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Dodgers Won't Bring Porter Back

The announcer, who was with the team for 28 seasons, says he has no plans to retire.

October 23, 2004|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

The Dodgers made it official Friday: Broadcaster Ross Porter will not be back with the team next season.

It had been rumored that they were not going to renew his contract and Porter, after 28 seasons, had said goodbye to the fans during the team's playoff series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Lon Rosen, Dodger executive vice president, said the decision not to renew Porter's contract was made Thursday and that Porter's agent, George Green, was told Friday morning.

Rosen said a search would begin for a play-by-play replacement for Porter.

"It is wide open," Rosen said.

One possibility is San Diego Padre announcer Matt Vasgersian. Don Sutton's name has been mentioned too, but he is considered a longshot.

Rick Monday will be back, and Vin Scully will return for his 56th season with the team.

Rosen said that under a new format, a commentator would be hired to work alongside Monday and the new play-by-play announcer, but that Scully would continue to work alone, both on telecasts and simulcasts of the first three innings on the Dodger radio network. After that, Monday and Porter's successor will take turns on the radio coverage, each joined by the new commentator.

Candidates for that commentating job include former Dodgers Eric Karros, Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Al Downing, Eric Davis and Tommy Davis. All made late-season guest appearances on radio broadcasts this year.

Rosen said the decision to go to a two-man announcing team was made after consultation with the team's broadcast partners. He said the change in direction was the main reason for not bringing Porter back.

"We think Ross is an outstanding announcer and wish him the best," Rosen said.

Porter, coincidentally, was serving as a guest host on radio station KSPN (710) Friday.

Porter tried to downplay the news, saying he didn't want to turn the show he was doing with Dave Stone into a "pity show." But he did take the opportunity to again thank the fans. He also thanked Scully, Fred Claire, who recommended him for the Dodger broadcasting job in 1977, and Peter O'Malley, who hired him.

Porter is a two-time Emmy Award winner and was named the Southern California Sports Broadcasters' best sports-talk-show host on four occasions for his work on "DodgerTalk."

"It has been an honor for me to broadcast games for the Dodgers for the past 28 years," Porter, 65, said in a statement. "Now the organization has decided to go in another direction and it was their decision. There are no plans to retire. I love what I do."

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