In news that will undoubtedly cast a sullen shadow over the world of baseball, ESPN has announced that after 21 years, Jon Miller and Joe Morgan will not be returning to Sunday Night Baseball next season. As the contracts of both announcers have expired, Miller may be rehired to work some radio on Sunday night games and possibly some postseason action, but according to a very short statement by the Worldwide Leader, Morgan is gonezo.
ESPN representatives claim that they’re looking to take the Sunday Night brand in a new direction with new faces and voices – presumably those that don’t make up stories and statistics like Morgan. Miller was recently inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame for his broadcasting work, and he’s still working for the San Francisco Giants, but Morgan’s future in the broadcasting business is a big question mark. And if you ask him, it’s the biggest, most important question mark in the last 30 years of baseball.
Roll out the Norby Williamson Experience, ESPN…
“Jon and Joe have contributed greatly to the success of ‘Sunday Night Baseball’ for the past 21 seasons,” ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson said in a statement Monday. “Over the last two decades, Joe went from Hall of Fame player to one of his sport’s top analysts and Jon’s Hall of Fame voice and tremendous knowledge of the game have connected with baseball fans everywhere. We owe them our deepest thanks for an outstanding body of work.”
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times suggests that the replacement team will be Dan Shulman and Orel Hershiser, with Bobby Valentine possibly offering a third perspective if he doesn’t get a MLB managing gig soon. But will they be able to duplicate the excellence and honesty that Miller and Morgan became known for? After all, how can they top these highlights of Morgan’s broadcasting career:
- In his first year as an announcer, Morgan called all 194 regular season games for the Cincinnati Reds.
- During the 1985 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals, Joe Morgan was asked to pinch hit for both teams. He was later named MVP. For the entire season.
- As the Loma Prieta earthquake rocked Candlestick Park before Game 3 of the 1989 World Series, Morgan was the first to determine the intensity by simply placing his hand on the ground.
- When Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battled to break Roger Maris’ single season homerun record, Morgan broke an unknown record for calling the most record-breaking homeruns ever.
- Morgan caught Barry Bonds’ 762nd homerun from the ESPN booth. He personally tested the ball for steroids and found no evidence.