Earlier this year, ESPN announced they will be adding former major leaguers and World Series champions Mark Teixeira and David Ross as MLB studio analysts.
Teixeira, who helped lead the New York Yankees to their 27th championship in 2009 has high expectations for the Yankees in the upcoming season.
“I think the Yankees have a lot to look forward to,” Teixeira said. “Gary Sanchez could be an All-Star for the next ten years. The only question is can they produce the pitching that they need to win championships.
“You obviously saw what Gary Sanchez can do. You also got to see what a few other guys can do. It was a good stepping stone for this next phase of Yankee baseball. This next era of Yankee baseball. I am very optimistic about where this team is headed.”
Teixeira also praised first baseman Greg Bird.
“Birdie and I really spent a lot of time together the last few years,” Teixeira said. “I’m a big Greg Bird fan. We talked a lot when he was going through his injury last year with me and the injuries that I had the last four or five years of my career. I could obviously relate to his frustrations. But one of the things that me and Birdie always texted this off-season was trust. And we probably text every two weeks nowadays and just say, hey, keep trusting yourself, trust your talent, trust your health. You know you have the talent to do special things.”
Bird, along with Sanchez and outfielder Aaron Judge have been called the “Baby Bombers” for their power and solid play to round out the 2016 campaign. As the 2017 season approaches, the Yankees will look to pick up where they left off in 2016. As for Teixeira, he will be adjusting to his new role as an analyst.
“You try to be as objective as you can be,” he said about his new role with ESPN. At the same time, we’re human. We’re going to have personal experiences with players or teams or managers or coaches or whoever it might be that I actually think the fans want to hear. I’ve talked to a lot of people at ESPN and I have a lot of friends that have done some analyst work, and they all say the same thing. ESPN hired you because they want you to be Mark Teixeira. They don’t want you to be a robot that says that’s a fastball away, that’s a curveball, look at that home run. Anybody can do that.
“I’m trying to be myself. I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of a GM, manager or a player, whatever the situation might be. I got my first taste of it last night, and really enjoyed being able to speak freely. Because during the season, when you’re a player, you really can’t speak freely on what you think about the game or what you think should happen. Say a player gets sent down on your team that you don’t agree with that move, you can’t go tell the New York media, “I don’t know why Cashman sent this guy down. That’s a stupid move.” But on ESPN I can say that.”
Ross, who was a part of the 2016 champion Chicago Cubs has had quite the offseason after helping the Cubs achieve a title for the first time in 108 years.
“My life is as far from normal as I could ever imagine,” Ross, who is currently on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars said. “I am in the middle of something I never thought I’d be a part of, and enjoying every minute of it. It’s just so far outside of my box that, to be in this arena and to take, one, a guy that’s a back-up catcher and not really a superstar like some in the game and to represent MLB and try to put, with no pun intended, a good foot forward, and just have some fun with this dancing thing. I signed on with ESPN and being a part of that, and still being a part of the Cubs, it’s just been a lot of fun for me.”
Will things begin to slow down for Ross?
“Yeah, I think so,” he said. “We’ve got the Dancing with the Stars, that won’t last forever. That’s going to be short term. Hopefully people will keep voting and keep me on. I’ve got a book coming out, so that will be a little crazy, and some things after that. But I think the dancing thing just because of the travel and getting back in the studio with ESPN and get back to talking baseball will feel really normal to me.”
It might not be normal to some, but for Ross and Teixeira, they will now be talking about the game we watched them play so successfully just one year ago.