Who Are Your Favorite Baseball TV Analysts?

scully_vincent_10801-182x300Pretty soon, the familiar sounds of baseball will be back on your television. With that will come the color commentator and the play-by-play announcer. For some of us, it is akin to pouring acid into our ear canals (oh god, Ken Harrelson and Harold Reynolds). For others, it is almost poetry. I know some people don’t appreciate Vin Scully’s charms, but I like him. He has a sly wit, and his stories make me smile. Maybe it’s because I genuinely like older people. They tell the best stories and I consider them living historians. Part of the reason I get the MLB.TV package is to listen to him talk to me. It feels personal.

Jessica Mendoza is a revelation. No, not because she’s a woman, although my goodness, if I had her as a role model as a child, I think my career right now would be completely different. She’s intelligent, insightful, and she brings a fresh perspective to the game. I’m actually looking forward to ESPN broadcasts now.

I like my local baseball television crew. I believe part of the reason the Rays have such good television ratings, besides the stadium being a domed tomb in a hard to access location,

tropicana_field_from_air

What isn’t to love? I think she looks like a giant nipple.

 

is the analysts being so good. Brian Anderson is a former pitcher and the owner of one the dumbest sports injuries of all time. He ironed his own face. He who doesn’t check the temperature of his iron with his face cast the first stone. Anderson is a relatively young, sarcastic, funny, and, iron injury aside, smart color analyst. Dewayne Staats, the play-by-play guy, is the owner of the best white ‘fro in the business and also has a powerful mustache. Even Burt Reynolds is jealous. He’s like Brian’s dad and they play off each other well. What I really like is that they are critical of the Rays. If the Rays screw up, they call them on it, and they praise their opponents. I hate homer crews (ahem, Sterling and Waldman–I know they’re on the radio, but still–McCann can go fuck himself. Oh yes, McCann can.)

As a kid, I watched Tim McCarver, Ralph Kiner, and either Fran Healy or Steve Zabriskie. I remember a time when Tim McCarver was not annoying to me. There was nothing that I liked more than my summer night ritual with drunk Uncle Ralph, Tim, and my ice cold mango de teta. Tim’s over -explanations were great for someone who was learning the sport. His stories were not stale to me yet. I don’t recall the moment in time when I transformed into, “Shut up, Tim! Just shut up, shut up, shut up.” Did I change or did he? I think he’s senile now.

Now that the baseball sounds are coming back, who are your favorite color analysts and play-by-play announcers and why, either on TV or radio? Do you like your local crew? I do love listening to the game on the radio too. For the younger readers, the radio is the thing that came in your car that picks up Sirius/XM feed and also guides you off a bridge sometimes. Any all time favorites? And who do you want to punch in the face?

21 thoughts on “Who Are Your Favorite Baseball TV Analysts?

  1. Really enjoy Ken Singleton and David Cone. The booth is especially fun when Michael Kay is on vacation, because Kenny’s got the perfect cadence for PBP, and I absolutely love how Cone blends his experience as a pitcher with the new analytics he clearly buffs up on. The Yanks have a rotating cast of other guys who aren’t bad, like O’Neill, Leither, and John Flaherty, but Singleton and Cone are by far the best part of that booth. Fuck Michael Kay.

    As for non-Yankee announcers, the Mets’ broadcast team is just aces, and I’ll sometimes throw on SNY just to listen to them. Big shout-out to their radio team, too. Listening to Howie Rose and Josh Lewin is probably my favorite part of the Subway Series. They’re everything Sterling and Waldman aren’t.

    Nationally, I’m a big fan of John Smoltz. I’m happy he got the FOX gig, but I hope it doesn’t ruin him. Like inda, my dad remembered Tim McCarver from his heyday as a Mets broadcaster, but he didn’t really watch him on FOX, so there was a huge disconnect between the two of us on how good of an announcer he was. I really enjoyed listening to Jessica Mendoza too, and I think Dan Shulman is a solid PBP guy for SNB. Boog Sciambi, who works some of the Monday/Wednesday night games, is also excellent.

    Like

    • I agree with you 100%. I wish the Met announcers did the Yankee games instead of Michael Kaye. I do enjoy the other rotating Yankee announcers though. I won’t listen to the Yankee games on the radio for obvious reasons. I also remember when Tim McCarver was a very good analyst.

