A chance is happening in the Atlanta Braves TV Stand – finally.
As reported for the first time the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, analyst Joe Simpson will see his television workload drastically reduced in 2019, rising to "20 or 30 televised matches", with a much higher workload important on the radio (about a hundred). Simpson will be replaced on the Braves stand by Jeff Francoeur, who is expected to play about 100 games this season. Tom Glavine will also work more games in 2019, and Chip Caray (sigh) remains the team's match-by-match announcer.
The Braves, through the team's general manager, Derek Schiller, and Fox Sports South general manager Jeff Genthner, pointed out that Simpson's many "controversial" comments (described more honestly, "stupid") played no role in Simpson's demotion.
"Absolutely not," said Genthner when asked if controversies had contributed to the change. "To emphasize this point, we did not reprimand Joe, we did not do anything to reprimand him in any way (for the comments). … He is a professional broadcaster and has expressed his personal opinion on something, but not to the extent that it would have affected his career from our point of view.
Schiller says, "I think it's only a coincidence … … If we had concerns about what he had said, we would not be as comfortable as we passed it to "Remember, he'll always be a broadcaster for the Braves – if we had reservations, hesitations about what Joe Simpson was saying at the microphone, he would not do the job we asked him to do."
Simpson himself seems surprised by the scale of the reduction, but admits that he has proposed reducing his workload on television.
"I had suggested cutting back, but my proposal was very different from theirs," Simpson said. "I was proposing perhaps to reduce to 120 game shows, hoping to replace the rest with radio. But they brought me back to 20 or 30 games on television, the rest being the radio. So it's a surprise. "
He then spoke of last year's "incidents", which included questioning the age of second-team rookie of the year, Juan Soto, and criticizing the crew's drummer's attire. Dodgers, Chase Utley.
When asked if he felt the incidents had affected the decision, Mr. Simpson replied, "I sincerely hope not." … If that was not part of their decision making process, I'm happy.
"I have a very strong protective instinct about the game, its customs, its history and its traditions, so my comments were only meant to serve as a defense mechanism of the game," Simpson said. "… One of the things I love most about the Atlanta Braves is the professionalism of the organization. They expect their players to be professional, professional looking. It's something that I really enjoy about the Atlanta Braves and have since. arrived in Atlanta (in 1992). "
Simpson was also not part of TBS MLB's post-season coverage this year. The Braves broadcast team finished 20th in our local MLB list of advertisers this summer, just as it has done in recent years. He has been part of Braves for almost 30 years and has worked on TBS, Peachtree TV (remember Peachtree TV, Jaded Braves fans in the late 2000s, like me), Turner South (please do not tell me recall Turner South), and now, Fox Sports South, together with the late legendary duo Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren, the current television partner, Chip Caray, and the former TV partner and future radio Don Sutton, among others.
On Braves radio, Simpson will work in turn with Sutton, Ben Ingram and Jim Powell, who are expected to call about 100 radio games this season.
The real story should not be Simpson's demotion, but Francoeur's demotion. The former first choice of the Braves, who grew up in the Atlanta area, has received many accolades (including from me, which is rare) for his work on radio and television. Working with Caray, who seems to post his work for years, full-time, could stifle his development, but the Braves are willing to take that risk compared to the alternative of losing Francoeur from a local competitor or other. or national level.
"He's really good and if he did not sign it, he might not be available in two years," said Genthner.
"All the indicators indicate that he had an immediate and easy transition from the playground to the broadcast kiosk," Schiller said. "It's a natural talent. We are ready to begin the next phase of inaugurating the next great broadcast talent, and he is certainly ready for that. It's his time. "
Tell me as a "cautious optimist" for the new Braves show tandem. They could have done much worse by replacing Simpson, and perhaps working with a younger broadcaster like Francoeur would rejuvenate Caray, much like working with Tony Romo has rejuvenated Jim Nantz in the NFL on the CBS stand.[AJC]