Shitty but unexpected news today for those of us who enjoy the Jays’ radio broadcast, as Bob Elliott (or is that Elloitt?) of the Toronto Sun presciently tweeted this gem early this morning:

He followed it up this afternoon with a proper piece on the matter, confirming that Ashby, one half of the club’s main radio broadcast crew, resigned his position on Monday, surely to take a job with the Houston Astros.

The Astros were granted permission to talk with Ashby last month, and given that they had three broadcast vacancies, and that Ashby’s exit in 2006 was involuntary and largely believed to be due to pettiness from ownership, this always seemed a foregone conclusion.

As I mentioned the first time we heard rumblings about it, I recall having him on the DJF podcast, and having to call a Houston-based number to reach him. Ashby makes his home there, 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’s lived in the city in some capacity basically since 1979, when he first suited up for the Astros, having been dealt from the Jays the previous off-season for Joe Cannon, Pedro Hernandez and Mark Lemongello.

“I told Alan [when he extended his contract two years ago] that I wouldn’t stand in the way of him or anyone who wanted to move home,” said Fan 590 program director Don Kollins, according to Elloitt. “That’s where he wants to be. He’ll be a super star. I don’t believe in making people do something that they don’t want to do.”

It makes too much sense, and you can’t possibly not wish him well. Our loss is Houston’s gain, and it’s well-deserved homecoming for a fantastic, rational voice, who’ll be greatly missed here.

The next question, of course, is who replaces him. Elloitt is quick, for some fucking reason, to start banging the drum for fondly remembered mildly above-average 80s workhorse, Jack Morris. He also suggests– as we’ve speculated here before– that Dirk Hayhurst is a possibility, with the ex-Jay-turned-author-turned-broadcaster having taken some work in the booth during the season.

As I’ve said every time this comes up, third-man-in-the-booth Mike Wilner surely has paid his dues long enough, and though he does a fantastic job hosting JaysTalk, definitely deserves to be in conversation. I can’t help but wonder, though, if the belief from the Fan 590 is that they’re now looking to fill an analyst/ex-player role.

That seems to jibe with the names Elloitt puts forth, and wouldn’t bode well for Wilner’s chances. There isn’t an obvious, consensus frontrunner, though, so who knows?


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Comments (121)

  1. NOOO!!!

  2. Cue the “Dream Job” jokes in 3….2…1….

  3. No brainer here. Replace him with Hayhurst.

  4. just please don’t let it be Zaun.


    • I can understand why people don’t like Wilner. But how he treats people on JaysTalk aside, I think he’s a pretty good broadcaster. I would be absolutely be ok with him doing play-by-play with Jerry.

      • Wilner treats people the way they deserve to be treated on Jays Talk 99.9% of the time.

      • Wilner does a fine job. I sure as hell couldn’t deal with those jays talk callers. Christ.

      • I think Wilner’s awesome. He plays kind of a heel on Jays Talk, but I find it funny personally.

      • I think Wilner’s main problem is that he attracts trolls. By engaging the knuckleheads, you only encourage more of these knuckleheads to call in / tweet etc.. He needs to stop that.

        Other than that (and maybe his man-crush on “Los Del V”) I think he’s one of the better broadcasters in town.

        • and “boneface” is kinda lame

        • Agreed – engaging the trolls is his main problem. He gets too easily defensive. He reminds me a little of a Star Trek geek who argues grammar rules of Klingon. Plus, one of the reasons Ashby is so good is that he played the game for so long and spoke from that perspective. Of the current crew, only Zaun fits that bill, but not in a good way. Time to look outside the current stable for someone new.

      • I think Wilner treats people like shit. It would be one thing if he actively tried to explain why someone’s idea is idiotic, but instead he’ll just call the person an idiot because he knows (like most of you guys) that the caller just made an idiotic statement.

        There’s none of this “fan education” stuff that gets bandied about when talking about Wilner. IT’S CATCHER NOT BACKCATCHER THERE IS NO POSITION IN BASEBALL CALLED BACKCATCHER is just someone being a bully. It’s like saying OH MY GOD HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW JOHANNESBURG ISN’T THE LEGISLATIVE CAPITAL OF SOUTH AFRICA. IT’S ONLY THE FINANCIAL CAPITAL, IDIOT.

        • Actually, no, it would be like calling out someone’s grammar and dismissing them because of it.

          “I don’t know whose “an idiot” you’RE referring to, but I assure you I don’t own one” does nothing to move the topic along.

      • He is brutal at play by play.

        • Jays Talk callers, to a man, get what they deserve.

          • The thing that bugged me when I was actually a caller on Jays Talk in 2009 (I wanted to ask a question about why the team was so bad during Interleague and if it was Cito’s fault) and when I came on the air he talked to me about something completely different and unexpected, so I couldn’t do anything but sound like I was pulling nonsense out of thin air. Then he used the fact I was unprepared to talk about his new and random topic to hangup on me.

