There’s been a big change made in the Atlanta Braves TV booth for the coming season.
Jeff Francoeur will replace Joe Simpson as the lead TV analyst for Braves games aired on Fox Sports South/Southeast. He’s is expected to work approximately 105 games, according to Mark Bowman, Braves beat writer for MLB.com.
Simpson, who is in the Braves Hall of Fame, isn’t gone. He will work about 30 TV games with play-by-play announc-er Chip Carey but mainly he’ll be on the Braves’ radio broad-casts.
He’ll be in a rotation that again includes Jim Powell, Don Sutton and Ben Ingram.
The move was made, according to Fox Sports South/Southeast general manager Jeff Genthner, so the network and the team could lock up Francouer, who they all think is a potential star based on his work this past season.
I have to believe Simpson’s controversies this past season also had a little to do with it, though Simpson himself asked for a lighter workload moving forward as he approaches retirement age.
But even Simpson expressed surprise by how much his TV workload was cut but was appreciative for the opportunity to do more radio. The plan is to have two of the four in the booth per game.
With Francouer doing about 105 TV games and Simpson doing about 30, that opens up more air time for former Braves pitcher Tom Glavine, who will work an increased number of games as an analyst.
• To finish the thoughts I had in Wednesday’s column on the Braves acquiring Brian McCann, he wanted to return to Atlanta and retire as a Brave and still lives in the area, and that’s why the Braves were able to get him so cheaply.
He’s certainly not the player he once was but he still is considered a good defensive catcher and will platoon nicely with Tyler Flowers.
Something also tells me McCann will come to camp in good shape for one last go at it. The guy has a lot of pride.
As for Johan Camargo, he’ll be their roving infielder who can spell three of the four starters and might also play some left field, assuming Acuna moves to right field.
He’s also good insurance behind just-signed Josh Donaldson if he continues to have injury woes, and he can spell Ozzie Albies at second base. After a dynamic start last season, Albies fell off in the second half, likely because of fatigue playing so many games in his first full season at the big-league level.
• Congratulations go out to my colleague at The Sand Mountain Reporter, sports editor Shannon J. Allen, who reported what he was thankful for the day after Thanksgiving last week:
“My wife, Malarie, delivered our daughter, Maggie Jo, on Friday morning. She weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces and is 20 inches long. Malarie and Maggie are doing well, for which I am very thankful for.”
• Folks of my generation will likely be interested in this. ESPN Films’ next “30 for 30” will look back on Buster Douglas’ huge upset of then-heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in 1990. “42 to 1,” co-directed by Jeremy Schaap and Ben Houser, premieres Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
• He’s not playing yet and may never play, but with linebacker Reuben Foster joining the Redskins, that makes eight former Alabama players on the Washington roster. Most of them are defensive players.
The other seven are DL Jonathan Allen, LB Ryan Anderson, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, DL Daron Payne, OL Arie Kouandjio (on injured reserve) and WR Cam Sims (also on IR).
• Some Bama fans may say turnabout is fair play. Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will interview with Colorado after today’s SEC Championship Game.
Alabama has had to deal with such things in recent years, most notably with Kirby Smart and Lane Kiffin.
Will the upcoming interview distract Tucker? We’ll see.