There’s this persistent buzzing in my ears…

June 7th, 2006 → 10:41 am @ // No Comments

It hasn’t been a good year for baseball broadcasters. First there was Keith Hernandez charming his way into our hearts with his pronouncement that “women don’t belong in the dugout.” Then Rick Sutcliffe taught the children of San Diego that if they worked hard and always ate their Wheaties, they could grow up to give drunken, rambling monologues on air.

But broadcasters don’t need to act like buffoons to embarrass themselves. Last Friday night, the Detroit Tigers broadcast team was talking about Curt Schilling’s evolution into one of the premier power pitchers of his generation. Schilling’s career, the broadcasters said, had been turned around after Roger Clemens chewed out the young righty when he was a member of the Baltimore Orioles. It’s a good story, and one that’s been repeated many, many times…and almost every time, the teller has gotten the basic details right: Schilling was with the Astros when the encounter occurred, not the Orioles. (What would Schilling have been doing working out in the Astrodome as a member of the Orioles anyway? At least Roger’s from Houston.) Not a hanging offense, granted, but couldn’t the Tigers broadcasters have done at least a tiny bit of research before a three-game series against (what was at the time) another first-place team?

This kind of careless ignorance is par for the course with baseball broadcasters. During last night’s painful Red Sox-Yankees matchup, Yankees broadcaster Ken Singleton had a weird little tangent about how the Red Sox’s not signing Johnny Damon was the reason why the team’s starting pitching was in trouble. (And here I thought it was the fact that Josh Beckett and Matt Clement were being used for batting practice.) Singleton’s logic, as far as I could tell, went something like this: because Damon left, the Sox had to find a replacement, which resulted in the trade of Bronson Arroyo for former Reds outfielder Wily Mo Pena. Now, never mind that it was Coco Crisp (whom the Yankees cameraman obligingly showed onscreen as Singleton was speaking) and not WMP who was acquired to replace Damon, and never mind that the Sox wanted (and needed) another backup outfielder regardless of whether or not they signed Damon, and never mind that assorted Arroyo deals were being discussed even before Damon decided to put on pinstripes. How about some acknowledgement that what the Red Sox gained in trading for Crisp and Pena was a pair of young, hard-hitting outfielders who still have several years to go before they’re eligible for free agency? Or even a nod to the fact that in a couple of years the Yankees will once again be saddled with a highly-paid center fielder with a poor throwing arm and limited range…and we saw how well that worked out last year. I know there are those folks who have problems with Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy, who broadcast Sox games for NESN. (The inside jokes, the corny puns, etc.) But they know the game, they do their research, and they make incisive, thoughtful, and provocative observations. The more broadcast teams you see during the course of a season, the more you realize just how rare that is.

Post Categories: Broadcasting & Red Sox & Yankees

One Comment → “There’s this persistent buzzing in my ears…”

  1. Nordberg

    18 years ago

    I have been very disappointed by the baseball mouths in New York. The biggest media market in the U.S. and that’s the best they can do? Susan Wellman, for example, said that Youkilis’ nickname in Boston is the “Greek god of Walks.” Um, no, Susan, that’s from “Moneyball.” And John Sterling just rambles until the last out. But baseball broadcasting can be no worse than here in Chicago, where of the eight radio and TV mouths between the cubs and sox, you have one quality voice: Pat Hughes. His Cubs radio partner, Ron (pick a toupe) Santo is off-limits to criticism because he’s so, well, lovable. The same fans who love him also accept the mediocrity of the Cubs. Talk about no standards. On the Cubs TV side you’ve got Bob Brenly and Len Kasper are just plain dull. No, they’ve redefined dull. The White Sox have Ken Harrelson and Darrin Jackson on TV. Harrelson screwed up the team as its GM and now just invents cliches. Jackson might be better if Harrelson wasn’t such a pompous ass. The radio guys are Ed Farmer and Chris Singleton. Farmer, who moved over from analyst to PBP when Jon Rooney went to STL, has always called the games as if the Sox lose only because they screwed up and let the other team win. Singleton, in his first year, is completely lost. He might have a chance if not paired with Farmer.
    So give me D.O. and Remdawg anyday. And Joe and Troup, too.


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