Results tagged ‘ Chip Caray ’

Caray to call games for Fox Sports Net

Chip Caray received an early Christmas present on Monday morning, when Fox Sports Net hired him to serve as their play-by-play announcer for all the Braves games televised by Fox Sports South and SportSouth. 

This was the role previously held by Jon “Boog” Sciambi, who accepted a full-time role with ESPN at the conclusion of this past season.  

Later this morning, Fox Sports Net is supposed to officially announce this hiring of Caray, whose role as TBS’ lead baseball announcer was terminated on Nov. 30.   That decision ended his association with Turner Sports, which handles all of the Braves games broadcast on Peachtree Television.  

This arrangement will allow Caray to once again call a majority of the televised Braves games.  During the past two seasons, he saw his workload with the Braves limited by the travel requirements that came with TBS’ national baseball package.

Expect Gonzalez and Soriano to be offered arbitration

Now that Charlie Weis’ tenure has expired, is it only a matter of time before we learn that Notre Dame is also interested in Mike Gonzalez?

There have been a number of clubs that have expressed interest in Gonzalez and with this being their first year of being associated, you can seemingly guarantee that Scott Boras is going to transform this interest into an attractive multi-year deal for the left-handed reliever. 

While the Braves would welcome the possibility if they’re still in search of a closer, there’s little reason to believe that Gonzalez will accept the arbitration offer that they will provide tomorrow.  By doing so, he’d simply set himself up for a one-year contract that would likely be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $5-6 million.

Needless to say, the Braves certainly wouldn’t be financially-devestated if Gonzalez were to aceept this offer.  In fact, they would seemingly gladly welcome him back for one more year at this price.  

With Gonzalez it has always been a no-brainer that the Braves would offer him arbitration before Tuesday’s deadline.  But only recently has there been more reason to believe that they will make this same offer to Rafael Soriano. 

Despite the fact that his name hasn’t been nearly as popular in this year’s rumor mill, Soriano also seems well positioned to receive a multi-year contract from somebody other than the Braves.

But if he doesn’t, would it be horrible for the Braves to provide him a one-year deal worth something in the neighborhood of $7-8 million. The guy was rock solid this year  — converting  27 of 31 save opportunities.  In his career-high 77 apperances, he posted a  2.97 ERA, a  1.06 WHIP, a .194 opponents’ batting average and 12.13 strikeouts per nine innings (NL’s second-best mark).

Given that there is at least a slight chance that both could accept, the Braves might run a small risk when they offer arbitration to both Gonzalez and Soriano.  But I think it’s pretty safe to assume that both will attract multi-year offers that will erase this twinge of worry. 

By offering arbitration to Gonzalez and Soriano, the Braves will set themselves up for the draft-pick compensation they would receive when another club signs either of these Type A free agents.  

As for the club’s Type B free agents, the Braves will likely offer arbitration to Adam LaRoche. But needless to say, this has never been consisdered an option for Garret Anderson. 

If the demand for LaRoche proves to be light and the Braves find themselves in position to sign LaRoche, they likely wouldn’t provide him anything more than a one-year deal.  The cost (approximately $7.5 million) they may incur via arbitration might be a little steeper than they’d like.

But like with Gonzalez and Soriano, LaRoche’s decision to accept this offer wouldn’t financially cripple the offseason plans.

<b> Pete and Skip HOF: </b> When the top 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick Award have been announced over the course of the past decade, it has always bothered me that Pete Van Wieren and Skip Caray are absent from the list. 

I’ll get into this more in tomorrow’s blog. But if you feel that these guys or the great Ernie Johnson belong in Cooperstown, then let your voices be heard via this year’s online voting, which begins on Tuesday and runs through the end of December.

<b> Chip Caray update: </b> Just got off the phone with Chip Caray and he seems comfortable with the fact that he and TBS have parted ways.  I’m about to write something more on this for the site.  But to give you my thoughts, this paves the way for Chip to pursue his desire to work on a daily basis and possibly be around the Braves on a much more regular basis.     

