There was baseball on my television at precisely 3 p.m. PCT here in California. No glitches with my cable company. No power outages caused by 49 million other homes watching at the same time. No problems whatsoever. The MLB Network appeared just as promised, and I settled in happily for the next, oh, six hours.
Here, in no particular order, are my first impressions.
1) Bud Selig’s welcome address.
Bud is serious, even grim, which is appropriate when you’re dealing with pushy owners and PED-using players. But on this occasion, which was not the same as testifying before Congress, I wish he’d smiled a little, acted like we were about to have fun. Instead, his welcome was about as warm as this guy’s would have been.
2) The sets.
Very snazzy. Lots of eye-popping stuff to look at in beautiful high-def. Good job.
I’ve read the comments from people who weren’t enamored of this trio, but I thought they worked together smoothly, especially considering this was Opening Night, and I look forward to more from them. My one complaint was their wardrobe.
What’s with the dark suits? Every guy in that studio looked like an undertaker. Lighten up, boys.
4) Jimmy Rollins-Josh Hamilton.
Loved Rollins’ mischievous response to his teammate, Cole Hamels, calling the Mets “choke artists.” He could have given the usual non-answer. But he stood by his pitcher.
Quite an admission by Hamilton that he cleaned toilets, did other menial jobs and slept on an air mattress in a room above the ballpark – anything to get back into professional baseball.
5) Larsen’s perfect game.
Sheer heaven being able to watch this game for the first time and have Larsen and Yogi there to provide interesting asides. I was amazed how fast games moved along in the good old days with no instant replays, no endless meetings on the mound, no stepping in and out of the batter’s box to adjust gloves, helmets, etc. And how could I not love those Gillette commercials – or Bob Costas comparing Sal Maglie’s five o’clock shadow to Richard Nixon’s?
6) Speaking of Costas, he had the line of the night.
After Larsen admitted that he came off the field after the celebration, not realizing he had pitched a perfect game, Costas said disbelievingly, “So you just thought it was an extra good no-hitter?” LOL.
6) The Mick.
I grew up worshipping Mantle. To see him hit a homer and make that fantastic running catch in left center made my night.
Bottom line on the debut of the MLB Network? There was plenty to enjoy. Congrats to everyone involved.