Baseball Broadcasting

Lots of Changes as Baseball embarks upon its 2023 broadcast season; Retirees, Health issues, Firings +

 

  • Chicago White Sox announcer Jason Benetti was the play-by-play voice of Peacock’s Sunday MLB schedule last year, but his new role with Fox Sports forced him to leave that role. According to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, he will be replaced by Brendan Burke, a national-level hockey announcer dipping his toes into the baseball waters. This has not yet been officially announced. (Baskin) urke tweeted: “What’s better than a summer Sunday afternoon at the ballpark? Thrilled to be back with the NBC family for some MLB this summer.”
  • Hall of Fame Texas Rangers radio announcer Eric Nadel is taking the beginning of the season off to address mental health concerns. We wish him a speedy recovery. #2 Matt Hicks and studio host Jared Sandler will each move up a spot while Nadel is out. One of the nicest and honest men in broadcasting released this candid statement: “I now find myself dealing with anxiety, insomnia and depression which are currently preventing me from doing the job I love.” Eric is a recipient of the coveted Ford Frick Award.
  • In 2022, the broadcast crews for Apple TV’s Friday Night schedule, consisted primarily of Melanie Newman, Chris Young, and Russell Dorsey on the early game, and Stephen Nelson, Hunter Pence, and Katie Nolan on the late game. Dorsey will remain with Apple in a studio capacity, but everyone else is gone. The new broadcast teams will be Wayne Randazzo and Dontrelle Willis on one game, and Alex Faust and Ryan Spilborghs on the other.
  • A few past and present members of Apple’s personnel have new local jobs as well. Randazzo, previously the #2 radio announcer for the New York Mets, left for the other coast to call games on television for the Los Angeles Angels, giving the team more stability in the play-by-play chair. Patrick O’Neal and Matt Vasgersian, who split games for the Angels last year, will continue to call a partial schedule when Randazzo is working nationally.
  • Nelson joined the Los Angeles Dodgers TV crew as Joe Davis’ backup. Nelson had previously been a host and play-by-play announcer for MLB Network, and will call about 50 weekend games because of Davis’ duties with Fox. Previous backup Tim Neverett will remain as the fill-in and heir apparent on Dodgers radio.
  • St. Louis Cardinals TV play-by-play man Dan McLaughlin left his post in December following his DWI arrest. The Cardinals lured Atlanta Braves announcer and St. Louis native Chip Caray back to his hometown. Chip’s father, Skip Caray, was the longtime Voice of the Atlanta Braves. His grandfather was progenitor, Harry Caray,
  • The opening in Atlanta caused by Caray’s departure was filled by Fox Sports’ Brandon Gaudin, a childhood fan of the Braves.
  • In the analyst chair, Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley retired following 14 seasons in the Boston Red Sox broadcast booth. The Red Sox will rotate analysts as most teams do nowadays, but former All-Star infielder Kevin Youkilis will be the primary one.
  • The contract of Hall of Fame pitcher Jack Morris was not renewed by the Detroit Tigers. Former Tigers outfielder Craig Monroe will pick up the majority of Morris’s games, and Kirk Gibson will continue to work his portion of the analyst rotation.
  • Pat Tabler was let go by the Toronto Blue Jays following the season as their primary broadcast team. Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez will call more games than they did in previous seasons. Former MLB catcher Joe Siddall will step into the analyst chair on occasion when neither play-by-players Shulman or Martinez, are unavailable. Tabler resurfaced with another of his former teams, the Cleveland Guardians, in a dual studio/game analyst role.
  • With Shulman committing to more games for the Blue Jays this year, Chicago Cubs TV announcer Jon “Boog” Sciambi will replace him as ESPN Radio’s lead MLB voice, including the World Series. Boog’s World Series goes into the same column with Jack Buck, John MillerJon Miller, Vin Scully and Dan Shulman.
  • Sadly, Co-#1 Tampa Bay Rays’ radio announcer Dave Wills passed away suddenly last March at the age of 58. His longtime partner, Andy Freed, will step into the #1 role full-time, and studio host Neil Solondz will become the #2, alternating play-by-play with Freed.
  • Freed will also call 25 games on television as Dewayne Staats starts to cut down his schedule.
  • Greg Schulte, the radio broadcaster of the Arizona Diamondbacks since Day 1 in 1998, has announced that 2023 will be his final season. He had already limited his schedule to home games. Schulte is 71.
  • Miami Marlins announcer Glenn Geffner was let go by the team in November. Studio host Kyle Sielaff takes over on play-by-play.
  • Veteran Kansas City Royals radio broadcaster Steve Physioc retired after the 2022 season. Physioc was officially the #2 in Kansas City, but called many games as the team’s #1 because of the limited travel schedule of Hall of Famer Denny Matthews. Physioc’s role will be taken by 28-year-young Jake Eisenberg, who had previously been with Triple-A Omaha.
  • Randazzo’s departure left an opening in the #2 spot for the New York Mets. The Mets chose was 29-year-old Long Island native Keith Raad of High-A Brooklyn as his replacement.
  • The Mets were born in 1962 when baseball was huge but void of the National League in New York. The Dodgers and Giants bolted town after the 1957 season. The first 17 years the team had the same three  voices, Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner. The trio did both TV and radio. Now, of course, radio and TV are rarely comingled. The Mets current TV voices are Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling. This threesome is beginning its 18th seasons together, breaking the record of the initial voices.
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Jake Baskin

Jake Baskin is a graduate of Dean College who majored in sports broadcasting. He does play-by-play for Northeast Sports Network and previously wrote about hockey for various SB Nation blogs. He loves the history and evolution of sports broadcasting and dreams of being a national-level announcer.

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Michael Green
1 year ago

The reference Nelson, Kiner, and Murphy–who did it ALL, and all by themselves, for so long–leads me to a program I saw last night on NBC Sports Bay Area, an event where the four Giants announcers talked. They mentioned how most teams DO separate TV from radio, but they don’t–and how, in post-season, the TV crew usually disappears. So the Giants actually have four announcers on radio when they are in post-season: Jon Miller, Dave Flemming, and Duane Kuiper doing play-by-play, and Mike Krukow color. And they talked about a marvelous bit of trivia. When the Giants won the World… Read more »