On the team’s off day, they decided to announce a major shakeup of the TV & Radio broadcasters. Here’s a line item summary of the changes, then I’ll talk about them a bit individually.
- John Rhadigan is removed from TV play by play – returns to FSSW to do pre & post game coverage.
- Dave Barnett moves from radio to TV to replace Rhadigan.
- Steve Busby will join Eric Nadel as Barnett’s primary replacement
- Bryan Dolgin will also handle an undetermined number of games with Nadel.
I have to say this was a bit of a surprise to me. There’s a lot of moving parts to all of this, and the biggest thing is that it’s temporary. It’s supposed to be re-evaluated at the end of the season. Which tells me they felt that shaking everything up would be better than letting Rhadigan ride out the season, and make a change there.
Rhadigan fired: Well, as I said above, this was the biggest surprise. When it was first announced, I thought it was somewhat an odd choice, as he had never done play by play before. John however, was involved with the Rangers for ages through his association with Fox Sports Southwest. He knows the team, he didn’t have to learn the history, he knew it. While his lack of experience was a question mark, I figure his obvious knowledge of the team would allow him to compensate for that. He definitely came across as a newbie in the job. He made mistakes (but then even the big time pros do that from time to time), and had the odd quirk here and there, but overall, I didn’t think he was that bad. However, a portion of the fanbase was quite rabid about how bad he was, and from what Evan Grant said on Twitter, (more) that seems to have contributed. I don’t think that’s particularly fair, as he was only on the job for a matter of six weeks. I felt he deserved a bit more time than that. He WAS a new guy, he WAS rough, yes. But you don’t build a Vin Scully that quickly. I do recognize he was a bit rough around the edges, but that’s the kind of refinement that comes with time. Sadly he wasn’t given the time to refine what he was doing, and was booted. He does get a nice severance, as they paid him for the entire length of his contract, so he won’t be selling pencils. Would have liked to have seen him last at least the first year. Feel bad for the guy, but he will be going back to the pre/post game stuff on Fox Sports Southwest, so that’s at least something positive, I suppose. To close this section, I’m gonna steal this text from Evan Grant:
But just like Major League callups, you don’t always get the ideal amount of time to prove yourself.
Dave Barnett to TV: Ugh. Maybe it’s good I lost my Cable TV a couple of weeks ago. I have never been a fan of Dave Barnett. It’s not like he’s exactly awful, he’s not. He’s been doing broadcasts before the Rangers for quite awhile. He’s not as rough as Rhadigan, so in that regard it’ll be an improvement. But when there was a search for the successor to Josh Lewin, I had a few posts saying how much I did NOT want Barnett on TV. There’s no one fact I can give you as to why I don’t like him. It’s just a gut feeling sort of thing. He never gelled with me, and while I never actively campaigned for him to be let go or anything, I never wanted to see him on TV, because I watch more games than I listen to on radio. That miught change now with my TV situation and what Barnett on TV. We’ll see. At least I personally can hang my hat on the fact that it’s been said that the situation will be re-evaluated in the offseason, which means they don’t really want him as the #1 TV Play by play guy either, or they would have anointed him the permanent replacement. They also didn’t offer it to him this past off season, either. My gut says Barnett is out of here after this season, we’ll see.
Busby to Radio: Steve Busby has been involved with Rangers broadcasts for awhile now in some capacity. He’s been on TV before, he’s been on radio before. He was a former player, so he’s no stranger. I like his voice, I like his style. My favorite thing about Busby is something I’ve written about here before. He used to work the official post game call in show with Scott Franzke (who was offered the TV job in front of Rhadigan but declined). There’s always a lot of “no knowledge” fans calling in to these shows, and Busby would never take their crap. He’d call a lot of the callers out, when they’d say dumb stuff like “when are we getting some pitching in here”, or “trade so and so for x”. I LOVED THAT. So I was a bit bummed when I heard that the TV play by play job was offered to him, and he turned it down because he would have only wanted to do it for say 2-3 years, and the Rangers wanted someone for longer than that. That bummed me out. But we will get him on the radio for at least the rest of the season, which is good. HOPEFULLY he can be talked into doing either of them for longer, as I’d like to see Busby stick around permanently. Preferably on TV, but radio’s good, too.
Dolgin on Radio Too: Bryan Dolgin is the pre-post game guy now, and he’s way better than that doofus they had who initially replaced Scott Franzke (Mike Ogulnick). While I still don’t listen a lot to post game, mostly because I can’t stand the lack of baseball intelligence of most callers, I have to say I like Dolgin. He kind of reminds me Franzke. Not that he’s a clone, but I like the slant of his talking, and things of that nature. While I would prefer Busby as a permanent replacement for Barnett, if they went with Dolgin, I think I’d like it too. So however he’s used is good – so long as they don’t stupidly let him go like they did Franzke. Still a bit peeved about that one.
Ultimately, if I had my choice, this is how things would settle out, but I know it won’t happen.
TV: Tom Grieve as color, and Victor Rojas as play by play
Radio: Eric Nadel & Steve Busby
Post Game: Bryan Dolgin
I know there’s no hope of Rojas coming back. I wish they would have given it to him before MLB Network got off the ground. That was a good promotion for him, but when he left that, they didn’t make a run at him, which bummed me out.
Oh, and finally, I should point out my broadcasters history page here on my site. Not one I pay a lot of mind to, but it is kept up to date, and with this news, it seems like a good time to mention it. It doesn’t go back into the DC years of the franchise, I don’t have that info. One quirk though – for quite awhile there were different broadcast teams on TV if the game was on regular TV vs Cable. That’s why there are columns that say that in the descriptions. It hasn’t been used that way in awhile now, but I never got around to reformatting the page. :)
Let’s see how the new TV team goes, as tonight is the one night out of the week I get a game on free antenna TV. I’ll probably have something to say about it in the recap for tonight’s game.