The Los Angeles Angels made a rare decision to change their broadcast team in the middle of the season. While it will still be Mark Gubicza doing color commentary each and every night — and Matt Vasgersian joining him as much as possible — Daron Sutton will no longer be a part of things, as he was replaced by Rich Waltz.
Waltz spent 13 seasons as the voice of the Miami Marlins before their change in ownership led to him being removed from the position. He had hoped to retire with the Marlins, but instead had to take roles with MLB Network and CBS — where he currently works and will continue working — to keep his career going.
Now, he’s getting an opportunity with the Angels. Waltz actually auditioned for the open Angels position at the beginning of the season before they went with Sutton. And while Waltz had never had any ties to the Angels, just auditioning for the job opened his eyes to a team that he’s now grown to love, according to Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“I have followed them because, going through the interview process, you prepare for a team. And I was preparing for an audition [in January]. So I made a deep dive into the Angels and farm system and all of that, because you never know what’s going to come up.
And so working with [analyst Mark Gubicza] on that one day, it’s like, this guy’s a rockstar. And so what happens is, even if you don’t get the job, you kind of follow that team, because it’s like, suddenly you’re interested.
And you discover guys like David Fletcher and Jared Walsh, and it’s like, ‘Huh, I like these guys, I’m going to start watching.’ So I’ve watched a lot of games — a lot of Angels games.
I mean, look, they’ve got the two most exciting players in baseball, so that’s an easy one. But there’s guys on that team that I kind of discovered in the process. This is an interesting team. And I’ve always loved Joe Maddon … I’ve always loved his philosophies and the way he runs a game.”
While Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are the obvious people that draw people towards the Angels, Waltz went a different route. And it’s one that likely has earned the respect of all Angels fans. Beyond praising Joe Maddon, Waltz was really intrigued by Walsh and Fletcher, who have flown under many people’s radars but are absolutely Angels fans favorites.
When Waltz takes over the Angels booth for the first time on Friday night, he’ll be thrown right in the mix of a team that’s desperate to win. He’ll also bear witness to one of baseball’s most potent offenses at full strength.
Maddon hoping Angels catch fire
The Angels need to win games very quickly in the second half of the season if they want to avoid selling at the trade deadline. To do this, Maddon believes the team can — and will — catch fire, winning enough games where the team can buy and make a playoff push this season. The Angels sit 9.0 games back in the division and 5.5 games back of the Wild Card Game.