When ESPN went looking for a replacement for Harold Reynolds on Baseball Tonight they had a lot of choices to pick from. While Reynolds was by no means great, he did have a certain kind of telegenic charisma which is hard to find in a former jock. It would seem like ESPN decided the best way to fill his absence was to plug in a former MLB second baseman, with a likeable personality. Up popped Eric Young.
After his first couple of nights, I felt Young was the worst analyst I had ever heard on ESPN, but I decided to wait a while before I wrote a review on him, as I wanted to give him a chance to grow into the job. Well, Young has gotten better, as now I would rate him above the dismal hire of 2006, Tino Martinez. (scroll down on this link to read my thoughts on Tino)
Being better than Martinez does not mean you are good, though. Here is something I wasn’t ever expecting to write in my lifetime; Baseball Tonight really misses Harold Reynolds. (The exception to this is when Orel Hershiser is on, as he and Steve Stone are the best analysts in baseball.)
I have figured out a way to make Eric Young nights somewhat fun. Next time EY is on, listen to how he starts almost every sentence with "I tell you what." It really is amazing that a professional broadcaster could continue to do this 2 months into his career. To make the most of this inarticulate style, ESPN needs to promote the Baseball Tonight Drinking Game. Every time that Eric Young says "I tell you what" it’s time to do a shot.
Maybe Jagermeister and Red Bull could sponsor the promotion? Actually, the show would really be fun, if everyone on set would drink as well. I could see John Kruk high-fiving EY everytime he says it, as you know he must be able to slam it down. A few jager-bombs and I bet Tim Kurjian would really loosen up. I have to guess that if you go by the first name of Buster (Olney), you might not be Frank the Tank, but you have to be able to hold your own. Have Steve Phillips bartend, as he would look good flipping drinks like he was in Cocktail.
Unless Peter Gammons is on-set, does anyone watch Baseball Tonight for insight into the game? Considering the time it generally airs, a good portion of its viewers are males 18-25, so why not go balls out and really try to appeal to its demographic. If MLB teams serve alcohol in its locker rooms after games, why not truly embrace it. I tell you what it sure makes sense to me.