Preusser: ‘Til death do us part: the longest relationship in baseball

From Kate Preusser at The Hardball Times on December 29, 2016:

When Vin Scully called his final game for the Dodgers, it ended a 67-year career, the longest active broadcasting streak in major league baseball. This led Gemma Kaneko of Cut 4 to put together a list of the longest-tenured broadcasters for each team. Looking at the infographic (at right), one of the first things that jumps out is that the shortest tenure for any team is 11 years, with Charlie Slowes of the Washington Nationals, who took the helm in 2005, when the team was relocated. The other thing that becomes readily apparent is that the jobs slow to a trickle as the decades wend on. The ’80s saw 13 new broadcasters begin tenures; the ’90s, just eight. There are only three names on the list from 2000 on, and none in the past 10 years. Four of the people on the list have seen seven presidents since their first day on the job. Legendary Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker has been in his role since before Disney World opened. Eric Nadel, in Texas, has been on the air longer than CNN.

When you type into Google “how do you become a sports…,” one of the top suggested results is “broadcaster.” But thanks to media outlets moving toward a less localized model, the number of general broadcasting jobs is on the decline, with a projected decrease of 14 percent over the next 10 years. Sports broadcasting, as shown by the Cut 4 article, is especially stagnant. What this leads to is a backlog of talented, educated, relatively youthful voices calling games that hardly anyone hears, their voices echoing through half-empty ballparks and across the still, quiet parts of small-town America. The minor leaguers whose careers they chronicle move on and move up, while they stay behind, in towns like Mobile and Modesto and Biloxi, waiting for a break that might not ever come.

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Originally published: January 3, 2017. Last Updated: January 3, 2017.