Commentators are Pathetic (except when they're not): Catch-all Thread

I reckon there must be an appetite to just talk about good and bad commentators, and indeed specific commentary moments, in a dedicated thread here in the Media forum - no? Several people in the Braves-Brewers NLDS thread were talking about Orsillo's call of Freddie Freeman's homerun last night, so let me start by shining a spotlight on it here:

View: https://streamable.com/7wottr

I like a lot of what Orsillo brings to the table...but this is simply not a good call. If he shuts up right after "Freddie Freeman has left the yard and puts the Braves on top!" and lets the moment breathe, it's pretty decent - not upper echelon great, but memorable enough to fit the situation. But he keeps talking for another eight full seconds, until Freeman is rounding third base - not just not adding anything to the table, but taking stuff off the table with each successive phrase. To me, that betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of what makes big commentary moments great: it's not simply a bad call, it's the sort of mistake that a great commentator would never make. Maybe he briefly blacked out and thought he was on radio?
 

Average Reds

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I generally liked Orsillo when he did Sox games, but he just chewed into the moment there with a really bad call of Freeman's HR. This is a problem I see (hear) with a lot of announcers - they let their excitement over big moments "speed them up" and then end up just talking (yelling excitedly?) at us.

As to this specific example, if he stops after "Freddie Freeman has left the yard!" it's a solid call.

Anyone watching the game doesn't need to know that it puts the Braves on top. Or what inning it is. Whether the home run is a solo shot or not. Or the specific score (redundant after saying that it put the Braves on top.) Or that it's game 4. Or that this is the NLDS. (I'm honestly shocked he didn't remind us of the count right after this.)

That's a shit-ton of redundant information being regurgitated as if we're freaking idiots. Not a fan.
 
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benhogan

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I find most National color commentators/media in all sports unlistenable. They usually know a lot less than the ardent fan of a team. They traffic in cliches & the obvious about the teams' stars.

IE watching the Dodgers game last night I got to learn Mookie was a good bowler :rolleyes:
 
This is a problem I see (hear) with a lot of announcers - they let their excitement over big moments "speed them up" and then end up just talking (yelling excitedly?) at us. Not a fan.
Speaking from experience, this is a very real danger - if you're a commentator who loves sports and gets excited about sports, when you get the chance to call an exciting moment, it's very, very hard to not get wrapped up in the excitement and lose your sense of perspective. That said, I think baseball is one of the easiest sports in which to avoid this pitfall: the game is slower, each pitch is a self-contained incident, and you're used to pausing all the time. (A sport like hockey is at the other end of the spectrum, where goals can come out of nowhere at the end of long bursts of commentary, and there it can be much more difficult to rein yourself in.) Also, how many games in a season will someone like Orsillo call - 150, plus or minus? That's around 10 times as many football games as Al Michaels or Brad Nessler gets to call in a pro or college football season, and as such he should really, really have a much greater feel for the sport because of that.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Orsillo's call last night was probably the worst I've heard from him, but it seems like his penchant for adding context and detail is getting worse.

Specifically, I'm remembering calls like Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester's no hitters. Following the final strike...

"Clay Buchholz has pitched a no hitter in Boston tonight and it sends Fenway into a frenzy."

"Callespo strikes out! Jon Lester has thrown a no hitter at Fenway. He no hits the Kansas City Royals."

Relatively short proclamations and then silence as the natural sounds of the crowd and the team celebrate. But the statements seem forced and pre-planned as well as crammed with details that no one watching really needs to understand what's happening. He doesn't need to mention Boston or Fenway or the opposing team in that moment. The Freeman call was that dialed up to 25.
 

GB5

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nit picking to me here. Probably because its a bigger stage, but did he over extend the call for 2-3 seconds. Yes in most peoples opinion, but these guys are talking for 4 plus hours, if we wanted to criticize all commentators for their worst 2-3 seconds of every broadcast we would need more bandwith.
 

BaseballJones

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The thing about TV broadcasting vs. radio is that (obviously) TV lets fans actually SEE what's going on. Radio...you've got to describe it for them. So TV play-by-play guys absolutely need to be disciplined to let the video tell the story.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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they let their excitement over big moments "speed them up" and then end up just talking (yelling excitedly?) at us.
The Gus Johnson-ification of announcing continues unabated.

I couldn't even tell you who the play-by-play guys were with Smoltz they were so generic. Feels like Brian Anderson is the mold for MLB play-by-play guys and he himself is just a generic announcer type.
 

glennhoffmania

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I'm not going to comment on any particular announcer because there are so many bad ones, but what I always think about when I'm watching is, how can the producers at NBC/Fox/ESPN/CBS listen to this and think the announcers are doing well? Do ESPN execs watch MNF and really think it's a good broadcast? How is that possible? Does Fox really believe that Smoltz is doing a good job? It's baffling to me because these are high-profile jobs that anyone who pays attention to sports can properly evaluate, and these guys are paid a ton of money yet most of them suck.
 

jaytftwofive

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That's why Vin Scully's call of Gibson's HR in game 1 of 88 WS so great. After he says..."She is gone", he keeps quiet for almost a minute and let's you enjoy the moment. Switching sports same with Pat Summerall. One of his best was when Vinatieri hit the winning field goal in SB 36 he just said......"It's good....Patriots win". Then he let you enjoy the moment for a minute(Or in shock like Rams fans) before he spoke again.
 

jaytftwofive

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The Gus Johnson-ification of announcing continues unabated.

