Rays promote Neil Solondz to join Andy Freed in radio booth

A replacement was needed for Dave Wills, the longtime broadcaster who died unexpectedly on March 5.
Neil Solondz, who will join Andy Freed in the Rays radio booth this season, has been with the team since 2012.
Neil Solondz, who will join Andy Freed in the Rays radio booth this season, has been with the team since 2012. [ Courtesy of Neil Solondz ]
Published March 16

ST. PETERSBURG — Longtime pre- and post-game host Neil Solondz will join Andy Freed in the Rays radio booth this season.

Solondz, 53, was promoted to take the place of Dave Wills, who died unexpectedly March 5 at age 58 after 18 years with the team.

“Dave and Andy have built an incredible tradition with Tampa Bay Rays fans on air and in the community,” Solondz said in a late-afternoon release. “I’m humbled and honored to join Andy in the booth. While no one can ever replace Dave, the best way to honor his legacy is to continue to share the game with the fans who love it as much as we do.”

Related: Rays radio broadcaster Dave Wills dies at age 58

Solondz has been with the Rays since 2012, filling in on play-by-play duties, producing the This Week in Rays Baseball show, handling programming before and after games, hosting a podcast and generating additional team content.

He joined the Rays after serving as the radio voice of Triple-A Durham from 2004-11. He previously broadcast minor-league games for the Phillies and Twins. In 2021 he received the Rays’ Joyce Smith Community Spirit Award, which annually recognizes an employee who makes significant societal contributions beyond their professional responsibility.

“Since 2012 when Neil joined Dave and I with Rays Radio, he has been a big part of what we do,” Freed said. “His advancement to the play-by-play booth creates a natural and seamless transition. It allows us to carry forward our tradition of providing entertaining Rays baseball broadcasts that connect with our fans.”

Related: Rays to honor broadcaster Dave Wills with April 22 tribute

Principal owner Stuart Sternberg said promoting Solondz will provide continuity to the broadcasts.

“Dave left an indelible mark on our organization and the community as a whole,” he said. “We all enjoyed the special camaraderie he shared with Andy and Neil. We are fortunate to have an excellent team of broadcasters who will continue the high-caliber coverage that our fans deserve. We’re excited for Neil to bring his expertise and talent to the broadcast.”

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