KENNY: See, that’s another thing that’s been with me since my childhood. My mother and father used to take me and my sister on little camping trips upstate New York, and we used to go every once in a while to Cooperstown and to the Hall of Fame. There are pictures of me when I’m like 10 years old, in front of Stan Musial’s locker. I’ve been going there since I was a kid. I think the Hall of Fame and getting those books, the yearbooks and Hall of Fame books and studying the players and their stats — Stan Musial, Hank Aaron and Carl Yastrzemski — studying that and looking at Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig, that built my love for baseball. So I would study it and try to know the history and the stats and compare players from different generations. The Hall of Fame itself was a big part of my love of baseball. There’s no question. Even though there’s a lot happening in baseball, the Hall of Fame focuses your attention and enables you to go to the old days of baseball and feel nostalgic and feel like you’re connecting generations in this country, going to a ballgame with your dad. And now through these last three decades, going to Cooperstown with my wife, my wife and I have been going to Cooperstown, and we go year-round. We go on our anniversary in February, and with any luck we get snowed in. We went for years, before I was going to the World Series, for my birthday in October. We’ve brought our kids up there. They’re going up this induction weekend, too, so they’ve been a part of it. My wife loves it there.My dream with ESPN initially was basically asking, “Can I do anything up there?” My first gig was hosting it on ESPN Radio, with Chris Berman doing it on TV. That was great. And then Chris couldn’t do it or something, and I became the TV host for it, for ESPN. Then when it went to MLB Network, I was heartbroken. Then I did it briefly on MLB Network, then they asked me to host the actual ceremony, and that’s just a thrill of a lifetime. I think they know that it’s really in my blood to be up there. It’s such an honor to be part of it. MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNOh, and he just spent a couple of days in Cleveland for the MLB All-Star Game events. While there, he spent some time talking with Sporting News about his baseball and boxing passions and his career path. (Full disclosure: DAZN is Sporting News’ parent company.)The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.SPORTING NEWS: Let’s start at the beginning. When did you know wanted to get into broadcasting? As a kid? Did you call games on the radio? KENNY: A friend of mine, Jerry Powers, was talking to me recently on Long Island. He was my best friend when we were were like 10, 11, 12 years old. We were talking and he was telling my wife, “Brian was always calling games.” And I went, “Really?” I didn’t realize that. And he said, “Yeah, when we were playing Wiffle ball, he’d be doing his own commentary. And when he was watching the game, he’d be always talking about it.” And I didn’t even realize that. People asked me when I wrote my book, “What got you involved in baseball. What made you like baseball?” And I was like, “What do you mean?” Everybody loved baseball. Growing up on Long Island with all my friends, baseball was it. We played baseball out in the fields. When there was only like six or seven of us, we played half-field. I played all through youth leagues and everything, Little League and beyond. You just always played baseball. You always loved baseball. I always loved reading about baseball, so that was a natural. SN: Same for me. KENNY: I didn’t think I’d be a sportscaster. Through college, I went to St. John’s and New York Institute of Technology, and at New York Tech, we had a a TV station called LI News Tonight. It was a 15-minute news show, and I was a reporter. I really wanted to be a TV reporter, or do documentaries or something. But I wanted to do something that I loved. I loved writing. I love reading. I thought, here’s something I could do. I thought I’d just be a reporter and I was for my college career and then the first few months of my career, too. And then there was an opening on the sports desk, and I thought that was a chance. In the world of TV news, if you’re a reporter, you’re just out there every day slopping away, doing two stories a day out at nuclear power plants and garbage dumps. If you’re a sportscaster, you’re on the set with big guys, the anchorman and the anchorwoman and the weather person. So that was a chance to move up. I auditioned, and somehow I got it. I stunk, but I somehow got it when I was 22 years old. So I became a sportscaster.I truly wasn’t planning on being a sportscaster, and I only say that because there were so many of my fellow students that wanted to be the next Marv Albert. Everybody wanted to be a sportscaster. And I thought, I’m doing news. I’m doing news. But when sports opened up, I thought, “This is great!” And I quickly learned that when I’m a news reporter, people are not happy to see me. When I’m a sports reporter, everybody’s happy to see me. They see the sportscaster coming to the high school, they’re happy. So that made for a happier life.SN: Was there ever any point after you got that job, until you got to ESPN, where you maybe had a rough stretch or maybe thought, “This isn’t working out.”KENNY: Never. Never ever. I went from WLIG TV 55 on Long Island, I got a job at WTZA, as a sportscaster as well and ended up being there 11 years, a lot longer than I figured. That’s when my wife and I were having our children, and we didn’t want to be moving around the country with five kids on. So we stayed there until I got the call from