Bagwell joining Astros' broadcast booth
Houston great to serve as analyst for Saturday home games
HOUSTON -- Astros icon Jeff Bagwell, who was one of the most candid interview subjects during his days as a player, will bring his honesty and 15 years of experience as a player to the television booth beginning Saturday, when he joins the broadcast team for Fox Sports Houston.
Bagwell will team up with television play-by-play announcer Bill Brown and color analyst Jim Deshaies in the booth during Saturday home games, beginning with the second game of the Astros' series against the Phillies at Minute Maid Park this weekend.
"Actually, I'm excited about it," Bagwell said. "Just to be with Jimmy and Brownie, I'm excited because they're so good at what they do. I truly love their broadcast and how they go about stuff, so it will be fun. I've been watching ESPN for the last few times they had three guys in the booth, and it's kind of fun to get a pitcher, a hitter and Brownie doing play-by-play. It will be a lot of fun for me."
Bagwell, who retired following the 2005 season as the franchise's all-time leader with 449 homers and 1,529 RBIs, is the only player in Astros history to win a National League Most Valuable Player Award (1994). He's currently a special assistant to general manager Ed Wade and assists with the player development program.
Bagwell, 41, said he remembers how hard the game can be, something he'll keep in mind while in the broadcast booth.
"The first game I was at this year was Roy [Oswalt] against [Tim] Lincecum, and I was watching Lincecum pitching and I'm sitting there going, 'Don't think I could hit that guy,'" Bagwell said. "I have no delusions of grandeur here. I understand if some guy wants to bunt and doesn't get it down, how hard the game is."
But Bagwell said he will be critical of mental errors and baserunning blunders. Bagwell was one of the game's smartest and best baserunners during his career.
"I made mistakes on the bases and I certainly struck out with men in scoring position," he said. "I get it. I'm not going to be critical. I'm going to say, 'Hey man, maybe we should have thrown to third [instead of] home.' You're going to see in the next 13 games I do, I'm going to be pretty tame, I promise you."
Broadcasting will remain a part-time gig for now for Bagwell, who has two young daughters at home and isn't ready to commit once again to baseball full-time and the travel that comes with it.
"These guys are just like a coach," he said. "They spent a lot of time at the ballpark, and I'm not ready for that. This is just something fun to do around the ballpark. [Owner] Drayton [McLane] and I have talked about it, something kind of fun that would be nice for the fans, and for me to actually be on the air and just talk. Right now, this is not even close to something I really want to do."
As far as the Astros' 0-3 start goes, Bagwell isn't worried. He was part of Astros teams in 2004 and '05 that got off to poor starts and rallied to make the playoffs.
"There's going to be another three-game losing streak," he said. "We faced three Cy Young winners [two for Lincecum and one for Barry Zito] and another guy who was a two-time All-Star [Matt Cain], so we faced some pretty good pitching.
"We didn't hit, but we don't have Lance [Berkman], either. We were kind of undermanned and they had their pitching going. Our pitchers did a great job, but obviously the last game kind of got out of hand at the end. Everybody had been dogging us up until the season started, and then all of a sudden you start 0-3 and it's kind of tough, but guys are going to be fine."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.