This community — and this market — lost an invaluable asset with the passing of Chris Thomas. As so many have said, he was certainly witty, knowledgeable and fun. Listeners to WDAE-620 felt better for having been privy to his insights and antics.
Conversely, viewers of Channel 8 felt worse for having been deprived of his presence since WFLA-TV cut him loose in 2000. Management still bears the responsibility — borne of cost-cutting — for having ratcheted down its on-air quality and chemistry after Thomas’s firing.
One other thing. Thomas saw sports for what they are. He was never defined by the sports celebrities in his orbit, nor was he a “homer.” Athletes were assuredly not “warriors.” Sports could be fun and exciting, but they — especially at the professional level — were also part of a parallel universe that was more like the theater of the absurd. Ultimately they were just about games.
Thomas called it as he saw it — through his prism of knowledge and surrealism.
But in so calling, he manifested a depth of understanding and frame of reference that surpassed anyone else in this market. He was the only on-air, sports personality in Tampa Bay who could have made it in any market — a pro’s pro who made it fun.
He leaves both a legacy — and a void.