As discussed last month, Dan Shulman is leaving ESPN’s baseball coverage. Shulman had been working with ESPN on various fronts since 1999, and had been working there on a regular basis since 2001. His duties there included calling baseball games across platforms, including the World Series and many other postseason games for ESPN Radio since 2011.
But while Shulman is staying with the Worldwide Leader for college basketball (and just called the Armed Forces Classic aircraft carrier Michigan State-Gonzaga game for them Friday; he’s seen above on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln ahead of that), his baseball work with them is over. Going forward, his baseball broadcasting will be just with Canada’s Rogers-owned Sportsnet (where he’s called some Toronto Blue Jays games since 2016, and has been their regular TV play-by-play broadcaster for the last few years). In a piece published Monday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today spoke to Shulman, and he got some interesting comments about that shift, including Shulman talking about why the opportunity to call the Jays throughout the postseason (Sportsnet has the rights to do its own postseason broadcasts, although those aren’t always exercised) mattered to him:
“I don’t appear to be it on the outside,’’ Shulman tells USA TODAY Sports, “but I’m actually a very sappy, sentimental, nostalgic person. And anytime a chapter closes, I feel it a lot. So I thought about it a lot. This has been an unbelievable opportunity. What a blessing and what a privilege.
“I will miss this. I will miss this a great deal.’’
…“It would be tough to be there all year doing the regular-season games,’’ Shulman said, “and then to not be there if they make a run deep into the playoffs. It just made sense to me that if I’m all in on the Blue Jays, I’m all. That’s my home, and sentimentally, that’s where my heart’s at right now for baseball, and the opportunity to call playoff games across Canada on TV.
“So now it’s clean. It’s baseball in Toronto. It’s college basketball in the U.S.’’
It will certainly be a change for ESPN viewers and ESPN Radio listeners to not hear Shulman on play-by-play. And it’s interesting to hear him candidly talk about what his time calling baseball at ESPN has meant to him. But this split does seem to make some sense for him, and it also provides some opportunities for others at ESPN (specifically Jon “Boog” Sciambi, who will now be just the fifth U.S. national radio voice of the World Series since 1979). And it’s notable that Shulman’s found a way to continue his ESPN work, just not in baseball.
[USA Today; photo from Joshua R. Gateley/ESPN Images]