Keith Olbermann is back covering sports. The former SportsCenter anchor and fiery political pundit will be hosting TBS' MLB studio show during the postseason this year. Dennis Eckersley will be on set with Olbermann, while former studio analyst Cal Ripken Jr will be transitioning to the broadcast booth for the playoffs.
Ripken will join Ernie Johnson and Ron Darling, who signed a long-term extension with Turner, in the booth and the trio will broadcast one of the Wild Card games, one of the Division Series matchups, and the NLCS. Brian Anderson and John Smoltz will also broadcast one of the Division Series matchups along with one of TBS' two Wild Card games.
But the real story here is Olbermann, whose future role was up in the air after his contentious departure from Current TV last year. He did some work for MLB Network in the offseason, and that seemed like the most logical landing point for him. ESPN began making a play for him late in the proceedings to everyone's surprise, but Turner didn't seem to be on anyone's radar until… well, until now. It'll be interesting to see if Olbermann has a role with Turner past this year's playoffs, or if this is just a temporary thing. At the very least, it's a pretty suave move from Turner to at least get people talking about their playoff coverage this year.
Another under the radar note in the press release is the announcement that Ron Darling had signed a long-term extension with Turner. I named Darling as the top candidate to replace the retiring Tim McCarver at Fox for the 2014 season, and with him off the table, Fox is going to need to look at other options. Darling's coworker at Turner, John Smoltz, now seems like the best bet to take over McCarver's seat next to Joe Buck.