Magrane leaves Rays for MLB Network
Broadcaster has called games since start of franchise in '98
ST. PETERSBURG -- Joe Magrane is leaving the Rays' broadcasting team to join the fledgling MLB Network.
The longtime Rays color analyst has been added to MLB Network's roster of on-air talent that includes Matt Vasgersian, Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds, Trenni Kusnierek and Hazel Mae.
Magrane will be part of the cast for "MLB Tonight," the live, nightly studio show that will be the signature program of the new network, and "Hot Stove," a live, nightly offseason studio show. All the on-air personalities will appear on both shows, as well as other programming across MLB Network, which will launch on Jan. 1, 2009, in approximately 50 million homes as the largest network debut in cable history.
The Rays are in the process of finding a replacement for Magrane to work with play-by-play man Dewayne Staats, who has been Magrane's booth partner for telecasts since the team's first season in 1998.
"It's been a pleasure being able to work for 11 years next to a real pro in Dewayne," Magrane said. "And I was truly humbled to be able to come into the living rooms of Tampa Bay folks during the summer nights."
Magrane felt like the opportunity to join the MLB Network was special.
"It was really something that was very difficult to pass up," Magrane said. "Something that will also be very challenging and very rewarding."
Tony Petitti, president and chief executive officer of MLB Network, said Magrane's hiring "continues our trend of hiring high-caliber, versatile talent who we know can be successful in a wide variety of roles."
"Joe's experience as a broadcaster and a player speaks for itself, and his presence will clearly enrich our programming," Petitti said.
Magrane has 12 years of experience in the booth. He worked regional ESPN MLB games during the 1997 season prior to his tenure with the Rays.
Magrane also worked on FOX baseball telecasts and was a color analyst for NBC's baseball coverage of the 2000, '04 and '08 Summer Olympic Games. In 2002, he served as a postgame reporter for the National League Championship Series on FOX.
Magrane played 10 years in the Major Leagues, compiling a 56-67 record and reaching a World Series with the Cardinals in 1987. He finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting in '89 after posting 18 wins.
"MLB Tonight" will air live beginning at 6 p.m. ET until the final MLB game of the night ends between Monday and Saturday, and will be based out of MLB Network's headquarters in Secaucus, N.J. The program will feature live look-ins of games in progress, updates, highlights, reporting and analysis.
Hot Stove will air during the offseason at 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and feature news, reports and analysis of the moves clubs are making and planning in preparation for the upcoming season.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.