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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.

One way that DNA splits is in home run calls. Each broadcaster has his own home run call, and even the ones who don’t have a specific call that they’ve honed over time do tend to have patterns. The home run calls show far, far more variety than groundout-to-second calls, and time-for-a-pitching-change calls, and Aflac-trivia calls.

Okay, then, let’s look at home run calls. What follow are 30 calls, one for each team's TV broadcast team. Attached to each are:

  • Category. There are six categories. They are Shouters, Homers, Downplayers, Catchphrasers, Growlers, and Moderates. Shouters shout. Downplayers stay calm. Homers have calls that are not just excited but unthinkable from anybody but a home-team broadcaster. Catchphrasers say the same thing every time, and it is either unique or said in a unique way. Growlers are notable for adding a little rumble or rev to their voices. Moderates are hard to say much about.  
  • Time to acknowledgment is the time it takes from contact for it to become clear that this is likely going to be a home run. This is extremely subjective. Extremely. It is basically the moment I identified a significant lift in the voice.
  • Volume. Oh, man, more subjectivity.
  • Moment of glory: The words that come out of each announcer's mouth at the home run’s climactic breach of the wall.
  • And notes, where relevant.

Note: I wanted these home runs to have consistent significance, so all home runs came with a two-run margin or less, in the seventh inning or earlier. If I misidentified any of these broadcasters, or picked an unrepresentative call, email or let me know in the comments. I did listen to multiple calls for each, but mistakes slip in. 

Victor Rojas (Angels)
Catchphraser

Time to acknowledgment: 0.9 seconds
Volume: 9
Key phrase: Big fly!
Notes: Rojas loves home runs. He might love home runs more than anybody on this list. He knows home runs are very fun, that they are the reason we’re all here in the first place, and he has fun with them. He calls them Oppo Tacos, which doesn’t make any literal sense or figurative sense but if you just think home runs are fun and we’re all having fun here then it makes its own kind of sense. He also calls them three-run Jimmy Jacks. Those are specific home runs, though. The standard home run is just this: Big Fly!

Glen Kuiper (A’s)
Catchphraser

Time to acknowledgment: 1.2 seconds
Volume: 8
Key phrase: That baby is gone!

Bill Brown (Astros)
Downplayer

Time to acknowledgment: 4.4 seconds
Volume: 7
Key phrase: …gives it a looong ride.

Buck Martinez (Blue Jays)
Growler

Time to acknowledgment: 2.1 seconds
Volume: 4
Key phrase: Home run. 
Notes: Commenter notes that "Buck Martinez frequently uses 'And you can forget about this one… HOME RUN!'"

Chip Caray (Braves)
Growler

Time to acknowledgment: 4.5 seconds
Volume: 8
Key phrase: Gone!
Notes: Subtle growl on "Pagan." 

Brian Anderson (Brewers)
Moderate

Time to acknowledgment: 3.9 seconds
Volume: 7
Key phrase: There she goes!
Notes: The only announcer to give the baseball a gender. 

Dan McLaughlin (Cardinals)
Shouter

Time to acknowledgment: 3.6
Volume: 8
Key phrase: To the track, to the wall, it’s gone!

Len Kasper (Cubs)
Moderate

Time to acknowledgment: 2.4 seconds
Volume: 6
Key phrase: It’s gone.
Notes: By far the most common phrase is "it's gone" or a variation of "it's gone." Fourteen of our announcers use "it's gone." I believe five say the words "home run" in the main portion of their call. 

Greg Schulte (Diamondbacks)
Downplayer

Time to acknowledgment: 4.6 seconds
Volume: 5
Key phrase: It is gone.

Vin Scully (Dodgers)
Downplayer

Time to acknowledgment: 3.9 seconds
Volume: 3
Key phrase: Home run.
Notes: I believe the reason Vin Scully is so beloved is that he is delighted by baseball but does not believe it actually matters or that he should pretend it actually matters for the sake of theater. He just describes the home run, with some texture to his voice but without knocking over any furniture. 

Duane Kuiper (Giants)
Homer

Time to acknowledgment: 2.8 seconds
Volume: 10
Key phrase: Ooooutta heeere!
Notes: Kuiper isn’t much of a homer the rest of the time. He’s actually laid back, almost laconic, but then a ball gets on one of those promising parabolas and Kuiper comes alive with the most explosive home run call in the sport. The subtext here is obvious, and it goes like this: “When I hit a home run it was a very big deal. When anybody hits a home run, then, it is a very big deal. I hope somebody got it on tape." 

