Among the perks of calling home team baseball on radio rather than television is the extended season.
For the local television broadcaster, the season ends with the final out of Game 162. Radio voices, on the other hand, get to work the post- season ride.
And so Eric Nadel and Matt Hicks will be the familiar voices of Rangers baseball as long the team advances in the playoffs while Steve Busby and Tom Grieve are kaput, finished, done in the booth for the year.
That’s simply the way Major League Baseball and its network partners do business. The national television contracts kick in as soon as the regular season is history.
By contrast in the NBA, the local television broadcasters can work the opening round before signing off. Ditto the NHL.
The National League post-season this year belongs to TBS. Simple one-stop shopping.
The American League’s is a bit more complicated. It belongs to Fox, which farms out first round Division Series games to cable’s Fox Sports1 and MLB Network.
There will be a hodgepodge of TV broadcasters working the Rangers-Toronto Blue Jays best-of-five series. Thursday afternoon’s season opener on FS 1 will feature Kenny Albert, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci in the booth with Ken Rosenthal down on the field. When the series shifts to MLB Network early Friday afternoon, Bob Costas and Jim Kaat will work the booth with Rosenthal doing dugout duty. when the Rangers- Blue Jays return to FS 1 for Sunday night’s prime time Game 3 in Arlington, Thursday’s crew reappears.
Should additional games be necessary, FS 1 and MLB will get back to us.
Back to the constants.
“(Home team) broadcasters live and die with the team everyday of the regular season,” Nadel said. “But when they get to the post- season, the (local) television guys go home… That’s just one reason I prefer radio.”
Nadel has a plethora of reasons he prefers the radio lifestyle. They include: Not being slavishly devoted to the pictures the cameras deliver; he has no director talking into his ear; no dress code; and the relative anonymity that used to come with being a voice rather than a face. That went bye bye, Nadel said, with the brouhaha that came when he won the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence in 2014.
The Rangers have tried to move Nadel to television. In 1998 they asked him to replace his former radio partner, the late Mark Holtz. In 2002, he was the first choice to replace Bill Jones. He reluctantly agreed but was saved from bright lights purgatory when Josh Lewin was hired instead.
The Rangers learned their lesson. They have given up asking.
After all, you don’t shift positions for a Hall of Famer still at the top of his game if he doesn’t really want to move.
“I am incredibly pumped for the postseason,” Nadel said. “Isn’t that the dream?”
To read more visit the Dallas Morning News where this article was originally published