One year ago, Jason Grilli was nearing the end of his brief-but-dramatic tenure as a Toronto Blue Jay.
He was like a comet. Grilli came into town, burned brilliant, but faded away shortly after. He finished the 2017 season with the Texas Rangers, but for all intents and purpose, he’s essentially retired.
Where one door closed, another opened for Grilli as a broadcaster. He was in the running to join the Sportsnet broadcast team, but opted to turn down the opportunity. He said so much during an interview with TSN 1050’s Landsberg in the Morning.
The whole segment with Grilli is great from start to finish, but he let it slip that he said “thanks, but no thanks” to a Blue Jays broadcast job.
“I actually got the job up there for you guys, I kind of had to turn it down. Again, my kids won out in that decision. I did have an opportunity, I had a great audition. They wanted me for about 80 games.
Timing is everything, right? I just felt like my kids – who I haven’t seen – I’ve put them on hold for quite a while. I have two boys, 10 and 5. Being an All-Star dad was a lot more important than me sticking around the game that way. It’s not something I won’t entertain here.
I just think it was just important for me to just take a pause after a 20-year run and come home for a minute.”
After Gregg Zaun’s termination and Jerry Howarth’s sudden retirement, Sportsnet had two broadcast positions to fill heading into the 2018 season. Grilli never revealed whether the job offer was on the radio or TV side, but my estimation is it was for the vacant studio analyst position on Sportsnet – the spot currently occupied by Joe Siddall.
On the radio side, there were several rotating colour commentators on the radio during the Blue Jays’ Spring Training games. Former players like Scott Richmond and Homer Bush had a chance to sit in the broadcast booth earlier this year with the likes of Mike Wilner, Ben Wagner and Rob Fai.
Grilli wasn’t among those players to call part of the radio or online-only games, but he did make an impromptu unexplained appearance to Toronto this past January. He hashtagged that photo #secretmission.
If that TSN 1050 interview was any indication of Grilli’s potential as a studio analyst, it would’ve been great to get his perspective as someone who has very recently played at the big league level.
That’s not to say things may not circle back and Grilli couldn’t return to a broadcast role in a few more years, but in the meantime, judging by his Instagram feed, he’s thoroughly enjoying life as a pseudo-retired MLB pitcher.