The use of plural in the title of this post may be slightly misleading, as there’s really only one rumbling on this subject that I’ve seen, but it’s from the ol’ Hall of Famer, and kinda makes complete and total sense…

Technically I wouldn’t call Ashby a “Houston native”– he’s from California– but I know what Elliott’s getting at here. The Jays’ radio (and occasionally TV) broadcaster lives in Houston, spent the bulk of his playing career in Houston, was a sports anchor in Houston following his retirement, did some managing in the Astros organization, served as their bullpen coach, and then became the club’s colour commentator– a job he held from 1998 until 2006.

He was let go, it is widely believed, because he was too honest about the Astros club he covered for the liking of the previous owner. And I definitely recall that when we had him on the DJF podcast a few years back, he called us from a Houston number. So, while I can only speculate that a return to a Houston job (there are openings in both the TV and radio booths, says Crawfish Boxes) would be preferable for him– maybe it’s not– like I say, it would make a lot of sense.

Whether it’s possible is another story, as there isn’t any reliable information that I can find to indicate what Ashby’s contract situation is. His Wikipedia page directs us to a Jordan Bastian piece for BlueJays.com in 2007, which explains that he was signed for three seasons of work. Someone on Wikipedia then adds a line suggesting he signed a five-year deal in 2010, a notion that has absolutely nothing I can find to corroborate it.

If it were a thing, though, I’m not sure how much of an obstacle a pact with the Jays would be, if both Ashby and the Astros really wanted to reunite– “dream job” and whatnot, y’know?

It would be a tough blow– y’know, on account of how Ashby is so the best– and it has certainly led to some speculation on what might happen in the Jays’ radio booth, should he be poached. There’s far from a consensus on what folks would like to see the Jays do, and while personally, I think Mike Wilner has paid more than enough dues to be first in line, I can’t help but wonder if they’d be more inclined to replace the ex-player with another ex-player, making Dirk Hayhurst, Gregg Zaun, or perhaps even Jose Cruz Jr. more likely targets.

It’s all entirely just spitballing, of course, and way too early to bother, most likely. But all of the obvious choices there sure would be divisive, one way or another, wouldn’t they? Could get interesting…

Comments (133)

  1. If I have to listen to Zaun every game day…..

  2. Maybe they can trade him for a utility infielder and then flip the infielder for a relief pitcher.

    Seriously, though, losing Ashby would be the worst.

  3. This would be too bad.. it was nice to get a break from the Buck and Pat show every once in a while. On tv that is.

  4. That would be a shame. Jerry and Alan have been stellar together.

    Wilner has definitely paid his dues, and it seems he wants to do play by play. But I like him as post game host/all things Blue Jays guy. I think Dirk Hayhurst would be good. Considering Dirk’s only really been doing broadcasting for a year, I think he’s surprisingly good. Maybe a Jerry/Mike/Dirk three man booth, and they let Mike call a couple innings?

    I really don’t think we have to worry about Zaun going to radio. Too big a TV star now.

  5. I think Cruz Jr. has a full-time dealio with ESPN and ESPN Desportes…he’s on Baseball Tonight a whole bunch and is one of the main guys on the Desportes side of things. Doubt he’s going to drop all that for a local radio gig. Zaun Cherry is going to be on TV as long as the meathead portion of the audience apparently keeps lapping him up. Hayhurst seems like he’s being groomed for a radio role. I’d put my money on him replacing Ashby.

  6. Please don’t go!!!! And no Wilner.

  7. Can we just drop “dream job” from the lexicon from now on?

  8. Can we start a stoeten for radio campaign?

    But seriously. Ashby should have landed the tv job long ago. Fuck back martinez

  9. Losing Ashby would be very sad, though I suppose it would be nice for whatever Astros fans are left to enjoy listening to him call an awful team.

  10. I think Ashby is the best broadcaster the Blue Jays currently have along with Mr. Howarth. I’d hate to see him go but yes a move back to Houston would make complete sense. I’ve wondered why Sportsnet has stuck with Buck and Tabby so long on the t.v. broadcasts with such a superior option in Ashby in the booth.

    If Ashby does leave, I think Wilner deserves a shot to replace him. I know many out there have a huge hate-on for Wilner but he does a decent job when he’s called on to do play-by-play. Plus it may give the Wilner haters someone else on the pre and post-game shows to hate on.