Matt Underwood (Indians)
Shouter

Time to acknowledgment: 0.2 seconds
Volume: 9
Key phrase: Gooooooooooooone
Notes: There are announcers who are afraid of starting a home run call and having it turn out to be a routine fly ball. Matt Underwood is not. Underwood actually has a catch phrase, one that he does not use every time but that he does use some of the time: "Gone to Souvenir City." Really!

Dave Sims (Mariners)
Growler

Time to acknowledgment: 3.5 seconds
Volume: 6
Key phrase: It’s gawn!
Notes: Turns “drive” into a growl. Also “got,” and a little bit to “carry.” And “gone” becomes “gawn.” I love the growlers. 

Rich Waltz (Marlins)
Growler

Time to acknowledgment: 3.1 seconds
Volume: 5
Key phrase: Outta here.
Notes: Growl on “look” and “go.” Love the growlers. 

Gary Cohen (Mets)
Shouter

Time to acknowledgment: 1.2 seconds
Volume: 8
Key phrase: It’s outta here. 
Notes: Cohen transitions from from normal speaking voice to home run banana-going very quickly. It almost sounds like he has been interrupted in the booth by an unstable man with a much higher voice. 

Bob Carpenter (Nationals)
Catchphraser

Time to acknowledgment: 1.1 seconds
Volume: 5
Key phrase: See. You. Later!
Notes: The execution of this one is strong, and he sells it well. It makes me a little uncomfortable by invoking Jack Buck's famous "See you tomorrow night" call. "See ya later" wouldn't make me feel this way, but the punctuation of the catchphrase gives each home run a sense of finality, as though it is a walk-off. This is a very picky criticism of it, though. 

Gary Thorne (Orioles)
Catchphraser

Time to acknowledgment: 0.9 seconds
Volume: 4
Key phrase: Goodbye: home run!

Dick Enberg (Padres)
Catchphraser

Time to acknowledgment: 3.5 seconds
Volume: 6
Key phrase: Alonso will touch ‘em all.

Tom McCarthy (Phillies)
Moderate

Acknowledgment: 4.5 seconds
Volume: 7
Key phrase: Gone!
Notes: The volume on gone nearly pushes him to shouter, or homer. 

Tim Neverett (Pirates)
Downplayer

Time to acknowledgment: 5.0 seconds
Volume: 2
Key phrase: It’s gone. 
Notes: Commenter suggests Neverett is, in other instances, a shouter.

Dave Barnett (Rangers)
Downplayer

Time to acknowledgment: 5.4 seconds
Volume: 3
Key phrase: …sail out of here.
Notes: Probably no announcer takes longer to say the first word after a home run is struck. This works (in my opinion), because it lets the hum of the crowd grow. To the viewer, then, the home run is not birthed in one split-second, but becomes evident over the course of a few moments, covering various terrains: surprise, then optimism, then anticipation, then reality. Like love! Dave Barnett uses each home run to tell us a tiny story about love and happiness.  Or possibly Barnett just doesn’t want anybody to know a home run was hit. 

DeWayne Staats (Rays)
Moderate

Time to acknowledgment: 5.3 seconds
Volume: 5
Key phrase: Gone. A home run. 

Thom Brennaman (Reds)
Homer

Time to acknowledgment: 4.0 seconds
Volume: 4
Key phrase: And this baby will fly a long way, brother.
Notes: While he is saying this, Chris Welsh is moaning “ohhh baby.” Also, Thom Brennaman does not have a brother.

Don Orsillo (Red Sox)
Downplayer

Time to acknowledgment: 1.3 seconds
Volume: 2
Key phrase: That ball is gone. 

Drew Goodman (Rockies)
Moderate

Time to acknowledgment: 4.7 seconds
Volume: 5
Key phrase: See ya later.
Notes: Goodman varies his call more than anybody I heard. He often says things that sound like they would be catchphrases, but then doesn’t return to them. And he says a lot of exclamatory things that are specific to the situation. “Take a good look, you won’t see it for long,” he hollered during a Wilin Rosario home run. “Home run drought over!” when Carlos Gonzalez went yard. “One by one, long ball by long ball,” when Tyler Colvin hit a solo shot. Home run calls are not, to Goodman, something that can be practiced, but only lived.

