Tagged: Al Leiter

Death of Radio Broadcasting?

Being the devoted fan I am, I listened to the game on my satellite radio on my way home yesterday (I was away for the weekend, which is obviously why the Yankees lost the series).  This being said, my radio plays the home team’s broadcast, so I heard the White Sox broadcast of the game until about the 6th inning (when I mercifully made it home).  Like I said…I am a devoted fan.  This was the worst radio broadcast of baseball I have ever heard.  Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson may just be the biggest White Sox fans in the country and they just happen to do the broadcasts of White Sox games.  I’m not exaggerating here.  When the guys were rattling off the starting lineups of the teams, they called Chris Getz one of the young stars of the game.  That’s right…Chris Getz.  You may be asking the same question I would have asked before this weekend series: Who the heck is Chris Getz?  Let me answer that question by giving you a short bio and some of Chris Getz’s defining statistcs:

Chris Getz will be 26 years old at the end of the month and is the starting second baseman for the White Sox.  He is currently batting .271 after a solid series against the Yankees.  He has 17 stolen bases on the season and has only been caught once.  His OBP is .326 and his OPS is a ******** .704.  He is a very nice, speedy, young-ish player.  A young star of the game, he is not.  That designation belongs to guys like Evan Longoria, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Braun, Hanley Ramirez, or Dustin Pedroia.  The only player that is older than Getz on that (albeit short) list of players better than Getz is Pedroia.  He’s 13 days older.  The rest of the list is comprised of players younger than Getz.  Younger by at least a few months (Braun, Ramirez) or by at least a year or so (Longoria, Lincecum).  However, I’m sure not a single person on the face of the Earth (other than possibly Farmer and/or DJ) would argue that Getz is better than any of these players.  Getz is a nice, young second baseman that can steal some bases.  He is most certainly not a young star of the game.

Going chronologically, the top of the 2nd is the next part of the broadcast that was truly excruciating.  I’ll skip over the top of the first inning where they said “We’re hoping for 2 outs in three pitches…and look at that…all we had to do was ask.”  We’ll just skip that and go to the top of the second with two on and Melky Cabrera up.  Melky hits a pitch down the right field line that goes for a 339′ homerun into the White Sox bullpen.  This hit would have been a homerun in all but two ballparks in the American League.  One of these parks is Comerica Park, which is a concensus pitcher’s park that nobody hits homeruns in.  The other is the Metrodome, which measures 343′ down the left field line.  However, the White Sox broadcasters decided to call this homerun “barely a homerun.”  A homerun in all but two parks in the AL, but barely a home run off their precious Mark Buehrle.  I’ll ignore the fact that their voices dropped about 20 dB when they were calling the play, and the fact that they sounded dejected.  I’ll ignore that they sounded hopeful when they said “it’s early in the game, we still have time to come back.”  “We”…as if they were part of the team.  The part of this that really got me steaming was that I didn’t even know Cabrera hit a homerun until they did their inning wrapup.  Their call didn’t draw any attention to the fact that Cabrera hit a homerun.  I understand not being excited about your home team giving up a homerun.  But should realize that not everyone listening to your broadcast is a White Sox fan.  And also be aware of the fact that even the White Sox fans want to know if someone hits a homerun.  It’s kind of a big part of the game.  At least change the inflection of your voice so that listeners notice when something big happens.

In the bottom of the 3rd I finally had to change the station.  After the Jermaine Dye homerun I couldn’t take it anymore (at least for a little bit).  Before the pitch, the tandem was talking about how they were “hoping” (their word) for a Dye homerun.  Their broadcast sounded like a couple of fans in the stands.  I would have rather listened to John Sterling.  That’s saying something.  I absolutely cannot stand John Sterling’s obnoxious, intrusive nicknames and cliche signature calls.  These guys were worse.  I changed the channel after the Dye homerun.  I changed it to some hard rock because I was so frustrated by listening to fans announce a game.  When I changed it back, the Yankees were back on top 5-4 and I half-listened to the game the rest of my ride home.  When I got home I was so happy to hear the terrible play-by-play of Michael Kay.  Al Leiter, my least favorite YES broadcaster other than Kay, was also doing the game and I was relieved.  I was relieved because Chris Getz was no longer a young star of the game and Kay actually raised his voice even for a big White Sox hit.  Thank goodness for some change in inflection when the other team gets a big hit.  At least I knew something happened, even when I didn’t want it to happen.  I just wanted to know that something happened.

I’m not saying now, nor will I ever say, that Michael Kay is a good broadcaster.  He’s good on Centerstage doing his interviews.  As a broadcaster, I think he’s below average.  I was never so excited to hear his voice as I was when I got home yesterday.  This makes me ask whether radio broadcasts matter so little that in a big sports town like Chicago these two bafoons are the best that can be found.  Do stations care so little about broadcasters that they throw guys like this on the air?  Gone are the days of Mel Allen, Vin Scully (sad to see him go after next year) and all the other legendary voices of baseball.  Today is the day of the fan announcing games, apparently.  Very unfortunate for baseball.

PS – Congrats to Melky on the first cycle for the Yanks in a while.  Cycles are nice, not a huge deal to me, but a four hit game is definitely a good game.