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Baseball Tonight is a Sports Emmy Award-winning program that airs on ESPN, and is the only nightly highlight show devoted to Major League Baseball. The show, which recapitulates the day's Major League Baseball action, has been on the air since 1990.
Baseball Tonight usually appears nightly on ESPN throughout the baseball season at 10:00 p.m. ET and 12:00 a.m. ET (the show may air on ESPN2 when there are conflicts with college football or the NBA).. Following the cancellation of the Trifecta in late 2006, the 12:00 a.m. run of Baseball Tonight was expanded to a full 40 minutes. The 10:00 p.m. show has permission from Major League Baseball to show in-progress highlights. The show is also seen at 12:30 p.m. ET and 7:00 p.m. ET on Sundays, the later show leading up to the Sunday Night Baseball telecast. The late-night edition on Sundays is usually just a re-air of the 7:00 show, with a SportsCenter anchor providing highlights of the Sunday night game in place of a game preview segment that airs during the live broadcast. The midnight edition usually re-airs at 12:00 p.m. ET the following day (excluding Saturday, when the show is usually a full-hour in length). The show also appears live at events throughout the year, such as spring training, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the World Series sites, and occasionally has remote stunts, i.e. shows from rooftops at Fenway Park and Wrigley Field in 2005.
Beginning with the 2005 season, Baseball Tonight has been broadcast in high-definition on ESPNHD from the opposite side of the studio used for Sunday NFL Countdown, NBA Shows and College Football Scoreboard shows, albeit with a baseball demonstration field laid on top of the NFL floor. Airing begins in March during spring training and ends after the World Series in October.
In 2000, the segment "Web Gems" was coined and created by then-producer Judson Burch. The segment originally featured great defensive plays followed by viewer internet voting on the "web." The phrase "web gem" is now common vernacular in baseball broadcasts and circles to describe outstanding glove-work.
In 2002, the home run segment "Going, Going, Gone", complete with the immensely popular "screaming baseball" animation was replaced with a tamer segment "Touch 'Em All" sans screaming baseball.
In 2006, Baseball Tonight introduced new graphics. The opening sequence features players on baseball cards moving and a ball going from one to another via a throw or off a bat. A much longer variation of this is also used to open ESPN's live game broadcasts. The theme music also was updated from the normal orchestral treatment to a livelier rock vamp.
In 2007, a new segment entitled "Thats Nasty!" was introduced. The new segment featured top pitching performances of the day, including the best individual pitches. These clips often including extremely high velocity fastballs, 12 - 6 curveballs, or change-ups that completely fool the opposing batters. Prior to the 2007 All-Star Game, a modified version of the opening sequence was used which featured various San Francisco landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge.
Baseball Tonight often features the following people:
|Hosts||Chris Berman||1990-present||hosts on select Sunday nights|
|Steve Berthiaume||2003-2005 and 2007-present||primarily hosts on Fridays and Saturdays|
|Karl Ravech||1996-present||John Kruk reported he signed an extension in 2006|
|Analysts||Orestes Destrade||2005-present|| signed a multi-year extension with ESPN on March 6, 2007.|
Often appears on Friday and Saturday shows.
|John Kruk||2004-present||lead analyst since 2004|
|Steve Phillips||2005-present||signed a five-year extension with ESPN in June 2006.|
|Reporters||Peter Gammons||1990-present||signed a three-year extension with ESPN on March 6, 2007.|
|Correspondents||Pedro Gomez||2004-present||has covered San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds and his home run record|
|Hosts||Rich Eisen||1996-2002||Now lead host for NFL Network|
|Brian Kenny||2003||Now hosts SportsCenter; formerly hosted The Hot List on ESPNEWS from 2003-2006|
|Chris Myers||1991-1995||Now reporter for FOX Sports|
|Scott Reiss||2006||Now hosts ESPNEWS and SportsCenter|
|Analysts||Dusty Baker||2007||Now manager of the Cincinnati Reds|
|Larry Bowa||2005||Now third base coach for the New York Yankees|
|Jeff Brantley||2002-2006||Now analyst for the Cincinnati Reds on television and radio|
|Dave Campbell||1990-2004||Now lead game analyst on ESPN Radio|
|Rob Dibble||1998-2004||Now co-host of The Best Damn Sports Show Period on Fox Sports Net|
|Ray Knight||1998-2003||Now pregame analyst for the Washington Nationals on MASN|
|Harold Reynolds||1996-2006||Now commentator on MLB.com|
|Rick Sutcliffe||2002-2003||Now analyst on Monday Night Baseball|
|Bobby Valentine||2003||Now manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan's Pacific League|
Featured segments Edit
Baseball Tonight is split into a number of segments, each of which focuses on a particular aspect of baseball. These segments include:
- 3 up, 3 down: 3 players/teams each that are either on the uprise or downside of their seasons or careers (in the case of players).
- Analysis: a more in-depth look at baseball topics, players, and upcoming games.
- Chatter Up: This segment is new for the 2007 season, in which fans get to submit their thoughts on certain subjects via ESPN.com and then they are shown at the bottom of the screen and discussed on the show.
- Diamond Cutters: Airs on the Sunday edition, a montage of the week's best plays set to music.
- Extra Bases: a more in-depth look at a particular game after the highlights have aired.
- Highlights: the most important happenings from the days' Major League Baseball, occasionally also featuring other baseball competitions such as the World Baseball Classic, the College World Series, Minor League Baseball, or the Little League World Series. Virtually every MLB game is shown at least once, more if there are in-progress highlights to report on.
- Inside Pitch: This segment usually features Peter Gammons giving his insight on the latest news and rumors from around baseball.
- Leading Off: usually the first segment of the show, giving the day's most significant baseball news, for example, trades, injury updates and hirings and firings of managers.
- Kurk Gems: Tim Kurkjian gives unusual stats from the world of baseball.
- Most Important Thing: Analysts' comments on the most important story from the day's happenings in MLB. This is usually the final segment of the show.
- On The Phone: a live phone interview with an MLB player, coach, or general manager, usually regarding the most recent game played and outlooks on the future of the team.
- Out of the Box: This segment is similar to Leading Off, where they preview what is coming up on the show.
- Stat of the Night: an interesting baseball statistic from the day's happenings in MLB.
- That's Nasty: New in 2007, a segment showing the best pitches, usually with the most movement, of the night.
- Touch 'Em All: significant home runs of the day.
- Smash of the Night: The most significant home run of the day. Usually the longest or biggest scorer like a "Grand Slam."
- Web Gems: the day's five best defensive plays. On Sundays, the best defensive plays of the entire week air. On July 1, 2007, the day's ten best defensive plays were shown; there were too many for that day. Prior to the 2007 All-Star Game, the season's 10 worst defensive plays were featured in a similar segment.
- Greatest Home Runs: begun as a temporary segment in honor of Barry Bonds's ascension to the all-time MLB home run champion. Featured the greatest five home runs in the history of a different franchise every day for the duration of the segment; on August 26th (the final day of the segment), the Top 10 Home Runs of All-Time were featured.
See also Edit
- ESPN Major League Baseball
- Sunday Night Baseball
- Monday Night Baseball
- Wednesday Night Baseball
- Major League Baseball on ESPN Radio
- ESPN Major League Baseball broadcasters
- Major League Baseball on ESPN Radio broadcasters