The Transformation of Dan McLaughlin


After a few months of silence and doubt about Dan McLaughlin’s future in the industry, the Post-Dispatch delivered news that the broadcaster will retain his position at Fox Sports Midwest despite a second DUI arrest last September. The preservation of McLaughlin comes after Fox Sports Midwest GM Jack Donovan saw an “aggressive” and “dramatic attack” of the issues at hand.

While they’re sure to receive flack throughout the season, Fox Sports Midwest is a private institution that authoritatively determines who they hire and who they don’t. They’ve chosen to rehire Dan McLaughlin, so instead of digging too deeply into drinking and driving – an offense we can all agree is objectionable and harmful – let’s observe the move itself, which seems justified for two reasons:

1.) McLaughlin’s transformation is apparent.

You learn a lot about someone in the face of adversity, even when it’s self-inflicted. McLaughlin was faced with disappearing into oblivion or remaking himself and his career. It took two mistakes for McLaughlin to travel down the correct path, which is as deplorable as the act itself. But he finally chose the right path; for himself, for his family and for his career. We’re sure the daily details of attending substance abuse classes are plentiful, but we always saw McLaughlin’s public transformation as simple.

Admit to the problem, be transparent about the resolution…and lose a ton of weight.

The last goal may seem bizarre, but it’s a physical characteristic that the public can grasp as an element of metamorphosis. Many have heard rumors of McLaughlin’s weight loss and this past weekend, a JSF tipster sent in what is (likely) the first public image of the re-made Cardinals broadcaster.

Pretty drastic – especially considering it’s only been four months since McLaughlin’s arrest. He must have given up Jack in the Box tacos in addition to the alcohol. Good for him; abstaining from Jack in the Box tacos probably takes more effort than booze. Cutting both out would be exponentially difficult.

And to be perfectly honest, he looks healthier than any point during his tenure as a Cardinals broadcaster the past decade.

2.) Fans are better off with Dan McLaughlin in the booth.

McLaughlin disappeared from the Cardinals broadcast in mid-September, leaving fans with the undesirable pairing of Ricky Horton and Al Hrabosky during one of the most miraculous stretches in franchise history.

Since he began calling games in 2000, McLaughlin has been Fox Sports Midwest’s best asset. He’s intelligent, inquisitive and understands his role as the mediator between viewers and his broadcasting partner – which is usually an ex-ballplayer. He’s also a homegrown talent that understands the fan base without being a staunch homer. For years, McLaughlin has also been the hardest working man in the local media; doing regular work for the Cardinals and Blues while making frequent appearances for Mizzou, the Missouri Valley Conference and regional ESPN basketball coverage. Quite simply, he could have pursued bigger and better opportunities years ago. The Cardinals are his passion and he’s damn good at his job.

In short, McLaughlin was faced with the intersection of industry ability and personal moderation failures. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured during this crossroad (ahem, no pun intended).

Independent of the those that were hurt or harmed in the process, we’re pleased that this transformation is well underway and occurring where McLaughlin belongs: in the Cardinals broadcast booth.

Fox Sports Midwest made the right move retaining him.



  • J.T. says:

    Well done Dan. Fantastic to hear….and see. Glad to have him back in the booth this season.

  • Matt says:

    He looks terrible. He went overboard on the weight loss. Looks like Dan has difficulty with moderation in any form.

  • Justin says:

    I’m glad he finally seems to have gotten his act together, but I don’t like that he’s back in the broadcast booth. I disagree with Matt’s assessment of his talent (although, obviously, he’s leagues better than Horton; then again, my dirty boxers would do a better job broadcasting than Horton), but more importantly, I just don’t get how many strikes you give a guy. This is two. Are we supposed to believe three strikes would be an out? What if the next strike comes in the off-season? What if it’s five or six years down the road? Will they forgive and forget yet again?

    Hopefully if he relapses he’s lucky enough to not kill someone, like he was lucky the first two times. I’m not big on casting stones; I make plenty of mistakes myself. But this guy is a face of the organization and of Fox Sports Midwest, and I think maybe he’s not the face I’d want to put out in front of my organization, especially if my organization was so intrinsically tied to alcohol sales (see, stadium name). Anyway, I guess we’ll see.

    I think more than anything I find it interesting that no one in the St. Louis media appears to have the balls to question this decision. I have trouble imagining I’m the only one that takes issue with the rehire.

