A conversation with the voice of the Rangers about baseball in Texas, using stats in broadcasting, and answering the question, WWVSD?
Eric Nadel is a baseball-broadcasting legend in Texas. The radio voice of the Rangers is now in his 32nd year calling games in Arlington, making him the longest-tenured announcer in franchise history. A five-time winner of the state’s Broadcaster of the Year award, the 59-year-old Nadel is a member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.
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.
When television and the baseball playoffs collide, different parties want different outcomes.
The bubbly had to be popping at MLB's New York offices, and at the headquarters of Turner Sports. The gamble to place the Division Series exclusively on cable through Turner's TBS channel had initially paid off handsomely. In the next few days, however, the television execs, Bud Selig and the rest at 245 Park could be faced with a bit of a champagne hangover. With the Yankees being knocked out of the playoffs in a Game Four ALDS loss to the Indians, only the Boston Red Sox remain as a perennial ratings powerhouse. No Yankees/Red Sox drama. No Chicago Cubs, no Wrigley Field, no goat, no curse. Not even a Rally Monkey.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
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.:
Josh Lewin, 35, is a play-by-play announcer for Fox TV's Saturday Game of the Week and the television voice of the Texas Rangers. As an announcer, he's worked with legendary broadcasters Jon Miller in Baltimore, Harry Caray in Chicago, and Ernie Harwell in Detroit. He's also a job-hunting survivor of the winter meetings. His first book, Getting in the Game: Inside Baseball's Winter Meetings, published by Brasseys, tells the tale of three go-getters seeking their first paying jobs in professional baseball at the 2002 meetings in Nashville's Opryland Hotel. With this year's event starting this weekend in New Orleans, BP chatted with Lewin about the challenge of baseball job-hunting, the scene at the winter meetings, and how he found his own broadcasting career.
Baseball Prospectus: What was your initial inspiration for writing the book?
On Wednesday evening, approximately 40 people gathered at Rocco's Pizzeria in Walnut Creek for a BP Pizza Feed. Unlike most of the NorCal Pizza Feeds, the evening didn't consist primarily of me, Wolverton, Wilkins, and Cleary answering a bunch of questions and listening to a rather malicious version of Les Nessman's Death Watch, usually focused on Steve Phillips. We were fortunate enough to be joined by Mark Wolfson, the Director of the Oakland A's Broadcasts on KICU 36 in the Bay Area. Mark knows more about broadcasting and that side of baseball than anyone really should, and has a facility and feel for the business that most people wish they had about any business. If you missed it, you missed an informative and entertaining evening, and a gathering of a bunch of very nice, very dedicated and jovial baseball fans. I hope you can make the next one. (Houston and Fresno--we haven't forgotten about you.)
One of the topics that always comes up when conversation turns to baseball broadcasting is the length of games. There's a common perception among people on the broadcasting side that games are too long. You're probably familiar with the line of thinking; kids today are used to more stimulation, instant gratification, and the long "slow spells" in baseball make it difficult to sell the game to people, particularly young kids. The powers that be in MLB's front office have responded to this perceived challenge by forming a task force with the goal of speeding up games. Personally, I like a lot of the simple, quick hits that have been implemented. It makes sense to have a batboy ready with an identical bat in case one breaks. There's a lot of little things along those lines that make sense for MLB and the fans, and it's good to see those steps being taken.
One of the topics that always comes up when conversation turns to baseball broadcasting is the length of games. There's a common perception among people on the broadcasting side that games are too long. You're probably familiar with the line of thinking: kids today are used to more stimulation, instant gratification, and the long "slow spells" in baseball make it difficult to sell the game to people, particularly young kids. The powers that be in MLB's front office have responded to this perceived challenge by forming a task force with the goal of speeding up games. Personally, I like a lot of the simple, quick hits that have been implemented. It makes sense to have a batboy ready with an identical bat in case one breaks. There's a lot of little things along those lines that make sense for MLB and the fans, and it's good to see those steps being taken.
Mark Wolfson has been a television producer and director since
1969, and has worked in sports television since 1976, when he set up his
own production company in Los Angeles. In the ensuing 24 years, he's worked
on just about every sport, even the World Wrist Wrestling Championship from
the Queen Mary.
Mark produced and directed games for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1977 to
1992, and says working with Vin Scully in those years gave him his
appreciation for baseball and its role on television. He also did games for
the Pittsburgh Pirates, Anaheim Angels, the USA Network and The Baseball