  6. Time to bring back Warren Sawkiw!!!!


    • The upgrade from Sawkiw to Ashby was probably bigger than the all the upgrades we’ve seen this offseason.

  7. Nooooooo!

    But maybe there is a silver lining. Wilner to the booth! Stoeten or Drew to Jays Talk! Hell, I’d even take Parkes – it would be fun to see him interact with the common man…

  8. Just get Tabby out of there. He provides nothing.

  9. Please Stoeten, allow me to be the asshole who gets rid of assholes on this site when things get happening.

  10. I’ve got Jim in Ohio’s back on this one. If you’ve read through Mr. Hayhurst’s books, you know him to be witty, insightful and honest (to a point). I feel like he’d bring the same qualities to a broadcasting role, though I confess that I’ve not seen his booth turns as they played out. He’d be a solid choice.

    If, however, it’s Rance Mulliniks, I will go on a crime spree.

    • What was wrong with Rance? My old man and I loved him in the booth. Never did find out what happened to him.

    • Yeah I actually quite liked Rance in the booth as well.

      • Rance had awesome insight to the game, although his voice could put you to sleep on a high day…but that is a factor. For some reason baseball intelligence overplays soft hands and voice for me.

    • Living down here in Ohio, I tune in to the Indians games when the Jays are not available. For years the Indians main play by play guy has been Tom Hamilton. Tom is bit of a homer and he’s very opinionated, but I like him as he is always interesting. Tom was better though when they had him paired with former player Mike Hegan. Hegan always shared stories about his playing days and in general was just great to listen to. Hegan had health issues and retired and has been replaced by Jim Rosenhaus. “Rosie” is a great play by play guy, but without that “former player” experience, something is definitely missing from the games these days. Hegan was an all-star in 1969 and a world series champion in 1972. His dad (Jim Hegan) was an all star and caught for the Tribe in the 1948 and 1954 world series. Mike’s stories, especially when he played for the woeful Seattle Pilots, and the for skinflint owners like Charlie Finley and George Steinbrenner are greatly missed.

  11. Hey, at least they got Chad Beck back!

  12. our loss for sure. Ashby w/ Howarth was a good thing. Having him on TV for stints in the season was sooooo much better. i could finally watch with the sound on.

  13. I think Dirk is a pretty obvious, safe choice. He’s good to listen to. Smart, good insight. I thought he was a breath of fresh air on that noon show.

    I would like to see Wilner get a chance too, but as you say Stoeten, I could see them going for an ex player.

    Maybe have Hayhurst as the colour guy, have Jerry do the bulk of the play by play, and have Wilner do an inning or two each game to give Jerry a break.


    • What?

    • Do you listen to the games on radio?

      Try listening to the two clowns doing the Raptors broadcast.
      A good crew is a Godsend.

      • @RADAR You have come out of your closet…yes? Raptors, Twitter?

        • As long as Stoeten doesn’t give me a crotch grab, I’ll be okay.
          Last time he was a little rough..It’s attached,don’t ya know.Reminds me of a girl I knew when i was younger,that’s another story.
          Raptors?It’s the off season what can I say?
          If I’ve heard the clown duo annouce the wrong information once a broadcast,it’d be okay but 4 or five times a night?
          Twitter, I’m still trying to grasp.When i get more confident.I’ll jump on.

  15. I would probably be happier with Jerry calling games by himself than with many of the hack-y ex-players I could imagine.

  16. What’s Rickey Henderson doing these days?

  17. Am I the only one who never liked Ashby? And I miss Warren Sawkiw! Him and Jerry were a great duo. Can we bring him back??

  18. Someone’s being very cheeky and using my name. It’s not me fella’s.

  19. My stance on Wilner has softened since he became less pedant and condescending.
    That’s with Jaystalk.
    He’s tries hard with the play by play and colour but with the number of times Jerry has had to correct him and get him back to the game at hand precludes his inclusion into the discussion.
    He’s got great knowledge,just needs to understand his game audience.

  20. no zaun

  21. I’ve long preferred the model of the two men in the booth alternating the play-by-play, rather than the static play caller with a colour analyst chipping in. But who knows; maybe a three-man booth, with Wilner and Hayhurst both joining Jerry in the radio booth, particularly since someone will likely have to continue subbing in for Buck on the TV side with his other TV commitments.

    And though I’d love to hear Stoeten running slack-jawed simpletons off the air waves on Jays Talk, I can see Wilner keeping that gig combined with joining a three-man booth.

