagerness always to be a team player for whatever I need from him that day.”
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