Play-by-play analysts and announcers in professional sports can be considered guides. They watch the games and go through the highs and lows with us as we watch the action unfold, and yeah, perhaps especially during the lows, they comfort us and agree with us, and even provide insight into understanding just what the heck is going on when everything seems to be falling apart at the seams.
And really, enter your sport of choice here: ………. Professional wrestling has Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Mike Tenay; Hockey has Don Cherry, and football, well, football and other sports have had many great play-by-play analysts over the years, and really, there are way too many to count, but I can shine a light on a few in this piece…going back all the way to Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford, Pat Summerall, Charlie Jones and in recent decades, Rod Pedersen.
And perhaps for the sake of this piece, Pedersen is most relevant. We’ll get to why in just a second, dear readers.
Sports announcers inadvertently or by design (depending on how you look at it), become the voice of a whole city…sometimes a whole nation, establishing a relationship with local fans that over the years and in many circumstances has proven to be rock-solid.
Well, as it turns out, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are about to have a new voice for their play-by-play, and his name is Michael Ball, also endearingly known as Ballsy.
Of course this isn’t yet official, as CKRM will be making the announcement shortly as of this writing, but leaderpost.com suggests that this is in fact imminent.
Ball is a respected radio host in Regina, covering sports of course.
Derek Taylor had these duties before his very own departure from CKRM at the end of the 2021 season, he leaving ultimately in February. He was hired by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he will be replacing none other than the legendary voice of the Bombers, Bob Irving.
Irving is the perfect example of how beloved a play-by-play announcer can be in any city. His career was extraordinarily prolific…he was a standby and should be more than proud of the legacy he left behind. Big shoes to fill for Taylor, who seems up to the challenge, and he’s no stranger to filling the shoes of greatness, as I’ll get to in a moment.
Here are some statements that Taylor made at the time of his departure from Saskatchewan, which at this point he was still unsure about his future. He said:
“Things in the gambling space are really taking off and that’s an area of background that I’m really passionate about…There’s probably some room for me to explore that with my numbers background. There’s enough out there that I’m going to find a soft landing even though I don’t have a spot to land…I don’t know what’s going to happen with that…(w/ The Bombers)…I should probably inquire about that at some point…That makes me think that I will have a soft landing regardless of what happens…”via leaderpost.com
And Taylor also replaced the legendary Rod Pedersen, who was the voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for a whopping 20 years…yet another perfect example of how dependent fans are on the voice that brings them the play-by-play action and daily news for their beloved teams.
Pedersen, who is a hall-of-fame broadcaster (inducted into Saskatchewan’s Rural Sports Hall of Fame-2003), writes his highly successful blog and hosts the Rod Pedersen Show, as well as writing books. His blog has over 25 million all-time hits, according to his bio at pedersenrecovery.com.
So…there is most certainly a lot of lineage in the role that Ball is about to be granted.
Ball is of course no stranger, as he’s been filling in for Taylor on the SportsCage, all the while still performing his duties for the Wolf 104.9 FM Morning Show.
He has also done the countdown to kickoff show, as well as appearances on the Rider Roundtable and 620 CKRM as well as the Rider Radio Network.
He’s also been on the sidelines as a reporter for CKRM, so this territory is not at all new for the veteran journalist.
We here at CFL News Hub wish him luck in his new endeavor.