Rangers voice Dave Barnett expected to miss rest of season


Rangers play-by-play announcer Dave Barnett, who hasn’t been back in the booth since the incident two weeks ago in which he started spouting nonsense on the air, said Monday that he is taking an indefinite leave of absence.

As you may remember, Barnett pretty much lost it for a few seconds in a game on June 18, reporting that “the go-ahead run is at fifth on what [Mike] Adams is insisting on calling it a botched robbery. What actually happened was his henchman took piece literally out of,” before his mic was cut off. He was put back on the air 20 seconds later and everything seemed normal enough afterwards, but it was announced the next day that he was being sent for an evaluation.

“I want to thank everyone for your kind sentiments and words of encouragement over the last couple of weeks. It has meant a lot to me during what has been a very difficult time,” Barnett said in today’s statement. “Effective immediately, for health reasons I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from my broadcasting duties that I expect to last for the remainder of the season. I would ask that you please respect the privacy of me and my family during this time.”

Steve Busby, who was doing radio play-by-play, will continue to fill in for Barnett on the TV side.

Kris Bryant wants to be Cubs’ player rep, vows to “fight” for next collective bargaining agreement

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Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.

While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”

As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”

It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.