      Liked by 1 person

    • For me, the big thing about Cone/Singleton is they do precisely what former players are supposed to do, without bringing in the bullshit that none of us want to here. A key moment is happening, say bases loaded and 2 outs, Singleton will describe what he’s looking for as a hitter in those situations, and Cone will describe what he’d try to do as a pitcher.

      There’s none of the “it was better in my day because we’d try to do X, while players today do Y”. And as you mentioned, Cone easily weaves new metrics into his discussion without overwhelming you with it.

      Like

      • If only more “analysts” would use that approach. No one is watching this game to hear about your career, but if you can enhance the viewing experience of this game by providing insights, that would be great.

        Like

  2. He he he, you said nipples! I agree on McCarver, I liked him years ago, but he just ran out of things to say that the common viewers couldn’t figure it out. I think hi-def just killed most of the need for more than one announcer. Never mind the fact that they think three are better. I could still listen to Tim on the radio though.

    I’m also in agreement on Vin Scully. The Low Angelos Scullies has a nice ring to it.

    Like

  3. I always enjoyed Dan Schulman when he was doing PBP for the Jays, with Buck Martinez as colour guy. Nowadays, it’s Buck as PBP, with Pat Tabler as colour man. They are a good tandem but I think Buck is starting to show signs of dementia… he screws up names worse than anyone I have ever seen. But as a team, he and Tabby work well together, play off each other’s knowledge as players, and are self-effacing in a funny way. With news that Dan Schulman will be back in the Sportsnet booth for 30 Jays’ games this season is great news to me.

    I don’t watch a lot of national broadcasts…. just enough to know Joe Buck is awful, Harold Reynolds is worse (thankfully he is off the air), and Tim McCarver/Joe Morgan toward the end of their careers were enough to make you take an ice pick to your eardrums.

    Vin Scully and Jon Miller, on the other hand, have always been easy to listen to.

    I truly pity those who have to listen to Hawk Harrelson.

    Don’t get me started with Sterling/Waldman/Kay… just… don’t!

    Like

  4. Mendoza was indeed a nice surprise in the middle of last season. Good to see that she’s getting a full-time gig out of it.

    I very much like Len Kasper. He understands that he’s not working on radio, so he doesn’t need to flood the broadcast with meaningless/obvious details we can all see for ourselves. Instead, he frequently brings up articles he’s read on FanGraphs or 538 or the former Grantland, discussing them with DeShaies for an inning, or more if there’s enough meat on them. Completely new-stat/sabr friendly, he’s spent air time explaining the difference between ERA, FIP, and xFIP to folks that might have never heard of two of those things.

    I do know a few Cubs fans that complain that Kasper is “always trying to prove how smart he is”….to which I’ve replied, “No, he’s just trying to educate your dumb ass.”

    Like

    • Most Cubs fans want to see an elderly gentlemen get trashed on Budweiser and then try to pronounce “Gallaraga”. Anything more edifying is wasted on them.

      Like

    • I recall liking Steve Stone when he was with the Cubs, but the word I’m getting now is that he’s none to great with the White Sox. Is that true?

      Like

    • Should you Cubs fans get tired of Deshaies, we will take him back in Houston. To me one of the big early missteps of the Crane ownership was not locking him down early.

      I suspect he was too even-handed in his critiques for their taste early on. I bet they would judge differently now.

      Like

      • I don’t have a problem with Deshaies at all. Quite the opposite, he’s quick and informative, and the two of them have developed a nice rhythm between them

        I did just look it up though, and it turns out that both Kasper’s and Deshaies’ contracts with the Cubs run out at the end of the 2016 season. I hope both of them re-up for a few more years. They were both here for some miserable seasons, I’d guess they’d like to stick around for what should be some fun years coming up.

        Like

  5. I feel really lucky to have Jim Palmer and Gary Thorn every day. Palmer used to talk about himself a little too much but has since toned that diwn and brings a real insight to the game. Plus he is not afraid to criticize another player or umpire without coming across as a homer. Thorn is a treat. They are usually rates in the top two or three ranked broadcasting pairs.

    Liked by 1 person

Join in on the conversation!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s