How Alex Rodriguez Found Redemption on the Best Damn Baseball Show Period – The Ringer (blog)

Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz have been opponents for years, and on the Saturday morning of Game 2 of the ALCS between the Yankees and the Astros, they’re in a new, if unwitting, competition. At the Fox Sports studios in Los Angeles, three-fifths of the on-air talent from the MLB on Fox show sit around a conference table before a pregame production meeting, all casually dressed and at ease: Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas in a black short-sleeved button down; Mets great Keith Hernandez in a red polo, khaki shorts, and flip-flops; and host Kevin Burkhardt in a green Philadelphia Eagles T-shirt featuring Tecmo Bowl graphics. The only guys still missing are Rodriguez and Ortiz, the show’s biggest names and oddest couple.

Rodriguez, the 14-time All-Star covering his third World Series as a studio analyst for Fox, which will broadcast all of this year’s games, is notoriously scrupulous and fanatical, often arriving to the studio early, armed with copious notes. In 2015, when Fox tapped him to join its team for something of a pre-retirement test run after the Yankees’ elimination from the playoffs, Rodriguez approached the gig with the same fastidious preparation that he displayed in the Yankees clubhouse.

He asked Burkhardt if he wouldn’t mind coming in a little early to practice and show him the ropes. “He wanted to know how the cameras work and all that stuff,” Burkhardt says. “I was blown away. He’s asking a million good questions about this and that. He had a notebook filled with shit.” Throughout his Yankees career, Rodriguez used to go home after games, watch the rebroadcasts on TV, then find YES Network play-by-play guy Michael Kay in the clubhouse the next day to compliment his calls, Kay says. (“Never,” he adds when asked whether other players have

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