Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
The former Astros catcher was given permission by Toronto, who has him under a five-year contract, to talk with Houston about a return
This is pretty good news.
Thanks to a tip from our SB Nation colleagues up north, Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun speculated that Alan Ashby might be a fit for one of Houston's three broadcast openings, and tweeted out today that Ashby has indeed been given permission to talk with Houston about those openings.
Jays give Houston Astros permission to interview broadcaster Alan Ashby, a Houston resident, for one of their 3 vacancies— bob elliott (@elliottbaseball) December 14, 2012
Obviously, this is a long way from Ashby's triumphant return to Houston, but it's a great sign. A few years ago, I was flipping around the dial on the Sirius baseball broadcasts and ran across a Toronto game. It was such a treat to listen to Ashby again, a smart, unflinchingly honest analyst who has ties to one of Houston's best and most well-remembered teams.
The question is where would he fit in? If he's willing to leave Toronto, I wonder if the job he's seeking is JD's old TV gig. If that's the case, doesn't it also stand to reason that Bill Brown might also be back? Brownie worked with Ashby for a number of years, so might feel comfortable being paired up with him in the future.
If it's a return to radio, that'd be a good move too and would allow the Astros to fill in the play-by-play voice with someone less familiar to the Houston market. I think there has also been some suggestion that Ashby might like to be a play-by-play guy himself, so he might move into that role and let Houston pair him with a Larry Dierker or Morgan Ensberg.
However it shakes out, this is a good sign. Ashby is an accomplished broadcaster who would be a great fit in Houston again. I hope this works out.