ManningCast? 'My idea first' says CC Sabathia, back with MLB alternate-broadcast 'Clubhouse Edition'
ManningCast who? CC Sabathia says he had the alternate-broadcast gig down first, before brothers Peyton and Eli generated buzz throughout the fall for the secondary viewing option on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”
“It was my idea first,” the retired New York Yankees pitcher told USA TODAY Sports. “We were the original, 100 percent. ESPN, the Mannings, they did a good job with it. But yeah, we definitely started that at MLB Network.”
Debating who invented the alternate, casual sports broadcast (and even setting parameters for such a conversation) is a fool’s errand. The point is that on Monday, Sabathia will return to MLB Network’s “Clubhouse Edition” for the second season of non-traditional game telecasts when the New York Mets face the San Diego Padres (9:30 p.m. ET).
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MLB Network host Stephen Nelson will anchor the conversation with former MLB players Yonder Alonso and Cliff Floyd joining Sabathia for the first game. The game won’t be available in the Mets’ and Padres’ home television markets.
“It’s what you would see if you were watching the game in our living room,” Sabathia said. “I just have fun and watch the game how I would watch it (at home). Pose questions or make comments as if I’m sitting there and watching the game with the guys on the couch.
“We don’t really script it. We don’t go in and say, ‘Hey, we got to talk about this, talk about that.’ None of that. It’s organic.”
The most planning Sabathia and the crew will do is deciding which teams they want to highlight, who will join him for the broadcast and which guests to interview.
“I try to keep the guest relative to the teams that are playing,” Sabathia said, noting Alonso played for the Padres and Floyd spent four seasons in New York. “For me, it’s just hard asking my friends to do something.”
“Clubhouse Edition” is one of Sabathia’s post-playing career moves. The 2009 World Series winner knew he didn’t want to be an everyday analyst, wearing a suit in a broadcast booth and traveling with the team as if he were still playing.
Along with Ryan Ruocco of ESPN and YES Network, Sabathia co-created the “R2C2” podcast that has aired on platforms such as the Players Tribune, Uninterrupted and The Ringer. Two months ago, Sabathia was named special assistant to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to “address areas important to the future of the sport, including player relations, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, social responsibility, youth participation, and broadcasting.”
Sabathia is also enjoying life as a travel baseball dad (son Carsten is heading to Georgia Tech for baseball next year). With all of that going on, people like to tell him he must be busy. Except, it doesn’t feel that way.
“Because it’s all stuff I want to do,” he said.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘Clubhouse Edition’ was CC Sabathia’s ‘idea first’ before ManningCast