Steve Physioc (Royals)
Moderate

Acknowledgment: 1.6 seconds
Volume: 7
Key phrase: That baby’s gone. 

Mario Impemba (Tigers)
Downplayer

Time to acknowledgment: 5.4 seconds
Volume: 3
Key phrase: Gone, a home run. 

Dick Bremer (Twins)
Moderate

Time to acknowledgment: 1.9 seconds
Volume: 6
Key phrase: Up. Back. And gone. 
Notes: Up. Back. And gone is not a catchphrase, but it has a nice meter and a lot of strong consonants. 

Hawk Harrelson (White Sox)
Homer

Time to acknowledgment: 1.2 seconds
Volume: 8
Key phrase: …ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooard yeeeeeeeeee yes
Notes: Every day, Hawk Harrelson calls his bookie. He bets every dollar he has, the life of one of his six children, and possession of his soul, on the White Sox to win. When you hear Hawk Harrelson screaming at the ball to “stay fair, stay fair” you are hearing the desperate negotiation between a degenerate and his God. 

Michael Kay (Yankees)
Catchphraser

Time to acknowledgment: 6.8 seconds
Volume: 5
Key phrase: Sssssee ya!
Notes: The extra "s" on See Ya turns this into a catch phrase. 

And, as a bonus, we have this terrifically bad home run call: a guy's Twitter name.

