When news broke late Monday afternoon that ESPN had decided to shake up the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team, ending a 21-year run by Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, many across the internet landscape applauded the change, at least in terms of Morgan. While Miller has an offer from ESPN to continue doing radio, no such offer was made to Morgan. He is now a free agent.
When you’ve been in the broadcast saddle for 21 years – for better or worse – you’re a known commodity. It’s more than likely that as soon as word broke of Morgan’s contract not being renewed he began fielding offers elsewhere. As MLB broadcasts go, Morgan really has four options (short of retirement, which as judged by the blogspehere is where they hope he saunters off to).
If Morgan wishes to continue doing the same – a weekly national broadcast on television – MLB on TBS could be a possibility. As Turner Sports has continued to gain traction with weekly regular season games and the postseason, Morgan could continue getting his weekly fix at the ballpark. The only real change would be where he is on the television dial, who he’s partnered with, and who is cutting his checks.
Along with TBS, Morgan could be tapped for the FOX Game of the Week which airs on Saturdays. Chances of a trifecta of Buck, McCarver, and Morgan seems unlikely in the regular season, but FOX could try and spice things up for the postseason with the trio.
Morgan could get picked up to do local and regional broadcasts. Maybe FOX Sports Ohio will consider him for Cincinnati Reds games. This would mean Morgan would be working more often; something that after 20-plus years of doing mostly a game a week might not be as enjoyable as it sounds.
But, if Morgan is receptive, maybe the most likely location he would land would be MLB Network. The league-owned network has seemed to gobble up former players and solid reporters such as Peter Gammons and Bob Costas at a tremendous clip. MLB Network also has Thursday Night Baseball, and continues to grow the number of games they air on Saturdays. There’s been more than enough mentioned that when opportunity presents itself, MLBN could look to pick up postseason broadcasts, as well. Morgan could also be tapped for studio shows such as MLB Tonight. With the Baseball Winter Meetings starting at the beginning of December, and given that last year the Meetings were used to surprise most everyone with the signing of Peter Gammons, it may be then that we know if MLB Network and Morgan will marry up.
So while many across the internet are dancing on Morgan’s broadcast grave today, they could be more than premature in declaring him dead behind the mic. Chances are we haven’t seen the last of Joe Morgan in the broadcast booth, much to the chagrin of Ken Tremendous
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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