Behind The Scenes

Bring on Spring Training: Olney welcomes Baseball Tonight‘s return

Baseball Tonight returns to the air this week at 3:30 p.m. weekdays

Moments after the conclusion of Super Bowl XLVI, Baseball Tonight host Steve Berthiaume tweeted “It’s now baseball season.”

In reality, for him and many others at ESPN, it never truly ended. ESPN’s on-air commentators and reporters have been covering all the off-season happenings throughout the winter.

With spring training just around the corner, it’s time for the return of Baseball Tonight to the network’s daily programming lineup.

Baseball Tonight – ESPN’s flagship MLB highlights, news and information show – made its 2012 debut on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. ET and will continue in the same timeslot throughout the week. Baseball Tonight also will be available via WatchESPN.

Host Karl Ravech will be joined by reporters Buster Olney and Jayson Stark this week to break down the top MLB storylines heading into Spring Training.

Buster Olney

For baseball players, fans and media, there’s nothing quite like Spring Training. And, perhaps no reporter is more excited than Olney.

“I like getting back to working on the Baseball Tonight shows,” he said. “I enjoy talking to the producers and production assistants and hearing league-wide stories from guys like Karl.”

To our guys, there’s nothing better than getting to talk baseball and serve our MLB fans.

“The start of Spring Training is like the first day of school back in the ninth grade,” said Olney. “There’s a lot of professional gossip.”

He continued: “I love the spring training optimism. Everybody is working on a new season with fresh hope, thinking that an adjustment like a new pitch or a new element to their swing could be difference-making.

“I know from being on Twitter that some fans – and reporters for that matter – find the optimism to be tiresome and they make fun of it. I think if players and executives don’t feel that way this time of year, they should probably change jobs.”

What does Olney think are the most significant stories in baseball right now?

“There are two major MLB topics right now,” he said. “The first is NL MVP Ryan Braun’s appeal. The second is the talks to possibly expand the playoff field to 10 teams.”

The Baseball Tonight gang will provide insights on these storylines, and several others, as the Hot Stove cools down and Spring Training heats up.

Fans can follow Ravech, Olney and Stark on Twitter:

Karl Ravech: @KarlRavechESPN;
Buster Olney: @Buster_ESPN;
Jayson Stark: @JaysonST;
Baseball Tonight: @ESPN_BBTN.

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