Behind the Mic: NBC Sports Waffleboards Away Jeremey Roenick; ESPN, Fox RSNs Pencil In MLB Talent Lineup

Behind the Mic provides a roundup of recent news regarding on-air talent, including new deals, departures, and assignments compiled from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, NBC Sports cuts ties with a familiar NHL personality, the upcoming baseball seasons means announcements on talent from ESPN and other companies, and Fox Sports strengthens its on-air crew for the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

According to the Associated Press, notable NHL broadcaster Jeremy Roenick will not be returning to NBC Sports. The announcement was confirmed by a network spokesperson. Prior to this decision, the former hockey player was serving an indefinite suspension after making questionable comments about his fellow colleagues on Barstool Sports’ Spittin’ Chiclets podcast.

After playing 20 NHL seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, and Los Angeles Kings, he moved to a career in television and was an analyst at NBC Sports since 2010…

…ESPN has announced its current Major League Baseball commentator lineup for the 2020 season across its game and studio platforms, including Sunday Night Baseball.

Sunday Night Baseball
Veteran commentator Matt Vasgersian will return for his third season as the voice of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. World Series Champion and analyst Alex Rodriguez, who is also returning for his third season, will join Vasgersian to form the booth. ESPN Senior MLB Insider Buster Olney enters his 10th season as sideline reporter. Vasgersian, Rodriguez, and Olney will call all Sunday Night Baseball telecasts, which generally air at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown
Karl Ravech, ESPN MLB host and play-by-play voice, will lead the on-site pregame show with analyst and World Series Champion Mark Teixeira, and analyst Tim Kurkjian. This is the pregame team’s third year together. Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet generally starts at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN and leads into Sunday Night Baseball.

Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes
Jon Sciambi will return for his 11th season as the voice of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN Radio alongside long-time partner and analyst Chris Singleton. This year marks the duo’s 10th season together as Singleton joined Sciambi beginning in 2011. Audio from ESPN Radio broadcasts is also available on the ESPN App. Additionally, Ernesto Jerez and Luis Alfredo Alvarez will return to call Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN Deportes with Guillermo Celis reporting.

Weeknights and studio
Jessica Mendoza, the Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist and trailblazing analyst, will become the first woman to serve as a solo television analyst for a national package of MLB games, as part of her new contract extension. Mendoza will appear on weeknight game telecasts.

Statcast Alternate Presentations
Jason Benetti, analyst Eduardo Perez, and Insider Mike Petriello are expected to continue as ESPN’s team for its Statcast-driven alternative viewing experiences. These alternate presentations generally air on ESPN2 in conjunction with ESPN’s coverage of marquee events, including the T-Mobile Home Run Derby and its Wild Card Game telecast…

…Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast have announced the in-game broadcast team for the Atlanta Braves 2020 season.

Emmy Award winner Chip Caray will return for his 17th season as play-by-play announcer. He will be joined by former Braves outfielder and Gold Glove winner Jeff Francoeur as lead in-game analyst. This will mark Francoeur’s fourth season with the networks and second as lead analyst.

Former Braves All-Star, Cy Young winner, and Hall of Famer pitcher Tom Glavine (ninth season) and Braves Hall of Fame inductee Joe Simpson (29th season) will serve as in-game analysts for select telecasts.

Former All-Star and Emmy Award winner Paul Byrd will return for his eighth season as an in-game reporter.

New to the broadcast roster for 2020 is Emmy Award winner Kelly Crull, who will join the networks as an in-game reporter. Crull comes from a similar on-air role at NBC Sports Chicago, covering games for the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Blackhawks, and Chicago Bulls. Previously, Crull covered the San Diego Padres for Fox Sports San Diego and the Oklahoma City Thunder for Fox Sports Oklahoma.

The networks’ full roster, including Braves LIVE pre- and postgame show talent, as well as the complete television schedule will be announced at a later date…

…ACC Network (ACCN), the 24/7 national platform dedicated to ACC sports, adds four vibrant baseball personalities to its already dynamic roster of on-air personalities. Joining ACCN this spring are former college and major league baseball standouts Doug Mientkiewicz (Florida State), Javier Lopez (University of Virginia), Gaby Sanchez (Univrsity of Miami), and Adam Greenberg (University of North Carolina). The quartet will contribute to game and studio coverage with analysis of the conference’s season-long baseball action…

…ESPN has reached a multiyear contract extension with ESPN baseball analyst Kyle Peterson to continue in his role as one of the lead voices on ESPN and SEC Network’s college baseball coverage, the NCAA College World Series, and Little League World Series on ESPN. He will continue his expert analysis in the booth and in studio across ESPN platforms.

Peterson, whose extension will take him through his 20th baseball season with ESPN, has been part of the network’s expansive amateur baseball coverage since his inaugural season with the company. The NCAA College World Series has seen impressive gains in viewership over the years with Peterson’s voice at the forefront of the action in Omaha.

Peterson joined ESPN in 2003 and provides expert analysis on regular-season and postseason college baseball game telecasts, including the College World Series. He is also a lead studio analyst on ESPN’s College Baseball Selection Show. In addition, Peterson has been a regular voice providing analysis on ESPN and ABC Little League World Series coverage since 2003…

…Fox Sports adds a 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and one of the sport’s most legendary brother pairs to its NASCAR Xfinity Series broadcast booth this season.

Three-time champion Tony Stewart, inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January, joins Fox NASCAR play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander and driver analyst Clint Bowyer to call the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 25, marking Stewart’s first race broadcast in the Fox Sports booth.

Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion who made his Fox NASCAR analyst debut last season, pairs with younger brother and reigning champion, Kyle Busch, to call the April 4 action at Bristol Motor Speedway.

To kick off the new NASCAR Xfinity Series season, 2012 Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski called the season opener with Alexander and Bowyer on Saturday, Feb. 15, (2:30 PM ET on FS1) from Daytona International Speedway.

In all, Fox Sports features 15 NASCAR Cup Series drivers, former drivers, or crew chiefs throughout the 2020 NXS season (including the “Drivers Only + Chad” broadcast), with Bowyer (nine NXS races), Ryan Blaney (two), Kyle Busch (one), Kurt Busch (three), Austin Dillon (one), Keselowski (three), Chad Knaus (three), Joey Logano (two), Jamie McMurray (one), Stewart (one), and Michael Waltrip (three).

Drivers Only + Chad
In addition, Fox Sports’ “Drivers Only + Chad” broadcast is back for the fourth consecutive year, with newcomer Daniel Suarez serving as a pit reporter in his Fox Sports debut. Charlotte Motor Speedway is the backdrop for the annual broadcast on Saturday, May 23 (1:00 PM ET on FS1). The original broadcast booth trio of Kevin Harvick, Bowyer, and Logano has the call, while Blaney and Bubba Wallace Jr. again cover pit road, this year teaming with Suarez. Keselowski returns to host race coverage from Fox Sports’ virtual studio in Charlotte alongside analysts Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Knaus.

Furthermore, Fox Sports is adding several active NASCAR Cup Series drivers to its NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series broadcast booth this season, with the full lineup to be announced in the near future.

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