Josh Beckett’s line on the night: 6+ innings, 70 pitches, 4 hits, 1 run, 2BB, 3 Ks…

August 25th, 2006 → 1:06 am @

…and one bloody finger. The good news? Apparently this isn’t the result of Beckett’s (in)famous blister issues.

(Also? I really hate the Angels broadcasters. And because I don’t want to be a hypocrite, I’ll leave it at that.)

(And: If you only watch one highlight from last night’s game, it shouldn’t be Big Papi’s homer or Lil’ Papi striking out the last two batters of the game. It most definitely should be Mirabelli’s deke to nail Juan Rivera at the plate in the bottom of the 7th. When I wake up, I’ll still have this same shit-eating grin on my face.)

(Finally: there’s something so satisfying about a visiting stadium erupting in rabid cheers when the Sox pull out a nailbiter. Shoot, they should just bring “Dirty Water” on the road.)

Post Categories: Broadcasting & Doug Mirabelli & Jonathan Papelbon & Josh Beckett

Michael Kay explains the secret of David Ortiz: Killing them with kindness

August 19th, 2006 → 1:50 pm @

I’m not unsympathetic to Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay. It’s easy to run out of things to say when working two games for a total of over eight hours. And Kay is one of the better local broadcasters: he’s not a complete homer and he’s fairly knowledgable. But even booth-mate Al Leiter seemed a little confused by Kay’s attempt, in the bottom of the fifth inning of last night’s game, to explain why more pitchers don’t bean David Ortiz.

AL: It’s not that you’re afraid to hit him, but the window is really small.
MK: The question is, Al, are pitchers afraid to hit him? Are they afraid to come inside because they might hit him?
AL: Oh, I don’t think so, no. They’re missing.
ML: It just seems strange that they never miss inside. They always miss, as you said, with the ball leaking out outside.
AL: What’s he gonna do? Hit him, what, he runs out, punches you once? I don’t think anyone gets on the mound and he says, ‘Boy, I’m afraid to come out on the mound because I’m afraid he’s gonna come out and punch me.’
MK: Well, everybody likes him; he seems to be friends with everybody.
AL: That’s his strategy?
MK: That’s what Michael Jordan’s strategy was.

Of course, this could also be the reason teams don’t want to risk just putting Ortiz on base.

(Also: I’m glad someone has finally explained why Michael Jordan was able to achieve as much as he did.)

Post Categories: Broadcasting & David Ortiz

Proof that teams get the broadcasters they deserve

August 8th, 2006 → 8:27 pm @

“Mark Loretta may be the toughest out in that Red Sox lineup.”

Royals broadcaster Bob Davis in top of the first inning of tonight’s Royals-Red Sox game. Loretta is fifth (out of eight) in on-base percentage among regular position players–behind Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkilis, Trot Nixon, and David Ortiz.

Post Categories: Broadcasting

This post went up when it looked like they were going to win…

July 9th, 2006 → 4:16 pm @

…and instead, the final game of what should have been a sweep turned into a brutal, last-one-standing marathon. I really don’t like the White Sox.

I’d forgotten how truly awful White Sox broadcasters Ken Harrelson and Darrin Jackson are…but it only took a a couple of minutes of today’s game for them to remind me. It’s not just that they sound like they’re in a coma. And it’s not just their painful homerism, with constant, “c’mon, get a hit”s or “we need to turn it on here”s. It’s sequences like this one:

In the bottom of the fourth, Jason Varitek hit a flare up the middle that sent pitcher Jose Contreras awkwardly sprawling backwards off the mound. Contreras, who hobbled around a bit after the play, seemed so uncomfortable that his manager and trainer came out to make sure he was okay. Still, with two outs and no-one on, Contreras — who does, let’s remember, have a pretty considerable track record of melting down against the Red Sox — didn’t seem to be in a whole lot of trouble.

Then Mike Lowell hit an 0-1 pitch into the left-field stands.
Then Coco Crisp worked a five-pitch walk.
Then Alex Gonzalez roped a single into left.
Then Contreras uncorked a wild pitch, putting runners on second and third.
Then Kevin Youkilis worked a five-pitch walk.
Then Contreras hit Mark Loretta with a pitch after being up 0-2.

During this whole sequence, Contreras seemed out of sorts, changing arm slots, grimacing, shrugging his shoulders. But neither Harrelson nor Jackson made a single reference to the fact that Contreras might be experiencing some discomfort due to Tek’s liner. Not once!

Other gems:

* After saying that Youkilis is “much more dangerous” with runners in scoring position (with a .300 average versus a .325 average), Harrelson says, “That’s not bad at all for a guy who’s batting leadoff, while most of the time nobody’s out there.” Right…because whether or not you bat leadoff has absolutely anything to do with how you bat with RISP.

