If you’re a baseball fan and sick of national pundits who overlook, underrate, or simply know nothing about our beloved Bravos, you have another reason to tune into MLB Network—if you get it. This season (which starts MONDAY!!!) our own Mark DeRosa joins Atlanta legend John Smoltz on the “National Pastime-All the Time,” channel and will sit beside the likes of Harold Reynolds and Al Leiter behind the desk of MLB Tonight, the network’s signature nightly highlight and analysis show.
DeRosa made his name as a role player with the Rangers and Cubs and played for a total of eight different teams over a fifteen-year major-league career. But it all started here in 1996 when the Braves drafted him in out of Penn in the seventh round, and DeRosa spent his first eight years in the Atlanta organization.
DeRosa, who retired last year due to a long-nagging wrist injury, says that the chance to stay involved in the game and draw on his journeyman’s knowledge to offer his unvarnished opinion attracted him to broadcasting. When asked what he thought of the Braves’ chances this year, despite devastating spring injuries to the rotation, DeRosa was optimistic. “The Braves always find a way to make it work,” he says. “(Starter) Ervin Santana was a great sign, (starter) Julio Teheran is ready to take that next step, and (starter) Mike Minor, whom I’ve faced, is much better than advertised. I like the way (outfielder) Jason Heyward and (second baseman) Dan Uggla are swinging this spring.
“If I were a betting man, I’d still have to put my money on Washington,” he says. “But I don’t put anything past Atlanta.”