Braves TV switching networks

Braves TV switching networks

ATLANTA -- Braves fans are going to see a lot more of Bob Rathbun and Jeff Torborg when Fox Cable Networks officially takes control of Turner South on Monday.

Beginning Monday, Rathbun and Torborg will serve as the broadcast team for all games scheduled to be aired on Turner South, which was purchased by Fox in February.

Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Joe Simpson, Don Sutton and Chip Caray will continue to broadcast the games that are aired on TBS. They'll also continue to serve as the announcers on the Braves Radio Network.

But the transition will significantly reduce the amount of games that they do on television.

"Ideally you'd want to work more games," Skip Caray said. "But that's business. There's certainly no complaints."

While the elder Caray and Van Wieren have been broadcasting Braves games since 1976, Simpson and Sutton have been part of Turner's broadcasting team for most of the past two decades. Chip Caray returned to Atlanta last year.

"It's not surprising," Simpson said. "But it's going to be weird not working all of those games."

Since Fox purchased Turner South from Time Warner in February, each of the Turner-employed announcers have felt there was a chance their schedules would be reduced. Now that it has happened, they understand the decision.

"I think Fox did exactly what they should have done," Caray said. "They showed loyalty to their people."

Rathbun and Torborg, who just began broadcasting Braves games this year, will call the 21 remaining games scheduled to be aired on Fox Sports South and the 50 remaining games that were scheduled to be aired by Turner South.

"I'm looking forward to it," Torborg said. "I've really enjoyed working with Bob. Good play-by-play guys can make it easy for an analyst."

Beginning Monday, TBS will air 58 more games this year. They are scheduled to broadcast 75 games next year. But from 2008-12, they will air just 45 games per season.

Chip Caray is the only member of the Turner broadcast team who is under contract for the 2007 season. Van Wieren is the only member employed by the Braves. So his future may be handled in a different manner.

"We're all getting paid until the end of the year," Skip Caray said. "The people that I feel bad for are the technical people."

Some of the technical personnel, which includes directors, cameramen and graphics operators, will still get some work with Fox. But some of the others will be relieved of their baseball duties.

"We're part of a bigger entity and change happens," Braves and Turner spokesman Greg Hughes said. "All of the employees have been informed that the change has developed. It's now just a matter of adjustment."

Those games scheduled to air on Turner South will be found on the same channel that they always have been. Fox doesn't plan to change the Turner South name until some time in June.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.