22 December 2015

John Smoltz to become new lead MLB on Fox analyst

Only two years after deciding to replace Tim McCarver with the duo of Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci, the MLB on Fox is shaking things up with their lead broadcast booth. As first reported by the Daily News, newly inducted Hall of Famer John Smoltz will be taking the analyst spot next to Joe Buck. Smoltz has spent several years working games and the studio for MLB Network and has spent the last two seasons on the backup crew at Fox after a number of years at TBS.

If you recall when Fox announced that Reynolds and Verducci would be in the booth with Buck, I said at the time that if Fox was going to go with a three-man booth that instead of including Reynolds, they should have included Smoltz (who was in the mix for the lead analyst job at that time as well). I have long been a fan of Smoltz in the booth and I think he is one of the top analysts in the sport right now. There is a reason why ESPN reportedly went hard after him

The Buck-Reynolds-Verducci booth never really seem to jell and it was an odd mix. The problem was not with Verducci who I think has done a pretty fine job as an analyst despite his unusual background for such a gig as neither a former player nor a former coach. Verducci was always well-prepared (not a shocker there) and brought an unique perspective to the booth. It looks like Fox will be keeping him around as an analyst and that's a welcome development in my opinion.

The problem really centered more around Reynolds who never really was a good fit in the booth. Even as I liked him more than a lot of people did, he always seemed to me to be more comfortable working as a studio analyst than on live action. Plus, his bad joke about the baseball exploits of Canadians wasn't really a good look (even as that whole brouhaha got a little overblown in my opinion) but I don't think that was a rationale behind making this move. Richard Deitsch reports that Fox currently has no role for Reynolds but the honchos seem to want to keep him around so take that as you will. 

All in all, I think this is an upgrade for Fox and Smoltz should be able to team with Buck to form a pretty strong broadcast booth. Who knows, maybe Smoltz will be able to help out with a lot of people's irrational hatred of his new partner.


  1. Any word on the other crews for 2016 for the MLB on Fox?

    Will Thom Brennaman return to the national Fox broadcasts or just stick with regional action for the Reds? Also, any reason why did he not return to do the MLB on Fox in 2015?

    1. Your guess is as good as mine. Besides FOX Sports moving a lot of the "MLB on FOX" broadcasts the last 2 years to FOX Sports 1 (or FS1 as they've been calling themselves lately), I've noticed a handful of local broadcasters such as the Cubs' Len Kasper, the Twins' Dick Bremer & the Orioles' Gary Thorne among the voices that have also called games regionally. This much I do know. He'll be incorporated into the Padres' broadcasts next year on FS San Diego as a part-time voice in Dick Enberg's final season, but it's my understanding that ex-Red Sox voice Don Orsillo will be part of the "MLB on FOX/FS1" national broadcasts next season. Who Orsillo will be paired with, let alone who else will be providing analysis is also unclear.

  2. Major League Baseball on Fox should have NFL on Fox theme on Fox,FS1 and Fox Sports Networks.

  3. Actually, "MLB on FOX" had its own theme music. That was until current FOX Sports' boss Eric Shanks decided that the familiar "NFL on FOX" music should become the network's theme for all of their sports properties starting with the 2010 National League Championship Series. It's been that way ever since, and that includes a marching band version of the theme for its coverage of College Football & Basketball broadcasts. As for John Smoltz replacing the duo of Tom Verducci & Harold Reynolds as "MLB on FOX's" lead analyst, this move should've been made right after Tim McCarver retired.