As next Thursday, March 29, will mark the first time since 1968 that every team across Major League Baseball begins their season on the same date, MLB Network will provide 17 hours of live Opening Day coverage beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET, including analysis, breakdowns and highlights of all 30 clubs.
MLB Network’s regular season programming lineup will then return on Friday, March 30th, including MLB Central presented by Jeep, High Heat with Christopher Russo, The Rundown presented by Best Western Resorts and Hotels, MLB Now presented by Benjamin Moore, Intentional Talk, MLB Tonight and Quick Pitch presented by Degree, plus the first MLB Network Showcase telecast of the year presented by Chevrolet, featuring the New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays at 7:00 p.m. ET, called by Bob Costas, Jim Kaat and Tom Verducci. Leading up to Opening Day, MLB Tonight will air a predictions special on Wednesday, March 28th at 7:00 p.m. ET. Hosted by Matt Vasgersian with analysis from Ron Darling and Harold Reynolds, the program will break down every division and analyze which teams are primed for a Postseason run.
MLB Network will complement its Opening Week programming with extensive content across its social media platforms, including behind-the-scenes access with MLB Network personalities on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
MLB NETWORK OPENING DAY SCHEDULE
(all times Eastern)
— Intentional Talk (9:00 a.m.)
— MLB Central (10:00 a.m. )
— High Heat with Christopher Russo (12:00 p.m.)
— MLB Tonight (1:00 p.m.)
— Quick Pitch (1:00 a.m. )
Robert Flores (@RoFlo), who joined MLB Network in 2016 as a host and reporter, will join Mark DeRosa (@markdero7) and Lauren Shehadi (@LaurenShehadi) as a new co-host of MLB Central beginning on Opening Day at 10:00 a.m. ET. Matt Vasgersian, who previously served as a co-host of MLB Central since its launch in 2015 and was recently named as the play-by-play announcer for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, will return to his original role at MLB Network as a studio host for MLB Tonight, beginning on Thursday, April 5.
Veteran baseball journalist and current senior writer for The Athletic Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) has joined MLB Network as a regular contributor appearing across MLB Network’s studio programming. Stark, who made guest appearances on MLB Network’s “MLB Now” during the 2017 regular season, will make his season debut on MLB Central on Friday, April 6. Before joining The Athletic, Stark spent 17 years covering baseball for ESPN, including writing columns for ESPN.com, and contributing to Baseball Tonight, SportsCenter, Outside The Lines and ESPN’s Mike and Mike.
Alexa Datt (@AlexaDatt) and Stephen Nelson (@Stephen_Nelson) have joined MLB Network’s lineup of on-air personalities as studio hosts appearing across MLB Network’s programming. Datt most recently served as the host of MLB.com’s 12:25 Live With Alexa daily program covering the latest top storylines in Major League Baseball. Prior to joining MLB.com, Datt co-hosted The Morning Run on 120Sports.com, served as the in-stadium host for New York Mets games at Citi Field, and contributed to New York Mets spring training telecasts on SportsNet New York as an on-field reporter. Nelson joins MLB Network from Bleacher Report, where he most recently served as a studio and field host covering a wide variety of sports. Before joining Bleacher Report, Nelson worked as an anchor and reporter at KEZI-TV in Eugene, Oregon, and as a studio host, color commentator and play-by-play broadcaster for the Rockford IceHogs, the American Hockey League team affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Play Ball, MLB Network’s weekly show geared toward kids, will return for its third season on Saturday, April 7 at 10:00 a.m. ET. MLB stars will share hitting, fielding, base-running and pitching tips in one-on-one demonstrations with MLB Network analysts, beginning with Los Angeles Dodgers NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger joining MLB Network’s Kevin Millar in the first episode of the season. Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (April 14), and New York Yankees teammates Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton (April 28) will be featured in upcoming Play Ball episodes this April. Following Play Ball, MLB Network Breakdown, a weekly show featuring the best demos by MLB Network analysts, will air on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. ET.