    • personal issues aside, Wilner’s game-calling “chops” are minor-league calibre at best, in my honest opinion. the jays deserve a big-league talent like ashby for generation of the team.

  11. Maybe he is pining for the TV job? Putting a little pressure on? Anything to get Tabler out of there.

    • It would break JC’s heart if his Zaunie wasn’t manning the desk with him.

    • tabler has to be the most insipid broadcaster of baseball maybe ever. No emotion, vapid questions, party line answers to everything and feeding pablum to Buck the entire telecast.. As the so called analyst, what does ever analyze?
      Constantly telling me that a guy “knows how to win” or is a “gamer” doesn’t help me understand why Lind has become a Fukstik. He wouldn’t even criticize the Jays or Farrell last year when Sierra couldn’t remeber his eyeglasses e’day, or the fukups on ther bases. Ashby lambasted them for that as he should. I hope Ashby stays-he’s great but I would understand if he didn’t

      • I would take Rance back over Tabler.

        • I agree. Rance was too in depth for Rogers I think. I enjoyed his insight more than the sequence of self effacing sentences followed by chuckling that we get too much of with Martinez and Tabler.

          • Rance was awful. All he talked about was what was going on in people’s minds. How the fuck can anybody dispute that?

  12. Hey, Stoeten–

    Have you ever heard any rumours of Ashby replacing Tabler?

    Holes remaining on the roster: Happ-superior starter, DH, bullpen piece, Tabler replacement.

    I had the fanciful notion recently that with all the excitement for the coming season–which ought to translate into increased viewership–the club would want to upgrade in the TV booth. Tabler’s redolent of the mediocrity and diminished expectations of the pre-2013 Jays and as such needs to be bounced onto BJ Way.

  13. Bring back Dan Shulman for Monday to Saturday broadcasts.

  14. Dream job

  15. If Zaun replaced anyone, ever, I’m becoming a Marlins (Jays affiliate) fan.

  16. Wilner is the absolute worst. I’d pick Jose Cruz simply because he is not Zaun or Wilner. I’m not sure why people complain about Pat and Buck. They are as good as it gets IMO, the only better duo was Dan Schulman and Buck.

    A dream scenario is Zaun is past over, Zaun throws a fit, drinks 5,000 beers, and kills Jamie Campbell, therefore, Campbell dead, Zaun in jail.

    • You enjoy Buck and Pat but want Jamie Campbell to die??!?

      • Here here for pat and buck ! – calling baseball like its supposed to be – Fun – not yammering on with their own criticisms incessantly.

        • You honestly enjoy having rainbows and sprinkles shoved up your ass by those two all game long? Every position player is an elite calibre all-star to them.

        • No, you are right, repeating the same platitudes ad nauseum is the way to go. Who needs insight and information.

      • Yes I do. Jamie Campbell single-handedly robbed me of my love of baseball for however many horrible years he was talking at me for. I think Buck and Pat have a kind of laid-back charisma. You are all nitpicking in a way you could probably do about any major league broadcaster. You think you wouldn’t misspeak broadcasting 162 3-hour games? Oh wait, I know what you clowns would do, talk about WAR and WINGO and BNG_DSP and 643/380 Requirements. Wonks.

        And sure they are positive, the majority of broadcasters have some level of homer-ism built in. A lot of your responses seem to indicate “Ashby is better because he is more critical,” but a lot of his criticism sounds like whining or just passive-aggressive bullshit to me.

        Let me just say by “as good as it gets” I mean on the Jays landscape. Obviously not as good as Vin Scully or whomever you’d consider the top guys.

        Anyone remember a few years back there was a wild rumour that Bob Costas was considered for the job, and then the next day it was like, “No, Bob Costas commands $20 million a year.” Maybe I dreamed that.

        But let’s find some common ground we can all stand on. Greg Zaun is very gross.

        • I know the posters below are critical of the blunders, but I didn’t even realize that Buck and Tabby made that many. I personally found them boring and uninformative. Ashby has stories, man.

