On the heels of longtime Cardinals player and broadcaster Mike Shannon announcing that he would be closing his downtown restaurant Jan. 30, Shannon said Monday night he will further reduce his broadcast schedule and not do any road games for the club this season.
Shannon, who will be starting his 45th season in the broadcast booth in March and will turn 77 in July, did fewer than one-third of the road games last year, although he did broadcast in the playoffs. Confirming he still will do spring training games and postseason games, Shannon said, “It’s just time. This will be the first time I can really enjoy my summer. I’ve never been able to do something in the summer because of the road games. It was time to move on.”
President Bill DeWitt III confirmed Monday night that the decision was Shannon’s alone.
“He still feels energized,” said DeWitt. “It’s a fairly common thing for a legendary broadcaster to (do) home games only, so we felt that Mike certainly deserved to be given the opportunity to make that choice.’”
Rick Horton, who had done some radio last season along with television games on Fox Sports Midwest, will replace Shannon on KMOX radio for all the road games, joining John Rooney, Shannon’s normal partner. Mike Claiborne also will be involved, on radio.
Shannon, said DeWitt, has a contract that renews every year if both sides are in agreement. “Mike is newly married,” said DeWitt, “and you know Mike loves life. But he certainly wants to stay involved. He’ll probably be a little more active in some of our ancillary services, like maybe to emcee an event or do a voice-over for a market program.”
Though Shannon is cutting back, he said he still was looking forward to this season and others. “I’m going to go on and on and on,” he said. “I’m probably looking more forward to this year than any other.”
Shannon said part of his reason for saying that was that the Cardinals seem to have been dismissed nationally because of the rise of the Chicago Cubs.
“You know what that’s setting up for,” said Shannon “I can’t wait for spring training.”
While DeWitt said that Shannon deserved the right to make this decision, Shannon rhapsodized about the DeWitt ownership group.
“I think the world of the DeWitts,” said Shannon. “I wish them nothing but success. They’re there every day. They live it. They die, just like the players do. And they’re in it for the long haul.”
This was the second big announcement involving Shannon in the last two days. First, it was the imminent closing of the downtown restaurant, which had been a staple for 30 years, 10 of them in the current Market Street location. His other two restaurants, in Edwardsville and at Lambert St. Louis Airport, will draw even more focus now, Shannon said.
“We had 30 great years (downtown). And it’s time to celebrate those 30 years, I firmly believe that,” Shannon said.
“Everybody wants to blame this or that. There’s no blame.”
What happens to the popular postgame “Live at Shannon’s” radio show that originated at his downtown restaurant remains to be seen, although DeWitt speculated that some facsimile might be revived at another locale, such as Ballpark Village.