Greetings and salutations. Welcome to the all-new YYZSPORTSMEDIA!!!
A new URL, new look, same old content. Perhaps even better?
A redesign has been in the works for a long time and circumstances surrounding the old URL moved that forward.
Apologies for the delay in getting this bad boy launched but the hope was to get it right and not simply fast.
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The timing for the site to go dark could not have been worse, much has gone on since we last checked in with you, so standby for a ton of thoughts and comments on everything that has gone down over the last several months. As always, thanks for stopping by. Reminder, these are our thoughts, who are we? Fans, just like you. We do not profess to be experts by any stretch.
4 Replies to “Something Old, Something New”
Thanks Jonah and welcome back . Looking forward for more articles. Thanks
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Looking forward to it! Welcome back.
Here is the way I would set up the Blue Jays broadcast team in 2022 – and this is within reason, so there’s no “let’s get a bunch of US-based personalities who work for other teams!).
TV: (Shulman (primary play-by-play), Wagner (secondary play-by-play), Siddall (home booth analyst), Martinez (road booth analyst), DeRosa (backup booth analyst, lead studio analyst), Mae (reporter), Campbell (host), rotation (second studio analyst).
Obviously, Dan Shulman is brilliant. He’s so highly regarded for a reason, and ESPN’s still figuring out how to replace him after he stepped away from Sunday Night Baseball. He’s a lock for the primary spot on play-by-play for me. In his backup spot, I’d copy what the Brewers are doing with their primary/secondary setup and promote Ben Wagner – when Shulman’s there, he can shift back to radio – and solidify those two as the pxp voices of the Blue Jays in this generation.
In the analysis role, the glaring omission over the last few seasons has been a perspective that’s open to an old-school/analytics hybrid. Buck Martinez has credibility on the national scale for a reason, and Joe Siddall is excellent on TV, but both are old-school perspectives. I’d look to add MLB Network personality and former Blue Jay Mark DeRosa into the mix. I’d look to split the booth analysis role between the three of them – Martinez and Siddall as the primary road and home analysts respectively, and DeRosa in the booth around 30% of the time (or whenever a different member of the team is on radio – more in a second). DeRosa’s experience in the studio would also complete the Sportsnet studio show.
Jamie Campbell’s a fine host, and Hazel Mae is an excellent field reporter – no changes necessary there. If you add DeRosa as the primary studio analyst and rotate a few former Blue Jays alongside throughout the season in an additional spot until you find someone else who clicks, it’s a very good show. If DeRosa’s in the booth that day, roll with Siddall or Barker in the studio.
*Notes: John Axford and Justin Morneau are both solid in the panel, but the former hasn’t emerged as a top studio analyst yet and the latter is in the booth in Minnesota during the regular season…Buck’s remote setup in 2021 did not work; through visibility issues, internet issues, delayed audio, and reduced sound quality, Sportsnet really shouldn’t be doing games with in-house remote commentary again in 2022. If games have to be remote, they should be called from Rogers Centre or the Sportsnet studios…It’s a shame that Cliff Floyd was underutilized by Sportsnet; he’s a lead candidate for games in the revamped Marlins broadcast booth now.
RADIO: (Wagner (primary play-by-play), Martinez (secondary play-by-play), Tabler (booth analyst), A. Seixeiro (pre-and-postgame host, reporter-if-needed).
Ben Wagner should be the lead voice of the Blue Jays on radio. He’s one of the strongest radio play-by-play commentators in the league, and Sportsnet should let him go elsewhere rather than do nothing if they decide to limit his opportunities in Toronto again this season. He’s right there with Kevin Brown as one of the top younger play-by-play announcers in the AL East. I hope Sportsnet sees that.
On days when Wagner’s on TV in place of Shulman, Buck Martinez should be the voice on radio. As negatively as the simulcast ended up working out, Buck was able to showcase his actual radio play-by-play skills in a radio-only game early in the season (TV side was produced by MLBN and shown exclusively on YouTube), and he was quite good at it.
With my increased emphasis on Joe Siddall and Buck Martinez in the analysis spot on TV, it feels like a natural fit to move Pat Tabler to radio. He can do the same role he’s done for many years with a quality play-by-play announcer beside him, and restore familiarity and a distinct sound to the radio network. Since radio is a more traditional sound, his old-school analysis style would fit in well here. Whenever Buck’s on radio filling in on pxp for Wagner, Siddall or DeRosa would handle TV analysis.
In terms of studio content, with Sportsnet 590 the Fan still finding a refreshed identity across this era, they find themselves left with only the Blair/Barker show for baseball – which is a good show, but it feels more like a late morning or noon program than a pre/postgame show.
Additionally, with Mike Wilner out, the strong Ennis/Wilner “Blue Jays This Week” show is no longer an option, which is unfortunate, because it would’ve been a good extension of the new post-McCown show. Scott MacArthur also would’ve been a good fit, but he also seems like someone who’s no longer an option.
At this point, I’m fine with a new sound during the pre-and-post, as long as the Jays radio broadcast reforms a proper identity. Alex Seixeiro would be a good pre-and-post host, off the top of my head – he brings a great sound and energy.
(Additional Notes: Of the available US-based free agent play-by-play options, Rich Waltz is easily the most notable one who’s available, and he has worked with Buck before (in the WBC)…It wouldn’t surprise me if Sportsnet decides to reach out to Stephen Nelson at some point as well, since he has experience calling games in both the NHL and MLB…Scott Braun is another MLB Network voice who SN viewers will know (he called the All Star Game and World Series on MLB International in 2021), and he was reportedly a finalist in another MLB opening recently, but he’s likely to get increasingly major opportunities through MLB’s deals with Peacock, Apple, and YouTube…Sam Cosentino was also really solid as a fill-in for the Blue Jays in the past and would be a strong backup for Shulman if they want to stay in-house and refresh at the same time.)
There would be steps to take in future years to further increase diversity, but this would, in my mind, be a strong setup for a potential playoff team in 2022.