John Smoltz is a Hall of Famer and World Series champion as a pitcher, and he long has seemed to be on a similar trajectory as a TV voice, working three league championship series for Turner in the early 2010s.
But as satisfying as that was, Smoltz did not get where he was as a player by settling. His goal was clear from the start of his television career: return to the World Series, this time as an analyst.
And so it shall be in October.
Late last year Fox announced that it would move Smoltz into its No. 1 booth alongside Joe Buck, where he will replace Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci, who filled the role for two seasons after the departure of Tim McCarver.
“I believe that in everything that you want to do, if you don’t shoot for the top you’re short-sighting yourself,” Smoltz said. “I remember telling my agent when I first starting doing work for TBS I wanted to do the World Series. So whoever got the World Series (rights), that’s what I wanted to do. It’s the pinnacle of our sport. I love seeing the best of whatever sports has to offer. I didn’t want to just do the job to do the job.”
There is little doubt in baseball or TV circles that he is ready for the spotlight, given his playing resume, personality and broadcast experience. But Smoltz said he still has much to learn.
“I don’t have this thing licked,” he said. “I work really hard and I have a complicated life. It’s a lot more busy than I thought it would be, post-retirement. My simple rules apply in broadcasting, as they did in baseball. If I can’t learn from my mistakes, something is wrong. If I can’t laugh at myself, something is wrong. I’m still trying to perform and refine my craft. It takes me five hours every game day to get ready for a game. So it is not just relying on my knowledge. It’s trying to do the work to be as equipped as I can.”
He will work 15 regular-season games for Fox, 15 to 18 for MLB Network and 80 to 85 days in MLB Network’s New Jersey studios.
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