A sense of self-seriousness has fallen over baseball over the last 25 years following the sobering 1994 strike, the Mitchell Report, and an explosion in salaries that has widened the gap between regular folks and hundred-millionaires. The game hasn’t grown up so much as it has shed its innocence and shown that its capable of feeling very grown. Add to that the switch from the “gee wow” tone of This Week In Baseball in the ’80s and ’90s to the snark of Sportscenter (which lost some of its specialness thanks to the scourge of copycats) and it’s no wonder that MLB Network’s Intentional Talk feels like an oasis.
In the midst of its eighth season, the Kevin Millar and Chris Rose hosted show is showing no sign of slowing down. Over the last year, Intentional Talk has tacked on a podcast and an ESPN2 simulcast, and ratings are up 5 percent. The show’s formula is simple. Millar and Rose are strengthened by the chemistry they’ve been developing since the former was still an active player popping up as an occasional guest on The Best Damn Sports Show Period (where Rose served as one of the hosts). They also lean on the notion that Major League clubhouses are filled with Millar-like extroverts just looking to break out.
When Uproxx spoke with the guys, Millar made it clear that the friendship between the hosts is genuine and that it allows them to operate without much in the way of boundaries; something that helps them move through each broadcast more freely. It’s also clear that Millar and Rose have a deep respect and admiration for today’s ballplayers, and they seem to reciprocate. Even superstars like Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Turner, and Joey Votto prove themselves eager to show off their lighter side, make fun of Millar and Rose, and give their teammates a hard time on air.
“When you watch our show,” Rose says, “you realize that there’s more personality in this sport then maybe you first thought.”