Alex Rodriguez thinks ESPN’s new KayRod cast will provide a platform to be himself

Alex Rodriguez has often come across as a little too polite and shrewd when dealing with the media as a superstar player, some might even go so far as to say dishonest at times.

A-Rod, as a broadcaster, has often seemed stiff and wooden, especially during his stint as color analyst on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

However, ESPN believe they have found the perfect vehicle for Rodriguez to shine. The network partners him with Michael Kay to form the “KayRod Cast,” baseball’s answer to the popular alternative “Manningcast” that debuted last year during the NFL season and was hosted by brother Peyton and Eli Manning.

Rodriguez and Kay, the New York Yankees play-by-play TV broadcaster, will team up for eight alternative shows this season on ESPN2. The first is Sunday night when the Yankees host the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

While the new SNB booth of Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez will broadcast the regular game on ESPN, Rodriguez and Kay will take a different approach on ESPN2 with a more conversational tone and host guests throughout the game.

Kay believes the KayRod Cast will bring out the best in Rodriguez.

“I want Alex Rodriguez to be the Alex Rodriguez I was talking to in front of a locker where there was no confinement of it’s gotta be done for TV, gotta watch here, gotta break here, ’cause I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who knows baseball better than Alex,” Kay said earlier this week on a conference call.

While Rodriguez has had his share of controversy during his 22-year career as a player, including a one-year suspension from Major League Baseball for his role in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal, no one ever questioned his knowledge of the game.

“Honestly, I don’t think anyone loves baseball more than me,” said Rodriguez, who is part of a group that bought the Minnesota Timberwolves from the NBA last year.

Rodriguez thinks love will shine brighter in this format.

“The way I see it, it’s like we go to the ‘Michael Kay Pub’ and we invite anybody who wants to come in and just listen,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez admits he never felt entirely comfortable in the cabin. The only exception came in 2019 when he played four innings of a Yankees-Dodgers game on the YES Network with Kay and Cone.

“I think those were the best four runs I’ve ever done on television because I was in the middle of two very close friends and it went back and forth,” Rodriguez said. “Michael knows exactly how to set me up because he knows me so well, so I think this format will suit me.”

Kay was highly critical of Rodriguez for his suspension in 2014. However, Rodriguez holds no animosity against Kay, who is in his 30th year with the Yankees and hosts a popular sports talk show on radio in New York.

“That’s what’s really going to make this show, I think, good is because you’re going to get some candor from him and me,” Rodriguez said. “Honestly, before the suspension, I think the show wouldn’t have been as good because I wasn’t as comfortable. I think I’m just more comfortable in my own skin today and we’re going to let it rip.”

That’s exactly what Kay wants.

“It’s not like there’s a third rail issue that we won’t touch,” Kay said. “I think that kind of unpredictability is going to make this ‘KayRod Cast’ something you’ll want to tune into, because anything can happen any day.”

The chemistry between the hosts is a big reason the Manningcast has drawn rave reviews. Of course, the brothers had a lifetime to perfect their report.

“We’re in the legal process right now to get adopted by a pair of people so we can actually be brothers, which will give us more of a ‘Manningcast’ feel,” Kay joked.