Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cal Headed to the broadcast booth?

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 5, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 4 mins ago)
Current rank: # 3 of 5,508 articles

BALTIMORE - Baltimore’s favorite son, Cal Ripken Jr., seems ready to finally enter the broadcasting business as part of the TV team for the new TBS Sunday Game of the Week.

At this point, it is not clear if Ripken would join Chip Caray in the broadcast booth or if he would be part of their pregame studio show. A Turner Sports spokesperson said that all conversations between Ripken and the network are in the early stages. However, according to an industry source, “Cal is Turner’s first choice to be part of their broadcast team and they really want him. He is likely to be part of the studio show and work as a game analyst later. But they are making a strong push for Cal, and word is that he is a very interested in all that they have offered so far.”

Ripken has been doing a weekly radio show on XM, along with his brother, Billy, and he has been the spokesperson for a number of top-name advertisers. The Ripken name is still very bankable nationally. He is seen as a role model for not only baseball, but sports in general.

Starting in 2007, TBS will do a package of 26 of the game of the week on Sunday afternoons, covering the entire season. The station will also be the home for all the divisional playoff games, and it is likely to pick up the rights to a League Championship Series beginning next season. The LCS rights are still up for grabs as baseball finishes the final details of its new $3 billion national deal starting in 2007.

The Braves will be gone from TBS in 2008 and seen on Fox Sports South, an Atlanta-based regional cable network.

Baseball in 2007 will offer two national games every week of the season — TBS will get the afternoon game, and ESPN will keep its prime-time slot. Monday, Wednesday and Friday night games will be seen on the ESPN network family.

FOX, which will be the broadcast home of baseball in 2007, has the option to expand its coverage to 26 weeks, which would give it a Saturday game of the week for the entire season.

Locally, of course, both Orioles and Nationals will be on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, and fans will be able to see both teams.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. You can reach him at

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