Friday, March 20, 2009

MLB Network Adds Bill Ripken

Charlotte Stone CrabsThe MLB Network today announced that former Major League second baseman and radio host Bill Ripken and former Major League pitcher and veteran broadcaster Jim Kaat have joined its roster of on-air talent.

Ripken will join the cast of MLB Tonight, the live, nightly studio show is the signature program of the network, joining Sean Casey, Barry Larkin, Al Leiter, Joe Magrane, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds and Mitch Williams as a studio analyst. Kaat will provide color commentary for a select number of live game broadcasts as part of MLB Network’s Thursday Night Baseball in addition to occasional studio work.

“We’re pleased to welcome Jim Kaat back to the broadcast booth, and equally excited to have Billy Ripken join our talented studio team,” said Tony Petitti, President and Chief Executive Officer of MLB Network. “With Opening Day around the corner, our on-air roster is game ready and we can’t wait for the regular season to get started.”

Billy RipkenIn a 12-year career, Ripken played for the Baltimore Orioles (1987-92, 1996), Texas Rangers (1993-94, 1997), Cleveland Indians (1995) and Detroit Tigers (1998). Ripken’s debut with the Orioles in 1987 – playing alongside his brother Cal and with his father Cal Sr. managing – made Major League history as the only time a father simultaneously managed two of his sons.

In 1990, Ripken led the Orioles with a .291 batting average and he and Cal tied for the team lead with 28 doubles. In 1992, his .993 fielding percentage was tops among second basemen. More recently he served as co-host with Cal on XM Satellite Radio’s “Ripken Baseball” show on MLB Home Plate. Ripken was inducted into the Maryland Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Ripken is currently serving as first base coach for Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Please visit the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.


  1. I got to say, Doug, I am not happy about this. If you have heard Billy on XM Radio, you know why I am thinking that. His analysis is very weak, and he adds to the group think mentality already on the show.

  2. But now that he's part of the Rays family he'll improve dramatically! Seriously, I think the 'group think mentality' is what they look for in announcers. And if you don't fit in, you're gone.

  3. I hope so. By the way, Friedman came on the broadcast of the Rays' spring training game on Thursday. It was broadcast live on the MLB Network. The man really is smart, and it was great to hear him talk about how defense is more difficult to quantify, but how it is getting easier to do so. He also talked about how the Rays' young pitchers benefited drastically from the improved defense, and how upgrading the team D was relatively cheap. Not that he provided anything the average reader of the site did not already know, but he is just very sharp. It even seemed as if he were saying things over DeWayne Staats' head a little bit.

    Hopefully some of that intelligence and progressive thinking will rub off on Billy Ripken, who was defending Derek Jeter's defense on the radio a few weeks back, saying that his critics were misguided because "his error totals have improved."

    When I heard that, I literally wanted to slam my head into the steering wheel. How could someone who actually gets paid to do what we love to do for free know so little?

  4. I look at it this way, the more time he spends on the radio/TV making people slam their heads into their steering wheels, the less time he spends in Port Charlotte.

    And let me add this about the Stone Crabs. I was initially leery when I heard the Ripkens were going to own our A+ affiliate. But in my interactions with them, they could not be more professional and helpful. Any doubts I had have been completely removed.