Barry Jackson

Popular Marlins announcer set to make return to booth. And media notes

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"When you compete, you're competing to win", said Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter during a press conference at Marlins Park the day before pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training
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"When you compete, you're competing to win", said Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter during a press conference at Marlins Park the day before pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training

A six-pack of media notes on a Tuesday:

The most popular television analyst in Marlins history is set to return to the booth this week – but only for a handful of games.

Tommy Hutton – who previously served as the Marlins TV analyst for 19 seasons - will work alongside Paul Severino and Jeff Nelson on Fox Sports Florida’s coverage of the Marlins-Tampa Bay games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hutton and Nelson are filling in for Todd Hollandsworth, who is taking off the next two games.

Hutton will be in the booth for three more games – Sept. 6, 7 and 8 against Kansas City – alongside Severino and Gaby Sanchez.

Fox’s decision to dump both Hutton after the 2015 season and Rich Waltz after the 2017 season were monumental mistakes and has left Fox with two announcers (Severino, Hollandsworth) who simply sound too much alike, two announcers who are credible professionals but not particularly distinctive or unique.

To the Marlins’ credit, the new ownership group persuaded Fox to add Hutton as a studio analyst last season.

New Marlins ownership said it had nothing to do with Waltz’s removal. According to multiple sources, Fox was primarily responsible for Hutton’s ouster after 2015, but the old Marlins regime also contributed to that decision.

Perhaps Fox will do the right thing and bring back Hutton for at least a half season package of games next season. I’m convinced the fan base would embrace that. But I’m not counting on it.

Meanwhile, Marlins announcer Dave Van Horne also will take off the next two games. Sanchez will join Glenn Geffner on the WINZ-940 broadcast of those Marlins-Rays games.

WSVN-Fox 7 sportscaster Steve Shapiro planned to quietly retire at the end of this year. But WSVN management didn’t want him to leave, and he and the station recently reached a contract extension through 2020.

Shapiro, whose wit and lively delivery have distinguished his work over 29 years in the market, is the longest tenured sportscaster in South Florida television history.

Rachel Nichols takes over as ESPN’s host of the NBA Draft lottery at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, which will be preceded at 8 by an evening edition of her afternoon show, “The Jump,” in which she interviews commissioner Adam Silver… ESPN has this year’s Western Finals and TNT has the Eastern Finals.

Impressive job by the fledgling XFL to land TV contracts with ABC, Fox, ESPN and FS 1.

Fox will televise games nearly every late Saturday afternoon/early evening when the league debuts next year during the weekend after the Super Bowl. Fox also will televise two Saturday prime time games in early April.

ABC will air games in an earlier window every Saturday afternoon and three Sunday afternoons. ESPN and FS-1 will have games on Sunday afternoons and evenings.

Fox will air one playoff game and ESPN will carry two, including the championship at 3 p.m. on April 26, the day after next year’s NFL draft ends.

All four networks are gambling that football fans will have more interest in the XFL than the Alliance of American Football, which folded this spring before completing its first season.

Chris Perkins recently left his position as co-host on 790 The Ticket’s afternoon drive show to focus on his sportswriting career for The Athletic. Former UM football players Brian Monroe and Rashad Butler have been filling in alongside Curtis Stevenson since Perkins’ departure.

ABC booked Houston-at-Oklahoma for the Sunday night of Labor Day weekend – the same slot that the UM-LSU game had last year.

Beyond that game and UM-UF on ESPN at 7 p.m. Aug. 24, ESPN and ABC haven’t yet announced their early season college football schedules, though Notre Dame-at-Louisville is expected to be televised by one of those networks on Labor Day night.

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