In reporting on ESPN removing Joe Morgan and Jon Miller from the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth after two decades Richard Sandomir of the New York Times wrote that Dan Shulman was likely to replace Miller as the play-by-play announcer.
SI.com media writer Richard Deitsch just tweeted that the move to Shulman is now all but official, although there’s no word yet on the speculation about Miller being asked to remain with ESPN as a radio announcer.
Orel Hershiser is expected to replace Morgan as the lead analyst and it’s possible that ESPN could look to keep a three-man booth that it had for the past two seasons, but reading between the lines it seems like the expanded booth was done mostly to provide an alternative voice to Morgan and isn’t likely to continue.
Joe Morgan issued a short statement to address ESPN declining to renew his contract after 20 years as the lead analyst on “Sunday Night Baseball”:
I was not surprised by ESPN’s decision. They have been taking “Sunday Night Baseball” in a different direction the last two years and I was not comfortable with that direction.
And that was it, which makes it pretty clear that Morgan was pushed out and isn’t happy.
As for the part about the “different direction” that Morgan wasn’t comfortable with for the past two years, as Richard Sandomir of the New York Times notes it seems pretty obvious that he’s referring to the addition of a second analyst in the broadcast booth, first with Steve Phillips in 2009 and then with Orel Hershiser this season.
Sandomir reports that Hershiser is expected to take over as the lead analyst in 2011, with Dan Shulman replacing Jon Miller as the play-by-play announcer. So far at least there’s been no talk about a potential third person in the booth, so perhaps that “different direction” ESPN took was mostly about having another voice besides Morgan.