TBS has announced their broadcast and studio teams for their presentation of the 2013 MLB Postseason, and there are several changes.
In the studio, the hosting gig of ESPN’s Keith Olbermann will come to fruition, with Olbermann taking over studio duties from Turner stalwart Matt Winer. Olbermann will be joined in studio by Tom Verducci, making his MLB Postseason studio debut, and a new face to the broadcasting world – former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez. Also joining TBS’s studio crew will be former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher and current Jays radio analyst Dirk Hayhurst.
TBS’s broadcast crews also had some shakeups. The top crew that will broadcast the NLCS in addition to a Division Series matchup will be long-time Turner play by play man Ernie Johnson, joined in the booth by Cal Ripken, transitioning from the Postseason studio to the booth, and New York Mets color commentator Ron Darling. The other Division Series crews are as follows.
Brian Anderson, John Smoltz, and Joe Simpson
Don Orsillo, Dennis Eckersley, and Buck Martinez
Dick Stockton and Bob Brenly
The reporters that will join each of the four crews will be Craig Sager, David Aldridge, Rachel Nichols, and the aforementioned Winer, with Sager and Verducci working as reporters for the NLCS with the broadcast trio of Johnson, Ripken, and Darling.
Turner could have done a lot worse with their crews, as the top team of Johnson, Ripken, and Darling should be a solid one that doesn’t make your ears bleed. There’s less to be optimistic about when it comes to the B-teams, especially when it comes to the potentially awful duo of Stockton and Brenly. The worst case scenario would be to pair Stockton with Simpson, but throwing the latter in a three man booth with a strong duo in Anderson and Smoltz should hopefully help tone down his awful qualities.
The major story is Smoltz's demotion from the top booth. He's been long rumored as the prospective replacement for Tim McCarver at Fox, so perhaps it's a sign that Turner is quietly phasing him out. Smoltz had called the LCS on TBS each of the last 3 years.
The studio show is what will either bring TBS’s Postseason production to a new level. Olbermann’s work in his return to ESPN has been fantastic, and if that can translate to the MLB studio atmosphere, he could drag the inexperienced Martinez and Hayhurst to good performances while Verducci holds his own.