Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

BSM Writers

ESPN’s ‘The Captain’ Gives A-Rod Summer Spotlight ‘KayRod Cast’ Couldn’t

A-Rod isn’t cast in a flattering light. But that’s created buzz for him in media, which is as close to popularity as he’ll get.

Avatar photo

Published

on

blank
ESPN Films

If Alex Rodriguez was hoping to generate some sports media buzz this summer, he hasn’t done so with ESPN’s alternate, “KayRod” Sunday Night Baseball telecast. He hasn’t become Major League Baseball’s version of Peyton Manning, whose Monday Night Football “ManningCast” with his brother Eli became the biggest story in the industry during the 2021 NFL season.

To be fair, the limited number of “KayRod Casts” scheduled for the 2022 MLB campaign was always going to make it difficult for Rodriguez and broadcast partner Michael Kay to connect with viewers. Only eight alternate telecasts were on the SNB schedule with just two more to come for the remainder of the season.

(The Aug. 14 telecast will feature the New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox, which will draw interest no matter what. But A-Rod’s connection to those teams could create some intrigue if he and Kay offer more insight than the debut April 10 “KayRod Cast” offered. Sept. 25’s matchup has yet to be determined, presumably waiting to pick the best game available.)

But thanks to a former New York Yankees teammate, A-Rod did get a moment in the summer spotlight last week. Episode 4 of The Captain, ESPN’s seven-part Derek Jeter docuseries, ended with a look back at the relationship between the two stars when Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees before the 2004 MLB season. The final 15 minutes of the episode confirmed what most baseball fans already suspected; Jeter did not like A-Rod.

The tension between the two was based on remarks A-Rod made in a 2001 Esquire interview, in which he attributed Jeter’s success to playing on a good team.

“Jeter’s been blessed with great talent around him. He’s never had to lead,” Rodriguez told Scott Raab. “He can just go out and play and have fun. And he hits second, that’s totally different than third and fourth in the lineup. You go into New York, you wanna stop Bernie (Williams) and (Paul) O’Neill. You never say, ‘don’t let Derek beat you’. He’s never your concern.”

Those comments led to Jeter saying in Episode 3 of The Captain that Rodriguez was “not a true friend.” Yet when Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman had an opportunity to acquire Rodriguez (which became a necessity after third baseman Aaron Boone suffered a serious knee injury), they didn’t hesitate to add an impact slugger. Getting A-Rod also had the bonus effect of sticking it to the rival Boston Red Sox, whose efforts to trade for the star fell through months earlier.

However, the Yankees shortstop looked down on Rodriguez for his willingness to move to third base and join a World Series contender rather than try to build a winning team himself. In Episode 2 of the docuseries, the two talked about being perceived as rivals but Jeter dismissed A-Rod’s statistical achievements in comparison to his championships. And now, here was arguably the best player in baseball — the reigning American League Most Valuable Player — trying to take a shortcut to World Series glory.

Eighteen years later, Rodriguez arguably tried to take another shortcut to TV stardom with cultural and social media relevance with the “KayRod Cast.”

Yet with such a limited number of telecasts and months between some of them, A-Rod and Kay had little chance to improve, get comfortable with each other, and help producers figure out what works and what doesn’t. Under such circumstances and an apparent lack of commitment from its supposed star, the “KayRod Cast” seemed doomed to fail — or at the very least, probably wouldn’t succeed.

A-Rod and the “KayRod Cast” would never be as popular as the “ManningCast.” (Though it should be noted that SNB‘s alternate telecast attracted a similar percentage of the audience as MNF‘s did, drawing 10.7 percent of the total viewership.)

Regular-season MLB telecasts don’t draw the same attention in sports (and mainstream) culture as the NFL. Monday Night Football is an established brand with more than 50 years of history and a celebrated roster of broadcasters behind it. It’s still appointment television for some football fans and with the right match-up can still feel like an event.

Viewers also like Peyton Manning. Fans and media admired him as a college and NFL quarterback and enjoyed many of his commercials for products including DirecTV, Mastercard, and Nationwide Insurance. He starred in one of the most memorable Saturday Night Live skits from the past 15 years, spoofing United Way public service announcements.

Name an Alex Rodriguez commercial you remember. He’s in a current DirecTV campaign but shares the screen with fellow baseball legends David Ortiz, Ken Griffey Jr., and Randy Johnson. Unfortunately, we can’t say A-Rod is in the Ghostbusters-inspired ads with “fellow baseball Hall of Famers” due to his use of performance-enhancing drugs and a subsequent suspension that cost him the entire 2014 MLB season.

Being exposed as a PED user will likely prevent Rodriguez from ever receiving enough votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America to gain induction into the Hall of Fame. In his first year of eligibility, only 34 percent of the voters put him on their ballots. As most baseball fans know, 75 percent is required for induction.

Rodriguez’s PED disgrace validated the disdain that many fans felt toward him. Like Jeter, they viewed his impressive individual numbers as secondary to his team’s success.

During his seven seasons in Seattle, the Mariners only had two first-place finishes and lost three times in the postseason. The year after A-Rod left for the Texas Rangers, Seattle won an American League-record 116 games. Though Rodriguez had some spectacular (albeit likely enhanced) seasons in New York, winning two AL MVP awards, the Yankees only won one World Series during those 12 years.

Alex Rodriguez has always wanted fans to adore him. He sought popularity as a player and now yearns for acclaim as a broadcaster. But likability has never come naturally to him. When he’s funny, it’s because his colleagues tease him on air or allow him to poke fun at himself.

But thanks to Derek Jeter and The Captain, A-Rod is getting attention this summer. He’s not cast in a flattering light, but that’s created buzz for him in sports media and on social media. It’s probably the best he can hope for when adulation is still elusive.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

Published

on

blank

Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

Published

on

blank

On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

Continue Reading
Advertisement blank
Advertisement blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2022 Barrett Media.