MLB Network will open the real Opening Day with its first-ever regular-season morning show.
The 70-million subscriber service on April 6 will premiere MLB Central at 10 a.m. (ET). Hosted by Matt Vasgersian, Mark DeRosa and Lauren Shehadi, MLB Central will be the first program to originate from MLBN’s new, state-of-the-art Studio 21, named in honor of Hall of Famer and humanitarian Roberto Clemente.
MLB Central will feature the perspectives of the show’s hosts, from Vasgersian’s irreverent style and his experience as an announcer at every level in the game, to DeRosa’s unique outlook as a former teammate of more than 200 current Major Leaguers from his 16-year MLB career with eight different clubs, and Shehadi’s authentic personality and interview style from three years of hosting MLB Network’s The Rundown and the off-season morning show Hot Stove.
Each show will begin with an opening that includes 21 Major Leaguers and four club mascots, followed by “The Wake-Up Call,” a segment taking a fresh look at the biggest highlights and news stories in the game. DeRosa will give his pointed opinion on the latest on-field performances in “The D-Train,” and the show’s analysts will give their daily take on the hottest players and best moves in the world of fantasy.
Featured in the MLB Central opening: Jose Abreu, Jose Altuve, Jose Bautista, Michael Brantley, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Gerrit Cole, Jose Fernandez, Paul Goldschmidt, Carlos Gomez, Bryce Harper, Matt Harvey, Felix Hernandez, Eric Hosmer, Adam Jones, Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Devin Mesoraco, Max Scherzer, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout, Baxter The Bobcat, Billy The Marlin, Mr. Met & the Phillie Phanaticbaseball.
“The launch of MLB Central is a natural continuation of the way we’ve built out our live programming schedule since MLB Network’s debut in 2009, and we’re excited to debut our first regular season morning show in our newest studio space,” said network president Rob McGlarry. “MLB Network has a tradition of celebrating legendary players of the game, starting with Studio 3 and Studio 42, named in tribute to Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson. As we take the next step in our history, it is with tremendous respect that we call our latest facility ‘Studio 21,’ in honor of Hall of Famer and humanitarian Roberto Clemente.”
Starting on Opening Day, the 8,000-square-foot Studio 21 also will be home to MLB Now and Quick Pitch. The new space will employ at least five multicamera studio positions and cutting-edge technology adaptable to any show, story or club, from hanging video displays to augmented reality graphic components.
Studio 21 also combines elements of a traditional ballpark with the latest in modern TV technology. The walls of the studio resemble the exterior of a ballpark, including a 1,800-square foot courtyard, six-foot tall entrance gates, and a brick pattern on the floor. Given its namesake, the studio design pays tribute to Roberto Clemente, with a seven-foot bronze medallion bearing Clemente’s uniform number “21” and a 15-foot wide “Studio 21” sign in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ signature block lettering at the entrance. Photos of Clemente are featured throughout the space, and his is one of five framed jerseys on display, among fellow Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig, Tony Gwynn and Kirby Puckett.
The walls of the studio are lined with nearly 1,400-square feet in high-resolution LED displays and, in the studio’s premiere feature, 14 back-to-back 55-inch monitors are suspended from the ceiling to be rotated, raised and lowered in synchronized timing as well as according to specific show content and direction.