The Toronto Blue Jays Television broadcasts on Sportsnet could sound different come the 2022 Major League Baseball regular season.
It was the final week of the 2021 season for the Toronto Blue Jays. They played their last six games home at Rogers Centre in Toronto against the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. These were also the six most important regular season games of the last five years. Yet when Hyun Jin Ryu threw the first pitch Tuesday September 28th at 7:07 pm against the New York Yankees we heard the voices of Dan Shulman and Pat Tabler.
There is not a bigger fan of Pat Tabler than Brent Cardy, so what I am about to say is not a slight against the 1987 All-Star. He was in Buck Martinez’s chair for those games. If all things were equal Sportsnet would have had Dan with Buck for those games. Unfortunately, in 2021 with the pandemic still alive and well in North America things are still not equal.
I don’t know why Martinez can’t travel from his home in Florida to come back to Toronto. Even if it was just for that week of games. There are rumours that have been circulated around by a legendary sports figure and a Toronto Sun writer about Buck refusing to get the vaccine. Whether those rumours are true or not, Sportsnet wanted a full in person two-broadcaster booth for those huge games and they had Shulman and Tabler.
So, I wonder if Sportsnet and Buck may move in different directions. I hope I am wrong on that because Buck has spent a lot of time broadcasting Blue Jays games. Here are some different scenarios and ideas on how the television broadcasts could sound for the 2022 season. Keep in mind that there is a very solid possibility that the broadcasters still may call the road games from Toronto for the season.
Dan Shulman, Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler.
If this virus is somehow figured out then a variation of these three gentlemen would be plan A for Sportsnet. Shulman will still have ESPN responsibilities and cannot commit to a full season as the Jays broadcaster. Buck is still a pretty solid play by play person and his chemistry in person or at home with Pat is still very solid. Dan and Pat have very good chemistry together as well and Martinez is in his wheel house when he is in the analyst chair with Shulman on the broadcasts.
Dan Shulman, Joe Siddall, Pat Tabler and Arash Madani.
Hear me out on this. Siddall has been phenomenal as Jamie Campbell’s right-hand man on Blue Jays Central. The fine folks at Samsung I am sure would love for Siddall to stay in the studio as long as possible. However, Siddall has shown that he can handle himself very well in the booth when called upon. Even though he did it for a few years on the radio I don’t see him as a play-by-play voice on television. I believe he can split the season with Tabler 85-90 games each and I think that would suit both guys just fine.
I think you will see John Axford or Ricky Romero join the radio booth or the studio within the next few years. As for Madani he has been involved with the Blue Jays broadcasts over the years. He has done play by play for University Sports. I think it would be a good move for the network to give Arash that opportunity.
Dan Shulman, Ben Wagner, Pat Tabler, Tommy Hutton
If Sportsnet can’t find an adequate voice to cover off Dan Shulman then they may look into simulcasting a handful of games. If you are going to get away with that then Ben Wagner is the man for the job. Wagner was on the bench until July 30th when he became a one-man radio show calling games in the booth. He was very well received and did a heck of a job for what it’s worth. If the Jays need an analyst to do a handful of games to cover off Tabler, then Tommy Hutton is available. Hutton left the analyst job with the Jays in 1996 to work with the Florida Marlins. One more Blue Jays run for the 75-year-old Hutton would be kind of cool for Jays fans.
Which option would you pick? Or who would you suggest to broadcast games for the 2022 season?