Mac Engel

Rangers' Grieve not ready to walk away from broadcast booth

Rangers announcer Tom Grieve has a deep connection with the team and the fans.
Rangers announcer Tom Grieve has a deep connection with the team and the fans. rjenkins@star-telegram.com

One of the longest members of the Texas Rangers is not ready to retire, but Tom Grieve is well aware that the day is approaching.

Given Grieve's age, 70, his status in the booth has been a point of curiosity among Rangers fans, Rangers employees and Fox Sports Southwest producers for the past few years.

The veteran Rangers' color analyst scuttled the idea that 2019 will be his final season in the broadcast booth. He wants to at least call games when the team moves into the new stadium in 2020.

After 2020, Grieve and the Rangers, who have been together since the team relocated from Washington D.C. to Arlington in 1972, will just go year to year. The decision to leave the booth is not entirely up to Grieve ... but it's close.

"I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and I know there will be a last game, but I really don't want to announce anything or set a date because if I feel great and I want to keep doing it, I don't want to pin myself in to that," Grieve said Thursday morning.

Grieve and the Rangers agreed to reduce the amount of games he called to 65 or 70 per season, as well as in-studio work for pre and postgame shows two years ago. The club hired C.J. Nitkowski to call the games when Grieve was out.

Grieve made it clear he has no interest in being another older guy in the booth whom the team wants out but can't bring themselves to eject for fear of backlash from the fans. Baseball fans, more than any other group, are set in their ways. They don't much care for change.

Grieve also made it clear he feels good, still enjoys calling games, and the schedule allows him to be a part of it without being there every single day. Grieve is not a man who wants to retire.

He also readily admits one of the reasons he's not crazy about the idea of leaving at any point is the dreaded four-letter word. Fear.

"Absolutely. Absolutely that's a factor," he said. "When the Rangers and I decided to cut back games that was a decision that worked well for them and for me. They could get a younger broadcaster in there and have some continuity for the future. And when that first happened, I had this feeling I wasn't the same as I was before. Because when you do every game you are a an every-day guy. When the game starts, you're there, you're reliable.

"And when I wasn't there every day, I had people telling me, 'I miss listening to you.' It was an unsettling feeling. For the people who watch games, especially older people, it's not whether you're good at it, it's that they are comfortable with you. I felt bad for not being there. I am used to it now but as I think this out, one of the reasons I am reluctant to say, 'This will be the last year,' is because as [former Rangers manager Ron Washington] used to say, 'I am not as engaged in the process.' I guess it's the fear of the unknown."

Grieve knows the final game is coming, but he's not announcing it any time soon.

Check out the fun as the Rangers play the world champion Astros in their first game of the 2018 MLB season.

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