  22. I’m waiting for the day Orlando Hudson retires from the game and becomes a broadcaster.

  23. Robot announcers are the future

  24. Joe Carter

  25. canzler i never heard of her

  26. I might be wrong but I wonder if Hayhurst would even want the gig. It’s pretty regimented and he’s a writer who has a fair bit of flexibility as it is.

    • He never made that much as a player did he? I’m sure the steady money would influence his decision.

  27. Give me my Kubek now!

  28. Hire Vin Scully

  29. Anyone but Zaun or Wilner.

    I like Wilner in his existing role but not as a play by play. Not at all.

    I hate Zaun in all roles.

    Both are way to controversial and get into too many arguments. It needs to be an old happy-go-lucky ex player. Winfield?

  30. I vote for Tim Johnson to replace him.

  31. Jack Armstrong!


  32. I just don’t get the timing of this move. Ashby has been with us through so many shit seasons, so many forgettable games, and he leaves now for the start of the first of many irrelevant seasons of astro baseball. I wish him all the best but damn, why now?

    • Im sure professionallly, its a huge step down. But when you factor in that he lives there, hes old as balls, and he’ll get to stay home half the season (instead of never), it makes perfect sense.

  33. Maybe Jose Canseco would take the job. He’s going to need time before getting Canadian citizenship and running for mayor.

  34. I am devastated.

    Last thing we need is another Paul Romanuk/Rod Black/Pat Tabler/Rance Mulliniks/John Cerutti(RIP)/Warren Sawkiw (remember him? He was the WORST) broadcaster who is mild mannered and witless.

    The rapport and mutual respect between Howarth and Ashby was the best since the days of Cheek. He will be sorely missed.


  35. why can’t I post

  36. Tim McCarver and Sean Mcdonough….with Pat O’ Brien providing anysis.

  37. No Zaun
    No Wilner

    YES Hayhurst

    • NO WILNER — the man is too self conscious and irritating. He just begs for your respect like a whiny dog at the dinner table.
      Zaun I don’t hate him as much as everyone else here. He may be wrong but I find him fun to listen to.
      YES HAYHURST. He’s entertaining but not by accident like Zaun. He also knows his stuff and puts it on the line. I like him better than Ashby who I liked but sometimes felt like he talked to us like we were six year olds who just lost our first tooth.

  38. now I can, this thing sucks

  39. I guarantee Jamie Campbell was the first person in line with his resume.

  40. Matt Vasgersian

  41. Maybe Miguel Batista? He’s not officially retired, but I don’t think he has any offers for next season.

    This voice could work:

  42. Lazlo Paniflex

  43. I always think of Alice Fazooli’s and awkward segues into talking about Alice Fazooli’s when I think of Warren Sawkiw.

    • I remember a specific instance of one of those awkward segues when Sawkiw played up the strawberry mojitos at Alice Fazooli’s. Yeah, I won’t miss those either.

  44. When Wilner doesn’t get the job, I hope he resigns in protest.

  45. Its ok, the Jays will go get Costas, Buck, and Scully now to fill his place, if the rest of the offseason is any indication

  46. Mark Lemongello!

  47. John Cerutti would be much better than Wilner, and I hear he isn’t doing anything.

  48. Gonna miss him, wish him the best of luck in Houston! They got a good one.

  49. I’d pick Dirk over Wilner.

  50. Wilner blocked me on twitter. I’m still bitter.

  51. Wilner doing a fantastic job? What is this a joke? In his Dec 24th column, he said that the Jays have 5 aces. As much as I am rooting for the 2013 rotation, there’s no way its composed of 5 legitimate aces. I questioned him on it via twitter, and he didn’t admit his fault, just said that Dickey and JJ are aces, and he believes Morrow is one too.

    That’s just one example of the infinite number of times he is way off base with his commentary. He’s a tool, he’s a prick, and he’s the last guy who should be considered.

    I vote for Dirk by default.

  52. Zaun is retarded, Wilner is both a complete pud and total fucking nerd and Hayhurst thinks he’s the shit but really.. Garfoose? Go fuck yourself you shitballing fuck, just awful.

    First Shulman, then Cheek now Ashby.. How do we lose the talent and retain the shit?


  53. Hate Wilner, and while we’re at it hate Jerry too.

  54. Jamie Campbell must be creaming himself. I would take Zaun over him and that is crazy talk.

  55. Drew to replace Ashby. Fire Wilner. (nothing personal). Give Stoeten his job.

    I think whatever else it would be, we can agree it would be entertaining.

  56. Mike Wilner is a Cunt.

  57. Frank Thomas anyone?

  58. Ashby was alright, but at least now don’t have to hear people around here about he should replace Buck or Tabby.

  59. that blows about ashby leaving. he managed to help me to try and forget about TC.

  60. I’d take Wilner or Dirk in a heartbeat, maybe even a Jose Cruz Jr., who seemed pretty capable in the few spots he did on the TV side.

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