Monday, June 15, 2009

Is Jon Miller Leaving ESPN Sunday Night Baseball?

I'm not trying to start a rumor here. But for two weeks in a row Jon Miller has not been in the broadcast booth for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

Dan Shulman, who is a very good broadcaster, filled for last week for the Philadelphia Phillies-Los Angeles Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium and again last night at Progressive Field where the Cleveland Indians hosted the St. Louis Cardinals in an interleague game. If you watched the game, Indians pitcher Cliff Lee regained his Cy Young form by taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning en route to a complete game three hit shutout.

Miller and Hall of Famer Joe Morgan have been broadcasting games on Sunday nights since 1990. However, this season Steve Phillips was added to the crew. Phillips, the former General Manager of the New York Mets, has been with ESPN since 2005 appearing on Baseball Tonight and doing color commentary on ESPN Wednesday Night Baseball.

It has made for a crowded announcers' booth. Two color commentators and one play by play guy just doesn't work. Morgan and Phillips are constantly one upping each other talking about everything under sun except what is going on the field. Miller can barely get a word in edgewise. It makes for a very annoying broadcast. I'd rather listen to Tim McCarver for crying out loud than to hear Morgan and Phillips go back and forth. I mean Vin Scully is 81-years-old and can broadcast games all by himself. We don't need three announcers.

Joe Morgan is very cantankerous in the first place but Miller's light hearted touch smoothed out those rough edges and made for a nice balance that I have enjoyed for the past 20 seasons. Steve Phillips has upset that balance and I don't think Jon Miller is happy about it.

Again, I don't want to start a rumor but Miller has never missed two weeks in a row. It is certainly not a health issue because Miller is still doing San Francisco Giants games on radio and TV. So something is amiss.

Let Steve Phillips remain on ESPN Monday Night Baseball and leave the Sunday night game to Joe and Jon. If ESPN can do that I will be in my happy place.


Neuramigo said...

I'm with you on every count.

I found it strange that for two weeks they have said that Schulman was filling in for Jon Miller but haven't given a reason for his absence. It's good to know he isn't sick. There hasn't been anything in any of the media (other than this blog) that I've been able to find about Miller's absence. I think you're on to something here.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your comments.
Two weeks ago, when Miller was still in the booth and Morgan and Phillips were trying to one up each other, I wrote to the ESPN ombudsman and basically said what you have: "Phillips is tolerable in small doses only. Put Miller and Morgan back together. If Morgan has become a problem, let Miller do the broadcasts by himself until they find a suitable partner."

Like you, I have been a faithful viewer for almost 20 years.

Anonymous said...

on Miller is the reason I watch baseball on Sunday evening (the smoothest voice is sports' broadcasting- - the threesome that has been playing with the new trios is not working and is causing me to search for other entertainment.

Family T said...

Miller has been on the Giants broadcasts the last two Sundays. THis past Sunday, he worked radio for the Giants-A's game, joking what a beautiful sunny San Francisco day it was, and too bad he wasn't in Cleveland.

night524 said...

I didn't notice he missed TWO weeks in a row, but on the game where Cliff Lee almost had the no-hitter, that was Game 5 of the NBA Finals also broadcasted on ESPN.

I don't know the history of NBA playoffs and Sunday night baseball, but I'm thinking that might have something to do with it, where up against the NBA Finals, perhaps Miller asked for a week off.

ACcountryFan said...

Jon and company did last night's game between the Dodgers and the Angels. I was also looking all over the internet for some sort of reason why Dan Schulman was filling in for Jon for not one, but TWO weeks.

I really don't think Steve Phillips' arrival signals the end of Jon Miller, though, seeing that both Phillips and Morgan are analysts, not play-by-play guys.

If anything, Joe Morgan may be exiting and Steve perhaps is being given this one season shot to see if he and Jon Miller are compatible in case Joe exits at the end of the season.

But...I do find it interesting that Jon was doing the Giants games the past two Sunday's that he wasn't on ESPN. Is Jon's contract becoming like Vin Scully's? Vin doesn't do Dodgers games in the midwest or the east coast...he stays on the west coast.

If the Dodgers are in the World Series, though, Scully has said that he'd travel to the mid-west and east coast if they're playing a team out there. Next week's Sunday night game will be on the east coast, I think...we'll see if Jon Miller will be there or if Dan Schulman is doing the play-by-play. If Dan's doing the game, then Jon must have a new clause in his contract allowing him to stay on the west coast primarily.

Eric Roberts said...

Another week we missed Jon! It's not the same. I love the game but I really miss Jon Miller.
I swear my Monday mornings have been worse for the last 3 weeks...

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear others share my feelings about Sunday Night Baseball. I watch it for Jon & Don't know why after twenty years they think they need two.
Basketball is same way with 3 people, two of them disagreeing with each other. My sound goes off.