One of baseball’s most visible broadcasting jobs will be open starting next season, as ESPN’s Dan Shulman announced via an interview with SI.com that he’s stepping down from the Sunday Night Baseball job after 2017.

Shulman heavily stressed that this was his decision, and not one forced upon him by ESPN, which makes sense, as he’s just about universally respected for his work in the booth.

In an interview with SI on Monday afternoon, Shulman said he is getting remarried next year and wanted a schedule to better fit being at home more in Toronto. He repeated several times during the interview that this was entirely his decision and not prompted by ESPN management.

“I certainly have mixed emotions about it but at the end of the day I chose to strike a better balance between my personal life and professional life,” Shulman said.

“I’m grateful to ESPN for giving me this opportunity, and equally grateful that they agreed to let me reconfigure my situation in order to make this work. It was not an easy choice. I have been thinking about it for months. I still want to accomplish certain things professionally but getting the balance in my personal life was the important thing. The older we get I think we sometimes reprioritize and I guess I’m doing that.”

Shulman will continue in his role as ESPN’s lead college basketball announcer, with a full slate of games this fall. He’ll also handle ESPN Radio duties for the baseball postseason. Shulman’s decision is unfortunate for viewers, and whoever ends up replacing him will have a high bar to clear. Shulman does an admirable job managing a three-person booth, which is never an easy role for a play-by-play voice.

ESPN has a few candidates who could step in, and it seems unlikely they’d go in a non-in-house direction for Shulman’s successor. Sunday Night Baseball has been around since 1990, but for the first two decades Jon Miller handled the play-by-play duties, before Shulman replaced him starting in 2011. For a broadcast that’s going on nearly thirty years, this is a rare change.

Hopefully Shulman’s schedule affords him the time at home he’s looking for, as he’s certainly earned that. And it’s great news that he’s not retiring for good. It’s just a shame we won’t have him on Sunday nights next summer.

[SI]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.

  • Brett Steenblik

    Jon Sciambi or Dave Fleming. Highly doubt they pull from outside ESPN. Sciambi would be the easier choice since he’s all ESPN but I’d put my money on them working it out an arraignment with Fleming

    • Shawn Diiorio

      I agree that it’s easier to promote from within, there isn’t alot of talent mlb voices out there to begin with.

    • Matt Galvin

      Berman? Ravech? Adman? Gary Thorne? Sean M? Steve Levy? John Anderson? Brian Kenny? Greg Amsinger?

  • Lyle Delp

    They should bring back Jon Miller. He is clearly still the best in the business today.

    • Ted Mark

      Yeah, if you’re a Giants fan. If you’re not, the constant second guessing of ball and strike calls, and umpire calls in general, gets real old real quick.

    • Shawn Diiorio

      He’s not the same talent anymore, Better to Go forwards, not backward.

    • GameFederer

      Agreed. Miller is so good. Sunday Night Baseball just wasn’t the same without him. Shulman actually wasn’t bad, had a great announcer voice, not his fault they put clowns around him every time. Kruk, Phillips,etc. Hershisher was the best pairing with Shulman.

  • nbtx27

    Shulman is the only part of that team that is decent. The other two are more interested in talking to each other, than providing insight to the game. ESPN doesn’t care about presenting a quality MLB broadcast, obviously.
    Their focus is entirely on the NBA, even now. Just look at their website.
    ESPN should get a good, entirely new, broadcast team. Baseball needs a much better broadcast partner than ESPN.

  • GomarNahasapeemapetilon

    Beautiful opportunity for low energy and crackily Sean McDonough to tick off more sports fans.

    • Walt_Gekko

      I doubt McDonough at this stage of his career would want to do SNB, and they would have to replace him after Labor Day weekend due to MNF anyway.

  • george202

    Shulman is the least objectionable of this broadcast “team”. Mendoza and Boone seem to be determined to fill the airways with word salad, regardless of how trivial or inane. They need to learn when to SHUT UP. ESPN is interested in only football and basketball anyway.

  • Brian Cullather

    ESPN employee emeritus Chris Berman, come on down, they found work for you.

  • They should tempt Orsillo away from the Padres…

  • Walt_Gekko

    An interesting decision here:

    Karl Ravech (who has done two Sunday night games this year) would be an obvious choice. So would Jon Schambi (who has done SNB on radio for a while).

    As for a longshot, what about Beth Mowins? She has worked with Jessica Mendoza for a long time on the Women’s College World Series and it might not hurt ESPN potentially going with an all-female booth on Sunday Night Baseball.

    • GomarNahasapeemapetilon

      The key to a great SNB play by play is their pipes. A great voice. That’s something Ravech and Mowins lack. Shulman and Jon Miller each had great pipes. Leaving only Sciambi, or an outsider.

      • Walt_Gekko

        Bringing in Beth Mowins would I think be a big move on a lot of fronts. Having two female voices on ESPN’s main baseball broadcast would be an eye-opener for many.

        • GomarNahasapeemapetilon

          She always sounds like she has a cold. She’s not big league. Very small shows.

    • John Falcone

      Never 2 women

  • Just a guy

    Jon Schambi is getting this. They’ll probably shake up the entire crew when they bring him in as well. Aaron Boone has no business being on SNB.

    • Walt_Gekko

      Schambi would make sense, however, I also suspect they might look at bringing in Michael Kay, the longtime Yankees play-by-play voice who also does an afternoon show on 98.7 ESPN Radio in New York for SNB.

  • MrBull

    Hopefully, Espn will decide to go with a two person booth and dump Mendoza, as she adds absolutely nothing to the broadcast…
    Doug Glanville, who for some stupid reason espn dumped, would have been a better choice in the booth instead of Mendoza….

    • Walt_Gekko

      If anything, I’d drop Boone, bring in Beth Mowins and go with an all-female booth on SNB.

      • MrBull

        Do that, I will pass on watching…and sure many others will….

        • Walt_Gekko

          You might, but a lot of women might very well tune in who otherwise would not.

          • MrBull

            Dream on…most women find baseball long and boring….and the ones that enjoy baseball are not going to watch just because women are broadcasting the game….get real…

  • Craig Prager

    I enjoy the team of Sciambi and Rick Sutcliffe and Eduardo Perez. Very funny trio and knowledgeable about the game. Miss Doug Granville though.

    • YouAreWrongAndDumb

      I can’t stand the sound of Eduardo Perez’s voice.

      • Craig Prager

        It can.beva bit grating at times, but he is knowledgeable and he blends in very well. Doesn’t step on toes.

  • GameFederer

    I actually liked Shulman. I’ve always preferred Jon Miller. I was hoping when Morgan retired they’d find a better color commentator to go with Miller at PBP. Sunday Night Baseball used to be an event to watch, because Miller had such a calming voice at the end of the week in a big game. Shulman’s problem was they kept putting clowns around him. Steve Phillips, John Kruk, etc. Don’t know who’s been with him recently (I’m thinking Aaron Boone), but when he worked with Orel Hershisher I liked that combo.

  • chaz

    “Please do more Jays games when you’re back home” – every Jays fan ever.

  • Dom

    Gonna miss Dan the Man

  • Raoul Duke

    Didya notice that Dave Fleming did SNB tonight? No Mendoza either. And, Fleming also did last Monday night’s feature game with Red Sox vs. Rangers. I wonder if he is already starting to step in?

    I think he is fantastic. Probably not a coincidence that he has worked with Jon Miller for the past 14+ years in SF. As a SF native and Giants fan, I would be sad to see him go to ESPN full time so I hope he can work out some schedule like Miller always had that allows him to stay on KNBR with the Giants.

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