Reasons to Look Forward to MLB 2009
I know it already exists, but there's a huge difference between the MLB Network in-season and in the off-season.
First of all, my prediction about what the MLB Network should feature wasn't terribly far off. And that makes me happy. (Unfortunately, some of the great games they have been showing have been ones that I didn't particularly want to randomly come across on a cold January night - like Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. Endy Chavez's catch is a lot less dramatic when you know how that game ends.)
Nextly (like that?), some of the off-season programming has been promising, leading me to believe that the regular season stuff will also be good. I can only watch so much speculative talk, so I haven't spent much time watching the Hot Stove Report...but I like some of the analysts (always liked Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds is good, and some of the other rotating cast members have been good...although there are other elements I do not like at all, like Josh Lewyn and Hazel Mae...haven't seen them yet...but this is a topic for another post), and it will be a flat-out better show when there are actual games to report on.
Another important piece of the MLB Network's Hot Stove Report show has been the response by other networks. ESPN has added a Hot Stove element to its SportsCenter and ESPNews segments that I don't remember in the past. It's probably to try to keep their baseball fans on their channel. So that's been a positive result.
I've mentioned this before. The NFL Network is good. But all things considered, I'd rather have an MLB Network. And now I do. And 2009 will be the first season with full coverage on the network. And that's something to look forward to.
This idea was going to originally be "Reasons to Look Forward to the Mets in 2009", but I realized there are probably going to be some general baseball reasons (like this one) as well as Mets reasons. So I've expanded it. Most will have to do with the Mets. Also, I'm counting up, rather than down, as we head towards the baseball season, because I'm just not sure how many items there will be in this feature. We'll go until we hit Opening Day.