          • there are a lot of places to get in depth analysis of every pitch and every swing – and i like to visit those places to get a more in depth perspective of the game I love – but when I’m listening to/watching the game, I want to be entertained – I want to spend a few hours escaping my stresses and enjoying the game I love – obviously I’m different than most but I really appreciate the announcers that remind me of why I loved the sport to begin with…

        • Buck and pat are awful. Buck has a speech impediment for fuck sakes and every second word is SEEZIN

    • “Pat and Buck. They are as good as it gets IMO”

      This is where I stopped reading.

      • buckblunders.com

        For my money, the best buckblunder was when he indicated that Adam Lind had driven Adam Lind home with the game winning run.

      • No kidding. Buck has actually gotten worse with the mistakes and miscalls. Tabler got a little better as the season wore on, but it’s mostly fluff. Bring back Mulliniks.

      • “JonhG says:”

        was where I should have stopped reading.

    • LOL, ‘as good as it gets’. Ive been accused of giving people too much rope when it comes to job performance, and even I wish they’d hang themselves with it…..

    • How many shrooms do you eat before each game?

    • I like Buck and Tabby too, fuck the haters :)

    • Pat and Buck aren`t really that bad, people just have really boring lives on here ;)

  17. First off, that would suck. Ashby is a great broadcaster and his voice makes the tv broadcast so much better (although out of sync).

    I would be interested to see how Wilner does full time at it. He was not terrible in his few stints this past season filling in, but he did not blow me away as a play by play guy. I personally think he handles the call-in show very well (sorry if he has verbally raped you but you might have mostly deserved it).

    That being said, Dirk would be a different take on the job which could also be refreshing. I don’t like his writing style, but I like its content.

    • Wilner isn’t terrible but I feel like I’m listening to a minor league broadcast during his call, something about him just doesn’t do it for me

      • Wilner’s technically OK. I thinl it’s his voice. He doesn’t have it for play by play or the colour.

  18. There will be no Zaun, because we would not be able to see his outfits on the radio.

  19. If Wilner or Zaun get the job I’m out- I’ll watch in utter silence.

    I even like Wilner on Jays talk and as a Fan590 baseball guy. But I’ll pass on the announcing.

    • How can you put Wilner and Zaun in the same sentence? People mostly criticize Wilner because of his style on the call-in show, but he has broadcast skills. Zaun, simply, does not.

      • Wilner can have a conversation about baseball, sure, but I wouldn’t say it qualifies as broadcast skills. A quick google of Wilner will show how many people hate the guy – fine for a minor post-game shock jock, but not a good thing for somebody who has aspirations to go mainstream.

  20. Can we trade Jamie Campbell, Gregg Zaun and Buck Martinez to the Houston Astros for Wandy Rodriguez’s contract? I would pay anything for those morons to be off the TV.

  21. There are few things more enjoyable than listening to a ball game on the radio. A pastime I was forced to abandon when the blue jays hired the intolerable Alan Ashby. I would say that this rumor coming true might tie for the best jays news in years, except that there is a chance he might be replaced by Wilner or Zaun, two truly awful options. There is always a chance that they’ll go in a different direction all together making this the best off season in blue jays history, and after what we’ve seen so far there is a reason to believe anything is possible…

  22. My understanding is that the last time this happened, Wilner wasn’t interested, since he didn’t want to be away from his kids that much.

  23. Nooooooooooo……

    Had hoped Ashby was moving to the tv this year. Already listen to the radio and mute the TV (can’t take tabler anymore… just listen to how often he drops his ‘s’ on everything. The blue jay have won 3 game this week with a lot of timely hit and inning from their starter’) and losing Ashby would be a nut kick. I’d take Hayhurst over Wilner – like wilner ok but just sounds like he’s trying too hard on the play by play. As long as Howarth is still there to anchor it though, he can make a decent broadcast with either (or both) of those guys.
    But really, after the money spent in the off-season, fuck it all and pay shulman whatever he wants to come here and do the TV broadcast, and move someone to the radio. I know I’m dreaming, but that sure would be nice.

  24. Stoets. What’s you’re dream job?

  25. I put the colour in colour commentator

  26. Give it to Wilner, he’s a good guy and has paid his dues.

    I’ve never understood why some people don’t like him.

    • Because hes a moron that says dumb things and then tries to talk himself out of it whenever people dont like it.

