Chip Caray is back as Braves broadcaster

Chip Caray barely had time to miss being a Braves broadcaster.

Just three weeks after parting ways with Turner Sports, Caray was hired as Braves play-by-play man on Fox Sports South and SportSouth.

Caray, the 44-year-old scion of a famous sports broadcasting family, will replace Jon Sciambi, who left after last season for a position at ESPN.

“This is what I came [to Atlanta] to do in the first place,” said Caray, who did not like the changes made in his Turner duties before the split. “The only reason I left Chicago, besides my dad, was to come here and do 150 games. This is the next-best thing to that happening. Me and my family are thrilled. ...

“[Broadcast partner] Joe [Simpson] is my friend. We have a wonderful friendship off the air, which I think enhances our working relationship on the air.”

Caray is scheduled to work 105 games on Fox Sports South and SportSouth with Simpson, the veteran Braves analyst, which is more than twice as many Braves games as Caray worked last year for the Turner-owned Peachtree TV.

“I know Chip was hoping for an opportunity to do more Braves games and this will afford him that opportunity,” said Simpson, who worked with Caray on Peachtree games in 2009. “I hope the Braves’ fans will be as excited as I am about having him in the fold for 100-plus games on FSN South and SportSouth.

“It’s always more comfortable when you get to work with somebody you know, especially someone who’s as good as Chip is at what he does and who has the passion for the Braves that Chip has.”

Derek Schiller, Braves executive vice president of sales and marketing, said the Braves “are excited to have Chip remain within the Braves family. He has done a great job as a Braves broadcaster ... and we are certain his new role with FOX Sports South and SportSouth will be welcome news to our fans.”

Caray spent the past five seasons doing Braves games along with other duties at Turner and still had three years left on his contract when the parties agreed to split on Nov. 30, a decision one Turner official confirmed was prompted in part by poor reviews of Caray’s postseason work by critics and viewers.

Turner is still in the process of hiring a replacement (or replacements) for Caray for Peachtree TV Braves broadcasts as well as its TBS Sunday games and playoff games.

Caray’s job description at Turner changed soon after he returned to Atlanta and the Braves broadcast booth in 2005, following seven years with the Chicago Cubs. The Braves were sold by Time Warner and the number of Braves games on TBS/Peachtree was slashed from 150 to 75 and then to 45.

Caray’s duties morphed from the voice-of-the-Braves position, for which the University of Georgia graduate had returned to Atlanta, into a combination Braves/national network position that required he be away from the team for TBS Sunday games and be the network’s No. 1 play-by-play man in the postseason.

In retrospect, he said that hybrid job didn’t fit him as well as the single-team position he prefers, the same sort of job held for decades by his late father Skip and grandfather Harry Caray, a Chicago icon.

Skip Caray, the legendary Braves broadcaster, died suddenly during the 2008 season. His longtime broadcast partner, Pete Van Wieren, retired after that season.

Caray said last month he hoped to get another job broadcasting for one team on a daily basis and Braves and Fox Sports South officials seemed pleased to give it to him.

“Chip Caray’s baseball broadcasting pedigree and his affection for the Atlanta Braves are unmatched,” said Jeff Genthner, senior vice president and general manager of Fox Sports South and SportSouth.

Caray said that unlike some in the sports broadcasting field, he would not view the play-by-play job as a step to a national network job.

“This is the top step of the ladder for me,” said Caray, who signed a multi-year contract and said he planned to move his family from Orlando.