Dave Shea Fired, New York To Name Stadium After Him. Oh, Wait A Minute ...
The Nationals announced Wednesday evening that, just forty-four days before the start of spring training, the team has fired veteran announcer Dave Shea. Shea was shocked getting the word this close to the start of the new season, especially with no ownership yet in place. In an interview with mlb.com, he said that he acknowledged difficulty in getting the hang of some of the aspects of National League ball that he never saw during his years in American League cities. "I was slow to adjust to double switches late in ballgames. By midseason, we thought that had been corrected. I was under the impression everybody liked the broadcast. I was a little taken aback today."
Clearly, Shea was my second favorite announcer in the Nationals' radio booth, but I enjoyed him nonetheless. His was a more "forced"and "formal" style while co-announcer Charlie Slowes had a more "folksy" aire to him. It seemed that Shea sat in my living room and broadcast the team's games in a nice suit and expensive shoes. Slowes seemed to be wearing a polo shirt, jeans and sneakers. But the two of them complemented each other. You know. Starsky and Starsky would never have worked; he needed Hutch to make the duo complete.
I'm upset on several fronts. First, they only gave Shea one year to prove himself, not nearly enough time. Secondly, they fired him long after he would have an opportunity to catch on with another team. Lastly, I liked the guy. Charley and Dave were friends, and collectively, they were our friends too.
Perhaps the worst part of the change is no longer knowing every nuance of our announcer's voice. Towards the end of last season, you could tell if something good or bad was about to happen by simply listening to the inflections of Charley and Dave. By the time I heard, "There's a drive into the gap...," I could usually tell if the ball was going to be caught or bounce to the wall by the way the words were expressed. I'm going to miss Dave. Sure, they might find someone better, but that new person wouldn't have experienced that special, first season with all of us. And that's sad.
Looks like the team is moving it's radio flagship to a Bonneville Communications' outlet in the D.C. area. Bonneville [named after Lake Bonneville, the huge inland lake that kept most of Utah and Idaho underwater for thousands of years] is owned by the LDS Church, based in Salt Lake City, just two hours south of me. Don't worry. Your genealogy won't get done and missionaries won't come to your door if you listen to the games.
I can arrange both, however, if you like. :)