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Old 10-03-2004, 10:24 PM
AGDLynn AGDLynn is offline
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Smile Chip Caray to join dad with Braves

Atlanta Journal 10/3/04

STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Published on: 10/03/04


CHICAGO Broadcaster Chip Caray is leaving WGN and the Cubs to join his father, Skip Caray, in the Braves' broadcast booth.

Chip Caray announced on the air Sunday that he would not return to Chicago and would join his dad in Atlanta.

After Caray announced on the air that he wasn't returning, his partner, Steve Stone, said "I look for better days down the road. Maybe we'll run into each other again. Who knows? It may be sooner than we think."

Chip Caray has been the Cubs' play-by-play man since 1998 and was a broadcaster with the NBA's Orlando Magic before that. He was going to join his grandfather, the legendary Harry Caray, on Cubs broadcasts, but Harry died Feb. 18, 1998.

The Cubs could have matched the Braves' deal but opted against it. The Atlanta deal reportedly called for significantly more money.

The decision disappointed Stone, who had grown close to Caray.

"I'm disappointed I will not be in the broadcast booth in Chicago with Chip," Stone said. "I would have loved them to have matched the contract offer. But this is a business, and they made a business decision. From an emotional standpoint, I would have liked to have worked the rest of my career with Chip."

Caray said the financial component was only part of his decision. The deal enables him to call games on superstation TBS and gets him closer to his family's home in Orlando.

The Cubs' TV voice since 1998 also wanted the chance to work with his father. He talked of his parents being divorced while he was young and how this would be a chance to get to know Skip better.

"The opportunity to get closer to home and to work with my dad was something I couldn't pass up," Caray said. "Believe me, it was not an easy decision to make. I had to do what was best for myself and my family."

Caray insisted his decision had nothing to do with the acrimony that had developed between the team and the announcers during the season. He stressed that he loved working with the Cubs.

"What took place between the players and the media is not uncommon," Caray said. "I have great respect for[manager] Dusty [Baker], and most of the players treated me great. It's unfortunate that what happened happened. Hopefully, it won't happen to whoever inherits this situation."

Chip, Skip and Harry Caray made history by broadcasting a Cubs-Braves game in 1991, the first time three generations of broadcasters from a family worked a game together.

It's unclear how Chip Caray's hiring might affect the Braves' broadcast team. They have a four-man team of Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Joe Simpson and Don Sutton, who split the TV and radio duties on TBS, Turner South and the radio network.

All four are completing the second year of contracts that include two-year options for 2005-06, and sources said Skip Caray, Van Wieren and Simpson already have accepted offers to return for the next two seasons. Negotiations are ongoing with Sutton.


-- Staff writer David O'Brien and the Chicago Tribune contributed to this article
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