Pete Rose worked the postseason studio desk for Fox the past two years. In his first season he was awkward and, at times, the butt of jokes. He took a big step forward last year, providing solid analysis and offering some more self-awareness and humor all while demonstrating some nice chemistry with fellow ex-ballplayer Alex Rodriguez.
His tenure as a studio guy came to an end in August, however, as allegations arose that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with a minor back in the 1970s. Now Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated reports that Fox is replacing Rose with SNY analyst Keith Hernandez. David Ortiz will also provide postseason work. Frank Thomas, Alex Rodriguez and host Kevin Burkhardt will all return.
Hernandez is one of the best analysts in the game. His hallmark is a laid-back demeanor punctuated with sharp opinions which, unlike the work of a lot of his counterparts, make it clear that he does not care if the players he talks about get their feathers ruffled. He likewise refreshingly assumes that the fan knows a little bit rather than acting like we’ve never seen a baseball game. There is no over-explanation and talking to hear himself talk like you hear with so many other guys in his role. How that translates to the studio, as opposed to the booth during games, is an open question, but I assume he’ll be excellent in the role.
Ortiz is more of an unknown quantity as a broadcaster, of course. If he’s as frank as he could often be in interviews as a player it will be great (note: Fox, you want him on a five second delay for the F-bombs). If he plays the “all of these guys are great” game that a lot of green, former players do when they first start with TV work — or as Frank Thomas still does, all these years later — it’ll obviously be less compelling. We’ll see.