Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, one of Major League Baseball's all-time greatest catchers and a member of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame, has joined FOX Sports Southwest as an analyst on RANGERS LIVE pre and postgame coverage. The announcement was made today by FOX Sports Southwest Senior Vice President and General Manager Jon Heidtke.
Rodriguez will work on several Rangers pre and postgame shows in 2014, joining former Rangers second baseman and teammate Mark McLemore and hosts John Rhadigan and Dana Larson on the RANGERS LIVE broadcast team.
FOX Sports Southwest will televise 129 Rangers games in 2014. Rodriguez will make his broadcast debut Opening Day in a special one-hour pregame show prior to FOX Sports Southwest's season-opening telecast on Monday, March 31 at 1:00 p.m. CT when the Rangers take on the Philadelphia Phillies at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
"I am looking forward to working on the FOX Sports Southwest pre and postgame shows this season," Rodriguez said. "This will be another way for me to further my role with the Texas Rangers organization which I very much enjoy."
Considered one of the Rangers' all-time fan favorites, Rodriguez made his major league debut with Texas on June 20, 1991 as a 19-year old. He played the first 12 seasons of his 21-year major league career with the Rangers, and returned to Texas in 2009 for a brief stint with the club.
During his legendary career, Rodriguez caught a major league-record 2,427 games, earned a record 13 Gold Gloves at catcher while throwing out nearly 42% of runners attempting to steal, and was a 14-time All-Star who started a major league-record 12 Midsummer Classics.
Rodriguez won the 1999 American League MVP with Texas, when he batted .332 with 35 homers and 113 RBI and helped lead the Rangers to their third A.L. West title in a four-year span.
He finished his career with a .296 average, 311 home runs and 1,332 RBI in 2,543 games overall with Texas (1991-2002, 2009), Florida (2003), Detroit (2004-08), the Yankees (2008), Houston (2009), and Washington (2010-11). Rodriguez won a World Series championship with the Marlins in 2003 and also played in the World Series with the Tigers in 2006.
"Pudge Rodriguez will always be remembered as a Rangers icon and we are thrilled he is joining the FOX Sports Southwest team," Heidtke said. "He will bring insightful commentary and a well-rounded perspective from a player's and catcher's point of view. Fans loved Pudge when he played for the Rangers and I'm sure they'll continue to admire him as a Rangers broadcaster."
FOX Sports Southwest begins its Rangers coverage this week with a pair of spring training games on Thursday, March 13 at 8:00 p.m. CT vs. the San Francisco Giants at Surprise, Ariz. and Saturday, March 15 at 3:00 p.m. CT against the Oakland A's from Phoenix.
Three other exhibition games also will carried on FOX Sports Southwest this spring. FOX Sports Southwest will televise the Rangers vs. Chicago Cubs at Surprise on Tuesday, March 18 at 9:00 p.m. CT and will show the second annual Big League Weekend series from the Alamodome in San Antonio to markets outside Dallas-Fort Worth.
The two Big League Weekend games against the Houston Astros on Friday, March 28 at 7:00 p.m. CT and Saturday, March 29 at 1:00 p.m. CT will be televised in Dallas-Fort Worth on KTXA Channel 21 and distributed on FOX Sports Southwest in the team's outer markets.
Calling games on FOX Sports Southwest in 2014 will be Steve Busby, who returns for his second full season as play-by-play announcer, and Rangers Hall of Famer Tom Grieve, who is back for his 20th season as analyst for the majority of the games.
McLemore will work as the analyst with Busby for approximately 25 home and road regular season games this season while also serving as a RANGERS LIVE analyst on the majority of pre and postgame shows.
Grieve and McLemore also will split the spring training telecasts.
Emily Jones will return in 2014 in an expanded role as the field reporter for the majority of home telecasts and a select number of road broadcasts. In addition, she will serve as host of the weekly RANGERS INSIDER show and all other Rangers ancillary programming on FOX Sports Southwest as well as make appearances on behalf of the club.
The new MLB TV deal allows FOX to distribute more games to a national audience than ever before, and the Rangers will have eight games televised in 2014 to a national audience on FOX Sports and FOX Sports 1, America's new national sports channel (see attached Rangers broadcast schedule).
Rangers local telecasts on FOX Sports Southwest will be available to close to 10 million cable and satellite TV homes in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.