<b> Got to love Google’s wisdom:  </b> When you initially see Bean Stringfellow’s name in print, there’s obviously reason to think “well that’s an odd name.”  But some of you ardent Braves fans might actually have known about Thornton “Bean” Stringfellow long before he became recognized as Billy Wagner’s agent. 

The Braves drafted Stringfellow in the 24th round of the 1985 Draft, eight spots ahead of some kid out San Diego State named Mark Grace.  The left-handed hurler spent four seasons in the Braves system and pitched with both Tom Glavine and John Smoltz during his two-year stint with Triple-A Richmond. 

Saying goodbye to Kalas

As we sat in the visiting manager’s office at Citizens Bank Park last Wednesday, Harry Kalas entered and said, “Hey Coxxy” with that same distinctive and distinguished voice that sports fans have recognized for so many years. 

Walking and talking a little slower than he had in the past, Kalas beemed with excitement as he talked to Braves manager Bobby Cox about the dawn of a new season.  A few hours later, he’d throw out the ceremonial first pitch and receive his 2008 World Series ring with the rest of the Phillies family that justifiably viewed him as a father figure. 

During their short exchange, Cox asked Kalas how much he’d enjoyed this most recent Phillies world championship.  With a youthful excitement that didn’t necessarily coordinate with his 73-year-old soul, the long-time broadcaster spoke about how this World Series title was actually much more enjoyable than the first one he’d experienced in Philadelphia in 1980.

Kalas talked about how the 1980 team had simply accomplished what they’d originally envisioned would have occurred in 1978 or ’79.  Then he spoke about the delight he experienced while watching Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Cole Hamels make their surprising dominant run through this most recent October. 

Many of us who weren’t raised in Philadelphia knew him as the owner of that voice that only improved the quality of the video supplied by NFL Films.  The players, broadcasters, coaches, front office employees and fans who had the opportunity to recognize him as more than simply a broadcaster, knew him as man who definitely improved the game of baseball.

When I spoke to Pete Van Wieren and Chip Caray this afternoon, it was obvious that that they’d lost much more than a colleague. 

“He was not only a great broadcaster, but also a dear friend,” Van Wieren said. “We had the opportunity to spend many years broadcasting together and enjoying other activities away from the broadcast booth.  This is very sad news.   There are certain broadcasters that are much more than just voices for their team.  Some of them are iconic figures for the game and Harry was one of those broadcasters.

“I don’t know anybody who didn’t like him.  He was much more than just a broadcaster for the team.  We often sat together for dinner in the press room, whether we were in Philadelphia or Atlanta.  He was just a great guy.  He always had great questions to ask about our team and insight to provide about his own. He’ll definitely be missed.”

Caray recognized Kalas as an inspiration and one of the many dear friends who showed genuine support when his father, Skip Caray, passed away last year. 

“The thing that makes broadcasters unique is the richness of their voice and their passion for the game,” Chip Caray said. “Harry had both of those qualities.   When you think of the greatest ambassadors of the game, Harry was certainly one of those guys.  The  passion he had while calling games for Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski and so many other great Phillies players was a real inspiration for young broadcasters, like myself.

“When I think of Harry, I think of friendliness and class.   When my dad died, he gave me a hug and a handshake that I’ll never forget.  He was truly a treasure.   He was a mentor and a friend.  People will say that the game won’t be the same without him and it won’t.”

Personally, I’ll always remember Kalas as a man who always provided a friendly “hello” while displaying a seemingly eternal smile. 

The last time I saw Kalas was after the Phillies had claimed their comeback win over the Braves last Wednesday.  As I exited the elevator, he was standing there in the hallway displaying that same old smile.

We’ve talked a lot about the ridiculous events that led to the Braves blowing a seven-run lead that afternoon.  But it was that ugly eight-run seventh inning endured by the Atlanta bullpen that allowed a true Philadelphia icon to enjoy his final day in his home ballpark.  

The Braves won the final game that Skip called at Turner Field last year and the Phillies allowed Kalas to enjoy the epic comeback during his final hours in Philadelphia.

In some ways, you have to wonder if baseball gods truly do take care of those who have served the game so admirably.   



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