New TBS MLB analyst David Wells will make his season debut in the broadcast booth on Sunday, May 3rd for a 2008 ALCS rematch between the Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays at 1:30 p.m. ET. He will also be in the booth on Sunday, May 17th for the Minnesota Twins @ New York Yankees. The date will be the 11th anniversary of Wells’ perfect game vs. Twins.
Notes from the David Wells Joins MLB on TBS Conference Call
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Participants: David Wells, TBS MLB analyst and Jeff Behnke, Turner Sports executive producer
“Sunday MLB on TBS” continues on Sunday, April 19th with the Yankees hosting the Cleveland Indians at 1 p.m. ET from the new Yankee Stadium.
The network will also exclusively televise the 2009 MLB All-Star Selection Show on Sunday, July 5th and in October, TBS will once again provide exclusive coverage of all four MLB Division Series (DS) and the National League Championship Series (NLCS).
Wells on if he plans on being as outspoken on the air as he is off the air: “I get (my outspokenness) from my mom and I thank her for it. Sometimes you have to watch what you say obviously and be careful. I think I can conduct myself in a good fashion and talking about baseball, you don’t always have to use profanity. I want to speak my mind. If I see something, I’m going to call it as I see it. I’m not here to (disrespect) anyone out (on the field) or make anyone feel bad. Watching games for many, many years from the clubhouse and from home, I’ve seen analysts, especially at other stations, come out and pretty much make a mockery of athletes. That’s not my thing, that’s not my intention. If a guy messes up, I’m going to explain why and I might make a couple of comments even if he’s a friend of mine or if he’s not a friend of mine. I’m still going to call the game as I see it.”
Behnke on if he envisions Wells to be the ‘Charles Barkley’ of MLB on TBS: “Both David and Charles have achieved a great deal in their sports. Their ability to relay those experiences to the fans makes for great television. We know where the line is drawn and to find the same balance in our baseball studio is the goal. That is what has led us to Emmy Award winning telecasts on our NBA broadcasts. We know that David is very outspoken and we also know that David has an enormous amount of credibility. At Turner Sports, we take a lot of pride in letting our announcers be who they are. That’s what drew us to David. We know he’s going to be exactly what he is in person on the air.”
Wells on what motivated him to enter the broadcast booth: “Not playing (in 2008) was tough. You feel yourself wanting to get up in the morning and get ready to go to the ballpark. You miss spring training, being in the clubhouse and cutting up with the boys. (Those are) things that I really miss. So I didn’t watch a whole lot of baseball last year and I was trying to stay away from the game. Then this opportunity came along and it’s going to give me the chance to stay in the game. Believe me, there are a lot of new faces out there (in MLB) that I haven’t heard of. Baseball has taken a new direction and is going with a lot of youth. Internationally, there are a lot Japanese players coming in. I want to keep up with the game because it’s the only thing I’ve loved and really known. I want to know what’s going on in the game of baseball. What better place to talk about it, analyze it and have fun with it. It’s not a money issue and there aren’t any other issues other than wanting to stay in the game and be a part of it for the rest of my life.”
Wells on announcers he would like to emulate: “If I was to imitate anyone it would be Ernie Harwell. Playing in Detroit for two and a half years was a great opportunity to hang around a legend. Ernie Harwell is always fun to listen to. Obviously, I never heard him until I went (to Detroit), but I heard of him. But to really listen to a guy, if you’re going to imitate someone that would probably be a guy that you would want to (imitate). You listen to (Dodgers announcer) Vin Scully, which I heard a lot, and you’ve got to idolize a guy like that because he’s just so smooth up in the booth. But you can’t imitate anyone, you’ve got to be your own person up there.”
Wells on his transition from player to a member of the media: “I never thought in a million years I’d be in the booth. I thought I would be coaching somewhere before I got in the booth because me and the media, we never saw eye to eye. At least I fought you guys every chance I got if anything I saw was derogatory or unbelievably crazy questions that just really didn’t relate to the game. That’s the way I shied away, but I tried to make the best I could with the media. I’m sure I probably said a lot of harsh things, but a lot of harsh things were said about me as well. I was always the kind of guy that would fight back, my mom always told me, ‘don’t take any crap from anybody, speak your mind and move on,’ and that’s how I took it. Now that I’m part of the ‘media world,’ you’ve got to understand it, and the last few years of my career I really tried to understand it and evaluate it from both sides. You can’t fight City Hall, the power of the pen is usually greater. It’s something for me to learn, it’s going to be a whole new learning experience for me. I don’t expect anyone to go out there and hold my hand through this thing, obviously I’m going to try to do it on my own and be my own person. I’ve got a great team behind me that’s going to be there for me, and knowing that, it makes things a little easier for me. If I step out of line I’m sure they’re going to let me know real quick. But that’s just the learning process.”
Wells on how he will feel when he calls his first game in the booth, which will be Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, May 3rd: “I’m going to be nervous as hell, there’s no question. You’ve got to go up there and talk about the game which I know. But as anyone knows, when you’re in a situation and you’re nervous you might say things that aren’t really there. I’m just going to try to do the best I can do. Trust me, I’ve made many mistakes in my life and I’ve gotten through them. So I think I’ll be able to handle this. Just go up and relax and go with the flow. I’m sure they are going to make it as easy as they can on me and let me be me…being a color guy and sharing my expertise, something I might see that no one else does, or something I know that someone else doesn’t know, I’m just going to try to key in on that and make the best of my ability.”