Rush frontman Geddy Lee is speaking out over the decision of Canadian sports network Sporstnet to do away with dedicated radio broadcasts of Toronto Blue Jays baseball games. The company announced it will instead simulcast their television broadcast over the radio for the 2021 season, making it the first Major League Baseball team to do so.
While the network attributed the change to restrictions around the pandemic, Lee, an ardent Blue Jays fan, voiced his displeasure with the move, telling Fox’s Jared Max, “Some of my most memorable baseball memories were not from sitting in the stands or watching the game on the tube, but listening to the radio. Driving home from the cottage, I heard Dave Stieb’s heartbreak first one-hitter.”
The rocker went on to explain that having TV announcers doing double-duty simply will not be the same. “There are nuances and descriptors that radio broadcasters share with their audiences that are simply not the same as a cabal of TV announcers, no matter how good they are,” Lee opined. “It’s a time-honored craft that requires a special ability to bring to life what we at home simply cannot see. This is a bad and regrettable decision.”
While it remains to be seen whether Sportsnet will change course on the matter, Lee’s passion and support for the Blue Jays, and the sport in general, is well documented. Not only did the iconic musician appear as a cardboard cutout in the bleachers during last year’s season, he also memorably threw out the first pitch at the team’s home opening game in 2013.
In 1996, Lee spoke with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation about his passion for the game, even going so far to discuss his love of seeing baseball played on real grass as opposed to artificial turf.
More recently, in Lee’s 2017 interview with Dan Rather for an episode of The Big Interview, the bassist welcomed the host into his home where he proudly showed off a museum’s worth of various baseball memorabilia and collectables he has amassed over the years.