Baseball junkies received a special New Years gift today - as of 6 PM tonight, the new MLB Network is live. Fortunately for me, Time Warner Cable will be carrying this network. 24 hours of highlights, games, analysis and Hazel Mae.
Joining Ms Mae for the network's 24 hours coverage will be a team of six analysts who may be a bit familiar - Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds, Mitch Williams, Dan Plesac, Joe Magrane and Barry Larkin.
(Credit again for the images go to The Baseball Card Cyber Museum. I have all these in my 89 Topps set - which is now officially 20 years old - but why spend the time pulling and scanning them when the museum is out there. If you haven't checked it out yet, do so - it's free!)
MLB Network kicked off their inaugural hours with a rebroadcasting of Don Larsen's perfect game. I managed only to catch the last half hour due to family obligations, but I'm glad that I did. In addition to the game footage (which would have been enough for me as a history junkie), Bob Costas had both Yogi Berra and Larsen in studio to talk about their memories of the game. I'm a Red Sox fan and I was in awe.
I don't think I can do the game or the memories justice with my meager writing skills, so I won't. I did make a few observations while watching that old black and white footage though. First, I was amazed at how small the diamond looked. I don't know if it was the fact that it was in black and white and the contrast you get with color was missing, but it looked like grown men playing on a little league field. I was also amazed at how unflattering those old wool uniforms were. Every player, even the Hall of Famers like Yogi and Roy Campanella, looked unathletic and out of shape in those baggy, heavy uniforms. And lastly, having never seen any old footage of Yankee Stadium, I was amazed at how different the stadium looked compared to what I grew up knowing Yankee Stadium to look like. I knew it had been radically renovated in the 1970's, but it never really struck me how radical the changes were. It truly is a different stadium.
Its now been over an hour and a half since I first put the new MLB Network on and I can't stop watching it. I'm already hooked. And from what they've advertised for features and amenities coming in the future, I have a feeling my wife is going to get sick of channel 100 really quickly. I've already got my DVR set up to record the next 9 Tuedays (at 8PM Eastern) when the MLB Network is going to rebroadcast Ken Burns' legendary documentary series, Baseball. And all of this before the season and their unlimited coverage of games and highlights starts!