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05/20/2004 1:17 PM ET

Beckett and Willis to host This Week In Baseball Saturday, May 22




Major League Baseball Productions, the Emmy? award-winning in-house television and video production division of Major League Baseball, will launch the 27th season of "This Week In Baseball" Saturday, May 22 on FOX. The opening episode of "This Week In Baseball" will air prior to the Major League Baseball FOX Saturday Game of the Week (check local listings for broadcast times) and feature the return of USA Softball star Jennie Finch and her popular segment Pitch, Hit & Run with Jennie Finch.

Presented by Pepsi, "This Week In Baseball" - the longest running sports anthology series in American television broadcast history - is a 30-minute show that takes viewers as close as they can get to the game through the eyes of its best players. The show, which is the only sports anthology series hosted by a League's own elite players, delivers different Major League Baseball stars as hosts each week and also features special appearances by celebrities throughout the season.


During the premiere episode, co-hosts Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett of the World Champion Florida Marlins will discuss the incomparable feeling of winning the World Series last season and what it will take to reprise that success in 2004. In addition, viewers will take a ride with Beckett to Pro Player Stadium, sit in with Willis and Marlins Manager Jack McKeon as the two chart Willis's pitches in preparation for his next start and will see Willis and Beckett receive their World Series rings.


In addition to features about the weekly hosts, "This Week In Baseball" presents viewers an exclusive, all-access look inside the game with regular segments including Beyond the Fence, How 'Bout That, From the Vaults and Pitch, Hit & Run with Jennie Finch.


Beyond the Fence takes players and viewers away from the field to an environment outside of the ballpark. This week viewers will receive an inside look at "Tommy John" surgery and some of the current Major Leaguers who have had the operation including Matt Morris, Eric Gagne and Ryan Dempster. In addition, the "This Week In Baseball" cameras go into the operating room to record footage of doctors performing "Tommy John" surgery on Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Seth McClung. McClung will discuss the surgery as well as his rehabilitation and continuing comeback.


From the Vaults is a history-based feature that focuses on momentous events and characters from the seasons past and uses rare footage to provide new insights. Saturday's installment of From the Vaults takes a look back at the 1997 World Champion Marlins and features commentary from outfielder Jeff Conine, a member of both the 1997 and 2003 championship teams.


The longstanding "This Week In Baseball" favorite How 'Bout That spotlights the game's greatest offensive and defensive plays and bloopers and is set to cutting edge music from fast-rising bands - with commentary from players, celebrities or musicians. During this week's How 'Bout That, members of the band New Found Glory provide play by play and commentary on the season's top plays and bloopers, which are set to the sounds of the band performing the single "All Down Hill From Here."


Jennie Finch is back for her sophomore season as a member of the "This Week in Baseball" team as she reprises her popular segment Pitch, Hit & Run with Jennie Finch. Finch, the first female correspondent in the program's history, focuses on baseball fundamentals and strategies with different current and former Major League Baseball players each week. Saturday's Pitch, Hit & Run with Jennie Finch will provide a recap of last season's greatest moments and a special sneak preview of this year's upcoming segments, which will feature an all-star lineup of guests including Barry Bonds, Cal Ripken, Jr., Tony Gwynn and Mike Sweeney.


"'This Week In Baseball' takes viewers beyond field and provides a unique perspective of the game and its players," said David Gavant, Vice President and Executive Producer, Major League Baseball. "The show combines Major League Baseball with a variety of off-field elements and non-sport components such as musical guests and celebrity appearances, which is why we believe 'This Week In Baseball' has the rare ability to appeal to avid and casual fans alike."


"This Week In Baseball" will air Saturdays on FOX prior to the Major League Baseball FOX Saturday Game of the Week and be repeated throughout the week on the YES Network.


Utilizing unparalleled access to the game and its players, Major League Baseball Productions produces network specials, exclusive home videos, commercials and other specialty programming for growing audiences worldwide.

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