One of the things I greatly admire about MLB Network is their ability to see the offseason as a chance to rethink the way a baseball network should look. They don't just stand pat or go dark (like a certain league-owned network does, ahem NHL Network). They choose to find different ways to serve and superserve the baseball fan.
Thursday, the network provided a perfect example of this, adding the excellent Ron Darling to their list of on-air talent just for the offseason. The two-time Emmy winner currently serves as a game analyst for the Mets on SNY in New York, and recently signed a five-year extension with TBS to remain one of their lead analysts for the MLB postseason. He called the NLCS on TBS this most recent fall with Ernie Johnson and Cal Ripken, Jr.
Darling will make his debut on MLB Tonight this Monday, Nov. 4 as MLB Net launches their offseason programming strategy. Tonight will anchor a lineup that includes the return of Brian Kenny's analytics paradise Clubhouse Confidential, the polar opposite continuing chat show Intentional Talk, and the return of Matt Vasgersian and Harold Reynolds' offseason morning show, Hot Stove.
MLB Net also announced a new show called Inside MLB, which will serve as yet another way to superserve baseball fans looking for the latest info on free agent signings and managerial hirings. Baseball writing luminaries such as Peter Gammons, Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal, Joel Sherman and Tom Verducci will appear on the program, which debuts Monday, Nov. 11 at 10 p.m. ET. Paul Severino and Greg Amsinger host.
All that, plus the live broadcasting of announcements of the Baseball Writers' Association of America Awards. MLB Network doesn't power down during the offseason, but better than most other league-owned networks, finds new avenues to inform and entertain.