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05/26/2011

Impatience is the New Black - John Rhadigan Is Out As TV Voice of Rangers

Medium Why can't the Rangers just get out of the way? Ever? Just once. Because this is what Rangers do.

Less than two months into the first season of his three-year contract, new Rangers TV play by play man John Rhadigan is out.

I just spoke to Rhadigan on Monday in the Rangers clubhouse at length and he was telling me how much more comfortable he was feeling in this new role as a team play-by-play guy. How much he was enjoying the job. Working with Tom Grieve. Getting into it as the voice of the team.

And less than five days later he's gone?

The fact that the Rangers would not give this guy a full season, much less to the All-Star break, to settle into this role is another piece of evidence that absolutely no one in electronic media has any time to impress anyone. Rhadigan got Paul Reisered.
 
In this day and age Vin Scully wouldn't have lasted a year with the Dodgers, the Cincinnati Reds would never, ever allow the outspoken Marty Brenneman to call their games, and Harry Caray would have been in the production truck. Those three are Hall of Fame broadcasters.

Rhadigan was not a HOF broadcaster, but who is going to get the time to build the credentials to become one any more? 

Rhadigan was hired in the offseason to replace Josh Lewin. The immediate feedback from the fans has not been glowing, but it never is. Ever. This is a no-win job. People whined about Josh. They whined about Bill Jones. They whined about Rhadigan. They'll whine about Dave Barnett, too.

Dave Barnett will take over as the TV voice of the Rangers working next to Grieve.

The problem isn't necessarily the announcer; the problem is the game of baseball is inherently slow moving and this generation of viewers requires constant stimulation. Baseball is not a product of constant stimulation. Hell, it's a game that could go weeks without anything interesting happening. There is nothing any announcer can do to make the game what it isn't.

Rhadigan will return to his old gig doing pre and post-games on Fox Sports Southwest. 

The one good thing the Rangers announced today is that long, long time part-time color man Steve Busby will be the primary color analyst on the radio broadcasts next to Eric Nadel.

ADD
After reading some of the comments I felt the need to add the following:

I'm not saying Rhadigan was great. I'm not saying he was bad. The Texas Rangers knew Rhadigan had no experience doing this job, and to think he was going to "nail it" in less than two months is preposterous. This is a case where the guy had no chance. Literally.

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com

Comments

Joe Buck

When do you get a shot to TV or Radio?

You have a face made for Radio.

I love your blog but really want you to expand your media presence.

Keep up the good work.

Nice article.

Terry

DFW is a major market and not the place for a novice to learn how to do play-by-play (much less learn the game of baseball). The Rangers can afford to find a good, professional announcer. I listened to the guys from the Priates the other day and they were way better than our guys. They actually understand the game and talked about the game, without the constant meaningless chatter and homerism. The Rangers can afford to go find someone who can do a good job.

Jimmy Ashford

You don't get it. He didn't know baseball. There is a language to baseball and he doesn't know it. He couldn't tell if a ball hit in the air was a popup or headed for the bleachers until it was caught or hit the ground. A right handed hitter does not "hook" a ball down the right field line, a ground ball is not a "rope", etc. "For the first time this year they are 22 and 20"????? At times you could tell when Tom Grieve did his color commentary he was actually explaining things to Rhadigan, not the viewers. It wasn't a matter of making the "slow" time interesting. He just didn't have a clue of what was happening or how to convey it when things were interesting.

Mark

Get a clue... it's not the fans fault Rhads was bad. You act like no one could satisfy and that the problem is that baseball is slow moving.

Um, no. There are plenty of guys out there who can do PbP way better than Rhads did it. And the game is just as slow moving for them.

That doesn't mean he is a bad guy or that fans are wrong to say "Hey, this guy is taking away from the game, he's dreadful."

But you can feel good that you wrote the obligatory "I covered for my Friend" column -- because that's all this is. No one can deny Rhads was awful and no one can deny that he wasn't improving. And no one can deny (not even you) that TR baseball broadcasts are better w/o him ... period.

Ryano

I could not agree with you guys more. Blaming this on the fans is just wrong. I agree there are always people that will complain, but not to this degree. If you can't look at the situation objectively, you should not at all. Everything was just fine last year when Josh was PBP and Rhads was doing pre and post. I felt embarassed knowing that people from other markets actually could watch him commit error after error on extra innings or mlb tv. The guy was just not made for this. Admit it.

Mansfield Bob

Actually, Mac, you're right about the game and its challenges to call. There are dead spots at times. This is where Rhads was at his worst. He never offered anything of interest during the dead spots, no interesting stories, facts, stats, zip. Plus, he never fed Tom Grieve anything TAG could work with. Kenny Albert on Saturday worked with Tom Grieve on the Fox regional broadcast, and the difference was dramatic. Tom was terrific, and Kenny seemed to know more details about the Rangers than John did.

Bob Anderson

This is the first time I have ever read your "blog." It appears you have zero understanding of:

1. Baseball
2. Baseball Broadcasting
3. Personal Responsibility

I know people like you. They blame everybody and everything else for everything.

Rhadigan should never have been hired for this job in the first place. I have never heard of a #1 TV Major League Announcer being hired with no play-by-play experience. But, he took the job and at that point became responsible for his performance at it.

It's a tough world out there, Big Mac. Wear a cup.

TXRoger

Yep, first time I have read your blog and the above comments are correct - you do not understand the issue. An MLB PBP should KNOW baseball and have experience in the booth. Period. I welcome the change. At least we now have someone who KNOWS baseball and the infamous "game within the game".

Brad

Please let someone who understands sports give us an opinion, like your wife.