ESPN. Not the conventional way. Usually you gotta jump all around the country. I went right from WTZA, that turned into WRNN and then I got hired right to ESPN. But even when I was covering high school sports and local 5Ks, I never gave it a thought that maybe I should do something else. I was like, “Why would I want to? This is great.” It was great.SN: Is there anything about covering that level of sports that you sometimes miss? The high school sports or the super-local stuff? KENNY: When I was doing that, I would occasionally go to Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium, and I would occasionally go to World Series. But I didn’t crave that. I thought doing the local sports was fulfilling and was enough, And I had as much fun covering Kingston-Newburgh football as I did going to a World Series. I might not feel that way now. There’s something very major league about the major leagues. It feels great, you’re taken care of. I’m probably not tough enough to go back into it again and hit the streets because I’m so well taken care of here. So no, I feel fulfilled. I have an “MLB Now” show that has no real directive. It’s just “Do your show.” And so if I would say, “Hey, we gotta start hitting the road or doing this or doing that,” we could probably do it. I love what I’m doing now. There’s no reason to change. SN: You did a lot of different things with ESPN, baseball and a lot of boxing and what not. How did MLB Network come about? KENNY: It originated when I was still at ESPN and under contract. So I always saw that as, you know, you never know what could be a possibility. I love baseball so much, and they were interested in me. I was interested in them. The executives that were there at the time and those who are still there — Tony Petitti and John Entz were top two guys; John went to Fox and Tony is (MLB’s Deputy Commissioner, Business & Media) — I think they recognized my love of the game and love of the history of the game, just being immersed in it. And so they were after me, and I was flattered, and it all worked out. It was tough leaving ESPN because I loved it there. Terrific people there. I was there 14 years and I thought I might be there forever. But to do baseball full time and plus work with a unit that was relatively new and still getting after it, that was flattering and fulfilling.MORE CONVOS: Jeff Idelson | Bud Selig | Dansby Swanson | Amir GarrettSN: You really stepped into that — I don’t want to say void — but on national television there wasn’t that single voice of analytics or sabremetrics. Did you kind of recognize that and say, “I could do this and I want to be kind of this guy,” or anything like that?KENNY: I didn’t. It naturally came from my study of the game, my love of the history of the game, my love of stats. I always had little books of wins leaders, believe it or not, batting average leaders, believe it or not, and RBI leaders. I kept little note pads. I just thought it was fun. I thought baseball stats were fun, knowing Jim Palmer had 22 wins, he was 22-9 with a 3.10 ERA or something like that. I thought that was a blast. So as I kept evolving, I started reading “Total Baseball” in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and Bill James in the late ’80s and early ’90s. I wasn’t some quick convert. But through the years, I’m trying to figure it out. I always loved Hall of Fame comparisons. So as I’m studying Ron Santo and Graig Nettles for the Hall of Fame and Willie Stargell for the Hall of Fame — he deserves to be there — I’m looking for more sophisticated ways of doing analysis because that’s all we do. Even if we’re just comparing batting average, we’re doing comparative analysis.So I just found this subculture of people doing that. I found that, hey, I could look things up on my own, do my own comparative analysis, be my own scientist, have my own opinions. I just thought everyone would be doing it with me, and what I found was on TV, nobody was doing it with me and I don’t know why. As Bill James told me, a schism happened that he didn’t anticipate, I didn’t anticipate. I found myself doing, especially when I went from “SportsCenter” to “Baseball Tonight,” where I’m doing a lot of baseball and you have to do a lot of highlights, you’re constantly saying, “Hey, there’s Jim Thome with double the left, one run will score, two runs will score,” and then you have to say something, right? You have to say, “Hey, by the way, Jim Thome is really good.” Except you can’t just say that. You have to say, “Hey, Jim Thome now has 94 RBIs. That’s excellent.” Or you could say, “Hey, Jim Thome is hitting .301.” Or, I found, the best way to say it was, “Jim Thome is slugging .552, and that’s fourth in the American League.”SN: Giving context to a newer stat. KENNY: It seemed to make more sense. So even on the fly, I wanted to use on-base percentage. I wanted to use slugging and as the new things came about, I wanted to use the new tools. It just made sense to me. I didn’t expect to be polarizing. I thought everyone’s gonna be recognizing this. And that’s what my book was about, really, was finding that there was anger and reluctance to adopt new ways of studying baseball.SN: And you figured out why there was that anger.KENNY: Yes, I wrote about in the book. I figured out we all, as human beings — it’s not that fans or baseball writers are obstinate or dumb, or players don’t get it or broadcasters don’t get it — we’re all that way. We learn things when we’re young, and that anchors in much more powerfully than we think, and we all have much stronger biases than we even believe. We know we have them, but to that extent, we don’t know that. So a culture gets used to studying a thing