Miami Marlins announcer Tommy Hutton was recently fired after 19 years on the job, apparently because he was “too negative” on air for owner Jeffery Loria’s taste, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
Jackson notes this as a particularly poor reason for firing one of the most respectable and well-liked announcers in MLB, writing “Hutton was critical when necessary and had a penchant for unleashing the occasional playful rant, but there’s a distinction between critical and excessively negative.”
Hutton himself completely disagrees with the notion that he was “too negative.”
“I know there were times I was negative, but I thought those times were called for,” he said. “Ninety percent of what I said was positive. I tried not to be a homer, but you could tell I wanted the Marlins to do well.”
The announcer remembered one particular event in which he was critical of the dimensions of Marlins Park on a fly-out by catcher John Buck. After the game, he remembers a Marlins vice president tell him that Loria asked him not to discuss the ballpark’s dimensions.
Essentially, what this appears to be is a case of an owner who doesn’t want any criticism at all. Hutton did ask the franchise if he was fired because of negativity on the air and told Jackson he couldn’t get anyone to say yes or no.
This sure seems like a case of censorship by firing, but we may never know the full truth. Nobody likes a homer but other homers, and it will be interesting to see what kind of commentary Marlins fans are treated to when the franchise hires its next television analyst.