* “Manny Ramirez is a different hitter with the bases loaded than he is leading off an inning.” Not really true — and definitely not true in the way Harrelson thinks:

2006 leading off: 27/74 (.365) with 7 HRs (1 per 10.6 ABs)
2006 with bases loaded: 1/6 (.167) with 0 HRs
2003-2005 leading off: 121/402 (.301) with 35 HRs (1 per 11.49 ABs)
2003-2005 bases loaded: 15/52 (.288) with 5 HRs (1 per 10.4 ABs)

* “Ozzie Guillen is just trying to win the [All-Star] game, which is something a lot of managers can not say, which is a shame.”

This in reference to why Guillen didn’t choose Curt Schilling as an All-Star…because Schilling was pitching today and so might not be available for that long on Tuesday. Of course, that’s why Mark Buehrle (9-6, 4.02 ERA, 54 Ks) is an All-Star and Schilling (10-3, 3.55 ERA, 112 Ks) is not; it has nothing to do with the fact that Buehrle is on the White Sox. And does plenty to explain why Contreras, who also pitched today, isn’t excusing himself from Tuesday’s festivities.

After the dynamic duo said Guillen’s courage in using Bobby Jenks as a closer last year gave the Sox the confidence to use Jonathan “Papelbom” as a closer this year and all but implied the umpire was on the take–talking about “two different strike zones today” and how the ump gave Schilling “gifts” and squeezed Contreras so that he needed to throw it “right down the middle of the plate”–I finally turned the volume off.

Ahhh. That’s better.

Post Categories: Baseball & Broadcasting

It’s kind of sad that this is so unusual

July 6th, 2006 → 10:24 pm @

Two nice moments in the NESN broadcast of tonight’s Sox-Devil Rays game.

* In the first inning, after Manny cranked a ball into the left-field stands for a two-run shot, Jerry Remy got audibly excited. But instead of just screaming, “DEEP DRIVE, HOME RUN!” (or something inane like “that two-run shot is as good as a grand slam“), Remy’s excitement stemmed from Manny’s freakish balance on a Scott Shields change-up. Two batters earlier, Shields had struck out Mark Loretta with a change; not only did Manny take note, but Remy did too. Manny’s ability to correctly forecast the offspeed offering and sit on it is impressive; just as impressive–especially in comparison to the vast majority of broadcasters working today–is that Remy, instead of simply marveling at Manny’s power or skill or whatever, used the moment to point out how smart a player Manny is and what his at-bat illustrated.

* In the top of the ninth, with Alex Gonzalez on third, nobody out, and Kevin Youkilis at bat, Youk hit a fastball sharply between first and second. It was a hit and run–Gonzalez was off with the pitch–and Devil Rays second baseman Jorge Cantu had broken towards the bag; as a result, he had to scramble to his left, turning a potential double-play ball into a bases loaded situation. Before the play was over, Remy was explaining how Cantu should have been in position to make the play; it’s the shortstop that usually covers second when there’s a hit-and-run on with the pitcher throwing a fastball to a right-handed hitter. And unlike the rote “how many times does a guy make a great defensive play to end an inning and then lead off the next inning with a big hit?” (answer: almost exactly as much as you’d expect), Remy’s observation explained what turned out to be a game deciding play: after a Mark Loretta walk loaded the bases, David Ortiz hit a grand slam for his second home run of the game. The Boston Red Sox: fun to watch and educational.

P.S. After 83 games, David Ortiz has 29 home runs and 82 RBIs. His projected totals for the season? Fifty seven home runs and 160 RBIs. He is a god among men.

Post Categories: Baseball & Broadcasting & David Ortiz & Jerry Remy & NESN

Broadcasters who do their homework, #2196

July 2nd, 2006 → 3:09 pm @

“You know the other two Red Sox catchers, Doug Mirabellity, Doug Mirabelli and Josh Bard, have 19 passed balls between them.”

— Florida Marlins broadcaster in the bottom of the sixth after Jason Varitek’s second passed ball of the year. (The scorer changed his decision to a wild pitch in between innings.) Josh Bard was traded to the Padres on May 2.

Post Categories: Broadcasting

You mean we need to sit here for five more innings?

June 20th, 2006 → 9:08 pm @

SCENE: The bottom of the fourth inning of the July 20 Red Sox-Nationals game with Boston leading, 8-0.

SETTING: NESN broadcast booth, Fenway park.

* Red Sox color analyst Jerry Remy
* Red Sox play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo
* A three-inch plushy of Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster.

Remy: We all have parties–birthday parties, crews go out and have parties. Wally likes to attend those parties and he has a heck of a time, but the next day I’ve got to put up with that. He’s miserable, not feeling well, cause it’s hard if, you know, when he goes out people take care of him.

Orsillo: See, I thought he was all done with that. I thought that was another life for Wally. I thought the whole rehab thing took care of that.

Remy: The thing about it is, he’ll look the same tomorrow, but he won’t feel good.

Orsillo: He’s always gonna be green.


Remy: The women love Wally.

Orsillo: I can see why. They’re only human.
It makes you wonder what Ron Gant would have come up with…

Post Categories: Broadcasting & Don Orsillo & Jerry Remy & Red Sox & Ron Gant & Wally the Green Monster