Ever since Jim Deshaies bolted to the Cubs' broadcast team, we have seen considerable angst among Astros' fans. Who would be the new television color announcer? I think many fans will be relieved because former Astros' catcher and radio broadcaster Alan Ashby is replacing Deshaies in the television broadcast booth. The Toronto news story is here and the Chronicle's news story is here.
Ashby isn't the only former Astros' player returning in a different role to the team. Morgan Ensberg and Adam Everett, stars of the 2005 World Series team, will join the Astros' organization as instructors.
It appears that Bill Brown will join Ashby on many of the television broadcasts. But Brown requested that his time commitment be reduced, and he will not be the full time television play-by-play announcer. Ashby will move over to play-by-play duties when Brown isn't on the broadcast. We don't have news yet on the radio broadcast crew yet.
Astros' fans were upset when radio broadcaster Ashby was let go after the 2005 season by the Astros. Ashby talks frankly in the Toronto news story about how tough it was to accept the Astros' decision then. “In 2006 I sat out, and realism told me that this aging, mediocre former player without the large name was not what people were looking for. I figured it was over.”
Given that background, it's not surprising that he is thankful to the Blue Jays for hiring him. With the Toronto broadcast team, he became one of the most respected baseball color guys. And maybe some Astros' fans will view this as righting a situation which shouldn't have occurred.
I also like the move to hire Ensberg and Everett as instructors. Ensberg was one of my favorite Astros' players in the mid-2000's. And Everett was just a great, great defensive shortstop. I have no doubt that Everett knows as much as anybody about infield defense. Both Ensberg and Everett were smart players, which should help them as instructors. I hope the minor leaguers listen to them.
Astros' fan angst? It's not gone. I'm glad to have Ashby back. But will I ever get to watch the Astros' broadcasts here in Austin? Comcast has some work to do in getting cable and satellite contracts signed. Postolos--or whomever is in charge--get 'er done!