After a months-long search, longtime Atlanta Braves play-by-play broadcaster Chip Caray is leaving his position at Bally Sports South and will join the Bally Sports Midwest broadcast team as lead play-by announcer. -play for the St. Louis Cardinals, multiple industry sources said Athleticism Monday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Caray, grandson of legendary former Cardinals broadcaster Harry Caray, will replace Dan McLaughlin, who was set to enter his 25th season as the main voice of television with the Cardinals this season.
- McLaughlin was arrested in early December on suspicion of drunk driving. He was eventually charged with a persistent DWI felony.
- McLaughlin elected to leave his position at Bally Sports Midwest by virtue of a “mutual decision” later in the month.
- Caray will be paired with Brad Thompson and Jim Edmonds, who will alternate between acting as an analyst and hosting in the studio. Thompson will be the lead analyst for the majority of 2023 shows, and supporting reporters Jim Hayes and Alexa Datt will also return to the show.
Caray is leaving the Braves position entirely by choice, a source said, adding that the lure of returning “home” to St. Louis was strong. He grew up in St. Louis and Chip’s parents were divorced. He said Athleticism he rarely saw his father, legendary broadcaster Skip Caray, after he went to Atlanta to work as a Braves broadcaster in 1976.
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Why the Cardinals went with Caray
There have been a few changes in recent seasons to the Cardinals broadcast team, the most notable being the retirement of Mike Shannon in 2021 after 50 seasons as the team’s broadcaster. But until December, Bally Sports and the Cardinals believed McLaughlin was a standout staple for the foreseeable future. When McLaughlin left, the focus turned to hiring a household name.
At the Cardinals’ annual Winter Warm-up charity event last week, CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. noted that several outside candidates were under consideration. Ties to St. Louis were not necessarily a requirement, but would be considered.
“I think that’s a positive aspect of someone’s resume,” DeWitt said. “I would say that’s part of the mix.”
With Caray, the Cardinals gain a legacy in sports broadcasting and a St. Louis native. Caray, who was born in 1965, spent most of his childhood in the greater Saint-Louis area. — woo
What this means for the Braves
Caray, 57, is a graduate of the University of Georgia who moved back to Atlanta in 2005 when he was hired to work alongside his father, legendary Braves broadcaster Skip Caray. The two savored their time together before Skip died in his sleep in August 2008, after his health had declined the previous year.
Skip had worked as a Braves broadcaster since 1976 and was as famous across North America as most star Braves players, so wide was the reach of Braves broadcasts for many years on the TBS SuperStation.
With the departure of Chip Caray, it will end a 46-year streak with at least one Caray in the Braves broadcast booth. It’s unclear who the Braves will hire to replace him, and a source said it may be difficult to find an experienced replacement outside of the Braves network because spring training is only a month away.
Prior to joining the Braves, Chip Caray spent seven seasons as a Cubs broadcaster, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, an iconic broadcaster for the Cardinals and later the Cubs. On May 13, 1991, the three Carays shared a broadcast booth for a Cubs-Braves game.
Prior to his long stint with the Cubs, Caray spent the 1991 and 1992 seasons in the Braves’ booth and three seasons broadcasting Seattle Mariners games.— O’Brien
Caray des Braves’ first outing was short-lived
Chip Caray wasn’t happy when his own job description changed shortly after returning to Atlanta, when the Braves were sold by Time Warner and the number of Braves games on TBS/Peachtree was reduced from 150 to 75, then to 45. His duties changed from voice of the Braves to a combined Braves/TBS national position that required him to step away from the Braves to do TBS Sunday games, and he was not at the comfortable with the split.
After the 2009 season, Caray and Turner mutually agreed to go their separate ways. However, just three weeks later, Caray was hired as the Braves’ play-by-play man on Fox Sports South and SportSouth to replace Jon Sciambi, who left for a position at ESPN. At the time, Braves games were split between the networks, but were later consolidated under the Fox Sports South and Southeast regional networks, later renamed Bally Sports South and Bally Sports Southeast. — O’Brien
(Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)