- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 12, 2009

FROM WASHINGTONTIMES.COM ” SPORTSBIZ

When Peter Gammons announced that he’d be leaving ESPN to do some work for MLB Network, I thought of Harold Reynolds.

It wasn’t just because Reynolds and Gammons were once colleagues on the Worldwide Leader. It was because of something he said repeatedly when asked about the difference between MLB Network and his former employer.

“You have time,” he said, “to get a full thought out.”

Reynolds never said it explicitly, but the suggestion was that MLB Network was a far less annoying place to work as an analyst. ESPN, with its half-hour “Baseball Tonight” shows crammed in before games and between other programs, didn’t offer analysts the chance to expound for any length of time. The new all-baseball network, however, freed analysts to go in-depth without feeling as if they had to wrap up a thought before heading to commercial.

Watch “Baseball Tonight” sometime - if you can figure out when it’s on - and then compare it with “Hot Stove” on MLB Network. It’s like night and day in terms of pace.

Gammons, in comments to reporters at the winter meetings in Indianapolis, said he was happy to go to an all-baseball network and hoped to get the chance to report more in-depth on players and their personalities.

“I think we’ve become jaundiced when it comes to the players,” Gammons said, according to BizofBaseball.com. “I love the players and look forward to covering that side of the game.”

With Gammons, MLB Network truly has the lion’s share of top talent when it comes to analysts. ESPN still has John Kruk, who is solid, as well as Eric Young and Fernando Vina. Buster Olney and Jayson Stark are also two of the best in the business. But MLB Network can boast former players Reynolds, Barry Larkin, Al Leiter, Joe Magrane, Mitch Williams and Dan Plesac; it also has relationships with SI.com’s Jon Heyman and Tom Verducci and Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Oh, and MLB Network has a guy by the name of Bob Costas.

It would seem that ESPN needs a renewed focus on its baseball coverage. To ignore this trend means risking a descent into irrelevance among fans.

- Tim Lemke

He said what?

“He went for the money. I’m fairly disgusted with the situation, that they let it last this long.”

- Cincinnati receiver Mardy Gilyard on former coach Brian Kelly, who left the Bearcats before their Sugar Bowl appearance to become Notre Dame’s new coach

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