The imperative that Ken Tremendous and Co. jokingly turned into Internet legend has now actually been realized. Starting in 2011, ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" will be Joe Morgan free.
Celebrate, lovers of broadcasts free of ego-driven inanity, celebrate!
The four-letter network told the New York Times' Richard Sandomir on Monday afternoon that the contracts for Morgan and broadcasting partner Jon Miller, who was just inducted into the broadcasters' wing of the Hall of Fame, are not being renewed. The tandem was the only announcing duo that the 20-year-old franchise had known.
From the NYT:
"We've decided to make a change and introduce new voices and new perspective," said Norby Williamson, an executive vice president of ESPN. He added: "Twenty one years is an eternity in this business. And today is about acknowledging the contributions they made to the franchise."
Sandomir speculates that Miller's replacement will be ESPN vet Dan Shulman, a move that Big League Stew heartily endorses. Shulman's style is among the best in the business and it's enjoyable to hear him call a game. He'll be a reason to tune in on Sunday nights.
[Another dramatic farewell: Cowboys coach fired]
Shulman will likely be joined by former pitcher Orel Hershiser, who joined the Sunday Night booth last season, and perhaps Bobby Valentine, if teams keep passing him over for managing gigs. Three-man booths just aren't for baseball, so hopefully they'll let the game breathe a bit (a valuable skill that's already in Shulman's arsenal).
The launchings of Morgan and Miller are predictably producing a lot of glee in Internet-land, though Miller's ousting is being categorized closer to the collateral damage side. (Miller will be fine as he still has his regular work with the San Francisco Giants and could work the radio side for ESPN's Sunday night games.)
[Photos: More moments with Joe Morgan]
As for Morgan, I've never been as offended by his antics — telling stories that didn't happen, despising the SABR approach to baseball — as some others, but it's nice to see ESPN making a move to get new, fresher and, ahem, younger voices on their main baseball broadcasts each week.
[Rewind: Morgan's minimalistic take on catching]
Now if we could just get them to mix up the rotation of the same five teams ...