  • Jason says:

    We can only hope that they’ve used their dynamic-pricing system to allot their broadcasters as well… Perhaps we’ll hear Dan do some meaningful games after the whoops-fest last year.

  • Bob says:

    He looks better in the 2011 pic!

  • db says:

    Tremendously written. It’s tough to disagree with the points that you’ve made. Wish Dan the best of luck.

  • Greg W says:

    I’m not sure I could summarize how I feel about this any better. A bad situation? Of course. A sizable rebound? Absolutely. It’s clear that he’s committed to making the most of (another) opportunity.

    I just pray that it sticks because, you’re right, he’s fantastic behind the microphone.

  • Ken K says:

    Good article. I am glad that Dan, apparently, has made a personal decision to tackle substance abuse in an aggressive manner. He probably deserves another shot. However, I’d like to see the Cards and Fox Sports Midwest turn this snafu into an opportunity to educate their fanbase about alcohol/substance abuse and how to get proper treatment for it. They should also expand their support for designated driver/harm reduction policies.

    Ultimately, Dan is an employee of FSM and we should hold them, and the Cards, morally accountable for mitigating the harms of alcohol abuse. Both companies receive tons of advertising money from alcohol, and they should use some of that money to mitigate the problems attendant to it.

    Also, it would be great if Dan made a big mea culpa and did PSAs and was straightforward in his problems on the air. This would be the most consistent with treating this whole issue as a public health problem.

  • Tim says:

    Great column. Good to hear Dan is back on the path that will allow his talents to please (and not harm) the most people. Always enjoyed him in the booth.

  • LincolnLounger says:

    I wish him well, but this was the perfect opportunity to change the broadcasting team along with the other changes we will see. Another season of the same old, trite phrases and jokes, apparently.

    That picture is terrifying, by the way.

  • Tim says:

    If this was only 4 months after he stopped drinking, his body was probably still adjusting to the reduced amount of calories he’s taking in. There are a tremendous amount of calories in alcohol and if you mix with sweeteners, its a lot more. I’d imagine that if/when he continues on this path, his weight will swing back and forth a couple of times and then even out. It can be a long road back to health for some

  • Myers says:

    I have a feeling that that’s the photograph that is making him look “sick” or whatever.

    He probably looks great… but with only one photograph out there (aaaahahahahaha) you have to live with what you’ve got.

    He’s like Brangelina’s babies. In weight, I mean.

  • DanielB says:

    I’ve been where Dan McLaughlin has been with DWI’s…I had 2 of ‘em too
    It’s a wakeup call i had more than 20 years ago…Eventually i totally quit drinking alcohol and lost 100 pounds…Once i started feeling better it was kind of a natural thing for me to want to get back in shape…Once the good effects of sobriety took over i actually felt like excercising for the first time in ages…

    It’s true your face can look a bit drawn and gaunt in the first months after a massive weight loss…But in time Dan’s face will tighten up and look fine…

    Alcohol addiction is a never ending battle…I wish Dan McLaughlin the best…in this…the biggest challenge of his life…

  • fleadog99 says:

    Here is another pic. Doing the ITD spring training show.



  • Theo hembrough says:

    Good for you Dan keep it up

  • Hal stansbury says:

    From a Chaminade boy to a Vianny boy…great come make it count and hang in there

  • Nic says:

    Looks like he traded the Busch for some good ole Missouri meth. Way to keep it local!

  • Mike says:

    Personally, I think he looks gaunt, frail and sickly now. Leave the booze alone Dan, but get back to the Jack in the Box — quick!

  • Alan says:

    This was a great read, I can personally relate to Dan’s trials and it’s always inspiring to hear a story of perseverence!! People never cease to amaze me at how quick they are to judge everyone’s faults an mistakes. C’mon folks,stop with the jealousy,envy and pride then please congratulate this man and anyone involved that has been positive and encouraging through out those trying times.

  • Hi Dan, my name is Ollie Souffle’, and I talked to you at the season ticket holders dinner last mo. About getting you more air time broadcasting the Cardinals on Fox Sports. It looks like the person you asked me to talk to about that, listened and is s so good to hear you back in the booth. Keep up the hard work, and great broadcasting. Thanks for the visit at the dinner, look forward to talking to you again sometime.

    Best wishes,
    Ollie Souffle’

  • Tim S says:

    He is such a homer. Have you ever heard him criticize the Cardinals? He really is very representative of the new corporate announcers.

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