Baseball Tonight

For the SNES video game, see ESPN Baseball Tonight.
Baseball Tonight
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 26
Running time 20, 30, 40, 60, or 90 minutes
Distributor Hearst Broadcasting (1990–1997)
Hearst Television (1997–)
Capital Cities/ABC (1990–1996)
Buena Vista Television (1996–2007)
Disney–ABC Domestic Television (2007–)
Original network ESPN, ESPN2 (1990–)
Original release March 19, 1990 – present
Related shows Sunday Night Baseball
Monday Night Baseball
Wednesday Night Baseball
External links

Baseball Tonight is a program that airs on ESPN. The show, which recapitulates the day's Major League Baseball action, has been on the air since 1990.

Its namesake program also airs on ESPN Radio at various times of the day during the baseball season, with Marc Kestecher as host.

Baseball Tonight is also the title of a daily podcast hosted by Buster Olney with frequent appearances by Jayson Stark, Tim Kurkjian, Karl Ravech, and Jerry Crasnick.

Air times

Baseball Tonight appears nightly on ESPN throughout the baseball season at 10:00 p.m. ET and 12:00 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The 10 PM show airs on ESPN2 in the event of a conflict. Following the cancellation of The Trifecta in late 2006, the 12:00 a.m. run of Baseball Tonight was expanded to a full 40 minutes. The show has permission from Major League Baseball to show in-progress highlights. The show is also seen at 12:30 p.m. ET and 7:00 p.m. ET on Sundays, the latter show leading up to the Sunday Night Baseball telecast. The late-night edition on Sundays is usually just a re-air of the 7:00 show, with a SportsCenter anchor providing highlights of the Sunday night game in place of a game preview segment that airs during the live broadcast. The midnight edition usually re-aired at 12:00 p.m. ET the following day (excluding Saturday, when the show is usually 40 minutes to a full hour). That practice ended Monday August 11, 2008, when SportsCenter went to live editions in the mornings.

Live, on-location episodes

The show also appears live at events throughout the year, such as spring training, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the World Series sites, at ESPN the Weekend, and occasionally has remote stunts, i.e. a show from the rooftop at Fenway Park and a show from one of the Wrigley Rooftops at Wrigley Field in 2005. It aired live from the field at Fenway Park on April 26, 2009 before the Sunday Night Baseball game between the YankeesRed Sox game, which featured an interview with Dustin Pedroia.[1] On June 28, 2009, it aired from Citi Field in anticipation of that night's Subway Series game between the Mets and the Yankees.


The ESPN Baseball Tonight Theme music was written by Jon Cobert for Roger Tallman Associates in 1990. Cobert and Tallman are listed as writers on the Copyright form. The theme has been arranged and re-arranged many times over the years, but the original melody still remains the same.

On January 3, 2000, the segment "Web Gems" was coined and created by then-producer Judson Burch. The segment originally featured great defensive plays followed by viewer internet voting on the "web." The phrase "web gem" is now common vernacular in baseball broadcasts and circles to describe outstanding glove-work.

In 2002, the home run segment "Going, Going, Gone", complete with the immensely popular "screaming baseball" animation was replaced with a tamer segment "Touch 'Em All" sans screaming baseball.

Beginning with the 2005 season, Baseball Tonight has been broadcast in high-definition on ESPNHD from the opposite side of the studio used for Sunday NFL Countdown, NBA Shows and College Football Scoreboard shows, albeit with a baseball demonstration field laid on top of the NFL floor. Airing begins in March during spring training and ends after the World Series in October.

In 2006, Baseball Tonight introduced new graphics. The opening sequence features players on baseball cards moving and a ball going from one to another via a throw or off a bat. A much longer variation of this is also used to open ESPN's live game broadcasts. The theme music also was updated from the normal orchestral treatment to a livelier rock vamp.

In 2007, a new segment entitled "That's Nasty!" was introduced. The new segment featured top pitching performances of the day, including the best individual pitches. These clips often include extremely high velocity fastballs, 12–6 curveballs, or changeups that completely fool the opposing batters. Prior to the 2007 All-Star Game, a modified version of the opening sequence was used which featured various San Francisco landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge.

In 2008, Roger Clemens was replaced by Josh Beckett in the baseball card opening sequence.

In 2009, the "screamin' baseball" graphic returned in the "Touch 'Em All" segment.

In 2012, the new Baseball Tonight logo was introduced and the theme music was re-mixed. Steve Berthaiume, who was one of the program's hosts, left ESPN after that season.

In 2013, Adnan Virk replaced Berthiaume as one of the program's hosts, joining Karl Ravech.

In 2015, the roll-out of a new SportsCenter-inspired graphics package, which started the previous year, continued with Baseball Tonight.


Featured segments

Baseball Tonight is split into a number of segments, each of which focuses on a particular aspect of baseball. These segments include:

One featured running gag on the show is the spoof segment "Name That Molina", where one of the personalities has to guess which of the three Molina catcher brothers Bengie, Jose, or Yadier is being shown. "Name that LaRoche" is another spoof segment featuring the two brothers who play for the Toronto Blue Jays Andy and the Washington Nationals Adam. Another running gag is the Umpire Fantasy League in which "owners" of umpires in this fictitious league are rewarded for their umpires ejecting players or coaches. It is unclear whether this is reference to the real-life Umpire Ejection Fantasy League. Also another gag in session is when an analyst on the show uses the "Stump the host" slogan. This is when the analyst has information on a certain players milestone that has just happened on the telecast. An example is when a player hits a home run, double, steals a base, or strikes someone out and the analyst will say "Stump the Host; Career hr/strikeout/2-B/SB/etc. number __? The host very seldom knows the answer but will take a reasonable, and sometimes ludicrous, guess at what the answer might be. This gag is very seldom used but sometimes is quite comical for the fact that the host has no idea what the answer may be.

Live look-ins

ESPN is generally prohibited by Major League Baseball from showing live look-ins of in-progress games, and limited to showing in-progress highlights after they happen. However, an exception is made when there is an extraordinary event taking place, such as a no-hitter or perfect game, and ESPN is allowed to show live look-ins during Baseball Tonight.


Some have criticized the program because of a perceived bias in favor of certain teams. The most vocal comment was expressed by Heath Bell:

I truly believe ESPN only cares about promoting the Red Sox and Yankees and Mets – and nobody else. That's why I like the MLB Network, because they promote everybody. I'm really turned off by ESPN and 'Baseball Tonight.' When Jake Peavy threw 813 innings on Saturday, they showed one pitch in the third inning and that was it. It's all about the Red Sox, Yankees, and Mets.[2]


In late 2012, mobile game company SkyZone Entertainment and TheAppsGames released ESPN Going Going Gone, an arcade style home run derby game for both Android and iOS. The game features an intro and voice over by ESPN's Dan Shulman and ESPN trademark.

See also


  1. Hiestand, Michael (April 26, 2009). "NFL Network, ESPN have no limit on weekend draft coverage". USA Today.
  2. Krasovic, Tom (April 13, 2009). "Black tinkers with pitching rotation". The San Diego Union-Tribune.

External links

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