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Curt Schilling to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

Dec 9, 2013, 9:28 AM EDT

Curt Schilling AP

Yesterday we learned that Orel Hershisher is leaving ESPN to take a job broadcasting Dodgers games. Because, for some reason, ESPN thinks that a three-man booth is good for baseball (it isn’t) they felt obligated to fill Hershiser’s spot. And because, for some reason, ESPN thinks Curt Schilling is someone people want to listen to (he isn’t) they have given him the gig. Schilling will become a Sunday Night Baseball analyst alongside play-by-play commentator Dan Shulman and his former Phillies teammate John Kruk.

Schilling is not dumb and, in the studio, he is capable of making good points from time-to-time. He also, however, (a) tends to fall back on cliche at a pretty high rate; and (b) has a habit of trying to say too much in too short a time and his voice gets high and strained and, frankly, it’s kind of exhausting to listen to him for a long time. One wonders how he’ll sound over the course of a three-hour broadcast.

The bigger issue here is the insistence by ESPN on having a three-man booth. It leads to exceedingly long stretches of conversation among the broadcasters, with everyone trying to say things to justify their existence in the booth which, in turn, causes them to ignore game action for several minutes at a time. I mean, say what you want about Joe Morgan, but at least when it was him and Jon Miller in the booth they talked about the game going on in front of them. Now? Sunday Night Baseball is often unwatchable or, at the very least, unlistenable. Adding Schilling does nothing to remedy that.

  1. proudlycanadian - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Following a certain bankruptcy, he probably needs the money.

    • km9000 - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      It’s not really a surprise that he accepted. More like why did ESPN offer it to him. I think Chris Singleton was their “B” game analyst, but probably not a big enough name. Not that it should really matter.

  2. thomas844 - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    I never minded Schilling that much, though this doesn’t really affect me since all I watch for baseball news is MLB Network.

  3. slaugin - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    It’s for Sunday night games, not News

  4. rugdaniels - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Congratulations ESPN, you made me miss Joe Morgan. Thanks.

  5. alexo0 - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    When they talk about how ratings are declining for national broadcasts, maybe they should look at what the viewers of national broadcasts have to put up with.

  6. NatsLady - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Off topic, and only marginally connected with baseball, but, all the yelping about taxpayers paying for stadia–the Baylor Bears (college football) are moving into a $260 MM stadium next season, and paying their head coach $4MM/year for the next ten years. Trust me, your tax dollars are paying a fair share of THAT, too, by way of rising tuition costs funded with subsidized student loans.

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      Baylor is a private school

    • sbmcintosh36 - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      No taxpayer money its a private school and uncle Drayton made largest donation in history after his sale of the Astros and even more impressive all suites and season tickets already sold out…go troll somewhere else with your uninformed self

    • dcfan4life - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      Wow NatsLady, you dropped the ball on this one. Making a comment with no relevance AND being misinformed.

    • stoutfiles - Dec 9, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      Even though it’s not the case here, yes, college costs and their indirect costs on taxpayers are a huge problem, but when something provides entertainment (football) all logic goes out the window.

      I personally don’t understand why people donate to their college. Your college is likely swimming in money. If you’re feeling charitable, there are good people out there that DO need money. Of course, the mega-rich do it so they can a building named after them and have a big banquet in their honor.

      • dcfan4life - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:06 PM

        Swimming in money huh? Ya know the founder of Under Armour saved the University of Maryland right? Huge programs have cut athletics altogether to save money like Northwestern, California, and Miami. Every schools different. Some schools need those donations badly for new facilities, sports equipment, teachers, programs, etc…

  7. sdelmonte - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Good move by the Dodgers, though. With the legend likely to retire next year, it’s good to build the team now that will have the hardest job in the world in replacing Vin.

    • dcfan4life - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      Orel Hershiser, Nomar Garciaparra, are the Dodgers just raiding ESPN for their new TV coverage? I thought it was usually the other way around, ESPN raiding local broadcasters. Refreshing to see it reversed though.

