Friday, the Texas Rangers were left with no choice but to relieve John Rhadigan of his television play by play duties. You can call it a “firing” if you want to, but Rhadigan’s returning to a duty that many in the DFW sports media would love to have.
And one that he never should have left in the first place given his lack of play-by-play experience. Something that really showed the moment Rhadigan started calling his first games in spring training.
I recall that he couldn’t differentiate between left field and right field, and misidentified players’ names. Then once the season started, he credited a Ranger with an RBI on a double play in one game, then failed to realize a strikeout occurred on a foul bunt with two strikes.
Two weeks ago with Neftali Feliz on to protect a one run lead against the Angels, he yelled “Strike Three” on strike two. And last week came one of the final nails in the coffin when he called, “It’s a home run…no, but it’s going to bring a run home” on a ball that was hit over the Phillies’ left fielder’s head.
It was painfully obvious that Rhadigan was in over his head. Yet, anytime anybody complained about it (myself included), such detractors were slapped down by fellow members of the DFW sports media because Rhadigan is such a nice guy.
So allow me a little latitude to make a couple points on this.
I write for a blog for a team with a number of “nice” guys. But if one of them is playing up to par or makes a mistake, I can’t throw out the defense that they’re a nice guy.
It’s an absurd defense to make, but unfortunately, the sports media here in Dallas has that tendency to set aside all objectivity when it comes to criticism of one of their own.
Now that having been said, I will agree with all those who think Rhadigan was put in a no-win situation. Dallas-Fort Worth is a top 5 media market. And it goes without saying that when it comes to on air sports talent, we demand nothing but the best.
And generally, that’s what we get. We have Brad Sham, Eric Nadel, Mark Followill, Chuck Cooperstein, and Ralph Strangis. Last year, Josh Lewin was a member of that club with his slightly offbeat style of throwing in pop culture references that perhaps the casual portion of the television viewing audience didn’t get.
But he made the broadcasts entertaining, even when the on field product through the mid 00’s wasn’t. I’m not sure if it’s because Nolan Ryan or Chuck Greenburg had an issue with him. Or perhaps Tom Grieve might have even grown tired of working with him. I don’t know.
But his contract wasn’t renewed and it left a number of Ranger fans, myself included, bummed to know that he would not be calling any games.
It’s worth noting that on his radio program alongside Mark Elfenbein, Lewin admitted he felt badly for John that he lost his job and said thanks, but no thanks to his supporters about pushing for a return to the play by play booth.
At any rate, the thinking from the Rangers was that they wanted a straight play-by-play man. So what better way to achieve that goal than hiring somebody with no play by play experience!
And for all Rhads’ supporters in the DFW Sports Media, that’s ultimately where we are directing our venom. I hold no ill will against Rhadigan. I feel bad for anyone who loses a job under the circumstances that Rhadigan lost his.
I just happened to think he wasn’t cut out for this job right now. And the Rangers couldn’t wait for him to learn on the job.
I am happy to know that FSSW is retaining Rhadigan’s services as he’ll return to the anchor chair for pre and post game coverage. Out of all the FSSW hosts, I’ve always thought he was the best.
And he never should have left that post.