ESPN is ushering in a new era of Sunday Night Baseball, closing the door on 21-year veterans Jon Miller and Joe Morgan.
While Miller has an option to continue calling MLB games on ESPN Radio, no such position was offered to Morgan, making him a free agent.
ESPN’s evp of production, Norby Williamson, did not say who might be tapped to replace the Miller-Morgan battery, but some of the names floating around the blogosphere include current SNB and Baseball Tonight analyst Orel Hershiser and Monday Night Baseball linchpin Dan Shulman. In one scenario, Schulman would call ESPN’s SNB coverage while the former Cy Young Award winner would provide color commentary and analysis.
Most credible candidates are also homegrown talent. For example, now that the Milwaukee Brewers have passed on Bobby Valentine to fill out the team’s lineup card every day, the former manager and current ESPN analyst may get bumped into a regular SNB role.
Morgan is expected to take his blustery analysis to the MLB Network, which boasts a stable of top-tier talent. Among the luminaries appearing on MLB Net are former Boston Globe reporter and ESPN contributor Peter Gammons, NBC Sports mainstay Bob Costas and studio analysts/ex-ballplayers Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds and Mitch Williams.
The 67-year-old might also be courted by Turner Broadcasting, which covers the American and National League Division Series and alternate League Championship Series on TBS. The Turner network’s regular season schedule is comprised of Sunday afternoon games that are blacked out in local markets.
“Jon and Joe have contributed greatly to the success of Sunday Night Baseball for the past 21 seasons,” Williamson said, by way of confirming the decision to clean house at SNB. “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.”
The move serves as a belated concession of sorts to the titular demand of Fire Joe Morgan, a popular sports blog that was active between 2005 and 2008. Although the site often went to great lengths to criticize Morgan’s performance in the booth, calling him out for numerous errors and his “haughty demeanor,” FJM more broadly served as a platform from which to criticize lazy, dull and stupid sportswriting.