Modern baseball still can't reliably produce a good broadcast crew.
Last Friday, Rian Watt stirred up some controversy in these pages by wondering if sabermetrics, as we understand the term, is going to be replaced by intersectional analysis—the study of baseball as it fits into the world at large—as the bleeding edge of baseball writing. As someone who writes and thinks primarily in the style he described, I certainly hope that’s where the future takes us.
But even the idea of the end of sabermetrics as we know it brings up a separate point. The concepts of turn-of-the-century sabermetric analysis have pervaded all aspects of independent media, and empiricism of some form or other is the byword of all 30 front offices. Even among casual fans, there’s a curiosity about the science of the game that just didn’t exist 20 years ago, and the kind of cranks that used to be ridiculed by Fire Joe Morgan, and their disciples, are now consigned to relative irrelevance, the last holdouts defending antediluvian ideals as the state of the art has passed them by.
Every team has a different TV announcer, and every TV announcer calls home runs differently. This is an attempt to classify all of those calls.
Every so often you’ll hear some stupid fact about genetic similarities between humans and, like, pigs. Did you know that humans and pigs share 90 percent of DNA, according to unreliable sources on the Internet? See, you just heard a stupid fact about genetic similarities between humans and pigs. It happens every so often, if you hang around me.
Broadcasters are like that. They all share most of the same DNA. They say mostly the same words, and they say them with mostly the same inflection, and they know mostly the same things. It’s those few percent that differ that separate them, and those few percent that differ make a very big difference.
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Waldman, one of the Yankees' radio voices and a pioneer for female sportscasters, discusses her career, breaking into baseball, and her broadcast style.
Suzyn Waldman is more than John Sterling’s radio play-by-play partner on Yankees broadcasts. The 64-year-old Waldman is a baseball-broadcasting icon in New York, having busted stereotypes for more than two decades, in a variety of roles, in the game‘s largest market. She is also more than just a sports personality. A native of Boston, Waldman has a degree from Simmons College and enjoyed a 15-year career on Broadway before becoming a familiar, and often controversial, voice of the Yankees.
The radio voice of the Rochester Red Wings talks about his 15 years in the booth.
Josh Whetzel is in his eighth season as the radio voice of the Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, and his 15th in professional baseball. A graduate of the University of Kansas, Whetzel is widely regarded as one of the best minor league broadcasters in the country.
The radio voice of the Rays talks about calling games in the minor leagues.
Andy Freed is now in his sixth season as the radio-play-by-play voice of the Tampa Bay Rays, but like most big-league broadcasters, he started out calling games in the minor leagues. Freed spent 11 years on the farm, having begun his broadcasting career with the St. Lucie Mets, in 1994.
The candidates address the electorate, the Red Sox stay calm in the eye of the Yankee storm, and the Braves go in search of a new voice.
Rickey Henderson holds two of the greatest records in baseball history, and on Monday he became a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Henderson and Jim Rice were elected by the 10-year members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, and they'll be inducted on July 26 in Cooperstown. Rice had to wait until his 15th and final year on the ballot to gain entry, and though there was no doubt that Henderson would be voted in on his very first try, the question remained of how close he might come to being a unanimous selection.
Derek views the series' conclusion from all the remaining angles.
Now that I'm telling you how lucky and blessed I am, I guess it's as good a time as any to tell you that I didn't cover the Caribbean Series in person in Carolina on Wednesday, but rather from San Juan. The reasons are too boring to share, but on the theory that if given lemons, make lemonade, I took the opportunity to take in some of the televised options for watching the Caribbean Series.
First, briefly, there was the afternoon game, which I wasn't able to catch in its entirety. I tuned into this one using MLB.tv, which had been the topic of a lot of reader e-mail after I asked how the English language broadcasters were doing on Unfiltered. The consensus seemed to be that the father/son team of Victor and Cookie Rojas were all right, and the other team of Felix DeJesus and Eddy Perez were...um, not. Perhaps the most emphatic email I got about the DeJesus/Perez pairing came from reader S.T.:
Dave Van Horne broadcasted baseball games for the Montreal Expos for 32 years, from the club's inception in 1969 through to the Jeffrey Loria era. Since then he's moved on to become play-by-play man for the Florida Marlins, where a new generation of fans have heard him use his trademark "Up, Up, and Away" home run call. In Part I of BP's chat with Van Horne, we discussed breaking into baseball, calling the game, and a few pages of Expos history.
Baseball Prospectus: How did you get your start in broadcasting?