Blue Jays set to announce new radio voice for the 2024 season and fans will be thrilled

Sportsnet has announced who will take over for Ben Wagner

Sports Contributor Archive 2023
Sports Contributor Archive 2023 / Tom Szczerbowski/GettyImages

A few weeks after another lackluster postseason appearance, the Toronto Blue Jays added to the grim news by announcing that radio announcer Ben Wagner would not be returning in 2024. It was a move panned by legendary Blue Jays radio voice Jerry Howarth who rightfully pointed out all the obstacles Wagner faced during his six years with the franchise.

On a Tuesday in mid-February, the Toronto Sun announced that a new radio voice will be filling the airwaves in 2024 and it is a name familiar to many Jays fans. Ben Shulman, son of TV analyst Dan Shulman, will replace the other Ben and take over the radio analyst job. A young and energetic broadcaster, Ben will be pressed into action as soon as this month during Grapefruit League spring training games according to the Sun's report. The biggest takeaway might be that former MLB player Chris Leroux is joining him, a departure from the previous arrangement in which Wagner worked by himself. Unfortunately, they will still be consigned to the Toronto studio when the team is embarking on a long road trip, a practice Rogers has continued since the pandemic began.

The younger Shulman made his initial radio appearance two seasons ago and has been building up an impressive career at a young age. He spent a year as a play-by-play broadcaster for the Barrie Baycats of the Intercounty Baseball League and accumulated a number of different sports experiences while attending Syracuse University. As outlined in the Sun's report, he has recently called Toronto Raptors games on the radio and play-by-play for the Canadian women's basketball team at the Olympic qualifying tournament.

Leroux is a Mississauga native who played parts of six years with the Florida Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees. A right-handed pitcher, he has 65 games and a little over 70 innings pitched with a nearly identical number of strikeouts. Like many pitchers, Leroux spent time making a living in Japan pitching and eventually transitioning to post-playing career roles. Still only 39 and looking even younger, Leroux is not new to the TV cameras. Canadians everywhere might recognize him from The Bachelor Canada a few years ago.

The inclusion of Chris Leroux will represent another fresh face for a network that has been attempting to recast its image. While Buck Martinez will return for a 15th season alongside Dan Shulman, he will now split games evenly with Joe Siddall, the popular television voice that fans really seemed to enjoy last season. Martinez, who battled cancer in the 2022 season, seems to be taking a step back and paving the way for his eventual well-deserved retirement. Former catcher Caleb Joseph will also see an increased role according to the Sun report. It remains unclear how the rest of the programming changes will play out. Who will fill Caleb's role in the studio? Sportsnet studio analyst Jamie Campbell seems to be in a better place after a skin cancer diagnosis last fall.

Overall, the news is a win-win for the Blue Jays and their fans. With one of the higher-ranked telecasts across MLB and largely free from the troubles plaguing similar regional broadcast networks, fans should enjoy watching and listening to games season. Would it be great if Rogers eventually broke ranks and sent the radio broadcasters on the road? Yes, but this is not a bad arrangement for the time being.