Quick Pitch (TV series)
|Starring||Heidi Watney (weekdays)|
Lauren Gardner (weekends and fill-in)
Alexa Datt (fill-in)
|Opening theme||2017– "HandClap" by Fitz and the Tantrums 2009–2016 "Crowd Chant" by Joe Satriani|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||approx. 1,440 (180 per season)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original network||MLB Network|
|Original release||April 6, 2009 –|
Quick Pitch is an American television show centered on showing highlights of baseball games from the previous night. Quick Pitch airs on MLB Network during the MLB regular season at 1 A.M. ET every weeknight (sometimes earlier if there are fewer than three west coast games), 8 P.M. ET every Sunday, and after Saturday Night Baseball or MLB Tonight every Saturday. Reruns of Quick Pitch are shown overnights and mornings during the regular season.
Quick Pitch is set in MLB Network's Studio 21 with the host(s) standing on set. The show typically consists of highlights, but major stories such as contract signings, trades or player retirements are also covered. Usually after each highlight, the starting pitchers for the teams' next game are shown.
A unique trait of Quick Pitch is that in the highlights, they use the television or radio announcers' call of the game instead of the host commentating every play.
In 2009 and 2010, Quick Pitch was exclusively a single-host program with Hazel Mae hosting Sunday-Thursday and Matt Yaloff hosting Friday and Saturday. For the 2011 season, Mae and Yaloff moved to a new afternoon program, The Rundown. Newly hired anchor Paul Severino anchored the Monday and Wednesday editions of the show in 2011, and fellow newly hired anchor Ahmed Fareed anchored Thursday-Sunday that same year. Lisa Kerney served as a frequent Sunday night and fill-in anchor in 2011. With the addition of several new reporters, the hosting work of Quick Pitch was split between five different anchors in 2012, including Fareed, Severino, Greg Amsinger, Scott Braun, and Alanna Rizzo, with Sam Ryan acting as a fill-in anchor.
Due to the typical lack of MLB Tonight on Tuesday nights in 2011 because of doubleheader live game coverage, MLB Network used an anchor-analyst format for Quick Pitch on the Tuesday edition, which was nicknamed "Two-fer Tuesday" for this reason. Greg Amsinger hosts and Dan Plesac provided analysis for the first edition, then different combinations subsequently.
On June 23, 2011, Quick Pitch experimented with a "Three-fer Thursday" version of Quick Pitch in which host Ahmed Fareed was joined by analysts Dan Plesac and Harold Reynolds. The most likely reason for this experiment was the short 5-game MLB schedule on that particular day, resulting in a lack of highlights to air. Since the show runs for a full hour regardless of the number of games, the analysts filled up time in the show with in-depth discussion and analysis. In previous years, this extra time had to be filled by long-form recorded segments due to the single-host format of the show. Having analyst(s) on the program has been common since mid-2011; analyst(s) host the show alongside an anchor one or twice each week, usually on Wednesdays and/or Thursdays. The other days of the week still feature solo-anchored editions of the show.
On August 3, 2012, Intentional Talk hosts Kevin Millar and Chris Rose hosted a "One Night Special" edition of Quick Pitch during one of the hosts' monthly visits to the MLB Network studios. After presenting highlights from the nine games of the day, they hosted a "Kevin's Highlights" segment, a segment normally featured on Intentional Talk.
In 2013, Heidi Watney became the full-time host of Quick Pitch and the show was moved from Studio 42 to Studio 3. Watney hosted Quick Pitch during weeknights, while on weekends, Rizzo and Ryan hosted. Also from 2013 on, it did not feature analyst(s) as it had been the previous two years (2011 and 2012).
In 2015, the show moved from Studio 3 to the newly christened Studio 21. While Watney and Ryan maintained their duties, Rizzo left to join the Los Angeles Dodgers broadcast team.
Following Sam Ryan's departure from MLB Network in June 2018, Jamie Hersch (from the NHL Network, MLBN's sister channel) replaced the former as weekend host. Lauren Gardner currently (2021) hosts Quick Pitch on weekends and occasional weekdays.