ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers' newest television voice admitted Wednesday that he doesn't have extensive play-by-play experience. Rhadigan said he broadcasted some basketball games straight out of college and that he's called some Texas Collegiate League All-Star Games a few years back. But mainly, Rhadigan has been anchoring the pregame and postgame shows for Fox Sports Southwest.
That doesn't mean he can't make the transition to the booth. The Rangers didn't hire Rhadigan for his vast play-by-play skills. They want someone who can complement analyst Tom Grieve and let the pictures help tell the story.
"I believe that a TV play-by-play guy should be a storyteller," Rhadigan said. "He should tell the story of the game, but he should also tell the story of the team. It's exciting for me because the story of this team is a really good story. It's an exciting and really fun story. We're modern day storytellers. For me to extend that now to the both is a pretty natural thought at least to get my brain around just to sit in the booth and have fun and tell the story of the Texas Rangers."
When the Rangers started the process of finding a replacement for Josh Lewin, they looked at some current radio or TV broadcasters in baseball with Texas ties. They talked to Scott Franzke, who used to work on the pregame and postgame for the Rangers and is now on the Phillies radio broadcast, and to Brian Anderson, who does play-by-play for the Brewers and is the son of Rangers scout Mike Anderson. But the timing wasn't right for either to leave their current jobs.
Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine spoke up at a meeting that Rhadigan might make a good choice. The team interviewed him (and others) and had Rhadigan do a practice game off a monitor with Grieve. The two showed chemistry and the club decided Rhadigan, with his knowledge of being around the club for awhile, was the right choice.
"They have a natural repoire and we've seen that on stage at various events," Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg said. "The more we thought about it, even though it is unconventional and a little bit out of the box, it could be a team that could grow together and have a comfortable, light-hearted tone that a broad spectrum of our fans would really enjoy. So we decided to go forward."
Some of you have emailed me and messaged me on twitter questioning the "wow" factor here. Well, I don't think there is much "wow" factor. I'm also not sure that matters. Rhadigan is a hard worker. He knows the game and he'll learn even more about it quickly (he won't have a choice sitting next to Grieve, one of the top TV analysts in the game, and having Eric Nadel to bounce ideas and questions off of). He's comfortable on camera and will pay attention to the details of not just the statistics, but the personalities of the players.
Greenberg said TV is the analyst's medium. He has a point. Rhadigan's job is to plow the road for Grieve. I think he'll do that. So be patient and give Rhadigan a chance. It may not be the crisp, perfect broadcast on Opening Day, but my bet is it will find a rhythm soon enough.
What do you think of the choice?