UPDATED at 5:30 p.m.
Read into this however you may, but the Dodgers have decided that having a consistent radio broadcast team means Charley Steiner won’t be doing any TV work during the 2009 season.
Dodgers VP of communications Josh Rawitch confirmed that Steiner would come off the 40-odd FSN Prime Ticket and KCAL-Channel 9 road game package that Hall of Famer Vin Scully passes on each season (all games East of the Rockies) and go back to working exclusively on the KABC-AM (790) radio broadcasts for the entire season with Rick Monday as his partner.
The decision to make Steiner-Monday the radio team for all 162 regular-season games (after the three innings that Scully simulcasts to open each contest) also means a) Monday won’t have to fumble around with play-by-play any longer and b) former Dodgers pitcher Jerry Reuss unfortunately won’t be needed.
Rawitch told all the parties — Scully, Steiner, Monday, Lyons and Reuss — about the new gameplan on Thursday.
“For us, the move is solely about consistency with our KABC radio team,” said Rawitch, who, with team VP of broadcasting Lauryn Lukin, will ultimately listen to tapes of candidates and present choices to team management. “Jerry has been a valuable member of the organization and he’s understandably disappointed. But we’re looking forward to finding an energetic, talented play-by-play man for the team.”
The 59-year-old Steiner, a former ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor and Yankees TV broadcaster, was hired by the Dodgers in 2005 after the team let go Ross Porter.
“One of the great misconceptions that comes out occasionally is that I wanted to do the Dodgers because someday, I could replace Vin,” said Steiner, a Brooklyn native who grew up following the Dodgers. “The icon-replacing business really is not a flourishing one. And my ego ain’t that big.
“Radio has always been my preference, and we’ve discussed this scenario off and on over the last couple of years. This really is a matter of continuity. From a selfish point of view, I’m thrilled to get to work with Rick every day. I couldn’t be happier with this decision, and I’m sure listeners who tune into the radio will feel the same way.”
So, where do the Dodgers look now for a strong TV presence — and, if you’re trying to figure out, whether this is a tryout for a possible successor someday to the 81-year-old Scully, the newest addition to the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame (linked here) and guaranteed to be with the team through 2009 by his latest contract to give him an even 60 years with the franchise?
Steve Lyons remains under contract for 2009, so whomever does play-by-play will have that element of surprise to contend with.
Start spitballing your list of candidates now.
==Why not bring Porter back, if he’s willing? How’s that for a nifty PR move?
==One seasoned TV guy with a strong local presence that we’d endorese is Bill Macdonald, the longtime Fox Sports Net employee who’s deserving of such a high-profile job after all these years (and should have had the Lakers’ gig by now).
==Same could be said for Jim Watson, if he’s interested.
Chime in with your choices. The team is definitely listening.
== A version of the story now up on the Dodgers’ website (linked here)