Barry Jackson

Fox hires new Miami Marlins play-by-play announcer to replace Rich Waltz

Paul Severino was named the Marlins’ new TV play-by-play announcer on Wednesday, replacing Rich Waltz. He previously worked at MLB Network.
Paul Severino was named the Marlins’ new TV play-by-play announcer on Wednesday, replacing Rich Waltz. He previously worked at MLB Network. Courtesy Fox Sports Florida.

Fox Sports Florida and the Marlins have found their new TV play-by-play announcer: former MLB Network voice Paul Severino.

He will call 150 games alongside returning analyst Todd Hollandsworth.

Severino replaces longtime Marlins TV play-by-play man Rich Waltz, who was dismissed Thanksgiving week.

Severino has been working at MLB Network, calling big-league games and World Baseball Classic games and hosting various studio shows since 2011.

Beyond baseball, he also served as play-by-play announcer for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey tournament in Buffalo, New York. He previously was an anchor at ESPN, a studio host for NHL Network and a sports talk radio show host for TuneIn Radio.

“I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to live out my dream as the voice of a Major League team,” Severino, a native of Bristol, Conn., said in a statement. “I’m grateful to Fox Sports Florida for affording me this wonderful opportunity. As the Marlins build toward a level of sustained success, I’m thrilled to be able to have the best seat in the house and, along with Todd Hollandsworth and our production team, bring the fans closer to this promising young club. I’m looking forward to making Miami my home and becoming a part of the Marlins baseball community year round."

Fox Sports Florida and the Marlins both insist that the decision to dump Waltz was made by Fox.

Fox has declined to explain why Waltz wasn’t retained, much like it declined to explain two years ago why popular TV analyst Tommy Hutton was dismissed.

The Marlins were involved in the audition process that resulted in Severino’s hiring but said they had no input in the decision.

As Sirius XM’s Craig Mish previously reported, others who auditioned for the Marlins TV play-by-play job were Mets announcer and UM grad Scott Braun, Fox Sports Florida studio host Craig Minervini, Milwaukee Brewers radio announcer Jeff Levering and Anaheim Angels announcer Jose Mota. 

Minervini will return as the Marlins’ studio host. Fox and the Marlins dropped analysts Jeff Conine and Preston Wilson but retained reporter Jessica Blaylock and stuydio analyst Jeff Nelson.

The candidates who auditioned for the TV play-by-play job called a game with Hollandsworth in Fox’s Fort Lauderdale offices.

Severino becomes the sixth TV play by play man in Marlins history, following Jay Randolph, Joe Angel, Dave O’Brien, Len Kasper, and Waltz, who had held the job since 2005.

The Marlins’ TV contract with Fox expires after 2020, and the sides have been discussing an extension. The deal pays the Marlins less than $20 million per season, the lowest in baseball.

In an August version of his Project Wolvervine business model, Jeter projected the Marlins’ TV revenue to soar from $20 million to $51.6 million in 2021.

Disney previously announced that ESPN is purchasing nearly two dozen Fox sports regional networks, including Fox Sports Sun and Fox Sports Florida.

Here’s my Wednesday post with what evaluators have to say about all the position player prospects that the Marlins acquired this offseason.

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