I missed it in all the hubbub about Brian Cashman’s holiday festiveness/long-awaited mental breakdown, but ESPN announced its replacements for Joe Morgan and Jon Miller yesterday: Bobby Valentine, Dan Shulman, and Orel Hershiser. As, you’ll recall, no fan of Morgan, I am cautiously optimistic.
I was impressed by Hershiser’s work in the shadow of Miller and Morgan last year; I thought that he brought some good solid analysis to the table, and with considerably less bluster than his co-hosts. As for Shulman, I know I must have watched games he’s called before, but I can’t really recall any distinct impressions of the man. Quick Googling reveals that he wears glasses and is Canadian, so clearly we can assume he’s smart and reasonable.
Meanwhile, my fondness for Bobby V turned to pure love the moment he pulled his Groucho glasses stunt, and what I read about his time in Japan a few years ago just reinforced that. Not to mention that, according to him, he invented the wrap sandwich, which should probably put him in the Hall of Fame just by itself. My only concern is that Valentine will dial it down too much on national TV – he never got too wacky or inventive on Baseball Tonight last year, holding back the full force of his personality. But if he can relax and let himself cut loose on camera, he’ll be great, a natural performer.
I only wish I had time to whip up a photoshop image of Shulman, Valentine, and Hershiser’s heads transferred onto the bodies of Ted Danson, Tom Selleck, and Steve Guttenberg. Get on that, please, internet.