Tuesday, February 22, 2005

CHRIS CUTHBERT FIRED

In what was a shocking move today CBC Sports, stung by the loss of Hockey Night in Canada, has to let go of some good people. Today Chris Cuthbert is out of a job, due to no hockey and no games to call.

It's doubly shocking because people were saying he could replace Bob Cole as the main voice of Hockey Night in Canada in a few years. But I thought Cuthbert was safe because he also does CFL games. This must have been a financial decision; the CBC really took a big hit with the loss of hockey, and from the looks of it hockey might never be back. So they had to get rid of some big contracts. I suspect it came down to a decision between booting Cuthbert or getting rid of Don Wittman, who does pretty much the same sports. But I suspect Wittman was saved by those curling broadcasts CBC is doing. And Brian Williams got saved because he doesn't do hockey games at all. So Cuthbert's gone because his main sport is locked out. I suspect that's what sunk Cuthbert; like the laid-off Bob Cole, he's another victim of the sad times at CBC Sports.

I got a chance to meet Chris Cuthbert a couple of years ago when he was inducted into the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame and he was a class act. Since Chris Cuthbert has some spare time on his hands he should read Voices of the Game by Curt Smith, about major league baseball announcers. It seems like all the great ones, Mel Allen, Red Barber, Harry Caray, Ernie Harwell and the rest, were fired from their high-profile gigs at some point in their careers, and they all came back. So will Cuthbert, future employee of either TSN or Rogers Sportsnet. I wouldn't be surprised if one of those networks hired him as their main guy for football games.

It was also not that good a day for Tom Cheek. He was up for the Ford Frick award which would have inducted him into the broadcaster's wing in Cooperstown, and well, he didn't win. Instead Jerry Coleman, of the San Diego Padres, got in. It's too bad for Tom Cheek, but Jerry Coleman's a heckuva baseball announcer, and he called games on network radio for CBS Sports, so you can't say the Hall of Fame voters were all knuckleheads. I will say this, that Tom Cheek will one day make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and so should Dave Van Horne. Both of them were the Voices of Baseball in this country.

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