UPDATE: According to a source who spoke with Awful Announcing’s Jessica Kleinschimdt, Dontrelle Willis is confirmed to be working Apple TV+ broadcasts this season. In addition, Tricia Whitaker will return with reporting duties. Chris Young is not expected to be back in the fold as he will be primarily working for MLB Network. Russell Dorsey and Stephen Nelson will not return to Apple TV+ MLB broadcasts. More on-air talent decisions for Apple’s second MLB season will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Apple TV+ will begin the second year of their MLB broadcast partnership with a revamped booth that won’t include Katie Nolan or Melanie Newman.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported the news of Nolan and Newman exiting the broadcast Wednesday morning, adding that Apple TV+ plans on using two-person booths for its exclusive schedule of MLB Friday Night Doubleheaders this season.
According to The Post, Wayne Randazzo will be a play-by-play voice for Apple this season. Randazzo, who called some games for Apple last season, recently left the New York Mets radio broadcast for a TV play-by-play job with the Los Angeles Angels. The Post also reports Apple is expected to hire Fox Sports’ Dontrelle Willis as a game analyst.
Apple’s second play-by-play voice and game analyst pairing is still in the works. Last season, Yahoo baseball columnist Hannah Keyser, MLB Network play-by-play voice Stephen Nelson, and former MLB players Chris Young, Hunter Pence and Cliff Floyd were in Apple’s rotation.
The fact that Nolan won’t be part of Apple’s second season covering baseball shouldn’t be a surprise. Shortly after the season ended last November, Nolan joined Kenny Mayne’s podcast and admitted she thought her personality was an odd fit for a broadcast booth.
“When I found out what it was, I was like, are they confused? Do they know what I do?” Nolan recalled to Mayne. “What it was and how crazy of an idea it was, combined with the secrecy really had me like, ‘Something’s up. They’re joking, this is a mistake. Somebody unsealed the wrong document. This isn’t the one they meant to give me because this says in the booth and that’s just not a thing.’
“And then I got on the phone with them and they sold me on the idea of me. They sold me on the idea of this vision they had for a baseball booth. As with most things that start as visions, they don’t always end up being executed the same way.”
According to Nolan, Apple sold her on their vision of making the broadcast sound like a podcast in an effort to create a more interesting listening experience. But after baseball fans responded negatively, Apple quickly began to retreat from their attempt at being innovative. While Apple has not officially announced their broadcast plans for year two, it sounds like they’ll seek to build a more traditional booth.