      • Not even remotely true.

        • Remember at the beginning of this past season, when Wilner said Brett Cecil had “Greinke-like” stuff?

          Someone then asked Keith Law in one of his chats if this was true, and KLaw essentially indirectly called Wilner insane.

  27. Why can’t Ashby and Howarth do the radio and TV broadcasts? Just simulcast it. Added benefit of saving rogers a few pennies which I’m sure they’ll love.

    • Because calling games on TV and radio are different. They require different skills and style. It has been done, but it shouldn’t be.

  28. Take Tabler with you didn’t he play for the Stros

    • Tabby would love to go to the Stros to look at all the big shhhhtrong young players

  29. It is hard to think of somebody who wouldn’t be a downgrade on Ashby, but I’d switch to TV commentary if Wilner replaced Ashby.

    There are only so many ‘-nesses’ and ‘lovely and talenteds’ one can take before wishing to blow one’s brain out. That is to say nothing of his smug tone and ingratiating ways with Jays staff and media colleagues. I admire his passion for the game and hard work, but his private clubhouse attitude and contempt for the broader fanbase make him a poor, poor broadcaster.

    Somebody once – perfectly – compared him to Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons. Not the kind of character you really want to listen to for three hours a night.

  30. Hire Ray Hudson. Iwanna hear what he has to say after a home run.

  31. Does this equate to more jamie campell filling in?

    Aaaaassssss

  32. please not Wilner. please not WIlner. Oh for the love of God please not wilner.

  33. jamie campell > wilner

  34. My favourite Ashby moment was a few years back when he moaned and complained about the Jays catchers not being techinically sound (blocking pitches, pitch management) on a daily basis. Fed up with his constant blather I looked up his catching stats from his playing. The expert on all things catching led the N.L. in 1980 with 14 passed balls and six times during his 17 year career finished top 5 in that category. He also finished 4th or higher four times in the most errors by a catcher dept. So I guess he knows all about below average catching.

    • Heh. First of all, you’re an idiot for hating on Ashby, but when has he ever said he was anything better than a stiff? clearly you haven’t been paying attention.

      • Do commentators need to be hall of famers? ‘Cos I’ve got to tell you, the most accomplished players usually make the worst broadcasters, whereas jobbers like Ashby are brilliantly astute.

    • Look up how many 1 hitters and no hit games he CALLED ALL THE PITCHES FOR. Man, what a chump…

    • J.R. Richard’s slider=passed ball

  35. Nooooooo. Not Wilner. Yes he has paid his dues but he doesn’t bring any insight to the game. He takes contrary positions and then denies them.

    Why does having Wilner in the booth remind me of…..Warren Sawkiw?

  36. BTW Ashby has explained that he was the catcher for one of the Niekro’s, that will drive up your passed ball totals.

  37. Bob Elliot is wrong, the rumour should read

    Allan Ashby has a 2 year offer to catch for the yankees this season. Though he will be one of the younger players on the squad Ashby is considering the offer.

  38. I would miss Ashby greatly. He is both honest and a gentleman ( Which makes him the exact opposite of Mcowan). If he does go. If he comes back with the Astros, he needs to throw out the first ball so the fans can give him a proper standing ovation.

    Wilner is condescending and doesn’t know half as much as he thinks he does. Blue Jays talk is often unlistenable.
    Hayhurst would be my choice.

    • im with you, Wilner is condescending and often tries to support his views with intellectually dishonest points, something about his character just rubs me the wrong way. Ontop of that, he just sounds over-excited about stuff that he should chill out on and his play-calling skills in general just aren’t very good, tone of voice, smoothness, whatever you wanna chalk it up to, he doesn’t have the talent to be a big league play by play man, its just not him.

    • +1.

      I can’t see Wilner doing play by play on a regular basis.
      Doesn’t it make more sense to have an ex player , like Hayhurst do play by play?

      I could see Wilber correcting Horwath’s grammar & spelling on a reular basis.

  39. who gives a fiddlers fuck about ashby!!! whats his WAR in the broadcast booth for the Jays?

  40. Given that all the sports properties at Sportsnet are “Synergized” I don’t get why they just don’t simulcast the TV and radio broadcast. Do tape-overs for any medium-specific advertising, bump Howarth and Ashby’s salaries by half, lose Martinez and Tabler’s salaries (wind up saving $$ in the aggregate) and we get a superior, baseline product across all mediums we enjoy our Jays games on.

