Fox Sports One Pre-Game Show: A Confessional Anecdote

For anybody with a pulse who’s been alive longer than five years, Fox has not often been associated with quality programming. At least when it comes to news. Surely, there are also numerous detractors of their MLB programming.

Not gonna lie, I’ve been one of those bemoaning Joe Buck and Tim McCarver calling the World Series for many years. At least I don’t have to suffer McCarver anymore. Until we get IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence interface to call games as Vin Scully for the next 15,000 postseason games, maybe nobody will be satisfied.

However, Fox has struck comedy gold with their in-studio pre- and post-game lineup. Often, from right-to-left, standing in-studio, you’ll see Frank Thomas, Pete Rose, C.J. Nitkowski, Raul Ibanez, and Alex Rodriguez. There’s a lot to take in here. This lineup could possibly incite raving mobs of baseball fans brandishing torches to march on the studio. To describe this lineup as “controversial” (mostly due to the polarizing effects of A-Rod and The Hit King) would be putting it mildly. When I first saw this collection of current and former players, I thought I might have to scoop my eyes out with a melon-baller.

To my absolute shock and surprise, this has been some of the most entertaining postseason viewing, barring the games themselves, of course. The loosey-goosey atmosphere has birthed a refreshing sense of honesty; the guys are candid and hilariously argumentative. I took note of some of this during Monday’s pre-game show leading into Game 3 of the ALCS. I don’t recall what the context of how the conversation started, but it quickly led to The Big Hurt taking some friendly shots at Charlie Hustle.

Rose was quick to return service with his own witticism. Even if he wound up looking a little drunk on air.

As a quick aside, somebody forgot to tell Pete the math on that one, as A-Rod and Ibanez have a combined 5,104 hits (A-Rod has 3,070 and Ibanez 2,034). He may very well be stashing a fifth of bourbon under the desk. The dude is wacky, like old-man-drunk crazy. And I love it.

I wasn’t sure how Ibanez fit into this group, as he didn’t seem to have much of a response to Rose. Was he uncomfortable? Was he put off? Did he feel like the fifth wheel in this bunch? Well, I think the following video shows that they are all getting in on the fun.

You just can’t fake laughter like that. These guys are genuinely having fun…or driving each other nuts. Perhaps both.

The cherry on top of this looney-bin banana split also happened on Monday. A-Rod, possibly one of the most-hated public figures, let alone professional athletes, in the last 115 years made an illuminating remark. For a guy who’s greatest fault may possibly be his overly-narcissistic need to be liked by everybody, ironicly driving people in the other direction, this was pure candor.

I’m not going to go so far as to say that I like A-Rod after this, by any stretch of the imagination. But I can respect the self-effacing honesty in his remark.

Charlie Hustle really is the star of the show, though. He’s accidentally careening into a new career as a comedian. Even his appearance cracks me up. He’s disheveled at times and his eyes often look like they’re wandering independently of each other. Then there’s the fact that, standing next to The Big Hurt, he looks positively diminutive. So much so, that I’m imagining a biopic of Rose, directed by John Waters, in which Danny DeVito plays the aged Rose we are seeing now.

So, if you have the time, sit down for 30 minutes before the games on Fox and soak in the hilarity.

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