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Marlins Make a Statement With New Analyst Hires

Jason Barrett

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FOX Sports Florida, the statewide television home of the Miami Marlins, on Friday announced Eduardo Perez, Preston Wilson and Al Leiter have joined its roster of Marlins on-air talent for the 2016 season. In their new roles, the trio will alternate as color analysts for Marlins games on FOX Sports Florida, alongside play-by-play announcer Rich Waltz returning for his 12th year in the broadcast booth.

“We are thrilled to have Eduardo Perez and Al Leiter join Preston on our Marlins broadcast team this upcoming season,” said FOX Sports Florida SVP / General Manager Steve Tello. “These three former Marlins will take turns providing their baseball expertise and unique perspectives for fans tuning in throughout Florida. Together, these new voices for our broadcast compliment what is shaping up to be a very exciting year for the Marlins.”

Currently, Eduardo Perez works on ESPN as a Baseball Tonight studio analyst and was recently named to the Monday Night Baseball team beginning for the 2016 season. He also appears on Béisbol Esta Noche on ESPN Deportes. Perez was previously an analyst at ESPN from 2006 through 2010. Perez spent 13 seasons (1993-2006) in the Major Leagues, primarily as a first baseman, for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners. He also served as bench coach of the Houston Astros (2013) and hitting coach of the Miami Marlins (2011-12). Perez was drafted in the first round by the Angels in 1991 after leading the Florida State University Seminoles to the College World Series that same season. His father, Tony Perez, is a Baseball Hall of Famer.

Preston Wilson enters his fifth season with the FOX Sports Florida broadcast team, adding color analyst to his previous role of pre-, in- and post-game analyst, after enjoying a nine year MLB career. Wilson was drafted by the New York Mets in the first round of the 1992 Amateur draft and made his MLB debut in May of 1998. Just two weeks after joining the Mets, he was traded to the Florida Marlins. As a rookie centerfielder, Wilson led the team in home runs and runs batted in. He finished second place in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting. The following season (1999) Wilson joined the 30-30-club, slugging 31 home runs and stealing 36 bases. He went on to win a World Series ring in 2006 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Al Leiter is entering his 11th year as a color analyst for the New York Yankees on The YES Network. A 19-year MLB veteran, Leiter was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1984 and made his major league debut with the team in September 1987. Throughout his career, he played for the Yankees, 1987-89, and 2005; Toronto Blue Jays, 1989-95; Florida Marlins, 1996-97, and 2005; and New York Mets, 1998-2004. He won World Series rings with the Blue Jays (1993) and the Marlins (2000). Over his career, he went 162-132 and sported a lifetime ERA of 3.80. He was named a National League All-Star in 1996 and 2000 and was the first pitcher to earn a victory against all 30 major league teams. On May 11, 1996, Leiter threw a no-hitter for the Marlins against the Rockies. It was the first no-hitter by a Marlins pitcher in franchise history.

 

Sports TV News

Chris Fallica Leaving ESPN for FOX

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Jordan Bondurant

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A prominent sports betting voice featured on ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to rival FOX and their Big Noon Kickoff show starting in 2023. According to Awful Announcing, Chris Fallica, affectionately known as “The Bear”, will make his last appearance on GameDay will be this weekend.

Fallica has been with ESPN since 1995. Since 2013, Fallica had been featured on GameDay making betting picks with his patented “Bear’s Board”.

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Fallica joins Tom Rinaldi as the second former GameDay voice to jump over to FOX and be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.

Both shows have experienced incredible viewership growth this season. For GameDay, there have been several weeks this season that have seen some of the largest audiences in the show’s history.

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Sports TV News

Tim Brando Believes Executives Look For Familiarity, Not Great Voices For Announcers

“Executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio. As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Tim Brando has seen the broadcasting industry has evolved in a lot of ways through the years, but one thing that’s remained constant is how infrequently some of the announcing gigs with major networks open up to younger voices.

That’s mainly because you have veteran talent already occupying those positions with no plans for the immediate future to step aside.

On a recent edition of The Sports Talkers Podcast, FOX Sports broadcaster and host Tim Brando spoke to Stephen Strom about the reality that many broadcasters face.

“Yeah there are a lot more jobs, but there are fewer great jobs,” Brando said. “A lot of guys are getting jobs, but it’s like a dead end.”

But in terms of hiring younger talent for network jobs, he thinks it’s become more about adding faces to broadcast booths rather than voices.

“There’s a tendency I think now in our business to hire more visible and perhaps more popular talent because they’ve been in the studio,” he said. “But they’re not ready to be in the booth. Not everybody can do both well.”

Tim added that there’s a nuance to calling play-by-play versus working studio coverage. Brando said that perhaps it has a lot more to do with young broadcasters bypassing getting their start in radio and going right into TV.

“It seems to me that in some circles anyway in our business, executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio,” he said. “As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Brando did mention some of the younger voices at FOX who have risen to the bigger opportunities in the booth, and how they ultimately worked their way up. He said he’s had the chance to offer advice to a few of them and act as a mentor in a way, because that’s how it was for him breaking into the industry.

“I believe in pouring into the young broadcasters out there, I really do,” he said. “Because Curt Gowdy poured into me. I think there’s a responsibility and a level of accountability for the generation before to help those that are coming up that you really respect.”

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Sports TV News

MLB Network Airing 38 Hours of Winter Meetings Coverage

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Jordan Bondurant

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The annual winter meetings for MLB are set to take place in-person for the first time since 2019 next week, and MLB Network is ready to bring viewers all the coverage possible from San Diego.

The network is devoting 38 hours of live programming on-site, with shows like MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, High Heat, MLB Now and Intentional Talk emanating from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fans tuning in to MLB Network can expect to see Greg Amsinger, Fran Charles, Brian Kenny, Stephen Nelson, Alanna Rizzo, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Lauren Shehadi and Matt Vasgersian hosting their respective shows throughout the week. Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Al Leiter, Cameron Maybin, Kevin Millar, Dan O’Dowd, Steve Phillips and Harold Reynolds will contribute coverage as analysts.

MLB Network will also carry coverage of the inaugural draft lottery from the winter meetings on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m.

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