    How is this not win-win?

  41. they manage to simulcast PTS OK enuf-so yeah, make sene to me

  42. Mike Wilner is awful, i can’t stand listening to him , he is a complete ass. I would like to see Zauny get it if anyone.

  43. I’d love to see Dirk Hayhurst slide into a permanent spot with the Jays in-game crew. For his first year in radio, I thought he did really well in the couple of games that he did last season.

  44. Why not stick McGowan in the booth?…Rogers is paying him, might as well get some value out of that investment.

  45. all ‘i got from this was that you guys used to be able to pull legitimate guests? what happened?

  46. Well then, perhaps his leaving will help shed some light on Dickeys value for Jays fans.

  47. If this happens the only acceptable alternative would be poaching Russ Langer from the 51s.

  48. I think Zaun would be an excellent choice – sheer dilution of airspace to fill would tone down his need to “get out the gate hot” in a sound-bite world, he won’t need to be Don Cherry (ie. less bloviating and more “just let the game flow”). He was good in the games I heard him call when Ashby moved over to TV. He grew up in SoCal where he listened to and reveres Vin, has great baseball pedigree (Uncle Rick and some others I think) and was a catcher (the new Touchstone in baseball, donchaknow).

    I sure don’t want to lose AA the Elder, but Zaunny deserves a shot if there is an empty chair/extra mic (not Mike).

  49. fuck you all. i have became a crusty cynical asshole since working with zaunie. yall bitches eat jello and talk to buck bout being fisted

  50. btw anyone got some extra pine tar?

  51. just get rid of pat tabler, that guy is just painful to listen to

  52. I think Wilner is great. Sure I want to choke him to death but he’s still great. Can we please have buck and pat shot in their respective faces and just have Jerry and whoever call radio and tv?

  53. Best ashby moment is when he proclaimed “this bullpen change is brought to you by Mike’s Hard Liquor”

  54. If Ashby leaves, so be it. Hayhurst would get my vote to replace him. Zaun is just too controversial and tends to speak his mind. I doubt they’d give him the job for fear of what he might say. Wilner is an okay guy, but a former players perspective would add more to the broadcast.

  55. Ashby on TV with Buck for colour.

  56. Speaking of memorable comments from Alan Ashby, during a 2012 game with the Angels, it was mentioned that if Mike Trout were to win the American League batting title, Trout would be the youngest player to win the title since Al Kaline did it in 1955. Ashby said that in honour of that accomplishment in 1955, all batteries are now named after him (alkaline). Too funny!

  57. My vote would be for Hayhurst. I like Wilner, but in a specific role. Is place is on Twitter and doing the pre/post game. He’s good at it, but I agree with what other comments have said, he just doesn’t have “it” when it comes to broadcasting. (Plus, I really want to be listening when Dirk punches Wilner out for calling him ‘Hay Dirkhurst’ for the 1000th time).

    My only concern is with Jerry’s age. He needs someone who can call the game every two innings. Someone he can groom as a successor. I listen to most of the games on the radio and I don’t remember DIrk ever actually calling anything, just doing colour.

    When Jerry goes, even if it’s 10 years down the road, it will be a massive hole to fill. The sooner he can get a full time partner (Someone I hoped he had in Ashby, who I’ve enjoyed), the better I’ll feel.

  58. Zaun’s wardrobe is perfect for radio.

  59. Hayhurst colour, Wilner commentary…once Jerry doesn’t want to do it anymore. Zaun can stay where he is.

  60. Fuck off you lousy bash happy cunt… you know you’ll never be what Cheek was in this town

  61. Loving the new uni’s for Houston, and the fact the Rainbow Pride band seen on Ashby’s shoulder is not making the return with the “H”

  62. Seriously??? Mike “Fucking” Wilner to do play by play? He hardly does a good job doing the mid game shit and comes across as a smug fuck doing the pre and post game shit. for him to call a full game…? I’d rather listen to Gregg Zaun pretend to be smart all game long than to listen to Wilner’s smug cunt make queef noises for nine innings. Fuck that shit.

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