Rejoice Braves Fans!
While NL East teams have been busy this past week making moves to make their teams better, it was the Atlanta Braves who made the move of the week. No, they didn’t sign a big free agent or make a big time trade. Instead they announced that Jeff Francoeur will replace Joe Simpson as the lead television analyst. For everyone that loyally tunes into Braves games all summer long, let’s all take a moment to throw our hands in the air and rejoice.
For as much as I love the Braves, I just have never liked the Braves television broadcast team of Joe Simpson or Chip Caray. Chip Caray makes the most obvious statements that convince me he doesn’t know that much about baseball. But he will be back in the booth this year, so I won’t go any further on him. Joe Simpson definitely knows his baseball, but has turned into that old man that enjoys being angry all the time. For the past several years, it seems he is always in a bad mood while calling games, and will get upset over the smallest things, such as when Chase Utley didn’t wear his jersey during batting practice. It seems like he doesn’t even want to be in the booth, which makes it insufferable for listeners.
Enter fan favorite Jeff Francoeur. I have never came across a Braves fan that dislikes Jeff Francoeur, even though he didn’t manage to live up to expectations on the baseball field. He came up as a Brave, debuted in 2005, left Atlanta in 2009, and came back in 2016 before retiring. He has spent the last two seasons calling various games for the Braves and every time he did, I absolutely loved it. He has brilliant insights to the game and is entertaining. He tells interesting stories and sometimes has trouble hiding his Braves bias (which I love as a fan). So within a week of signing Brian McCann to a one-year deal, his former teammate, roommate, and partner in crime of the 2005 “next generation Braves” will be full-time in the television broadcast booth. It’s a family reunion.
While Francoeur will be the lead television analyst, Chip Caray will continue to be the play-by-play analyst. Joe Simpson will not be retiring, though. He will continue his career with the Braves on the radio broadcast team, where he spent many years working before taking over television duties. He is very excited to get back to radio, so I’m glad for him. But I’m also very excited to hear Jeff Francoeur call games on a nightly basis. The only thing that would make this better is if former Brave Tim Hudson would take over as the play-by-play guy. I probably wouldn’t miss a game all year.