Broadcaster Adam Amin is only a year into his tenure with Fox after almost 10 years at ESPN, but that has been more than enough time to notice a philosophical difference between the networks’ game broadcasts.
“Each assignment that we get is very game-centric,” said Amin, who calls MLB, NFL and college basketball games. “It’s very much focused on the minutiae and the overarching storylines of just that game. And if there are storylines that branch out into more of a big picture, we’ll talk about them. But they always take a back seat to what’s happening in front of us.
“It’s not an indictment of ESPN, but it’s a little bit different calling games at Fox. As a play-by-play announcer, I prefer it this way.”
Amin’s words ring true to those who have been frustrated by ESPN’s insistence on turning “Sunday Night Baseball” into a talk show starring Alex Rodriguez rather than focusing on the game it chose to air.
That isn’t a problem for those watching Fox’s “Baseball Night in America,” which will feature the White Sox on Saturday. Amin will call the game against the Astros from Minute Maid Park in Houston alongside former Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. It’s the first of three Sox appearances on Fox this season, equaling the team’s total from 2014 to 2020.
It isn’t easy for national announcers to drop in and take over for local announcers, particularly in the eyes and ears of fans. But Amin, who also calls Bulls games for NBC Sports Chicago and Bears preseason games for Fox-32, lives in Chicago and hears all about the Sox. And he certainly has done his homework for the Astros.
“The way I prep for these games, I’m trying to be a local broadcaster,” Amin said. “I’m trying to be as dialed in to the Astros as [Astros TV voice] Todd Kalas, and I’m trying to be as dialed in to the White Sox as [Sox TV voice] Jason Benetti is. That’s the goal.”
That meshes with Fox’s approach to game broadcasts. The network has been a great steward of MLB’s traditional Saturday game of the week, which always has been special to Amin. Growing up in west suburban Addison, he spent Saturdays with his brother and father watching “This Week in Baseball” and whatever game followed on NBC.
“That was a huge deal,” Amin said before singing some of the “TWIB” theme song. “You hear that every single week, and you’re like, ‘I know exactly what time of the day it is, and I know what the next five hours is gonna be.’ ’’
In his formative years of becoming a baseball fan, he watched Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola, as well as Bob Costas and Tony Kubek, call the action and focus on the game. That doesn’t mean what happens during the game Saturday won’t lead to a topical discussion, such as MLB’s new ban on foreign substances, which has drawn the ire of many pitchers.
Sox starter Carlos Rodon, who will face the Astros on Friday, is sure to come up. He expressed his frustration with the mandate, telling NBCSCH, “It’s hard to see this when you’re giving out 10-game suspensions for cheating, but you give the Astros no suspensions at all [for stealing signs in 2017].”
Plus, Dallas Keuchel is back in Houston, where he spent his first seven seasons and won the Cy Young Award in 2015. He’ll start for the Sox on Sunday, and Amin said Fox requested an in-game interview with him, though there was no guarantee it would happen.
“So we’re going to discuss some national things, obviously,” Amin said, “but I think all of that takes a back seat to, by the way, we’re watching the best team in the American League Central and we’re watching one of the best teams in the AL West, and these might be two of the best offenses in baseball.”
Amin will call these teams again for Fox when the Astros visit Guaranteed Rate Field on July 17. The Sox’ third Fox appearance is the “Field of Dreams” game Aug. 12 in Dyersville, Iowa, which figures to be called by the network’s top crew of Joe Buck, John Smoltz and Ken Rosenthal.
No matter who’s playing, Amin is thoroughly enjoying himself at Fox. He has decreased his portfolio and increased his profile, cutting down from numerous sports to three big ones.
“It’s what I had hoped for, to be able to cover these sports at what many would consider to be the highest level,” he said. “It’s broadcast television. The largest audiences for regular-season broadcasts in general, particularly the NFL. I wanted to be a part of that.”