in a certain way — and I used a Thomas Paine quote in “Ahead of the Curve” — and a long time of thinking something is not wrong, eventually is thought of as being right. And so we all thought that way, and why would it be any different? You mean, we’ve been wrong all this time? And the answer there was, “Yes.”So now it’s strange to be in this world over the last, like, three or four years where everybody’s talking this language. Well, not everybody, but most people are talking this language. It’s like, OK, now we can move on to things that were really valued in the old days, as well. Like, what about makeup? What about character? What about clutch? What about being a good teammate? Now that we’re measuring the production, I think we all have to recognize production and numbers are not everything, and we know this. It’s coming from a human being. And I think now for the whole industry, the next big move will be figuring out, “How do we find that? How do you not just quantify it, but recognize it and instill it in players?” SN: You called boxing at ESPN and now you’re the main boxing play-by-play announcer for DAZN. How has boxing fit into your life? KENNY: Always loved boxing, too. My father would take me to the fights. My father was a New York City detective and he would take me to the fights, right off the boat from Ireland. We were very ethnic that way, and we liked boxing. Again, very normal in New York, growing up in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, to like boxing. Loved baseball more, but liked boxing. And then when I went upstate for WTZA in Kingston, one of my first stops was the Catskill Boxing Club. Mike Tyson was a teenager. I’m 22 years old, so I joined the boxing club and I trained there for six years, right alongside Mike. Watched Mike win the heavyweight title from his living room with Camille Ewald, his adoptive mother, at Cus D’Amato’s house. I was in that camp. I trained at Floyd Patterson’s camp in New Paltz. Knew Floyd Patterson. So I was always in the culture. I just trained with the guys and lived the experience and then called a few fights here and there. And then when I got ESPN, I was just saying, “Hey, by the way, I really understand boxing. I know boxing. I’ve been in these camps. I’ve gone to big fights, I’ve called fights.” And eventually, I got my chance with “Friday Night Fights.” And so that was the start of it. I’ve just always been immersed in it. And now I really do watch. There’s room in my brain for baseball and boxing, and I’m fine. Everything else can subside. I watch baseball every single day. I watch the fights on Saturday night. I love those two things. It’s a perfect fit.SN: How has the DAZN experience been for you? KENNY: First class, first class. And remember, I signed up early. John Skipper was my old boss at ESPN. We knew each other and got along very well. It was a great opportunity. I thought, “This is perfect.” And that was before they signed Canelo (Alvarez). Then they signed Canelo. They signed Triple G. So all these things are happening like “Wow!” But I was good to go either way, you know? I could be calling a four-rounder somewhere and I would think it’s thrilling. I’m thrilled to go to Demetrius Andrade and see him box at the top of the food chain in boxing. I love the sweet science. I love the drama of it, and I love calling the fights now, too, you know? You really get immersed, get hyper-focused on watching what’s in the ring. Which is different from what I do here with the studio work, right? It’s different muscles that you’re working. So I find that doing boxing is just exciting. Gets out the competitive juices. As much as I’m a sabermetric guy on TV, I love the physical competition. I love getting after it, so boxing to me is exciting. It’s part of the human drama. I’ve always loved it. SN: So you’ve found a way to fulfill both of those passions. That’s pretty cool. KENNY: Yeah. Took a while (laughs). I think it’s worked out perfectly. And, again, I would stress at MLB Network, it’s such a good atmosphere. If you want something on TV and you’re passionate about it, it gets on TV. And that’s hard to do on TV. Usually you have to fight to get your ideas on TV. Every day our ideas come out, and I think that’s part of what you see on the air, that we all look pretty fulfilled. Every day I do a one-hour show on “MLB Now” and I look at the panelists sitting next to me and I’m like, if I could have had these guys for my “Hot List” show on ESPN News back in the day, even if I had these guys individually — it’s Tom Verducci and Bob Costas and John Smoltz or Joel Sherman and Ken Rosenthal — if I had those guys lined up as guests for an hour on ESPN News, I would have been going, “My God, what a show!” And now I have that every day, and they’re all together. So it’s really a dream to do that show every day. I try not to take it for granted.MORE: The one word that defines Mariano Rivera’s Hall of Fame careerSN: I want to talk about Cooperstown. I’ve voted for the Hall of Fame three times now. KENNY: Excellent. SN: I went up there for the first induction ceremony I was a part of, and it was just about the coolest thing ever. What are your thoughts about hosting the induction ceremony for the third year in a row now? Brian Kenny is living his dream. He hosts what is, essentially, his perfect baseball show on MLB Network, “MLB Now.” He’s also the lead blow-by-blow boxing announcer on DAZN.And this weekend, he’s in his happy place: Cooperstown, N.Y. For the third year in a row, Kenny is the master of ceremonies for the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which is being broadcast exclusively on MLB Network at 1:30 pm ET this Sunday.