Skip Caray has been broadcasting baseball games for TBS for over thirty years but he didn’t make the cut for their playoff coverage.
TBS named its broadcast lineup for the baseball playoffs this week, and Skip Caray was none too happy about being excluded. “It hurt my feelings, and I’m mad at myself for thinking there was any loyalty left in this business,” Caray, the longtime Atlanta Braves broadcaster, said in an interview Wednesday. “I should have known better. They can do whatever they want to do,” Caray said, “but I’ve done a lot of good work for these people, and it’s hurtful that they apparently don’t think I can do good work anymore.”
Atlanta-based TBS, in its first year of televising postseason baseball games after decades of airing Braves regular-season games, this week named three play-by-play voices to work first-round series: Dick Stockton, a former baseball broadcaster who has worked mostly football and basketball in recent years; Ted Robinson, a former longtime baseball broadcaster who is the voice of NBC’s tennis coverage; and Boston Red Sox broadcaster Don Orsillo. They join Chip Caray, Skip Caray’s son, who was named earlier to call play-by-play on TBS’ No. 1 postseason team.
“I feel like I can do a better job than a tennis announcer or a football-basketball announcer,” Skip Caray said. “I’m not knocking Ted Robinson and Dick Stockton, but point of fact is they don’t do baseball anymore and I’m there every day.”
TBS responded to Caray’s comments with a prepared statement by spokesman Jeff Pomeroy: “TBS has put together four telecast teams that we feel will best serve our national baseball audience. … We appreciate Skip’s abilities as a play-by-play announcer and look forward to his [Braves] calls for us next year on Peachtree TV, but we decided to go in another direction as we look to brand our new MLB-on-TBS playoff package.”
TBS will televise all four division series, plus the National League Championship Series. Game analysts will be Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, former manager Bob Brenly, former Cubs analyst Steve Stone and current Braves analyst Joe Simpson.
Skip Caray said “no one has given me a reason why” he didn’t make the postseason lineup.
A Braves television announcer since 1976, Caray has had his TV role reduced recently. This season he has worked mostly on radio, calling just 10 Braves games on TBS. He will work Sunday’s game on TBS, the network’s last national Braves telecast.
Caray said he’d like to be voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame along with longtime broadcasting partner Pete Van Wieren someday. “But when your employer says you’re not good enough to do the playoffs, I don’t think that helps your chances.”
Caray is a controversial figure, either loved or hated by Braves fans. I’m definitely in the former camp but his opinionated style irritates a lot of folks. That he’s a Braves homer works against him, too, as TBS is looking to brand themselves as a sports network rather than a Braves network. And of course there’s the age issue: If you’re looking to rebrand yourself, you don’t do it with a guy who’s likely to retire soon.
Still, Caray is their best baseball announcer. It’s a shame not to include him.
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