Political Commentator Returns To Talking Baseball For First Time Since 2000

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Keith Olbermann has made the switch back from talking politics to talking baseball.

The New York City native is getting back into broadcasting to host TBS’ postseason baseball studio show, staying away from politics for the moment.

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Turner Sports said Wednesday that Olbermann will team with Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley on its studio show during the baseball playoffs this October. It’s a familiar role and corporate home for Olbermann, who hosted baseball postseason shows on NBC and Fox in the late 1990s and began his on-air career as a sports reporter for CNN, another Turner network.

“It’s tremendous to be back in baseball,” said Olbermann, who noted that he plays in two baseball fantasy leagues. His last sports job was to host a studio show before the NBC Sunday night football telecast.

Olbermann’s last two politically oriented jobs ended poorly. He quit abruptly in January 2011 after eight years as a prime-time host at MSNBC, and his later tenure at Current TV lasted a year before he was taken off the air and responded with a lawsuit, settled out of court.

He said Wednesday that he wasn’t making any predictions about whether he would get back into general news. He said he was open to pursuing other things besides the Turner baseball job, which will last about a month.

“Planning on it? No,” he said. “Need to? Fortunately not.”

He’s generally acknowledged to be a smart and witty broadcaster, while off-screen battles with executives have kept him jumping to different jobs. He jokingly referenced his career path on a conference call by noting his “37-page resume.”

“I use your resume to work out. It’s very heavy,” said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner.

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Levy said Turner is looking for other broadcasters to join Olbermann and Eckersley in the studio. He would not discuss the length of Olbermann’s contract but said of his studio team that “our goal is to have it last a long, long time.”

The deal is just for Turner sports and does not encompass CNN, Levy said.

Olbermann said the studio job is a familiar role for him — even when he’s not on the air.

“I do this anyway,” he said. “Last postseason I did this in my home to the TV by myself.”

Turner also announced that Cal Ripken Jr. will leave the studio to join a team of Ernie Johnson and Ron Darling broadcasting baseball division series and the National League Championship Series.

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