ATLANTA -- For more than a decade, fans could turn on a television broadcast of a Braves game and know there was a good chance that they'd see either Pete Van Wieren, Skip Caray, Don Sutton or Joe Simpson. But as TBS enters its final year of providing Braves games to a national television audience, the members of that familiar broadcast team have found themselves with new roles. In fact, Simpson will be the only familiar face from yesteryear who will continue to regularly broadcast Braves games on television. Late Wednesday afternoon, the Braves announced that Simpson will team with newcomer Jon Sciambi as the broadcast team for games that are aired on FSN South and SportSouth.
"Anybody who has spent time in this business, knows the only constant thing is that there is going to be change," said Chip Caray, who will head TBS' new broadcast team. "Some change is good. Some change necessitates more change." Fortunately for many of the familiar broadcasting voices, the change isn't too dramatic. Sutton, who is expected to become a part of the Nationals' television broadcasting team, will be the only familiar face who is no longer affiliated with the Braves. The elder Caray will work approximately 10 television broadcasts and spend nearly 110 games with his old friend Van Wieren on the radio side. Van Wieren will serve as the radio broadcaster for each of the 162 games the Braves play this year. "If you talk to any baseball broadcaster, all of them will tell you the purest form of broadcasting a baseball game is through radio," Van Wieren said. "That's how we all started and I can tell you my first choice would always be to carry a game on radio." Van Wieren and Caray, who were both inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2004, will be entering their 32nd year of broadcasting Braves games together. Throughout the 1980s and much of the 1990s, their faces became synonymous with Braves baseball. But recently, both veteran broadcasters have seen their workload dwindle. It began when TBS began decreasing their number of national broadcasts. Then last year, when Turner South was sold to FSN, they reached a point where they might have only broadcast one or two games a week. This was unsettling to Van Wieren, who is the only announcer who is actually solely employed by the Braves. With his new assignment, he'll have the opportunity to have the daily responsibilities that were present throughout much of the previous portions of his career. "I'm really going to miss the TBS crew," Van Wieren said. "They are the best in the world. But working every game is very appealing to me. On those days I wasn't working the past couple of years, I'd find myself planning my whole day around being able to watch or listen to the game. I'd much rather just be working the game." This year, TBS will carry 70 games to a national audience. Chip Caray will handle most of those games, and it hasn't been determined who will serve as his partner. FSN South will carry 25 Braves games and SportSouth will carry an additional 55. The broadcasters for each of these games will be Simpson and Sciambi, who is regarded by many to be one of the best young announcers in sports. Sciambi, whose red hair and big frame have earned him the nickname "Boog" (for former Major Leaguer Boog Powell), carried games for ESPN on radio and television this past year. His first experience in the big leagues came when he served as a Marlins announcer from 1997-2004. Simpson, who has been broadcasting Braves games since 2002, had made it known that he wanted to remain in Atlanta. He was named Georgia Sports Broadcaster of the Year in 1995.