Texas Rangers Hall of Famer Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, one of Major League Baseball’s all-time greatest catchers and an all-time fan favorite, has joined FOX Sports Southwest as an analyst on Rangers Live pre and postgame coverage. The announcement was made March 12 by FOX Sports Southwest Senior Vice President and General Manager Jon Heidtke. “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.”
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. “This will be another way for me to further my role with the Texas Rangers organization, which I very much enjoy,” Rodriguez said. 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 the season-opening telecast on March 31 at 1 p.m. CT when the Rangers take on the Philadelphia Phillies at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Rodriguez made his major league debut with Texas in 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 career, Rodriguez caught a major league-record 2,427 games, earned a record 13 Gold Gloves at catcher while throwing out nearly 42 percent 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. FOX Sports Southwest begins its Rangers coverage with a pair of spring training games on March 13 at 8 p.m. CT vs. the San Francisco Giants at Surprise, Ariz., and March 15 at 3 p.m. CT against the Oakland A’s from Phoenix.
Additionally, FOX Sports Southwest will televise the Rangers vs. Chicago Cubs at Surprise on March 18 at 9 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 March 28 at 7 p.m. CT and March 29 at 1 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. Steve Busby returns for his second full season as a play-by-play announcer, and Rangers Hall of Famer Tom Grieve will be back for his 20th season as analyst for the majority of the games.
Emily Jones will return 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. The Rangers will have eight games televised in 2014 to a national audience on FOX Sports and FOX Sports 1.