There are some changes in store for the Toronto Blue Jays' TV broadcasts for 2023. From Dan Shulman doing more, to Pat Tabler retiring, to others continuing or taking on new challenges.
As a fan that lives outside the Greater Toronto Area, almost all my exposure to the Jays is on the TV and the Sportsnet broadcasts. This is of real interest to me, and will be to every Jays fan in Canada.
It would be impossible to do an article about Jays broadcasters without saluting Buck Martinez. His easy way of expressing himself and the relevant stories he can dig up from first hand experience as a player and manager and broadcaster are beyond compare. He makes the broadcast enjoyable while making it about the present game and players, not himself. We as Jays fans are fortunate to have him. May he continue until he chooses not to.
After long service, Pat Tabler won't be part of things next year. His depth of knowledge and experience will be difficult to replace. Current discussions indicate he didn't jump, but was pushed. He will now be able to cheer for his Cincinnati Reds unambiguously. I say thanks and good luck Tabby, but I think it is time.
Dan Shulman will be taking up some of the slack with Tabby's departure. He will be doing all the home games, as well as some of the away. He is great to listen to, with a Jays fan perspective nurtured since childhood. He can bring excitement without going overboard. He has also given up a pretty good gig with ESPN Radio to be with the Jays more. I am looking forward to Dan's calls and insights starting in March.
Who will Dan's partner(s) be? That is up in the air as of now. It may be Buck, depending on his personal situation and health. At very least, I hope Buck can make intermittent appearances.
When Buck is not there, who? General feeling is we will see quite a bit of Joe Siddall. This is not bad. He brings deep understanding passion for the game and many of its intricacies. He is articulate and a Jays fan, but not overly rah-rah, and not hard to listen to.
Hazel Mae has been the field-level reporter doing interviews and has done a more-than-acceptable job. I would like to see her given a chance as colour commentator on some of the broadcasts. I believe she would acquit herself well. Arash Medani has also filled in when Hazel has been otherwise engaged, and does a pretty good job., even if his mother does dress him funny.
I expect Jamie Campbell will continue leading the studio cast, as in past years. His supporting cast lately has been Joe Siddall. Joe has been a definite upgrade from the opinionated and abrasive Gregg Zaun in my books. Hazel could also handle the assignment next to Jamie as required.
Vernon Wells has been a very good guest commentator over the last couple years. Knowledgeable, articulate, knows of what he speaks. He would be high on my list for an expanded role in the booth.
Caleb Joseph did a fair bit last year. Not a bad choice in a pinch, but he comes in lower on my list of people whose time I would increase. No criticism as such, just a fan's general reaction.
The radio broadcasts feature Ben Wagner. I admit, TV is my media so I mostly don't have an opinion, but what I have seen from spring training interviews and a few other spots, I would not increase his time on the TV broadcasts.
And there is Matt Devlin. I do not follow the Raptors, but I expect he does a fine job. From the several Jays games he did last year, I did not think he was awful, but I did not feel the baseball chemistry for me as a fan. I am not in favor of him being a regular.
Facebook broadcast? YouTube broadcast? Uck, never again if I get my way! Enough said.
So, Jays Journal faithful, you have the considered opinion of ColinR, Jays fan and oft commenter on Jays Journal. What is anyone else's opinion about the broadcasters? Someone I have missed? Please chime in. I look forward to your comments.
And this, my first article, I would like to close with the only prayer I really know. May I become the person my dog thinks I am.