Here’s something completely out of left field.
According to a statement put out by Sportsnet PR on Twitter, Mike Wilner will no longer be calling Blue Jays games.
— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) November 27, 2020
And here’s a statement from Wilner himself…
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) November 27, 2020
Wilner had been working with Sportsnet for two decades and finally became the primary play-by-play voice for Blue Jays games after the retirement of Jerry Howarth in 2018. Before that, he was mostly known as the guy who hosted Jays Talk, the Blue Jays’ post-game call-in show.
The tone of Wilner’s statement makes it pretty clear that this wasn’t a voluntary decision. It seems very likely that Sportsnet decided to move on.
Why that might be? I really have no idea.
Wilner really came into his own in the play-by-play booth and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him and Ben Wagner call games. I also quite enjoyed Wilner on Jays Talk just consistently dismantle the completely insane things that callers would rant about, though he obviously rubbed plenty of fans the wrong way because of that.
Say what you want about Wilner being condescending or too quick to block people on Twitter, but I don’t think there’s anybody on the Blue Jays beat right now that’s more passionate about the team and the sport than him. Seeing somebody climb the ladder as Wilner did, get their dream job, and then lose it after a couple of years is sad.
It’ll be interesting to see if anything comes out about a rift between him and Rogers or the team that led to this decision.