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.