By Craig Muder
It’s January in Secaucus, N.J., so you wouldn’t figure the air would be buzzing with baseball talk.
But at MLB Network studios on Wednesday, the atmosphere was electric as Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson prepared to announce the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Class of 2011.
The Network brought out its heavy hitters for the announcement, with Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds and Peter Gammons headlining a star-studded cast of announcers and analysts. For the better part of an hour prior to the 2 p.m. Magic Hour, everyone — talent, producers and crew — speculated about the results of the BBWAA vote.
For folks accustomed to making the chaos of a live TV show run like clockwork, it might have been the most exciting and nervous hour of the year.
Once the announcement came that Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were elected to Cooperstown, everyone shifted into overdrive — filling the air with stats, highlights and predictions for 2012 and beyond. MLB Network’s Barry Larkin, who received the most votes (361, 62.1 percent) of any player not elected, was hooked up via satellite and magnanimously said what an honor it was just to be on the ballot.
This time next year, Barry may be making quite a different on-air speech.
Now, the Network starts its planning for the July 24 Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown — carried live on MLBN. It’s an incredible weekend — the best one on the baseball calendar.
But you get the feeling that the folks at MLBN now understand what news reporters already know: There’s nothing quite like the magic of Election Day.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.