MLB Network features Mariners for first episode of season
Take 2's Jon Kingston spent some time with ex-Mariner Harold Reynolds and the MLB Network crew filming a segment at spring training with the Mariners Sunday.
Beginning this Monday, at 2 p.m. Seattle time, the MLB Network will be kicking off its fourth consecutive season of "30 Clubs in 30 days," an in-depth look at all 30 MLB teams with a preview of the upcoming season.
Though this is the fourth season of the show, it will be the first with analysts such as former Mariners All-Star Harold Reynolds reporting live from the camps and getting up close and personal with players and coaches.
"It's an hour show where we'll talk about the depth of the organization all the way down to A-ball and the prospects that are coming up to current day," Reynolds said of the show. "In the Mariners' case we'll talk about Felix Hernandez, Dustin Ackley, and obviously (Jesus) Montero and the big trade. We'll get into all of that and the direction they're going in.
"This is a club that really has a lot of young talent. In three years time, I think this is a club that we'll be talking about that has a chance to contend in the American League West."
Having the analysts on-site allows the show to give a more in-depth look at the teams as opposed to years past. Reynolds was out early Sunday morning taking grounders and chatting it up with Mariners' second baseman Dustin Ackley, an element the show hasn't previously had.
While some of the analysis is catered toward the more hardcore fan, the added dimension of the player/analyst interactions provides a way for the casual fan to get to know his or her team on a more personal level.
Ackley has been a player on Mariners fans' radar for the last couple years, but he's a pretty reserved guy, so having Reynolds there talking baseball and opening him up in front of the camera gives fans a better look at what he's like on a personal level and not just on the baseball field.
"This is for everybody," Reynolds said. "You can be the average fan, but the die-hard fan is going to walk away going 'Man, I learned something today.' If we can get the die-hard to feel that way, then obviously the average fan is going to walk away really feeling like they've had a full dinner, and that's what we want to do."
Each team's segment of "30 Clubs in 30 Days" will air just 72 hours from the time the cameras start rolling from their respective camps. That's everything: filming, both on-field and on-set, editing and getting the show ready for air, all in three days time. But as Reynolds explains, it's all cake compared to what he's used to.
"This is easy for us," Reynolds said of the 72-hour window. "We're on every day live for 15 hours. So to turn around a show like this is nothing. It's like a layup.
"The other stuff is what's crazy. I laugh, or marvel, I should say, when other people go 'Oh man, we've got an hour show,' but we do this every day. We do it live for hours and hours. Our people are great, particularly the producers and the coordinating producers and the guys that put it together. This is a lot of work, but compared to what they do on a nightly basis (it's nothing).
The show will feature the Mariners for the first episode, and along with Reynolds' segment with Ackley fans will see interviews with Felix Hernandez, Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders, Chone Figgins and GM Jack Zduriencik as well as former-Mariners Ken Griffey Jr. and Jay Buhner (below).
Viewers also get a tour of the spring training facility, hosted by Mariners pitcher Shawn Kelley, who always provides for entertaining television.