Caray to cover Braves for FOX Sports
Former TBS broadcaster following in late father's footsteps
ATLANTA -- During those summer days when he was provided the opportunity to visit with his father, Chip Caray proudly served as a Braves bat boy, and in the process, developed a passion for an organization that he envisions being a part of for the remainder of his professional life.
Caray's long-term future with the Braves became uncertain on Nov. 30, when Turner Sports opted to end its association with him.
But less than a month later, Caray finds himself once again provided the regular broadcasting role that he envisioned when he left the Cubs at the conclusion of the 2004 season.
Fox Sports South and SportSouth announced on Monday afternoon that Caray will serve as their play-by-play announcer for the 105 Braves games scheduled to air on those networks during the 2010 season.
"My family and I are on cloud nine, and to tell you the truth, this really is a wonderful Christmas present," Caray said. "This is the job that I've always wanted. I'm thrilled, humbled and honored to have this opportunity."
This arrangement will allow him to once again work with analyst Joe Simpson, who stands as the longest-tenured member of a Braves broadcast team that for so long included the legendary duo of Pete Van Wieren and Chip's father, Skip Caray, who handled this role for 33 seasons before passing away during the summer of 2008.
The elder Caray gained a passion for broadcasting while watching his father, Harry Caray, and then proudly saw his eldest son develop this same love, as Chip introduced himself to the business with the hope of one day gaining this opportunity to find his primary responsibilities centered around calling Braves games.
"This is the job that I've wanted since I was 12 years old and serving as a bat boy," Caray said. "People in my business go from job to job and essentially climb the rungs of the ladder. For me, this is the top of the ladder."
Braves executive vice president of sales and marketing Derek Schiller said the organization is excited to have Caray and Simpson reunited under this arrangement.
"The Atlanta Braves are excited to have Chip remain within the Braves family," Schiller said. "He has done a great job as a Braves broadcaster over the last several years, and we are certain his new role with FOX Sports South and SportSouth will be welcome news to our fans."
While serving as the primary television voice of the Braves, Caray gains the role that he envisioned getting when he left the Cubs at the conclusion of the 2004 season. His vision was redirected before the start of the '06 season, when Turner Sports went from broadcasting nearly 150 Braves games per season to approximately 50.
One year later, Turner announced that Caray would serve as its top announcer for the national baseball package that would begin with postseason broadcasts in 2007 and expand to a Sunday afternoon game of the week package in '08.
Initial excitement about this opportunity waned as Caray realized the significance of the fact that the need to be in a different city every weekend further limited the number of opportunities that he had to call Braves games.
While Caray refuses to use the limited broadcast opportunities as an excuse to explain why he made some glaring mistakes during the most recent postseason, he confidently says that this new schedule will certainly provide him with the familiarity and comfort necessary to perform his job to the best of his abilities.
"It wasn't the job that I had when I came here in the first place," Caray said. "It would be like being a pinch-hitter or being a relief pitcher that works once every 10 days. I'm better when I work more."
Turner's decision to part ways with Caray while he still had three years remaining on his contract was fueled by the media scrutiny that he faced during the playoffs. But long before making some forgettable mistakes, the 44-year-old broadcaster reached out to the Braves to express interest in this job that he has been provided.
When Jon "Boog" Sciambi announced in early September that he was leaving Fox Sports South and SportSouth to pursue a full-time role with ESPN, Caray approached Braves president John Schuerholz and told him that he would be interested in the vacant position.
"People looked at me and wondered why I would want to do this," Caray said. "The answer was simple. This is my professional home. This is why I came down here. I can't think of any place I'd rather be."
Caray and his family, who currently reside in the Orlando, Fla., area, have already started looking for a permanent residence in Atlanta.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.