Who Vasgersian is would include 18 years worth of baseball play-by-play broadcast experience: six seasons in the Minor Leagues, five seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers and, most recently, seven years with the San Diego Padres. Growing from that experience is a raft of other on-air credits, including broadcasting National Football League games on FOX and working Bowl Championship Series games, also on FOX, and doing studio anchor coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games for NBC.
At every stop, Vasgersian, 41, has put his own stamp on the broadcasts, without seeming to be pushy about it. If somebody can be whimsical and incisive at the same time, this is the guy. So he did not need the new job. His career was in fine shape. Why make the change to the new Network?
"Initially, it was a pretty easy kind of 'No' in my mind," Vasgersian said. But on second thought, the very newness of the MLB Network itself became a draw and a welcome challenge. Vasgersian liked the talent that had been assembled for the Network, including former players Harold Reynolds, Joe Magrane, Dan Plesac and Al Leiter. And he liked the man who would become his new boss, Tony Petitti, president and chief executive officer of MLB Network.
"Tony is like the anti-TV exec in that he's really thoughtful," Vasgersian said. "He's the kind of guy all of us would want to work for."
It's not all upside. There is the matter of moving from San Diego to New Jersey, in the dead of winter, not a commonly made January journey.
"I'm taking my Springsteen worship to a whole new level," Vasgersian said with a laugh.
After settling in, there will be challenge of making the new Network's focal-point program entertaining, informative and just generally worth watching. Vasgersian won't be single-handedly carrying this show, but his the importance of his role can't be overstated.
This is why you are encouraged when you hear him speak of "occasional bits of levity" that could become a staple of the new broadcast venture.
"I'll try," Vasgersian says. "I'm sure I'll have my detractors, just as I did when I did play-by-play. But like I said, for eight hours a night, you can't help but be who you are."
As a baseball fan/baseball announcer, Matt Vasgersian has been both entertaining and a breath of fresh air. This venture, brand new with lots of hours to fill, would be a challenge for any broadcaster. For this particular broadcaster, it may also be an ideal spot.