The long rumored 24/7 all Baseball network is finally on the road to be a reality. The channel will be much like the NFL Network and will feature many similar elements including NFL Films-like shows and the airing of classic games. There are many challenges that MLB Network and its President and CEO, Tony Petitti faces but none bigger than a launch in the next 160 days. Via Sports Business Daily….

With such a small window before going live, there have been some industry whispers that MLB Network has too much to do in too short a time to have an effective debut.

Petitti, who has the channel’s first couple of hours mapped out in his head, is aware of that. He offered the first glimpse at how the network, which will launch in about 50 million homes, will look when it premieres.

Initially, he plans to focus on studio programming, which will make up the bulk of the schedule, up to seven hours live a day during the season, starting at 5 p.m. ET, and two hours a day in the offseason.

The network also plans to pursue rights to non-MLB live programming such as the World Baseball Classic, Arizona Fall League, Caribbean World Series and the Cape Cod League.

“There’s also midnight games in Alaska,” said Petitti, referring to the Alaska Baseball League. “All that stuff is going to be talked about. We’ll take pieces of all that hopefully and sprinkle it throughout the schedule.”

All of that seems pretty amazing on the surface, and airing a variety of games and circuits is something that not many other leagues can do. Still the turn around time seems a little forced and the beginning product might not be the leagues best effort.

There’s also an interesting list of talent that the MLB Network is looking at and at the top of the list is one Harold Reynolds….

Sources said that the network is considering bringing on former ESPN analyst
Harold Reynolds, but Petitti wouldn’t comment on that directly. “We’re
talking to a lot of people,” he said.

Petitti said he’s not necessarily looking for stars to fill out his on-air
lineup, saying he’d rather get people who know how to present on TV. He
didn’t offer any specific baseball examples, but said he admired ESPN
college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit as somebody who “obviously has some
natural talent. But on top of that, he’s on a lot of shows and gets a lot of

A Herbstreit comparison is interesting but definitely makes a lot of sense. You need someone with crossover appeal and someone like Herbie definitely falls into that category. I’m not sure who else the network has in mind but Reynolds is always a good place to start.

MLB Net sprints toward start (Sports Business Daily – Subscription)