Oh, my peeps. There is a terrible presence in the post-season again this year and it threatens the enjoyment of MLB fans everywhere. Ron Darling is in the booth and he will not SHUT UP!
How bad is he? Well, today, we feature a round up of reviews of Darling’s work thus far in the playoffs, and the results are not pretty. As they say, let’s go to the tape.
We shall begin with the succinct and general:
Oh, my. There will be haters.
Ok, maybe he just has an annoying voice or it’s like listening to your husband nag you when he’s talking. You know how it is. But, can we just chalk the anti-Darling sentiment up to personality differences? Might there be something in the things he says themselves, and not just the way he says it? There was, according to those who weighed in on Darling’s homophobic asides:
Conveniently, Darling doesn’t need to worry about being caught up in one of those bromances he so thoroughly disdains, as his Twitter mentions seem the opposite of bromanceful.
Moving on, we get to the substantive analyses of Darling’s commentary. A common thread here is quote tweeting his actual statements:
Ok, so his commentary is so bad, people incredulously share his quotes. Is he at least sandwiching some good points in — mixing in some insightful color analysis with his poor word choices and uninformed comments?
Let’s make a case study of what was undoubtedly Darling’s signature moment in last night’s game between the Cubs and Dodgers. After a “controversial” play at the plate in the 7th where the runner was initially called out but ruled safe after review because the catcher was blocking the plate, Darling went off:
Darling was openly, blatantly criticizing an MLB rule on-air here. I can’t imagine that MLB wants to tolerate that, and I hope his phone was burning up with calls from the Commissioner’s hotline afterwards.
What’s more, his “analysis” — that the gritty, athletic play of the game was ruined by a safety rule — was not even insightful. As Bobby Mueller points out in a post today, if the rule weren’t in place, the play would not have ended in the obvious out it appeared to be. Instead, the runner would have charged into the catcher and caused a collision that might have injured one or both of them (and not an easy out). The fact that there was a simple tag on the play resulted from the runner abiding by the rule himself and not going full-force at the catcher.* Darling couldn’t see that, and with his past baseball experience, he absolutely should have. So much for former players bringing depth of knowledge and subtle insights to the broadcast.
To recap, in review of Darling’s work this post-season, we have the general annoyance:
And we have substantive complaints about his work:
And shock at his basic broadcasting etiquette:
Which leads us to this:
What say you? Does Darling make Buck look skilled? Palatable? Is this why MLB can’t attract fans? Do you even know what I’m talking about since you always watch the games on mute? Can’t technology bring us an app that allows you to mute particular announcers only? The Darling-hater market demands it.
*The runner was indiscriminate white guy Dodger Charlie Culberson and the catcher was a Cubs player named Willson Contreras. Honey, I can’t be expected to remember names of NL players. You got the point of the story.