A move that seemed about a year in the making, will finally go down this afternoon. The MLB Network will announce the hiring of Bob Costas, which will finally fill out their roster. Not only will Costas be a host for the channel, and preside over original programming, he will be going back to his roots by also calling games. Via Darren Rovell at CNBC….

Bob Costas, a 19-time Emmy Award winner and NBC broadcaster, has signed a multi-year contract to join the upstart MLB Network, CNBC has learned, though he will remain at NBC Sports.

The MLB network, which debuted on Jan. 1 as the largest launch in cable history at 50 million homes, will announce the news later today.

Costas will host original programming on the channel and will serve as play-by-play commentator for a select group of regular season games broadcast by the network, which is owned by the league.

“Bob’s love for baseball is well documented and very sincere,” said his agent Sandy Montag of IMG. “When this opportunity came up, it made a lot of sense. The network’s distribution out of the box is strong, the management is strong and the place looks great.”

Montag also said the network’s geographical location was also a plus. The MLB Network is based in Secaucus, N.J., close to New York, where Costas now lives.

Good lord, that was a painstaking process to finally bring him on board, but still the best thing the network could have done. Costas will bring a level of notoriety that a new channel needs, and having him call games is just icing on the cake. His first day on the job is February 5th, as the network will show his recent interview with Joe Torre.

Oh and one more thing. Costas will be leaving HBO, and his show Costas Now, immediately, but will stay with NBC for Football and the Olympics. Here is the quotage from the MLB Network press release….

“In addition to being one of the preeminent sports broadcasters of his generation, Bob also cares very deeply about the game of baseball,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “We’re glad to reunite him with the game he loves most and look forward to the exciting television he and MLB Network will create together in the years to come.”

“I’m especially enthused about the type of programming we’ll be able to create at MLB Network, a mix of historical pieces, documentary-style programming, interviews and play-by-play — all the things I most enjoy, and it’s all baseball,” said Costas.

“Bob showed us all on January 1 how his presence can truly elevate a broadcast, and we plan to tap into his unique abilities and perspective to build more high-caliber programming in the future,” said Tony Petitti, President and Chief Executive Officer of MLB Network. “In addition to the studio show, we’re also looking forward to Bob’s return to the broadcast booth, where he’s been part of so many memorable moments in baseball over the years.”

Bob Costas to Join MLB Network But Stay With NBC (CNBC: Sports Biz)