That role was expanded to about 40 games each of the last two seasons. Last year he was in the booth for a spring training game. And this year he'll be there for regular-season contests in addition to continuing to work with Randy Karraker and Chris ...
Fox Sports Midwest is shuffling some of its rotation of pitchers-turned-broadcasters.
Brad Thompson is being added to FSM’s Cardinals television booth as the analyst for about 15 games this season, while Al Hrabosky’s schedule is being reduced by a similar amount.
Hrabosky, 68, and Thompson, 35, are former big-league hurlers who had their most success with the Redbirds. (Unaffected is the other ex-Cards pitcher on FSM’s roster, Rick Horton, 58.)
But Hrabosky, a key member of the team’s broadcast crew for more than three decades, still will be visible. He not only will have about 30-35 game broadcasts, but also remains in the rotation of commentators on FSM’s Cards pregame and postgame shows. And he is increasing his role with the team, for which he makes public appearances and also mingles with sponsors.
Hrabosky could not be reached for comment. But Fox Sports Midwest executive producer Larry Mago addressed the matter.
“That will allow him to expand his role with the Cardinals and cut back his travel while maintaining a significant presence in our telecasts,” he said.
For Thompson, it’s the latest chapter in a growing sportscasting career — one that he never planned when he was a player.
He has been an integral member of the afternoon drive-time show on WXOS (101.1 FM), now the market’s only all-sports radio station, for four years. Then FSM began using him in its pregame/postgame Cardinals shows in 2015, when he made a handful of appearances. That role was expanded to about 40 games each of the last two seasons.
Last year he was in the booth for a spring training game. And this year he’ll be there for regular-season contests in addition to continuing to work with Randy Karraker and Chris Rongey from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on 101.1 FM. He also will be in the FSM studio for some Redbirds pregame/postgame work.
“I’ve been really fortunate,” Thompson said. “I was joking with my wife that I’ve been lucky enough to go from dream job to dream job. Go from playing baseball to getting a chance to talk on the radio — and having a blast at that — to getting a chance to be part of the baseball broadcasts.”
He isn’t afraid to make a point on the air, but rather than delivering it with a sledgehammer it often comes in a light, conversational and sometimes humorous manner. Thompson, never afraid to take a jab at himself, answered in that fashion when asked if he had thought about an eventual broadcasting career during his playing days.
“I thought I was going to play well enough that I’d never have to work again,” he said lightheartedly. “That was the initial plan.”
A 21-21 big-league record with a save and a 4.46 ERA for a six-season career that ended in 2010 is a fine accomplishment, as is a World Series appearance in 2006. But those don’t exactly put him in a pay category in which winning a Powerball drawing would be blasé. So there was no retiring from work when his baseball career was over in his late 20s.
“I joke that I married a masters degree, so maybe my wife would be doing all the heavy lifting and I’d be a stay-at-home dad” if not for broadcasting, he said. “I’m not sure what direction I would have gone. Maybe teaching the game.”
He stepped on the broadcasting path by happenstance. Personnel moves at WXOS led to some fill-in work opening, and Chris Duncan passed Thompson’s name along to management as a possible candidate. Duncan, a former Cards teammate of Thompson, had made the transition from the field to talking sports there — and still does.
“I kind of fell into the broadcasting part,” Thompson said. “That turned into me spending an entire offseason there and eventually turned into a full-time gig.”
That “gig” now will include working alongside FSM Cards play-by-play announcer Dan McLauglin on occasion.
“Brad knows the game and makes it fun, as fans have seen on pregame and postgame shows,” FSM’s Mago said, adding that the exhibition game Thompson did last year “went well. We’re pleased to give him more opportunity in the booth.”
And Thompson is delighted to have the new assignment.
“I’m glad this came along, I’ve been having fun with broadcasting and the media side of things,” he said. “I really enjoy the radio stuff, and the pre- and postgames. And getting an opportunity to be in the booth for a (few) games, I’m really excited about that. I’m excited for this next step and hopefully I don’t mess it up along the way.
“I’ve taken advantage of each opportunity as it has come by, and am having fun with it,” he added. “None of it feels like work yet. I hope it stays this way.”
The remainder of FSM’s on-air Cards broadcast crew is expected to return other than studio host Sara Dayley not being retained, with little or no change in the number of assignments.
“We expect everyone (else) back and are working to finalize contracts and schedules,” FSM said in a statement, adding that it will show the Cardinals’ spring training opener, against the Marlins at 12:05 p.m. on Feb. 23 (a Friday), as well as 14 other exhibition contests. “We’re excited to get started.”
McLaughlin will have the play-by-play assignment for the entire regular-season slate of about 150 games, with Horton, Tim McCarver and Jim Edmonds rotating with Hrabosky and Thompson in the commentator’s slot. All of them are expected to also have some pregame and postgame duties, as they have in the past, with Rick Ankiel also having some studio work again.
Jim Hayes is back as the primary on-field reporter, and Scott Warmann returns as the lead studio host. A secondary anchor, which Dayley was, remains to be added. Hayes fills that role on occasion.
No changes are planned in the team’s lineup of radio announcers. Anne Carroll, manager of the Cardinals Radio Network, said Mike Shannon and John Rooney again will call the home games, with Rooney and Horton on the job for road contests. Mike Claiborne will fill in when one of the others is absent.
The network, anchored by KMOX (1120 AM), plans to air 18 spring training games starting with that Feb. 23 opener.
THE HALL CALL
This year’s baseball Hall of Fame class is scheduled to be disclosed Wednesday, and MLB Network has a five-hour extravaganza planned surrounding that.
Coverage begins at 2 p.m., with Hall President Jeff Idelson revealing the names of those to be inducted at the announcement set for 5 o’clock. Interviews with those elected are set to follow.
Greg Amsinger (St. Charles High, class of 1997) and Brian Kenny are co-hosts of the show, with former St. Louisan Bob Costas featured prominently. Costas recently was named winner of this year’s Ford C. Frick Award, which is presented for excellence in baseball broadcasting. He will be honored at the Hall of Fame on induction weekend, July 28-29.
The coverage Wednesday also will be streamed on MLB.com and MLB’s Facebook page (https://tinyurl.com/y96qmar3).
He’s back! back! back!
Chris Berman, who stepped down this year after serving as ESPN’s lead host for NFL studio shows for 31 seasons, is set to return Sunday night to work with old partner Tom Jackson, as well as Keyshawn Johnson, on “NFL PrimeTime.” They’ll discuss the day’s conference title games and look ahead to the Super Bowl.
The show is set to air from 9-10 p.m. Berman also will host “NFL PrimeTime” from the field after the Super Bowl, alongside Randy Moss and Steve Young.
Hosting these shows are part of the deal he and ESPN reached when it was mutually decided that he would cut back on his NFL presence.
“‘PrimeTime’ put a lot of smiles on a lot of people’s faces on Sunday evenings, and I hope we bring some of those back,” Berman told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re not a couple of old fossils, but it’s also not our first rodeo. I just hope we don’t get thrown off the horse.”
Media Views returns Feb. 2.
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