There was a video tour of the new Network's breathtaking studio facilities; there was an initial Hot Stove show that gave us a glimpse of the new talent; and, of course, there was that rebroadcast of Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series that mesmerized us completely.
Among all the indelible memories from the historic launch of Major League Baseball's new 24/7 television home, there was also a steady stream of comments and inquiries from fans asking this question: "Will it be balanced?" Was this truly going to be a Network for fans of 30 different clubs, regardless of market size and media coverage?
MLB Network is now about to hit the 50-day mark, and if you have not already grasped the answer to those questions by now, then you are about to see the clearest example. Friday night marks the beginning of MLB Network's new on-location series, "30 Clubs in 30 Days," which devotes an hour-long segment to each team throughout Spring Training as a preview of the 2009 regular season.
"The '30 Clubs in 30 Days' series emphasizes our commitment to provide detailed coverage of all 30 teams throughout the season," said Tony Petitti, president and CEO of MLB Network. "It's a very ambitious project for us, but we think fans of every team will appreciate how in-depth we're going to go with these shows."
MLB Network reporters Trenni Kusnierek and Hazel Mae will report from each of the 30 spring camps, conducting interviews with key players, coaches and others associated with each club. Greg Amsinger will serve as the primary host for the show from Studio 3 at MLB Network headquarters in Secaucus, N.J.
"30 Clubs in 30 Days" broadcast schedule
|2/20||8 p.m.||Boston Red Sox|
|2/21||8 p.m.||Minnesota Twins|
|2/22||8 p.m.||New York Yankees|
|2/23||8 p.m.||Detroit Tigers|
|2/24||11 p.m.||New York Mets|
|2/26||8 p.m.||St. Louis Cardinals|
|2/27||8 p.m.||Baltimore Orioles|
|2/28||8 p.m.||Washington Nationals|
|3/1||8 p.m.||Houston Astros|
|3/2||8 p.m.||Atlanta Braves|
|3/3||8 p.m.||Toronto Blue Jays|
|3/4||6 p.m.||Tampa Bay Rays|
|3/5||8 p.m.||Philadelphia Phillies|
|3/6||8 p.m.||Cincinnati Reds|
|3/7||6 p.m.||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|3/8||8 p.m.||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|3/9||5 p.m.||Colorado Rockies|
|3/10||5:30 p.m.||Chicago Cubs|
|3/11||5:30 p.m.||L.A. Angels of Anaheim|
|3/12||8 p.m.||San Francisco Giants|
|3/13||11:30 p.m.||Seattle Mariners|
|3/14||11:30 p.m.||San Diego Padres|
|3/15||8 p.m.||Milwaukee Brewers|
|3/16||5:30 p.m.||Cleveland Indians|
|3/17||5:30 p.m.||Oakland Athletics|
|3/18||5:30 p.m.||Texas Rangers|
|3/19||5:30 p.m.||Kansas City Royals|
|3/20||Midnight||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|3/21||9 p.m.||Chicago White Sox|
|All times ET|
The "30 Clubs in 30 Days" shows will provide extensive coverage of each team as Opening Day approaches, giving viewers an inside look at each team's preparations for the season. In addition to the field reports and interviews conducted at the camps, each show will include a feature on the club's 2008 season and offseason activity, a look back at the best moments in franchise history and an in-studio roundtable on the club featuring a panel of front-office personnel and national baseball writers.
MLB Network will also have an on-site presence for fans at each club's Spring Training site during the "30 Clubs in 30 Days" tour. An interactive experience will give fans the opportunity to be "virtually interviewed" by Harold Reynolds and other MLB Network on-air talent. After being videotaped in front of a green screen and answering baseball-specific questions, interviewed fans will be able to download their video off mlbnetwork.com to both view and share.
"Now we have to learn how to drive it," Petitti said when MLB Network launched.
Fifty days later, baseball's new baby is purring pretty well. It has been only offseason fare so far, though, just a glimpse of the possibilities yet. Soon enough, the full capabilities will be on display, as fans relax during a typical summer's night of full-slate baseball with their new friends in MLB Network studios. That will be a sight to see.
Right now, it is about time to see what a true measure of 30-team balance looks like in HD, in a brand-new world of baseball television. There never was a Spring Training like this one. The game is back, and MLB Network is on. Always on.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.