    • gloccamorra - Dec 9, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      Hershiser returning to the Dodgers is more shocking than Schilling at ESPN. I thought his intro when he joined the Giants, admitting he was a former Dodger (“…but I’ve been in rehab in Cleveland and I’m much better now”) really cut the connection. Sure, he finished his career with the Dodgers in 2000, but he lasted there barely two months, stinking up the joint, before the dodgers released him.

      As far as Schilling’s squeaky voice is concerned, I’m sure ESPN technicians can modify his microphone, and even insert canned cliches recorded from his calmer moments to cover his trying to squeeze too many words in a short period of time. Sooner or later, ESPN will realize they can team up with DreamWorks to eliminate the human element and cover games with realistic versions of long-ago great sportscasters.

  8. km9000 - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Indifferent about Schilling, but ESPN’s move seems tone deaf. I’m sure Kruk wasn’t a popular hire either. I’m a little more concerned about the idea of Harold Reynolds being the main color commentator for Fox.

    As for Hershiser, he was my first sports hero growing up, and I enjoyed listening to him on ESPN in recent years. I guess I’ll have to watch more Dodger games now, though with this being Scully’s last year I’d already planned on it.

  9. mj2sexay - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Please. These criticisms towards Schilling don’t exist in this article if he shilled towards the left. And this is coming from a Yankee fan who hates being put in the position to defend Curt Schilling (although Kingdom of Amalur was actually a really good game.)

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      I don’t care about Schilling’s politics (although him screwing over his employees and the state of RI is another matter); however, I think he’s a bad analyst for all the reasons Craig mentioned and more.

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      I skew pretty far to the right and I think Schilling is an idiot.

      • mj2sexay - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:57 AM

        Funny, I don’t recall saying he wasn’t. But if his political views matched say Alec Baldwin, then I don’t think Craig is as vehement in his criticism.

        Furthermore, I actually don’t think he’s that bad as an analyst. You do realize this is a profession that’s also currently plied by Kevin Millar and Mitch Williams right? Schilling is a downright genius in comparison.

      • asimonetti88 - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:40 PM

        Just because there are others that are worse doesn’t make Schilling any better.

    • kevinbnyc - Dec 9, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      I don’t know what Schilling’s political views are, and I don’t care, because he could lean any way he wants and he’d still be a MASSIVE douche.

  10. lightcleric - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Maybe I’m just desensitized from all the crappy commentators I’ve listened to, but I don’t find Schilling to be as bad as he’s being made out to be. At the very least he’ll tell you his honest opinion(I remember one game where he was brutally honest about Heath Bell’s effectiveness and velocity at his age), unlike Jon Gruden who thinks every player is the best player he’s ever seen or Joe Buck who doesn’t even seem to give two craps in at least half the baseball games he does.

    I think Craig’s right on the first point though, the three man booth in any sport, baseball included. At least it’s not Tony Kornheiser like they tried with MNF…he’s okay for 30 minutes, god awful for 3 hours.

  11. bobwsc - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    bring back Bobby V! if there is a more annoying blowhard than Valentine, they found him.

  12. anxovies - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    I miss Joe Morgan and Jon Miller. They understood that they were merely the backdrop for the game that was being played and not the other way around. TBS also has a 3 man crew in the booth and it is also a disaster. Between the announcers shuffling for air time, the graphics and replays, the interminable interviews with managers and player during the game, and celebrities pitching for their favorite charities the game at hand gets lost.

    • rje49 - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      Totally agree with you. About those in-game manager interviews; mostly useless, but not as useless as the running-off-the-field-at-halftime football coach interview.

  13. ncphilliesguy - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    I know Kruk a little bit. One time I asked him what he thought of Schill, and he said, “well, I liked him every five days, because we usually won”.

  14. riverace19 - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    Perhaps the most annoying broadcaster out there.. Big downgrade from Hershiser

  15. caeser12 - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Haven’t listened to, or watched BSPN going on 5 years now. I feel so much better, you should all try it.

  16. mtr75 - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Guess I wot be watching that anymore. Getting rid of Miller and Morgan was bad enough. This is just appalling.

  17. bolweevils2 - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Three man booths aren’t always bad. I don’t mind the Mets three man booth with Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, and Keith Hernandez at all.

  18. eagles512 - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I actually like Schilling’s analysis

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