Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner wore a microphone during Game 1 and was interviewed during the ESPN broadcast while on the field both in the top of the second inning and in the bottom of the frame as he was preparing to bat.
Players getting interviewed during actual games has been experimented with in spring training and All-Star Games before, and generally add a fun wrinkle to the broadcast, bringing the audience closer to the game than they will ever be.
But those were exhibition games, and this year has seen the first of such interviews during games that count, first during national games on ESPN and Fox during the season, and at times this week during various wild card series.
Sometimes they can provide memorable moments, like Ramón Laureano earlier Thursday talking to the ESPN crew while playing center field during the White Sox-A’s game. After fielding a double by Eloy Jimenez, Laureano was caught on air saying, “Damn, he can fucking run” after realizing he wouldn’t be able to throw Jimenez out at second base.
Players have to agree to wear a microphone and take part in these interviews, so they are willing participants. Roberts said he found out Turner would be mic’d up about a half hour before Game 1, and was not a fan of the decision.
“Personally, I’m not a fan of it. I don’t know the arrangement, and I learned late. I don’t know. Baseball is kind of evolving,” Roberts said. “Going forward, I don’t want our guys to do that.”
The interviews can also be distracting, as a player has to balance talking to television announcers while also concentrating on the game itself. Roberts said if there was anyone who could handle both, it was Turner.
“I wouldn’t mind if Christian Yelich did it, or any other team we’re playing,” Roberts added, with a laugh.