After going two seasons untouched, it appears the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball team will be forced to have a different look again in 2014.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Sportsnet LA, Time Warner's new cable channel exclusively catering to the Los Angeles Dodgers, have officially hired Orel Hersheiser as an analyst. This likely means Hersheiser is finished with a seven-year tenure at ESPN, which included a four-year stint as a color analyst on Sunday Night Baseball. A representative for ESPN declined comment to Awful Announcing at this time.
Hersheiser would become Sportsnet LA's second hire away from The Worldwide Leader, as analyst Nomar Garciaparra took a job with the network not long ago. They've also hired studio anchor Alanna Rizzo away from MLB Network.
The network certainly has a lot of spots to fill. Though Vin Scully plans to return for another season in 2014, he only works home games and select road telecasts, largely within the state of California. The Dodgers need a separate broadcast for most road games on television, in addition to all the studio programs that will need on-air talent.
All of this appears to be a sign that, while the legendary Scully will remain voice of the club as long as he wants, the Dodgers will be prepared for a day when that is no longer the case. Hersheiser (and, to a lesser extent, Garciaparra and Rizzo) are certainly a credible start.
As for ESPN, the Sunday Night Baseball team will mean that four different personnel combinations will have called the broadcast in the past five seasons. Hersheiser started in 2010, on the final season of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan's tenure. He joined play-by-play voice Dan Shulman and analyst Bobby Valentine in 2011, and has worked the past two seasons with Shulman and John Kruk. Now, ESPN decides if they'll stick with Shulman and Kruk (who worked without Orel a few times in 2013) or find a replacement.