TBS gets the National League Championship Series starting this year, and they’ve done one of the smartest things I’ve seen from a broadcast stand point in a long time. I completely forgot that they signed a 7 Year Deal to broadcast the ALCS and NLCS (they alternate years with FOX). Well what have they done you ask?

They’ve just gone out and signed two soon-to-be Hall of Famers (which I alluded to before.). TBS will then magically place them in the booth right before they get enshrined…..

Ripken has signed a multiyear deal and will serve as the cable network’s top studio analyst alongside host Ernie Johnson for coverage of the 2007 Division Series games and National League Championship Series. Ripken will also be in the studio next season as part of the still-to-be-named Atlanta-based show that will precede the TBS Game of the Week. The cable network will carry 26 regular-season Sunday afternoon games beginning in 2008.

Gwynn will partner with play-by-play announcer Chip Caray on TBS’ No. 1 broadcast team. He and Caray will call this year’s Division Series and NLCS. Both Gwynn and Ripken are expected to make their TBS debut July 1 for coverage of the MLB All-Star Selection Show.

Talk about a hell of a move. Two things here….one, I’m pretty sure I and every red-blooded American has a man-crush on Cal Ripken, so A+ with that choice. Two, Tony Gwynn was a pretty damn good analyst and commentator for ESPN.

In my eyes ESPN really screwed this one up. Gwynn was above average in the booth, but he was great as a guest on Baseball Tonight. Seriously, has Dusty Baker ever said anything intelligent or insightful on the show? Worst. Hire. Ever. You’ve also got worthless stooges in John Kruk, Orestes Destrade, and Fernando Vina. To tell you the truth I only stop the remote when I see Buster Olney or Peter Gammons talking. They’re about the only ones on that Network that ever have anything interesting to say.

Great job (and PR move) by TBS, but here’s one more tip. Hire Harold Reynolds. It’s obvious that he’s been screwed by ESPN. People will love the move, and you’d have the perfect booth. A good PbPer in Caray…..An offensive/hitting analyst in Gwynn….and a defensive analyst in Reynolds. You add Cal Ripken to the pregame with the best host in the business in Ernie Johnson, and that’s a winner.

Trust me….you would by far and away destroy any other broadcast in baseball (especially FOX), and most likely every sport. (Probably a tie with EJ, Kenny, and Barkley before an Albert/Kerr game)

Am I wrong? Let me know.

TBS Lands Ripken and Gwynn (SI.com)

(Special thanks to Ben for the link)

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