Colorado Golf Coupons

The only thing wrong with this firing is that it is about 49 games late. Rhadigan was the WORST announce in my 55 years of listening/watching baseball that I have even seen, and the second worst looks like Vin Scully next to Rhadigan. It is disgraceful to even mention Rhadigan and Scully in the same sentence. Every Dodger fan in LA takes a radio to the game to listen to Scully, while every Ranger fan watching the Game on TV has the radio on, listening to Eric Nadel, so Rhadigan and Grieve are not an annoyance. Even Grieve looks good next to Rhadigan, and he is awful himself. Rhadigan sounds like he never even played baseball...he sures doesn't know much about it. He has no understanding of the game, and it was insanity to make us fans put up with an idiot in the booth.

Bud Wiser

Thank goodness Rhadigan is out. If I had to hear him say "It's time to play ball, Y'ALL" one more time I'd have gagged. Him coming up with that as his "signature" line was like giving yourself a nickname. His lack of basic baseball knowledge and endless mistakes might be what got him replaced but shame on whomever was responsible for his hire in the first place for not seeing that coming. I like Dave Barnett and Tom Grieve just fine together and look forward to their upcoming broadcasts.

PP

One of the worst blog posts ever written.

How could you possibly invoke the name of Vin Scully in a post about Rhadigan? How could you claim that calling baseball games is a no-win proposal due to the nature of the game when Rangers fans universally love and appreciate Eric Nadel on radio, an even more difficult medium?

Only an imbecile or crony could think Rhadigan was doing even a decent job and deserved the opportunity to continue butchering games at the expense of Rangers fans while he got his OJT.

DJCahill

The thought that Rhadigan should be allowed to "learn on the job" for a team coming of a World Series is an insult and a slap in the face to Rangers fan. This isn't some minor league team. If Rhadigan wants to announce major league games, let him learn to announce with Frisco or Round Rock.

I get that he is a nice guy, and all the folks in the DFW press love him, but sucking at your job should get you fired.

Rhad had zero eye for what was happening in a baseball game, and the only thing wrong with his firing was that he was hired in the first place.

Matt

I have never posted a comment on a blog. But I feel so strongly about this that I had to. This blog has no credibility whatsoever. Completely out of touch with reality. Start watching the game Mac.

John

The only people who are disappointed with this move are Rhadigan's colleagues in the media. The rest of us can turn up the sound now.

Jeff R

Will anyone on the DFW media step up an tell the truth? Why do they all defend him? I know, having been in the media for 30+ years, we must take care of our own. I am not one who has to be entertained by the PxP guy. I watch baseball because I love the game. But this hire had me scratching my head from the beginning b/c I never thought he was any good on the dreadful Rangers Live shows.
Then when he gets his break and we find out:
-- His knowledge of baseball is remedial.
-- His corniness dreadful.
-- His made up catch phrases pedestrian.
But I thought his biggest mistake was he tried too hard. He would have been better off just be real and not trying to put on a show b/c his acting skills are weak. I am just curious whose decision was it to hire him anyway?

Robert Love

Stick to food reviews or obscure sports... Clearly this baseball thing is not for you. Sad Rhads lost his job but either you didn't sit through his painful broadcast or you don't know the sport.

Casey C

There are 30 of these jobs in the world. Someone who doesn't have a clear understanding of the game's rules, and cannot keep up with in-game action of what you admit is a slow paced game, does not deserve one of them.

Bill Celaya

I liked John Rhadigan, and I liked the job he was doing calling the games. I never understood the griping on the blogs. Would these Rhadigan detractors rather have a Joe Buck or Tim McCarver type announcer? Yuck. I suppose it's fashionable these days to be critical. A high fly ball, and he can't immediately see if it's going to stay in the park or go over the wall? Big deal. John was a decent, friendly guy with a welcomed sense of humor, not a robotron announcer like some people seem to prefer.

Rick W

Sorry man but you are WAY off on this.

I am a season ticket holder to the Rangers and I watch or go to every game during the season.

Having watched Rhadigan for multiple games I can say with confidence he was not a good PBP guy and was NOT getting any better. It was painful to listen to. I'm sure Rhadigan is a great guy, I'm sure he has lots of friends in the media (apparently including you). This being said, that does not make him ready to be a PBP man for a major league franchise.

The fact is that FSSW, TXA 21 and the Rangers were going to lose revenue because fans were letting the advertisers know that they were muting the sound on the TV just to avoid having to listen to Rhadigan butcher calls all game long. Money talks my friend.

If there is fault to be placed here it is with the Rangers for hiring a completely untested and inexperienced man as PBP. Hopefully we can move on from here and I look forward to being able to actually listen to a broadcast.

Anonymous

Considering who Mac Engel lives with

I am sure his beating tolerance is quite a bit elevated from most of us

by BEW

Aaron Chester

I'm convinced you did this for page hits because this is by far your most commented blog piece... although I must say the only thing this piece did for me was solidify your credibility as a non-factor in Ranger news and baseball opinions

Bill Celaya

This talk of Rhadigan being "painful to listen to" and people turning their volume down during games suggests to me his detractors are somewhere in the sub-voting age demographic. How childish and silly can you get? I found John's delivery very easy to listen to, and I wasn't interested in keeping count of the times he may have mis-spoken. I liked John, and I liked Josh before him, mostly cuz they weren't robot announcers like I have to endure when Fox Network covers the game instead of Fox Sports SW.
And now I brace myself for the blasts from self-appointed broadcast critics who have no tolerance.

Steve

Rhads was terrible. Especially, when he did his fake "growl" when he thought things were exciting. The growl reminded me of the classic Howard Dean scream. Thank goodness it's over......

Rex

What an embarrassing blog post. I assume Mac was trolling for comments (and succeeded) as no one could possibly believe this drivel.

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