Joe Simpson was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame earlier this year. 
Photo: Steve Schaefer
Photo: Steve Schaefer

Dodgers manager sounds off on Braves broadcaster comments

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Sunday that he was “very taken aback” by criticism on the Braves’ Fox Sports South broadcast of his team’s attire during batting practice before Saturday’s game. 

In the fifth inning of Saturday night’s telecast, Braves broadcaster Joe Simpson said the Dodgers “looked very unprofessional” dressed in T-shirts and with pants pulled up to their knees for batting practice, instead of wearing uniforms with names on their backs. “If I were a Dodger fan, I’d be embarrassed,” Simpson, a former Dodgers player, said on the broadcast. 

Roberts said before Sunday’s series finale at SunTrust Park that he had heard the broadcast comments. He called them “a cheap shot.”

Roberts was particularly upset that Simpson singled out veteran infielder Chase Utley during the segment. 

Simpson said he and Utley spoke before Sunday’s game. 

“It was a good talk, and it’s done,” Simpson said, declining further comment. 

Simpson said he did not plan to revisit the matter during Sunday’s broadcast. Utley was not available for comment pregame.

Roberts talked about the issue at length, criticizing the Braves broadcast for talking about batting-practice attire “in the fifth inning of a one-run game, to take time from the viewers and not talk about the game.” 

“Batting practice is to get your work in, which (Utley) does an amazing job of, as all of our players do,” Roberts said. “To see him take ground balls or see him work his routine in the (batting) cage … that would be my message to the fans, to watch him and how he works and prepares for a major league baseball game. 

“To take a shot at him and our guys, I just thought it was unfair.”

Roberts said Utley, “a consummate professional,” was wearing a “strikeout-to-cancer shirt that is dear to his heart” during the batting practice.

Roberts and Simpson said they had not spoken with one another about the matter. 

“I would expect an apology,” Roberts said. But he said it’s “great, good to hear” that Simpson spoke with Utley. 

“It’s past,” Roberts said. “(Simpson) has been (broadcasting) a long time, so he’s obviously good at what he does. I think for us it’s water under the bridge.”

Simpson, in his 27th season as a Braves broadcaster, was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame this year.

Neither the Dodgers nor the Braves took batting practice before Sunday’s game.

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