Just a few months into his retirement, the former Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has already found a way back into baseball: He will join ESPN as an analyst. The network is expected to make the announcement Tuesday.
Known for his frank insights and sometimes blunt appraisals during his playing career, Teixeira is expected to work in the studio and could begin in spring training. Teixeira previously worked on the radio and was a guest host on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show in 2014. He also had a cameo appearance on the Showtime series “Billions.”
Teixeira joined the Yankees in 2009 after signing an eight-year, $180 million contract and contributed to the team’s World Series title that year. New York Times
It’s not often you’ll see me applaud the hiring of a former athlete for a reporting, TV or analyst gig. In small doses I think their insight is great, you could say vital for a full broadcast or show. The issue is far too often today, major networks, rely on many former players to carry full shows who are not all are prepared to do so. It hurts the brand and causes unfair judgment of the player.
Mark Teixeira though, he was made for post-career TV in all the right ways. He’s revered from a personal standpoint by every coach, player, fan or member of the press who’s been around him. His playing career was equally as praised with 409 career home runs and 5 Gold Glove awards and multiple time all-star. He’s very well spoken, logical and level-headed. He’s calm and focuses on results and professionalism over popularity and flash. That’s not to say he’s bland or boring, you just won’t see him screaming and chanting like Skip “I get more money than viewers” Bayless. While all of that is great, a fantastic resume to start with for almost any former player looking to enter “the biz” post career, Tex has something more important which most don’t, experience. Having the chance to host Mike and Mike a few times, multiple other radio appearances and on-screen cameos in “Billions” and “Entourage”. These appearances gave him the chance to show off his charisma on screen (although admittedly he seemed a little robotic in Entourage) and to prove that he can host his own show, that he can at very least share the main stage with someone and handle his own.
It’s good to see ESPN making a former athlete hire who makes total sense (I know what you’re thinking, but no Ray Lewis was an AWFUL hire, he lasted one year). I assume they will start him off slow working weeknight “Baseball Tonight” shows and games. Ease him in, see what he’s got, they’ll find out quickly he can be great. I hope they can find a way to somehow get him on-screen to make Tim Kurkjian laugh. That laugh will get me every time, forever.