WHY THE DELAY?

Here's one puzzling, no-brainer move the Houston Astros continue to drag out

Will they be back? Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

With Dusty Baker back chewing toothpicks into splinters, Michael Brantley recalled to active duty, a new .300-hitting first baseman, Jeff Bagwell whispering into Jim Crane’s ear, no shift gobbling up Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez base hits, and Yuli Gurriel staring at the phone waiting for a call, it looks like the Astros good-time machine is ready to roll intact for 2023.

Except for one important piece of the Astros brand.

The Astros TV broadcast team of Todd Kalas, Geoff Blum and Julia Morales is unsigned for next year. And spring training is only seven weeks away. Already? Time flies when you’re celebrating another World Series.

Kalas, Blum and Morales may not drive in runs or throw quality starts, but they are super critical to the overall Astros product. They are like comfort food, put on the Astros game, and you’re good until goodnight. The Astros are on TV more than 160 times – plus practically guaranteed playoffs – between spring and autumn. When there’s nothing on TV … wait, the Astros are on. We’re good. What number channel is AT&T Sports Southwest again?

What is taking the Astros this long to announce that Kalas, Blum and Morales will be back for another season? Just git’er done.

You know the expression, you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone? Well, we do know what we got when Kalas, Blum and Morales aren’t in the Astros TV booth.

We got Apple TV, ESPN and TBS, and it ain’t good. It was excruciating last season watching Apple TV turn an Astros game into open mic night at Giggles Comedy Club. ESPN and TBS are OK, but they don’t “get” the Astros like our regular crew. Kalas, Blum and Morales are just the right blend of attentive play-by-play, clever analysis and personality insight.

Kalas joined the Astros in 2017 after stints with Mets, Reds, Phillies and Tampa Bay. During the offseason, he works football, basketball and baseball games in Louisiana, and University of South Florida hoops. His dad was legendary Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas.

Blum went straight into the Astros booth after hanging up his cleats – 15 years in the bigs with the Expos, Astros (twice), Rays, Padres, White Sox and Diamondbacks. He has a World Series ring from the 2005 White Sox, when he (gasp) homered against the Astros. He and his wife have four daughters, three of them triplets.

Morales is the dean of the broadcast team, having joined the Astros in 2013. Her father Victor Morales once ran for the U.S. Senate from Texas. She is married to former MLB player Matt Clark and she has her own line of baseball fashion called baseball y’all.

It’s important that we get our TV broadcasters under contract and settled in. Baseball on TV is big business. Each team is guaranteed $60 million per year from the national networks, with another $40 million (on average) coming from local outlets. Houston is a big time market, No. 8 on Nielsen’s national map. There are more than 2.5 million TV homes in the Houston area. Don’t make us fret over our announcers.

Borrowing from that sports media expert Buzz Lightyear, it’s time to get Kalas, Blum and Morales signed ... to 2023 and beyond.

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