Frank Thomas delivered crushing blows to baseballs for two decades. Now as an MLB analyst on Fox, "The Big Hurt" plays the calm, cool and collected role, in contrast to two of the most polarizing individuals in baseball history: Pete Rose and Alex Rodriguez.

"With me, it's about being exact with facts, but also keeping it loose enough that the average fan can tune in and understand what I'm saying because we lived that and we want you to experience it through us and not come across as a journalist," Thomas says.

Part of the show's shtick is Rose and Thomas' love-hate relationship. This works because both men can trade shots in stride.

"Our relationship has grown," Thomas says. "He gives everybody a hard time, so it's not just me, but it's really magnificent on the camera because there's nothing that he can say that I can't handle. I come right back with him and he loves it too. He can take it. Most guys can give it, but they can't take it. Pete can take it just as well as he gives it.

"You sometimes got to hold that filter on Pete because you never know what's gonna come out of his mouth. He doesn't hold any punches. He has a mind that when he wants you to know something, it comes right out. There's no filter. You get used to it. He doesn't want to cause any harm. He's better now because he knows the world is watching, but you catch him at a meeting, you never know what's gonna come out. It's unbelievably fun."


While Rose is unpredictable, Rodriguez is constantly watching every word he says, as his TV career continues to bud. A-Rod is currently shooting a CNBC reality show in which he interviews athletes facing financial problems, and he is a guest judge on Shark Tank.

"Alex is a little different," Thomas says. "We call him 'The Senator' because he wants to be perfect and I don't blame him. He's got a big team and he's exacto with the facts.

"I think he really wants to be a host on a major TV show and he probably will be soon. But he's putting in his work. So you got to be proud of that. It's not like he’s going out there unprepared. He's well prepared and that's what he wants to do."

The Fox crew still has a long way to go to reach the level of "NBA on TNT" or "Sunday Night Countdown", but the prospects are there. Last October, Thomas, Rodriguez, Rose and host Kevin Burkhardt helped deliver Fox Sports 1's highest ratings in its now-four-year history.

Thomas was taken off guard by all of this.

"Not at all," Thomas says when asked if he expected the crew to attain this stardom. "I think someone said to me we have the good guy, bad guy combinations throughout the thing with a great host and it all intertwined and it worked well. We got a lot of respect for each other and when we talk baseball, we really hear it."

Thomas spoke to ThePostGame on the morning of the All-Star Game in Miami on behalf of TuneIn. As part of TuneIn's MLB Going Gone Giveaway, the brand is providing seven days of free premium MLB audio coverage from July 14-July 20. TuneIn is the official streaming audio partner of MLB Baseball. Thomas appeared at The Clevelander, where TuneIn set up shop for All-Star Week.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.

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