About a month ago, I essentially took a stand and asserted that no number of complaints from the fan base about the work of a now-oustered John Rhadigan would get him sent packing -- let alone less than two months into a multi-year contract (some reports have indicated two years; others three). That, clearly, was a swing-and-miss on my part, though not an indefensible one. I don't know that there's much, if any, precedent for any team's play-by-play broadcaster being fired less than half a season into his new gig for purely performance-based reasons. This, to me at least, is a very surprising move.
But the other major thing I opined about in that post a month ago was why, in the wake of Josh Lewin's (apparently misguided) firing, the Rangers didn't treat this like a meritocracy, where the best and most experienced play-by-play talent available for hire was given top priority. Instead, the Rangers went out and hired somebody with no experience in this role, banked everything on him being able to very quickly pick up on the subtleties and nuances of the position, and were apparently then surprised when it didn't work out. In any event, Bryan Dolgin and Steve Busby -- both of whom have more game-broadcasting experience than Rhadigan did -- will now fill the vacancy created by Dave Barnett's move to the television side, which, frankly, is how this probably should have all gone down in the first place.
Here's the thing: I like Rhadigan. He's been involved in studio-side work with this organization for as far back as I can remember. I remember Rhadigan being down in the fray on the field and then in the locker room during at least one of the Rangers' three pennant-clinching celebrations of the late-90s, so there are some very powerful and evocative memories tucked away back there. He has also handled his demotion with the utmost class, expressing his disappointment at the decision of Fox Sports and the Rangers to move on, but also conveying his gratitude at being given a shot at a once-in-a-lifetime gig, and his eagerness to resume studio-side work with the Rangers.
This was probably the right decision on the whole, but, as Adam appropriately said, the anger felt on this issue was best directed towards the Rangers for putting Rhadigan in a position to fail, and towards the media types that so vigorously defended Rhadigan even though they didn't necessarily watch the games on television and, therefore, were not in a position to judge his work or the feedback of others.