Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reports that Dallas Braden has been named Curt Schilling’s replacement on ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball broadcasts.
Braden, famous for tossing a perfect game in 2010, retied from baseball in early 2014, calling his arm a “shredded mess.” He only pitched 18 more innings after the 2010 season, saying “I left my arm on the mound at the Coliseum.” Since then he has had various media jobs, most recently as a studio talking head on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight.”
All in all it’s a pretty logical move. Braden’s profile has been rising on ESPN telecasts. I can’t say I’ve caught enough of his stuff on the air to know if he’s any good, but he’s always been outspoken and a little off-the-wall. The sort of player who eschewed cliches. That’s probably a good trait to have in this line of work.
While it might be nice for sports broadcasts to get away from hiring ex-players all of the time, if they’re going to do so they should at least try to get a mix of competent analysis and entertainment value. That’s a hard balance, of course — Schilling’s original hire was likely based on him being an outspoken, unpredictable guy and we see how that turned out — but it’s worth trying again. ESPN will now try it with Braden.
NBC Sports’ new daily sports talk show, Lunch Talk Live, debuts this Monday, April 6, at Noon ET on NBCSN, featuring host Mike Tirico joined by special guests, including current and former athletes, NBC Sports’ lineup of on-air commentators, and other prominent voices and figures within sports and media.
Lunch Talk Live focuses on the current state of the sports world and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, providing guests with a platform to discuss the state of sports, voice their personal stories and detail how they are adapting their daily lives during this challenging time.
“In these challenging times, we are all missing sports and the people who make sports memories,” said Tirico. “Hopefully, we can bring a midday connection with some of them to help fill the void.”
Sam Flood, NBC Sports Executive Producer & President of Production, said, “We’re excited to bring viewers fresh programming every day with unique, topical conversations from prominent individuals in all corners of sports. This will be a daily lunch date to share sports and stories we miss during these unique times.”
The hour-long show will air weekdays at Noon ET on NBCSN and stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Select content and interviews will additionally be hosted on NBC Sports’ YouTube channel and social media platforms.
Tirico will host Lunch Talk Live episodes remotely, beginning this Monday.