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UPCOMING EVENTS

Greg Amsinger is Thinking Like a Producer on MLB Network

As Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout took the red carpet ahead of the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Greg Amsinger could detect that an enduring moment was on the precipice. Amsinger, who was hosting the All-Star Red Carpet Show on MLB Network, was interviewing Trout and informed him that he was excited to watch him hit a triple off the wall and drive in New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter in his final All-Star Game. In response, Trout humorously replied that it would definitely be something special, resulting in the panel all sharing a laugh.

It turns out that a few hours later, Trout hit an RBI triple to drive in Jeter, actualizing the prediction. This is not the only instance in which Amsinger has successfully envisioned moments before they happen.

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One month later on MLB Tonight, he declared that San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey would hit a walk-off home run against the Colorado Rockies. Mere moments after the audio feed changed to the Giants television broadcast, Posey struck a walk-off home run to left field that sent both the ballpark and Studio 3 into a frenzy.

“These things have just fallen into my lap because honestly, I’m not working,” Amsinger said. “I’m playing, and when you play and you have fun, magical moments can happen, so this is just literally me playing and having a great time. My tail is wagging when I’m on the set for MLB Tonight, and that is the aftermath of that kind of tail wagging.”

The stellar foresight and fortune Amsinger has had throughout his career at MLB Network has rendered him as one of the faces of its coverage. For a typical edition of MLB Tonight, he brings his unique and unorthodox hosting acumen to the set in addition to his passion for the sport.

“As a host, I try to be a chameleon,” Amsinger said. “I try to adjust to make their strengths even better. I want to be different when I’m on with Dan O’Dowd and Tom Verducci than I am with Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds. My role will change to make sure the show stays at a certain level, but I have immense respect for all of these guys.”

The frequent areas of emphasis on MLB Tonight include live look-ins of gameplay around the league and the analysts at the network who provide their perspectives on the action. Amsinger routinely golfs and spends time with his colleagues to establish and maintain rapport, especially important given that he works with a rotation of analysts throughout the season rather than a fixed cast. In fact, whenever he takes a vacation during the offseason, he finds himself missing the familial environment at MLB Network and is always energized to return.

“I’m not going to teach Pedro [Martínez] how to throw a slider, I’m not going to teach Harold [Reynolds] how to turn the pivot at second base, but I can represent the fans’ perspective, and I do it proudly every night,” Amsinger said. “So yeah, I am an opinionated host, but I do it within the prism of a fans’ perspective.”

“[I have been] working with Greg since day 1 at MLB Network,” added Dan Plesac, MLB Network studio analyst. “[He] never takes a show off, comes in guns a blazing every single night. [He] loves what he does and it shows through the camera.”

Within the rapid pace of the live television show, there exist moments when things do not go according to plan. For example, Amsinger recently grew frustrated with being classified as a “no-hitter jinx” and decided to predict that Los Angeles Dodgers rookie starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto would attain such a feat in a game against the Miami Marlins. The control room then aired the network’s no-hitter alert graphic at this moment, which usually airs after the eighth inning if a pitcher is on the verge of such a feat.

“The no-hitter alert graphic before the game started, [so] I go, ‘Enjoy Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s no-hitter watch right here on MLB Network,’” Amsinger recalled. “First pitch, Jazz Chisholm hits a home run. Like then I was like, ‘Maybe I am a no-hitter jinx.’”

Amsinger considers himself fortunate that the show does not become monotonous and is instead dynamic within the overall baseball landscape. Throughout the night, he and his colleagues follow the games on monitors within the anchor desk. The matchup that the viewers are seeing is what he wants the analysts to focus on in order to provide authentic reactions in real time.

Whether he is on site or in the studio, Amsinger appreciates that his opinions are valued as an on-air talent. MLB Network provides him with the freedom to participate in a think tank where everyone’s perspectives are heard and large participation is encouraged. Ideation and production are valued and, in turn, help cultivate a shared mindset pertaining to the programming that is disseminated.

“They don’t treat us like ‘talent,’” Amsinger said. “They want us thinking like producers, and most of us do, and it lends itself to a really creative product and we’re always trying to get better, so when we have a show, we will all talk.”

Being able to think of ideas for MLB Tonight and additional programming on the network is a part of the job Amsinger cherishes. In the future, he hopes to be a part of what he calls the network’s “think tank” at a higher level. Fusing his zeal for baseball and television production, he is enthralled by the variance of new episodes and the dynamic format of the program. 

