The Globe's Bill Houston reports today that the CBC is begging off of broadcasting Blue Jays games this summer, thereby robbing us of another year of incomprehensible analysis by Jesse Barfield. Shucks.
Truthfully, we doubt that we'll miss the Ceeb's coverage at all. While we thought that Jim Hughson's play-by-play was probably the best of all the TV announcers, the broadcast itself always seemed a bit flat and detached. The fact that the network's coverage of the team was sporadic throughout the season meant that there was never the sense of where that day's game fit within the season's narrative. Strangely, that never seemed to be an issue with TSN, possibly because of Pat Tabler's presence in both the TSN and Sportsnet booths.
Moreover, it seemed at times with the CBC broadcasts as though Hughson was doing the play-by-play of one game while Barfield and Rance Mulliniks were off on a tangent and watching a totally different game. Maybe things just never gelled quite right between the three of them.
For Blue Jays fans, the impact will be minimal. The team will still have 145 games televised between TSN and Sportsnet, and Rogers will likely provide the MLB Extra Innings preview broadcast for the other 17. There's also the possibility, we suppose, that the MLB Network Canada / Baseball TV will pick up some of those extra games, although with the opposition's feed. The worst case scenario is that you're left listening to the radiocast, which is probably more of a blessing than a curse.
One last thought about the CBC walking away from Jays' broadcasts: They'll come back, eventually. They always do.
UPDATED, because we were so wrapped up in aesthetics that we forgot to mention this sticky little issue: Because of the CBC pulling out, the Jays will likely take a hit to their bottom line in the neighborhood of $2.25 million. So essentially, they'll have to find someone else to cover John McDonald's salary.