Broadcaster Todd Kalas becoming familiar face in Central Florida

he 2010 season for the Tampa Bay Rays ended over two month ago, but for the team’s TV pregame and postgame host Todd Kalas his season never ends. Kalas, who works every Rays telecast on Sun Sports and Fox Sports Network Florida, also works as USF men’s basketball analyst in addition to holding similar pregame and postgame duties for Tampa Bay Lightning broadcasts. Kalas will also get to do play by play for State High School Football Championships in 3A,4A,5A and 6A level at  the Citrus Bowl On December 17 and 18 for FSN and Sun Sports.

“I love what I do for a living” said Kalas who spoke exclusively with ESPN 1080 recently prior to USF-UCF Basketball game. “I’m very fortunate to do what I do for a living.”

Kalas graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in broadcast journalism and got his first taste of Tampa Bay area as a sports director at Vision Cable in Clearwater.

Following in the broadcasting footsteps of his father, Harry, a legendary broadcaster for the Philadelphia Phillies, Toddbegan his baseball broadcasting career in 1991 with the Louisville Redbirds. He also had stints with the New York Mets and Phillies for three seasons before joining the Rays for their 1998 inaugural season.

Kalas has had time to reflect on Rays’ 2010 season, which ended with a game five loss in the American League Divisional Series to the Texas Rangers on October 12. The franchise has already lost Joaquin Beniot to the Tigers as well as  Carl Crawford to the rival Red Sox, and Carlos Pena to the Cubs.

Disappointed on how season ended, Kalas can only wonder if only the Rays had gotten past the Rangers in the five game series of what might have been.

“It’s disappointing not to get beyond the first round because I really think they would have matched up well against the Yankees,” Kalas said. “They won the AL East, they beat the Yankees late in the season when they had to if they would have gotten past the Rangers who knows what would have happen.”

While many Rays fans wonder what it could have been, Kalas has already shifted gears to the hardwoodwhere he serves as USF’s hoops analyst. He filled in four years ago and hasn’t looked back as he now does 20-25 games a season for the Bulls showing that baseball is not his only love.

“I love college basketball,” Kalas stated. “I grew up watching Villanova University and have been a Big East fan since it first started. For me to get a chance to work with USF and travel around to Big East schools is really special.”

Kalas feels the Bulls who lost three starters from last season in Chris Howard, Mike Mercer, and NBA First round draft pick Dominique Jones will be a better team as the season develops.

“Without those three guys, they’re looking for that core group that’s going to carry them in the beginning part of the season,” Kalas said. “This is a team that in December probably won’t be as good as it will be towards the end of the year.”

As if Kalas wasn’t already busy enough, he has begun his work covering the Lightning. He’s looking forward to seeing how the team will play under the new regime of General Manager and Vice President Steve Yzerman as well as Head Coach Guy Boucher.

“The new style of play the Lightning is employing under Guy Boucher has changed the whole culture there,” Kalas said.

Kalas enjoys taking time off away from baseball covering hockey and college basketball. That doesn’t mean he isn’t looking forward to pitchers and catchers reporting followed by the start of spring training.

“Usually November- December, I’m kind of glad to decompress for a little while and take a little time to enjoy life,” Kalas said. “Then once January hits then you know baseball isn’t that far away. Then I look forward to fan fest and spring training in February and then your right back into baseball.”

Kalas is optimistic about the possibility of a new look Rays team in 2011 and being able to compete despite the payroll cut due to the starting rotation the Rays will have.

“When you have six starting pitchers under the age of 30 who are really legitimate major league pitchers you got a chance to win a number of games,” Kalas said.

The ace of the Rays in 2011 figures to be David Price, who finished as the runner-up to Seattle’s Felix Hernandez in the AL Cy Young race. Kalas likes the fact that Price finished ahead of CC Sabathia as Price and the Rays beat Sabathia and the Yankees head-to-head down the stretch to win the AL East.

People looking at pitchers stats in depth still felt that Price should have won the AL’s top pitching honor. When you consider Hernandez pitches most of his starts at a pitcher friendly ballpark like Seattle’s Safeco Field, while Price has to pitch against tougher competition in AL East.

“Purely stat wise Felix Hernandez had the best year but 13-12 is 13-12 to me,” Kalas said. “I’m partial but Price got it done in toughest division when it mattered most, while Felix Hernandez pitched in a lot of games that whether his team won or lost in the long run really didn’t matter.”

Kalas feels it’s tough to compete every year the way baseball is structured in today’s economics where teams like the Yankees and Red Sox can spend as much as they want, while others like the Rays can’t.

“You don’t have the ability to play on a level surface year after year,” Kalas said. “You have to make a run like the Rays did for two or three years and then regroup and try to make another two-to-four year run. Unfortunately, that’s the way it was for Indians, Marlins, Twins. It’s a difficult proposition, especially when you play in same division as the Yankees and Red Sox.”

Kalas feels what the Rays accomplished the last three seasons in the same division with Yankees and Red Sox will be hard for any team to accomplish anytime soon.

“For the Rays to win the AL East in two of the last three years, that’s something very hard for any team not named the Red Sox or Yankees to accomplish in the next quarter century,” Kalas remarked.

While it is uncertain how the Rays will look next season or how the Bulls and Lightning seasons will play itself out. One thing you can count on is when you turn on your TV to watch the Rays or Lightning game or turn on the radio to listen to Bulls Basketball you can count on Todd Kalas to be there with you every step of the way covering the action.