Sports commentator and former professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez takes part in a panel during WSJ's The Future of Everything Festival at Spring Studios on May 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

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ESPN’s Bet on Alex Rodriguez as In-Game Analyst Not Paying Off

Ratings for A-Rod-centered “Sunday Night Baseball” are down 18 percent.

As a player, Alex Rodriguez had all the talent in the world, but was known for failing to come through on baseball’s biggest stage in the MLB playoffs.

It may not be his fault, but it appears coming through when the lights are the brightest is an issue for A-Rod as a broadcaster as well.

With a quarter of the baseball season in the books, the ratings for a reboot of Sunday Night Baseball featuring Alex Rodriguez as one of the lead analysts in the ESPN broadcast booth are down 18 percent from last year.

According to the numbers, Sunday Night Baseball has gone from averaging 1.91 million viewers at this time last year to 1.56 million this season through seven games of its 25-game slate.

ESPN execs were hoping A-Rod’s presence in the booth would be enough to entice viewers to tune in, but apparently the World Series champ isn’t enough of a draw to move the needle.

The issue isn’t purely a Rodriguez problem, according to The New York Post. “ESPN’s Sunday game is very produced, so much of what Rodriguez says sounds planned, allowing him to speak less off the cuff,” The Post writes. “He makes some good points, but he needs to trust himself a little more and try to be more natural.”

Read the full story at The New York Post