Ben Wagner (L) on the Sportsnet radio broadcasts for the Toronto Blue Jays. Ben Wagner (L) on the Sportsnet radio broadcasts for the Toronto Blue Jays.

On Wednesday, Sportsnet announced that the contract of Toronto Blue Jays radio broadcaster Ben Wagner would not be renewed for the 2024 season.

Wagner was the voice of Blue Jays radio broadcasts for the last six seasons, and called games for the Jays’ AAA affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, for 11 years prior to that.

The Toronto Sun reports that “there were no negotiations” to bring Wagner back and that Sportsnet “made it known early in the off-season” that Wagner wouldn’t be returning.

Over the last three years, Wagner has been at the center of controversy through none of his own doing. Back in 2021, the Blue Jays abandoned their radio feed in favor of a television simulcast. After defending the strategy, the team brought back the dedicated radio broadcast in late July. In 2022, Wagner wasn’t allowed to go on the road and was forced to call away games off monitors (before the team, again, pivoted later in the season). The same was true for the 2023 season, though Sportsnet sent Wagner on the road for the team’s playoff run (which ended after two games).

Now, by not renewing Wagner’s contract, we’ll have to see what the next move for Sportsnet and the Jays will be. Will the team and network try to wedge a new broadcaster into a similar role as Wagner, calling road games remotely? Or will they just throw in the towel and go back to the TV simulcast that received such negative feedback from fans in 2021?

I’m assuming Wagner will have a soft landing somewhere, given his resume and talent. But ultimately, this is a disappointing ending to Wagner’s time with the Jays, but one that seemed somewhat inevitable given the company’s decisions over the last three years.

[Toronto Sun]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.