Saturday December 9, 2023

A-Rod: More Mic’d Up Players a ‘Game-Changer’

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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Major League Baseball’s challenge is attracting a younger fanbase. ESPN analyst Alex Rodriguez has pinpointed a ”game-changer” for the Grand Old Game: putting microphones on players during live play.

“One of the things people would always ask me is, ‘Hey, what were you and Mariano [Rivera] talking about?’ Or ‘What were you and [Andy] Pettitte, what were you and [Derek] Jeter, talking about?’” said Rodriguez, a 14-time MLB All-Star.

Rodriguez called a Philadelphia Phillies-Atlanta Braves game last August where Bryce Harper wore a mic. Harper didn’t just talk to ESPN announcers between innings or from the dugout — he joined their discussion during live play. 

Rodriguez, who starred for the Mariners, Rangers, and Yankees, was blown away. If A-Rod had his way, he’d mic up players in batting cages, in the clubhouse, and even in their cars.

“I want to see them driving home and coming to the stadium,” A-Rod said. “The more, the better. The young people don’t just want generic content. They want the things behind the scenes they can’t get anywhere else.”

With an estimated net worth of $350 million, Rodriguez knows baseball and business. Warren Buffett is his financial mentor and he calls George Steinbrenner, the late Yankees owner, his “North Star.” 

Rodriguez led an investment group that almost bought the New York Mets, and he’s a player in CGI Merchant Group, a $650 million hospitality fund looking to acquire hotels. The Rodriguez-backed SPAC Slam Corp. went public via a $500 million IPO last month.

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