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Daron Sutton ‘very surprised’ the Angels fired him as play-by-play broadcaster

Daron and Don Sutton in an undated photo
Daron Sutton, shown with his father, Hall of Famer Don, will not be part of the Angels broadcast team the rest of this season.
(Daron Sutton)

Daron Sutton was back in Arizona visiting his family last week, enjoying a week-long break in his schedule broadcasting Angels games before the second half of the season, when he got a message from his bosses at Bally Sports West telling him they needed to talk.

“I actually told my wife, ‘I’m curious what they want to talk about,’” he said. “If it’s something great, I’ll be back in a few.”

Instead, it was an unexpected gut punch.

Sutton was informed Saturday that he would no longer be a part of the Angels’ broadcast team, a move he said in a phone interview Tuesday caught him completely off-guard.

“[Bally Sports told me] the Angels were wanting to make a change,” Sutton said. “They carried the mail on that one. It was the Angels’ decision though.”

He later added: “I was very surprised.”

Sutton said his removal was “100% without incident” and unrelated to any disciplinary action. He had called the majority of the Angels’ games in the first half of the season. And he had no inkling a midseason change was an imminent possibility.

“This was definitely more of a trial or test than I understood when we started,” he said when the news was announced Sunday.

Sutton said he wasn’t given an explanation, by either the team or Bally Sports, for why the Angels wanted to part ways.

“I have no idea why,” he said.

Daron Sutton said he will not be part of the Angels’ broadcast team for the remainder of the season, he told The Times on Sunday.

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The Angels haven’t publicly commented on Sutton’s departure, but have already lined up a replacement in former Miami Marlins play-by-play voice Rich Waltz.

Sutton, meanwhile, said he’d be turning all of his attention back toward his work with the PerfectGame.TV streaming network he has helped build up in recent years, covering the amateur side of the sport.

“It makes you sad,” he said of leaving Angels telecasts. “We all have goals ... I have dreams and goals. So you’re sad. But you don’t live there for very long. What made me most sad was to see my family sad.”

Sutton, the son of the late Hall of Fame Dodgers and Angels pitcher Don Sutton, was hired in March along with Matt Vasgersian as the team’s two new play-by-play broadcasters, replacing Victor Rojas after Rojas took a job this offseason as an executive of a minor league team.

Vasgersian is the Angels’ primary broadcaster, but has called only 29 of the club’s games on Bally Sports West this season because of his other obligations with MLB Network and as ESPN’s lead broadcaster on “Sunday Night Baseball.”

That left Sutton to call most of the games in the first half — he did 53 in all — alongside color commentators Mark Gubicza and José Mota.

Working on his first MLB broadcast package since serving as the Arizona Diamondbacks play-by-play voice from 2007-12, Sutton said it was a refreshing challenge. A lifelong Angels fan going back to his dad’s three seasons pitching for the team from 1985-87, he said it was a dream job.

“I really enjoyed reconnecting with Angels fans,” he said. “It’s one thing to be an Angels fan remotely. It’s one thing to have a very busy life and check in on your team. Man, it’s another to live it ... I had a blast.”

It didn’t come without its challenges though.

Angels announcers José Mota and Daron Sutton look back fondly on the experiences they had while tagging along with their dads during their careers.

Previously living in Arizona with his wife, Sutton leased an apartment in Southern California upon getting the job. Because of pandemic protocols, broadcasts of all road games were done remotely from Anaheim.

And, after he and Vasgersian were hired so close to the start of the season, he said the telecasts were an evolving product.

“When this happens late, and the schedules are being made on a month-by-month basis, and we’re learning as we go,” he said, adding: “[I was] totally fine with it, totally understood it.”

What he wasn’t expecting was for the job to end so soon.

“I had no idea,” he said when asked if he had any inclination that his job status was in doubt.

Still Sutton said he’d cherish the experience.

“I’ve never been more proud of working with my production team, and what we did on a nightly basis, ever in my career than this body of work,” he said.

He plans to remain an Angels fan too, even after the team swiftly moved on after only half a season.

“At the end of the day, if an organization’s in that situation, you have to have the voice that you want. That’s your choice,” he said, adding: “While very sad, and my family was very sad, I immediately started reflecting on the good. And man, there was a lot of good.”

Angels’ Shohei Ohtani’s performance in the All-Star game and home run derby has shown he is currently the biggest attraction in baseball.


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