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geer08
7/23
Sam, the work you do with embedded video is outstanding. I really enjoy your articles, and seeing stuff I miss around the league. Also, Bob Carpenter is known for frequently getting giddy and prematurely starting his home run calls on routine fly balls. Anyone else on this list guilty of the same? (Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter does the same thing, but they may actually be the same person)
sam19041
7/23
Spot on. Keep up the great work!
kcshankd
7/23
The Royals drive me nuts b/c they have had approx 426 TV announcers the past five years. Pick someone and stick with them forcryingoutloud.
lloyd75
7/23
Coshun only does the Brewers telecast on Sundays. Brian Anderson is the normal guy.
lyricalkiller
7/23
Yes, ok, thank you.
SaberTJ
7/23
Tom Underwood does not exist. It is Matt Underwood. Although I would imagine that Tom Underwood would be be better than Matt any day of the week.
bornyank1
7/23
Tom Underwood used to exist (and pitch for five major-league teams), but you're right, he doesn't broadcast Indians games. Fixed.
gweedoh565
7/23
Minor correction: for the Reds call, that is not Thom's father, Marty, but Chris Welsh uttering "Ohhhh baby" in the background. Regardless, creepy.
lyricalkiller
7/23
Thank you. The amount of "Baby" that gets said in these calls just makes me all around uncomfortable.
mdangelfan
7/23
Nobody will ever top the great, late, and thoroughly drunk Harry Carey. "It might be! It could be! IT IS!"
skuddler
7/23
Great article, Sam. I'd just like to add that Buck Martinez frequently uses "And you can forget about this one... HOME RUN !"
beeker99
7/23
I loved this article! Sam, I would bet money that you structured it by team names instead of cities so that Hawk and the scourge of Yankee Fans everywhere came in last. I know this was TV broadcasts, but I am slightly disappointed that the worst home run caller of them all was not included on the list. Its pretty sad when a broadcaster is well known for not only his insanely cheesy, total homer calls - though occasionally, some are amusing, at least the first time - but especially his frequently wrong calls. If anyone doesn't know who I'm describing, let me just say this: "It is high! It is far! It is . . ." (10 second pause) "caught in front of the wall."
paulproia
7/23
Horrible in that all of the homer home run calls are scripted in advance. What's the point if you already know what's going to be said? Worst broadcaster ever.
briant1
7/23
Sam, you've done a great job describing the level of homerism on display by Hawk Harrelson on a daily basis. The only thing I can add is that he somehow tries to make EVERY White Sox home run sound like Hank Aaron's 715th. And it's not an act. It's truly that important to him.
lgranillo
7/23
As someone who has - ahem - heard a few home run calls (and as someone who thought of writing this same article before - thanks, Sam!), nicely done. I don't know if this is controversial or not because I know Michael Kay isn't considered a good announcer overall, but his "See ya!" is the best call in baseball. It's quick, simple, works in all cases, and he does it for both teams, not just the Yankees. Now, anything he might say after "See ya!" isn't great, but that's not part of the call. Also, I'm a big fan of Matt Underwood's "Gone to souvenir city!" I wish he did it more often, but I understand how it has to be a homer-call.
lyricalkiller
7/23
My top three would probably be Sims, Cohen and (by a wide margin) Duane Kuiper. Duane Kuiper's get me revved up like a televangelist.
lgranillo
7/23
Does anyone know if there's another TV guy for the Mariners that regularly makes HR calls? Because I seem to recall noticing two very different calls being used on a regular basis for them (and I'm pretty sure it's been since Niehaus' passing). I like Kuiper's a lot too, but I tend to appreciate the understated more. Sometimes those shouters sound a bit forced ("hey, alright, we're only down 15-2 now!). Also, like I said, I think the fact that Kay can and does use his for both teams adds a lot to it.
mandamin
7/23
Sims and Rick Rizzs (whose catchphrase is "goodbye baseball!") used to alternate, IIRC, but for the last year or so I think it's been Sims 100% TV, Rizzs 100% radio.
nolansdad
7/23
Rizzs got a few days on TV again recently with Sims going to radio for a fwe, but that is the regular set up, yes.
statsrath
7/23
I'm biased, as a Giants fan, but it's the best.
lgranillo
7/23
One more, since I've seen literally thousands of these in the last couple of years: I think I'd call Goodman's "Take a good look, you won't see it for long!" call a catchphrase. I'm not sure how often he uses it, but it's certainly one that I can hear in my head almost perfectly. He might use it a little less often than Underwood's "Gone to souvenir city!"...
lyricalkiller
7/23
You're the expert. I watched probably 15 or 20 of his to try to get a read on him and that was the only time I heard "take a good look"
apbadogs
7/23
As much as I hate Hawk Harrelson every time I watch a game with the White Sox I find myself shouting right along with him...You cannnnnn put it on the boarrddddd...YESSS!
mandamin
7/23
There are probably pills you can take for that.
kddean
7/23
I am not a Sox fan but live in Chicago and hear Hawk a lot. I don't understand the amount of vitriol towards him. Ok he's a homer, who cares? He's not on national TV, he's the Sox broadcaster, should he be completely dispassionate? Oh wait, it's ok if it's Duane Kuiper but not Hawk? I don't get it.
Schere
7/23
It's all there for Harrelson - he's loud, he's a huge homer, he's not perceptive, he doesn't tell entertaining stories, and he never shuts up. Other that that, he's fine.
GrinnellSteve
7/23
I have a 23-year-old daughter with Down Syndrome. Like everyone in our house, she is an avid Sox fan. Whenever something good happens in our daily lives, it is followed by,"You can put it on the board, yyyyesssss!!!!" and a fist bump. We live our lives with enthusiasm at our house. Hawk with a good partner, such as Steve Stone or Tom Paciorek, is great.
jfranco77
7/23
I think Tim Neverett (Pirates) is a shouter. Not crazy, but definitely excitable. Try this one: http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=23250083&topic_id=8879096&c_id=pit
lyricalkiller
7/23
That's a great highlight.
jeller5
7/23
Vin gives the baseballs a gender as well. "she is gone"/"she is outta here". Most famously in Gibson's home run "High fly ball into right field..she is gone!"
navarred
7/23
Charlie Slowes used to catchphrase with "Bang! Zoom go the fireworks", which my wife found terribly annoying. Thankfully, it got too dangerous during a dry summer or too expensive with Werth's contract and they stopped shooting off the fireworks, so Charlie doesn't annoy my wife anymore. http://natsnewsnetworkoffthefield.blogspot.com/2011/04/no-more-bang-zoom-go-fireworks.html
mnsportsguy1
7/23
There is no way Dick Bremer can be called a moderate, I have heard him practically scream about a home run to get the twins within 8 before, and almost sounds like he is going to cry when an opponent hits one, he definitely needs to be called a homer if not a screamer
leites
7/23
"I believe the reason Vin Scully is so beloved is that he is delighted by baseball but does not believe it actually matters or that he should pretend it actually matters for the sake of theater." Yes, this!
greenengineer
7/24
I know you don't get to embed the video, but we need a similar analysis for radio. The radio guys tend to stick around a lot longer, and have more idiosyncratic calls.
Gotribe31
7/24
Love...LOVE the Hawk description. Agree with the above comment, need to do this for radio announcers too. Tom Hamilton (Indians radio guy) is much, much better than Underwood, and I'd rather non-Cleveland baseball fans have a representation from Hammy rather than Underwood.