On Wednesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Indianapolis, Peter Gammons joined MLB Network head honcho Tony Petitti and MLB Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman in a media conference call to announce his joining the channel as well as MLB.com full-time. On Tuesday, we learned that Peter was leaving ESPN after 20 years and joining MLB Network/MLB.com and NESN.
Here are highlights of that conference call. If I find audio and/or video, I’ll add it here.
December 9, 2009 – MLB Network held a conference call Wednesday afternoon with Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons, MLB Network president & CEO Tony Petitti and chief executive officer of MLB Advanced Media Bob Bowman to discuss Gammons’ new roles with MLB Network & MLB.com. It was announced Tuesday, December 8 that Gammons would join MLB Network and MLB.com as an on-air and online analyst. As part of a multi-year deal, Gammons will offer analysis and commentary on MLB Network for breaking news and special events like the Trade Deadline, First-Year Player Draft, Winter Meetings and Postseason. Gammons will also serve as a signature and regularly featured writer for MLB.com’s new columnist initiative, writing commentary on breaking news and posting several articles online each week.
Gammons was honored as the recipient of the 2005 J.G.
TaylorSpink Award for outstanding baseball writing during the 2005 Hall of Fame induction ceremony in . Gammons was voted the National Sportswriter of the Year for 1989, 1990 and 1993 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and was awarded an honorary Poynter Fellow from Cooperstown, New York . Yale University
Highlights from the call include:
On working with Gammons
There’s no doubt that one of the most important relationships viewers have with our network is through the talent. To add Peter to a list that already includes Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds, Al Leiter, Barry Larkin among many, it’s just a really important step for us. Peter will provide great insight and one thing that he’ll do that I think is sort of unique is not only will he offer commentary on what’s going on in the game on an everyday basis, but also, he’ll generate content for us with programming ideas, much like we said last year with Bob Costas. We’ll be able to develop programs for Peter; he’ll have ideas for shows and segments. The great advantage we have with being 24/7, 365, is that we’ve got a great outlet for all his expertise.
Having a deep, talented team is really crucial, because that’s where our talent comes from. The fact that we’ve put together a really good team initially makes it more attractive for people like Peter and, for some, to see what we’ve accomplished in our first year makes it a little bit easier now to recruit, now that people have seen the shows.
On working with Gammons & MLB Network
We’re equally excited about trying to leverage and utilize Peter’s unique talents between us and the network.
Adding someone like Peter who understands the game and can write about it … we think it’s very exciting because the written word is not dead, no matter what [others] may say. We hope to give it even more life, and we think we will, with the hiring of Peter Gammons.
On projects he’ll do with MLB Network & MLB.com
I just see so many different directions that I can go with this. The opportunities, selfishly, are boundless. What the network has done in a very short period of time frankly has astounded me. It is so good. I have a lot of friends who work there and love it and the combination of the writing and the network, to me, lets me move on to another stage in my career after 40 years in the newspaper, magazine and television industry. I almost feel that this merges all three together and … I have tremendous confidence and respect for the people with whom I’ll be working.
Some of the writing forum fascinates and really excites me. And I think that there’s so much, because the network is all baseball, and … to be a voice for the game and to be able to come up with ideas and projects that I want to do, it’s really exciting to me.
On what attracted him to working with MLB Network
As a viewer, one thing that I’ve really understood in the year is the passion the network has for the game I love so much and I think that’s very important. There’s no superficiality. There’s a clear passion for baseball and presenting baseball to the fans and I think it’s been done not only with that degree of passion but with objectivity. As a viewer, when I started watching it when it began, the question was “how objective will it be?” and it’s very evident to me that the network has encouraged full objectivity and allowed the people on-air to be exactly who they are.
This is a tremendous opportunity at this time in my life – a little more freedom of time, a little more freedom of opportunity. There are still other things beyond this in terms of book-writing that I want to try to launch into the next five years. I have really been tremendously impressed and swept away by the concepts that were brought to me.
On maintaining objectivity in his reporting for MLB Network & MLB.com
It’s been made very clear to me that that’s the way it is. Tony and Bob know me and they know I’ve thought it out a lot over time about where are conflicts – and there are essential conflicts in almost everything we do today in any form of media – but I am who I am and I’d like to think that after 40 years in the media business that people accept me and that I’m going to have, I hope, the same integrity that I’ve always had.
On how journalists work across multimedia platforms
It makes me very happy to see people get the opportunity to go into television from newspapers or go into other forms of media. … It’s really fun to grow with the medium and yet I still never really felt that it’s that much different than what I did with the Boston Globe in 1972.
Certainly this was the biggest news of the Winter Meetings.