Pretty 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,
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?