Official press release just came down from ESPN, and I wanted to pass that along to you. While the release does detail their reasoning, the one thing I didn’t think about last night was the MLB Network’s role in this. ESPN is probably scrambling now to beef up their MLB coverage, on the heels of MLB-N’s success, and with the Phillips move….Peter Gammons is freed up to head back to the studio. Which is where he belongs.
Anyway, here’s the official statement from ESPN….
ESPN’s talented Sunday Night Baseball commentator team of Jon Miller and Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, entering their 20th season together in the booth, will be joined each week by analyst Steve Phillips. Phillips, who joined ESPN in 2005, will make his regular-season debut on Opening Night, April 5, when the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies host the Atlanta Braves at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 HD. The game will also be available on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV.
Miller and Morgan have called season-long Sunday Night Baseball game of the week telecasts since the series began in 1990. Phillips will continue to provide game analysis on Monday Night Baseball and in the studio on Baseball Tonight, SportsCenter and other programs throughout the week.
Phillips said, “It’s a tremendous honor to join Sunday Night Baseball, the preeminent MLB game of the week. Jon and Joe have set the standard for baseball telecasts over the last 19 years, and I look forward to being a member of their team.”
Morgan added, “I’m pleased that Steve is joining our Sunday Night team. I have admired Steve since I met him as a general manager, and now as a valued member of the ESPN ‘family.’ I look forward to interacting with Steve and Jon, with whom I have had 19 fulfilling years on the Sunday Night game of the week. My hope is that our new lineup will provide an even better presentation, and I am anxious to work toward that goal with Jon, Steve and the rest of the ESPN baseball group.”
Miller stated, “Steve, as a former GM, knows better than anybody how teams are put together, trades are made and the inevitable stress between managers and GM’s and between the front office and ownership. Now, combining Joe’s expertise of the game on the field and in the dugout and Steve’s expertise and ongoing knowledge of the inner workings of each franchise, I believe in the 20th season of SNB, we’ll reach our highest level yet as an entertaining and provocatively informative baseball telecast. Welcome, Steve.”
The fact that Jon Miller just used the word “expertise” for both Joe and John, just has me rolling on the floor right now. Forget Morgan, because he actually had a HOF career, Phillips is an “expert” GM? This is the guy that signed Mo Vaughn, Pedro Astacio, Mike Bordick, Bobby Bonilla, Rickey Henderson, Jeromy Burnitz and Kazuo Matsui, right? Okay….just wanted to make sure we were on the same page.