Live airing of MLB Network's 'Intentional Talk' to bat leadoff for Texas-Kansas series
Twenty-nine years ago, Kevin Millar had an eventful afternoon at Disch-Falk Field.
Millar was the starting third baseman for the Lamar Cardinals. During a March game at Texas, he was hit by a Brooks Kieschnick pitch. He also doubled. And in the eighth inning, Lamar coach Jim Gilligan was ejected for an argument that occurred after Miller was ruled to have not tagged up from third base on a sacrifice fly that should have tied the game.
Lamar went on to lose 12-4. The Cardinals also dropped a 2-0 game in Austin that weekend.
Even after all these years, those losses linger. "I couldn't stand UT at Lamar," Millar recalled this week.
Still, Millar recalled Disch-Falk being the "big leagues of college baseball." And fittingly, he will help bring the big leagues to the ballpark on UT's campus Thursday when MLB Network's "Intentional Talk" show airs live from UFCU Disch-Falk Field ahead of Texas' opening game of the Kansas series.
"We're super pumped to be there," said Millar, a 2004 World Series champion who co-hosts the show with Stephen Nelson. "We're excited just to go and I think of what a great place to do our first game."
Launched in 2011, "Intentional Talk" has done on-location broadcasts before. But it's believed that this will be the first time it's done a live show on a college campus.
So why Austin?
First off, the shows' hosts have ties to the city. Millar lives in Austin. Nelson's wife, Cori Coffin, worked as a reporter at KVUE from 2014-17.
Nelson previously covered the Oregon and Oregon State athletic programs while working out west, so he said he has an affinity for college towns. "Intentional Talk" wanted to find a place that was "special and unique, and Austin certainly checks those boxes."
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"We also are going to watch a fun baseball game." Nelson said. "I can't wait to see Ivan Melendez in person. There's just so much to look forward to all the way around no matter which way you slice it."
When asked to describe "Intentional Talk" to someone unfamiliar with the show, Millar said "it's clubhouse lingo and skits that we try to bring to television. It's fun. It's self-deprecating. It's real. It's really little baseball talk." Nelson said the aim of the show is to help fans connect with their favorite players.
Some logistics are still being ironed out for the hour-long broadcast that will begin at 4 p.m. Millar insisted, though, that the show isn't just going to feature a bunch of on-set interviews.
Texas volunteer assistant Troy Tulowitzki, who played 13 MLB seasons, will factor into the show. Its "Cash or Trash" segment, which features Millar agreeing (cash) or disagreeing (trash) with a statement delivered by Nelson, will make an appearance. The show also plans on playing off the atmosphere at the ballpark.
"We've been told things (with OccupyLF) can get a little aggressive," Nelson said. "We're here for that and the fun energy. I think that'll only add to the show's experience."
The broadcast will serve as leadoff for the opener of the Texas-Kansas series. This three-game series will wrap up the regular season for both schools.
Texas (36-17, 11-10 Big 12) is tied for fifth place in the conference standings, and it holds the tiebreaker over West Virginia (30-20, 11-10). The 22nd-ranked Longhorns sit two games behind Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, which are locked in a third-place tie.
Kansas (20-32, 4-17) has taken up residence in the conference's basement. In order to qualify for the Big 12 Tournament, the Jayhawks must sweep Texas and also have Baylor lose three times to Oklahoma State this week.
"At this time of the year, they're playing to get into the tournament. So it's not like they're not playing for anything," UT coach David Pierce said. "I don't think they're going to come in and be a team that's just going to allow us to do what we want."
Texas third baseman Skyler Messinger also will reunite with his former team this week. One season after leading Kansas in batting average, he's hitting .366 with nine home runs as a graduate transfer.
Kansas at Texas
Thursday-Saturday, UFCU Disch-Falk Field, LHN, 104.9
Thursday (6:30 p.m.) — UT LHP Pete Hansen (8-1, 3.08) vs. Kansas LHP Daniel Hegarty (6-5, 4.43); Friday (6:30 p.m.) — UT LHP Lucas Gordon (5-1, 2.66) vs. Kansas RHP Cole Larsen (1-8, 8.26); Saturday (2:30 p.m.) — UT TBA vs. Kansas RHP Ryan Vanderhei (5-6, 6.56)