The talented but mercurial Keith Olbermann has found one more unburned bridge.
Olbermann, who has seemingly been on every network under the sun over the years, has joined TBS. There, he will host the network's MLB post-season coverage, working alongside Dennis Eckersley. This puts Olbermann back in baseball on any sort of full-time basis for the first time since 2000, when he hosted the World Series for Fox.
The move comes along with a shakeup of the rest of TBS' MLB coverage. Analyst Cal Ripken will move from the studio to the booth full-time. He'll work on TBS' lead team with Ernie Johnson and Ron Darling, the latter of whom signed a contract extension with the network. That threesome will call the 2013 National League Championship Series, as well as an LDS and one of the two Wild Card games. The "B" team will be made up of Brian Anderson and John Smoltz, a pair who will call a Division Series and a Wild Card game.
This deal signifies Olbermann's first regular TV work since his nightly political broadcast, Countdown, was "canceled" by Current TV. Olbermann and Current butted heads his entire year at the network, and the cancellation ended with a lawsuit by Olbermann, a countersuit by Current, and then a settlement. The show had previously lasted eight years on MSNBC, before being released from his contract in early 2011. Before that, his longest running (and one of his most beloved) roles as an anchor had been hosting "The Big Show," his 11 p.m. ET SportsCenter broadcast with Dan Patrick.
For TBS, the moves set them up for a future in which they will have much less baseball. The network will go from covering four Division Series to two and two Wild Card games to one next year. Most surprising among this news is that John Smoltz, considered by a lot of people to be a rising star, was demoted. Smoltz is a big name and a decent analyst, so you wonder if his lack of an extension (when it was announced Darling signed one in the same press release) is a forbearer of things to come, especially with one other MLB network (Fox) having its lead analyst role open.
One thing's for sure, however. You really can't go wrong with Olbermann on baseball. Though he has gotten into trouble everywhere he's worked, his baseball knowledge is unassailable. He is frequently seen at Mets and Yankees games, often tweets about it prolifically, and he blogs regularly for MLB.com.