Meant to do this during the All-Star break, but got sidetracked, so today we bring you my comments/thoughts on major league baseball announcers.
I watch baseball on TV for at least 5-6 hours a day every day for six months, so I’m qualified to comment on stuff like this. This is for TV only; don’t hear much radio these days.
I’m not going to do straight rankings, but here are my comments on baseball TV guys.
1) Best duo: Mets, when Gary Cohen/Ron Darling are on. They talk about the game, they’re smart and they’re fairly honest where the home team is concerned. If you sit and listen to a Mets’ game, you’ll be smarter about baseball when the game is over.
When Keith Hernandez is on with Cohen, it isn’t nearly as good; Hernandez is so self-centered it hampers the broadcast, especially with the Mets out of the pennant race. He’ll talk about his cat or his house in Sag Harbor or complain about the traffic. Not good.
When Hernandez/Darling are both on with Cohen, it is still an excellent broadcast.
2) Brewers’ duo of Brian Anderson/Bill Schroeder are really good, but Anderson takes a lot of time off; he is usually gone for a month during the NBA playoffs, but his replacement Matt Lepay is also good, mainly because Schroeder is an excellent analyst and a friendly guy.
3) Colorado has Drew Goodman/Jeff Huson most of the time, and they are very good; Goodman is a New York guy who is a lot like Gary Cohen- little bit more of a homer (they talk about Nolan Arenado like he is a combo of Brooks Robinson/Mike Schmidt).
When Huson is off, Ryan Spilborghs is in the booth; he is a bit of a character, a funny ex-player who takes great care to give you the players’ perspective of how baseball works.
4) When Red Sox had Don Orsillo/Jerry Remy on TV, they had broadcasting gold, but Orsillo got the boot for whatever reason, and now humorless Dave O’Brien is the play/play guy, which renders Remy useless, since he is at his best when he is laughing.
Dennis Eckersley is good in his occasional appearances; last week, O’Brien asked him about his old teammates and Eck responded: “….I had a teammate once who stole my wife!!!”
TV doesn’t get any better than that……lol
5) Orsillo has moved on to San Diego, where he works with Mark Grant, who is a funny guy. They are good to listen to, but the Padres stink every year and sometimes you can tell that Orsillo’s heart is still in Boston. Mark Sweeney is the sub analyst who will be very, very good on the national stage someday.
6) Joe Davis is the Dodgers’ TV announcer, replacing the legendary Vin Scully, the greatest baseball announcer of all-time; tough job, huge shoes to fill, but Davis is really good, and he is low-key which works well in Los Angeles.
Davis is only 30 years old; he does football/basketball for FOX and is really good.
7) Bob Carpenter is a really good play/play guy for the Washington Nationals; the analyst is FP Santangelo, who is the equivalent of giving an 8-year the microphone and letting him work a game. He is upbeat and seems like a good guy, but they could do better. Every time a team gets its first hit of the game, “….there goes the no-hitter.” Even in the first inning.
8) Cincinnati Reds’ announcers (usually Thom Brennaman/Chris Walsh) are brutally honest; they’ll thrash the home team, if they think it is deserved. It often is.
9) Duane Kuiper is probably the best play/play guy who is a former player; he really is super on Giants’ games. His analyst is Mike Krukow, who is a homer, and not in a good way. Jon Miller/Dave Flemming do the Giants’ radio— thats a lot of broadcasting talent for one team.
10) Miami Marlins used to have a great TV team; Rich Waltz/Tommy Hutton- they were really good, but the Marlins let both of them go. Who knows why, but it hurts their broadcasts.
11) Victor Rojas/Mark Gubicza are very good on Angels’ games; Rojas is the son of Cookie Rojas, the old second baseman. Gubicza is always upbeat and gives credit to both teams.
12) As for the Bronx Bombers, I think David Cone could be a great analyst; he is funny and smart, but the whole condescending nature of the Bronx franchise makes me want to puke.
I’ll say this for them; friend of mine’s son was a runner in their TV/radio booth a few years ago and all of those people were nice to him, including John Sterling/Suzyn Waldman, the radio announcers, so they get points for that.
Michael Kay was a sportswriter who became a solid play-by-play guy. When Paul O’Neill is an analyst, you can hear him turning pages of the other team’s media guide as he talks—he seems to do zero prep work on the other team.
13) As for national announcers, Matt Vasgersian/Alex Rodriguez are very good on the Sunday night games; Jessica Mendoza is neither good nor bad— she is in on a pass, and she seems smart enough to know it.
I have a friend who worked as a professional announcer and tried to make a living at it; he worked really hard, but never made it. To see someone get passed ahead to the highest-profile job on TV simply because she is a woman is ridiculous, but that is the world we live in today.