Smoltz to join TBS broadcasts if nobody calls for him to pitch

Upon noticing that TBS sent a news release announcing its TV broadcast teams for the upcoming season, I had hope the company had reconciled with Chip Caray.

Alas — or, as Caray would say, "Fisted!" — it was not to be.

However, John Smoltz(notes) appears to be bound for the TBS booth, giving the network a pool of approximately 438 broadcasters to work its one game a week on Sunday afternoons.

Ernie Johnson, Dick Stockton and Brian Anderson(notes) (not either of the baseball players) will call the play-by-play. Smoltz, Ron Darling, Buck Martinez, Dennis Eckersley and David Wells(notes) will analyze and add color.

Cal Ripken will appear on special occasions.

Seriously, it's the like "The Naked Gun" broadcast booth in there. I thought I saw Dr. Joyce Brothers, Mel Allen, Dick Vitale, Dick Enberg, Curt Gowdy and Jim Palmer in the press release, too.

(Maybe a wild tiger ate Chip.)

Well, Smoltz is among the throng.

That is, of course, unless Smoltz retires as a player — which he hasn't done yet.

Smoltz isn't the only free agent still on the market but he's one who, even though he turns 43 in May, could help a team that needs a closer. A team such as the ... Minnesota Twins.

My elbow hurts just thinking about Joe Nathan(notes) trying to pitch with a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, a diagnosis that almost always means Tommy John ligament replacement surgery.

To make a final determination on whether surgery is necessary, Nathan is going to give it a throw this weekend. If and when he can't throw like he's supposed to, it's time for surgery and 10-12 months of recovery time.

And time for Twins general manager Bill Smith to put down the TV/DVD combo and call Ted Turner to get permission to talk to Smoltz. Yeah, Smoltz failed with the Red Sox, but he was OK with the Cardinals last year and he's worth a shot with the Twins.

Smoltz obviously still has athletic ability. Note the pic above of him going in for a dunk for the Atlanta Hawks earlier this month. Oh, he's about to throw down, you can so tell.

Why be one of 700 analysts in a crowded TBS booth when you can be the lone closer for the Twinkies? There actually is no decision to make. So when should the Twins expect him?