Wednesday, July 04, 2012

So I Was Listening to Baseball Today

Maybe Chuck Costello, friend of "Exit 55", will be the only one to enjoy this post, but I've got to get this off my chest.

I had to work today, on the Fourth of July.  It's all good - I didn't have Sean today, and Lisa also had to work (such is the life of a nurse).  Nor did I have any parties to go to.  So yeah, I was OK with working.

I was in the car as the Yankees and Rays were getting underway.  Happy to take advantage of my SiriusXM subscription, I went to the proper channel, expecting to hear the Tampa Bay feed (as satellite radio normally provides the home teams audio).  Instead, it was from ESPN Radio, featuring Jon Sciambi with the play-by-play, and Chris Singleton doing color.

And once again, I ask: why are talented announcers getting passed over for this?

My problem, to be specific, is with Sciambi, who has a big-time gig with ESPN, and was with the Braves and Marlins before that. I mean, he is fine in a bland kind of way, but his call, to be blunt, is lazy, and it's not the first time I've noticed it.  His play-by-play would be OK, perhaps, if he was on TV.  But I'm not sure I need to tell him that he's...on...THE RADIO!  As such, radio means description.  A sample for you:

"Price winds and fires to Swisher for a called strike.  Oh and one."

Well, thanks for that.  Let's go through baseball play-by-play 101, friends.  What kind of pitch was it?  Fastball?  Curve?  Change?  Slider?  Cutter?  And where was the pitch located?  Outside?  Inside?  At the knees?  On the corner?

And so it went.  I normally enjoy listening to other broadcasters instead of the dynamic duo of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WCBS, but I couldn't take it.  This broadcast was boring, lacked flavor, and as I've already discussed, lacked detail.  In fact, it relied way too much on statistics, and not enough on story telling - at the very heart of baseball broadcasting.

So I switched off to the much maligned Yankees broadcast team of Sterling and Waldman.  Say what you want about Jon (and you all have), but John can at least give you this:

"Nick Swisher leads off and Price fires a fastball strike at the knees.  Oh and One to Swisher, who struck out his first time."

To be clear, these are paraphrases of what both Sciambi and Sterling said on the air, but I think my point is clear.

Selfishly, moments like this make me not only miss doing play-by-play, but angry that I'm not doing play-by-play.

And Chris Berman gets to call a Monday Night Football game this year?  Seriously, the mind explodes.

OK, we return you now to whatever hideously overproduced televised fireworks display you might be watching.

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