Over the weekend, there was news about baseball broadcasters at either end of the country.
The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that their legendary sportscaster, Vin Scully, would return in 2016 for his 67th season. It also is likely to be Scully’s last.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Boston Red Sox defended the team’s wildly unpopular decision to replace broadcaster Don Orsillo on New England Sports Network telecasts.
The joyful and outraged reactions showed the regard in which fans hold their broadcasters.
Scully, 88, told a news conference that even his doctor urged him to return. “My doctor said to me, `Do you enjoy doing what you’re doing?’ I said, `I love it.’ `Do you still do it reasonably well?’ `I love it.’ `Then why would you give it up?’ I said, `Well, because I know I’m coming …’ `No,’ he said. `You retire and a year from now you’ll be an old man.’ And that kind of scared me a little bit.”
The Red Sox, meanwhile, have been pelted with criticism on social media and newspaper comments about Orsillo’s replacement with Dave O’Brien, a radio play-by-play specialist.
“I understand it has created some controversy,” Red Sox chairman Tom Werner told the Boston Herald. “And I also understand that Don is a great broadcaster, but we felt that starting next year it was worth going in a different direction reenergizing the broadcast. And when the opportunity presented itself to bring Dave O’Brien to NESN, we just felt after a great deal of thought and consideration that was the right decision to make.”
As with the Red Sox, many teams employ the broadcasters that call their games, so the moves are up to the club and not the broadcast outlet.
MLB broadcasts are a big ratings draw. According to Forbes, 10 teams are the highest-rated, most-viewed programming in prime time beating the competition in both broadcast and cable.
These teams include the Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Another six teams rank nos. 2 or 3 in local prime time TV, including the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, and New York Yankees
For story ideas, check the status of the broadcasters for the teams in your area or region. See if the clubs will tell you the size and length of their contracts. Do the broadcasters endorse any products, or appear in commercials?
Especially with the postseason approaching, broadcasters will be in the spotlight, and announcements can be expected.