“We work with some wildly talented people at MLB Network, but whenever somebody asks me who our best producer is, I tell them it’s Greg Amsinger,” said Chris Collins, a senior producer at MLB Network who has worked with Amsinger for 15 seasons. “He comes armed with segment ideas to every production meeting. He thinks like a producer and is the ultimate collaborator.”

Following the 2022 season, Amsinger signed a contract extension to remain with MLB Network, but he had considered auditioning for the then-vacant St. Louis Cardinals television play-by-play job on Bally Sports Midwest. Recognizing that his role at MLB Network represented a dream job and acknowledging that the format fit his skillset, he decided to remain at the entity that he helped launch.

When MLB Network first took the air in 2009, Amsinger believed that chief executive officer Tony Petitti ensured that everything met a high standard and opened with a collection of former players. As he hosts a show, he channels his inner fandom and exhibits his genuine personality while also remaining grounded in the moment.

“I love being part of history,” Amsinger said. “I was in Studio 42 the night Mike Trout got drafted. He was the only kid in the studio that showed up – that was the Draft – and to interview this future Hall of Famer on that night, you feel like you’re associated with baseball history.”

In accordance with the league, MLB Network has helped facilitate the recent format of the MLB First-Year Player Draft during All-Star Week. Amsinger is hosting coverage of the event for the 16th time and continues to watch the prospects build their own brands. He will be joined by Dan O’Dowd, Harold Reynolds, Xavier Scruggs and Melanie Newman beginning at 7 p.m. EST on MLB Network as the Cleveland Guardians make the first selection.

“Their social media following is getting larger and larger [and] there’s more content relating to them before they’re even drafted, so they’re helping their own cause to become more household name-ish than the guys 10 years before them,” Amsinger said, “so we feel like we are growing with, I guess, the media of amateur baseball, and our job still is to make sure those that don’t know who these kids are [see them] presented in a way that is exciting.”

One day later, Amsinger will represent MLB Network from Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas as the in-stadium emcee for the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. Last year while emceeing the event, Amsinger successfully had T-Mobile Park chanting the name of Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodríguez as the phenom set a single-round record with 41 home runs.

“To tell 40,000-plus fans to stand up and they do it, I mean, that’s a pretty cool gig; that’s as cool of a gig as you can have, so I love the Home Run Derby,” Amsinger said. “They’re going to give me a microphone [to] stand in the field and do that? Sign me up.”

After the conclusion of the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday night, Amsinger will host a live edition of MLB Tonight with Harold Reynolds, Lauren Gardner and Adam Wainwright. Within previous postgame editions of the show, players have appeared on the set and discussed their experience in the contest.

“It’s the best of baseball, and you get the best players there,” Amsinger said, “so to see them come up on the set and want to be part of our postgame show, it’s just it’s one of those pinch-me moments that comes with the job – it really is.”

Nielsen Media Research estimates MLB Network to be in 33 million homes, consistent with a decline realized across the industry. As sports continues to thrive among live programming concurrent with the rise of on-demand viewing, consumers can find the outlet on OTT streaming services such as fuboTV and Hulu + Live TV. Despite the number of ways to access content, sports programming continues to elicit high demand in the modern media ecosystem.

“I think if you’re a league, why wouldn’t you have a 24/7 content machine that is essentially promoting the stars of your game?,” Amsinger said. “You want nonstop entertainment for your customers, and the customers are your fans.”

Bringing a mixture of panache and humility to the air, Amsinger seeks to instantiate and nurture the love of the game among viewers of MLB Network. Within all of his endeavors, he recognizes his good fortune and ability to feel connected to baseball history. Going forward, he looks to keep thriving as an on-air talent while also expanding his mindset as a producer. No matter which team ends up hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy at the end of the season, Amsinger will enjoy every step of the journey and stay ready for the next segment.

“You got to pinch yourself and you have to acknowledge how blessed you are,” Amsinger said, “and for me, what I’ve been given, the keys to baseball’s Porsche, I proudly drive it, and instead of looking around and begging and begging for another car, I love the car I have – that’s for sure.”

Derek Futterman
Derek Futtermanhttps://derekfutterman.com/
Derek Futterman is a contributing editor and sports media reporter for Barrett Media. Additionally, he has worked in a broad array of roles in multimedia production – including on live game broadcasts and audiovisual platforms – and in digital content development and management. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks, wrote for the Long Island Herald and served as lead sports producer at NY2C. To get in touch, find him on X @derekfutterman.

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