Wednesday June 5th, 2013

Keith Olbermann is a noted fan and historian of baseball and has a long history of working in sports television.
Keith Olbermann is a noted fan and historian of baseball and has a long history of working in sports television.
Michael LeBrecht/SI

The man of a thousand television employers has landed another gig.

Keith Olbermann, the talented, often polarizing and peripatetic broadcaster was announced on Wednesday by Turner Sports as the new host of TBS' Major League Baseball postseason studio show. He'll be joined in the studio by analyst Dennis Eckersley, and the network said it planned to add an additional studio analyst along with the pair.

Asked why he was confident this marriage would work between his company and Olbermann, Turner Sports president David Levy said on a conference call, "I think Keith's focus and passion for the sport of baseball, his knowledge, his enthusiasm, is something that will come across the screen. He has a history of a success in the sports genre, and we think he will be an incredible asset to our company. I believe it is going to work, and I believe it will work because of his knowledge, his enthusiasm and because of what he does best which is host a studio."

Turner executives would not say whether Olbermann, who will not be part of TBS' regular season studio show, is signed beyond this offseason ("Our goal is to have this studio show be as good as our other studio shows and last a long, long time," said Levy) but it's a no-lose move. Olbermann is a passionate baseball fan and a talented studio host. The games will be the draw and those who refuse to watch Olbermann given his politics -- he previously hosted his own show on MSNBC and Current TV -- are a small minority compared to those who will tune in because they want analysis prior to a game. "The safety valve here is my season is a month long," Olbermann said, laughing. "If you go through the 37 pages of my resume, you will notice that everyone of my jobs has lasted at least one month."

Additionally, Ron Darling, who joined TBS as an MLB analyst in 2008, has reached a long-term extension with Turner Sports. That signing ends any speculation of Darling replacing Tim McCarver on Fox's national broadcast. Turner also announced that its postseason broadcast teams would consist of the trio of Ernie Johnson, Darling and Cal Ripken Jr. and the two-person booth of Brian Anderson and John Smoltz.

Olbermann has a sports-heavy resume -- ESPN, Fox, NBC Sports, and MLB Network are among his former employers-- and he previously served as a studio host on both NBC's (1997-98) and Fox's (1999-2000) MLB postseason coverage. He said it would be "useless" to predict his television future but expressed great excitement over the opportunity with Turner.

"It's tremendous to be back in baseball," Olbermann said. "This will be the third different network I have done the postseason for, and I guess that is a record I'm the only one capable of breaking but I hope I don't. Whatever else might be out there just could not be as compelling as this. This is my meat and potatoes and my passion."

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