Does this qualify as a Blue Jays free agent signing? It was a curious hour on Twitter this morning, as several TV and Radio personalities from Sportsnet tweeted out that an announcement would be coming on The Fan 590 at 8:00AM. I chose the “wait for Twitter” approach over the “listen to the Dean Blundell show” approach, of course, but the news of the morning is that Dan Shulman is coming home to cover the Toronto Blue Jays for the mothership.
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Shulman will call “upwards of 30 games” in 2016 and 2017, along with appearances on Blue Jays Central, Tim & Sid and other Sportsnet platforms. When Rogers acquired their NHL rights there was a wave of on-air talent that made the move, so it’s good to see a similar investment in the Blue Jays on-air product after such a successful and high-profile 2015.
Most Blue Jays fans will know Shulman as the man alongside Buck Martinez from 1995 until 2001. Shulman’s games will not come in relief duty, but instead with both Martinez and Pat Tabler to form a three-man broadcast crew like those you’ll often see from FOX Sports or ESPN. Here’s a throwback to his TSN days with Buck, where there was much more dark hair than you’ll see in 2016!
“I’m thrilled to once again be calling Blue Jays games,” Shulman said. “As someone who was born and raised and still lives in the GTA, the opportunity to come back home is very exciting for me. I’m looking forward to being part of the Sportsnet team, alongside Buck, Tabby and all the other great people on the crew.”
More recently, Shulman’s most prominent baseball role has been on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball crew. He will continue to work those games along with his NCAA college basketball south of the border. In 2011, Shulman earned the high honor of being named the Sportswriters Association (NSSA) National Sportscaster of the Year. One of Shulman’s more iconic moments, and one that stays burned into the minds of many albeit not related to baseball, was his announcement on the Sunday Night Baseball baseball broadcast that Osama Bin Laden had been killed.
The 2015 playoffs were a jolting dose of reality for many Blue Jays fans, ourselves included. There have always been hushed grumblings about Buck and Pat throughout the regular season as they become Toronto’s “normal”, but I feel the playoff coverage featuring Harold Reynolds’ droning incompetency helped us all appreciate what we have just a bit more. Shulman will add to that very well.