Ready for more Bert Blyleven broadcasting Twins games? No? Well too bad, because he just signed a two-year contract extension with Fox Sports North.
Although he will be back providing color commentary in 2017 and 2018, he will be doing fewer games, down to 80 per year. In 2016 he did 100 games. Roy Smalley, Jack Morris and Tim Laudner filled in for the games Bert didn’t broadcast this season, and it’s not clear if they will be the only fill-ins going forward. Bert told the Star Tribune that he and FSN are “jointly considering multiple options” for the 70 games he won’t be on the air.
Tom Kelly—who did some analyst/color commentary for the Twins in the past—has already stated that he has no interest in ever broadcasting again, which is a shame.
Bert’s contract extension comes after a season where he was more openly critical of the Twins than in the past. Last May, Blyleven criticized Brian Dozier for failing to move the runner over in one at-bat and accused Phil Hughes of asking to be taken out of a game after just 75 pitches (of course, it turned out later that Hughes was battling shoulder fatigue that led to season-ending surgery in which he had a rib removed). Shortly after Bert’s on-air critiques, an unnamed player approached Dick Bremer in the clubhouse and complained about the broadcast being to hard on the team.
There’s no word on whether those critiques had anything to do with Bert’s reduction in broadcast time. I’m willing to bet they didn’t—Bert’s probably just getting older and more sick of it.
Who would you like to see broadcast more Twins games on FSN? Who would you like to see join the FSN team?