I couldn't even tell you who the play-by-play guys were with Smoltz they were so generic. Feels like Brian Anderson is the mold for MLB play-by-play guys and he himself is just a generic announcer type.
Not be mean or picky but doesn't he sound like he has a permanent cold or sinus congestion? I usually turn the sound down it's so annoying. Is any national radio doing the baseball playoffs? Just wondered. I could listen to that while I watch.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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That's why Vin Scully's call of Gibson's HR in game 1 of 88 WS so great. After he says..."She is gone", he keeps quiet for almost a minute and let's you enjoy the moment. Switching sports same with Pat Summerall. One of his best was when Vinatieri hit the winning field goal in SB 36 he just said......"It's good....Patriots win"
I cringe just imagining Orsillo calling Gibson's HR. Scully remaining quiet and letting the moment play out is of course great, but even the call itself was simple and iconic: "High fly ball into right field and she is gone." No mention of the player, the location, the situation, the fact that the game was over, nothing. Just a statement of fact and letting the moment happen.

I like Orsillo generally, but he rarely handles big moments well. Even his iconic "Manny's back and he's back big" was a touch over the top.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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It takes a LOT of confidence to shut up and let the moment breathe, and Scully and Summerall were well into the "I don't need to impress anybody" part of their career to sit back and enjoy the moment.

Am also reminded of Ned Martin's beautiful "It's popped toward shortstop, Petrocelli's got it, and the Red Sox win! << pause>> And there's pandemonium on the field! <<long pause>>"

Al Michaels nailed the shit out of it too with the Olympic hockey call.

Hard to find younger (under 70) announcers willing to take that chance.
 

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The Gus Johnson-ification of announcing continues unabated.

I couldn't even tell you who the play-by-play guys were with Smoltz they were so generic. Feels like Brian Anderson is the mold for MLB play-by-play guys and he himself is just a generic announcer type.
One of the things I dislike about the national broadcasts is that they seem to go to great pains to drain the personality out of the announcers they hire.

I live in the NY area and I get to hear Ron Darling a lot. The Mets announcing crew is great and Darling is a big part of that. And when he works national games, so much of what makes him great for Mets games - the timing he has with Cohen and Hernandez, the willingness to offer pointed opinions - is missing. I've noticed the same for Eck when he worked national games in the past. (I don't think Eck has worked national games for a few years.) And that's got to be intentional.
 

Merkle's Boner

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The Gus Johnson-ification of announcing continues unabated.

I couldn't even tell you who the play-by-play guys were with Smoltz they were so generic. Feels like Brian Anderson is the mold for MLB play-by-play guys and he himself is just a generic announcer type.
I'm not sure I understand your point with these three sentences. To me, Gus Johnson is anything but a "generic" announcer. I understand the criticism that he gets a little too fired up at times, personally I love it, but you always know when Gus is calling a game. Brian Anderson vs Joe Davis I agree is generic.
 
nit picking to me here. Probably because its a bigger stage, but did he over extend the call for 2-3 seconds. Yes in most peoples opinion, but these guys are talking for 4 plus hours, if we wanted to criticize all commentators for their worst 2-3 seconds of every broadcast we would need more bandwith.
If your worst 2-3 seconds of a broadcast are literally the most important 2-3 seconds, that's kind of important, isn't it? (And it's actually more like 8 seconds in this clip, which is really quite a long time when discussing the biggest call of a game.)
 

jaytftwofive

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It takes a LOT of confidence to shut up and let the moment breathe, and Scully and Summerall were well into the "I don't need to impress anybody" part of their career to sit back and enjoy the moment.

Am also reminded of Ned Martin's beautiful "It's popped toward shortstop, Petrocelli's got it, and the Red Sox win! << pause>> And there's pandemonium on the field! <<long pause>>"

Al Michaels nailed the shit out of it too with the Olympic hockey call.

Hard to find younger (under 70) announcers willing to take that chance.
And of course what Michaels says was his most memorable game. Even over the Olympic game. "To left field and deep, and Downing goes back...and it is gone". "You're looking at one for the ages folks". Something like that. (Hendu's HR of course)
 

jaytftwofive

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I'm not sure I understand your point with these three sentences. To me, Gus Johnson is anything but a "generic" announcer. I understand the criticism that he gets a little too fired up at times, personally I love it, but you always know when Gus is calling a game. Brian Anderson vs Joe Davis I agree is generic.
I like Gus for College Basketball mainly. He's very good.
 

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That's why Vin Scully's call of Gibson's HR in game 1 of 88 WS so great. After he says..."She is gone", he keeps quiet for almost a minute and let's you enjoy the moment. Switching sports same with Pat Summerall. One of his best was when Vinatieri hit the winning field goal in SB 36 he just said......"It's good....Patriots win". Then he let you enjoy the moment for a minute(Or in shock like Rams fans) before he spoke again.
It is likely that Pat misplaced his bourbon and it took him awhile to find it after the kick.
 

StupendousMan

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If your worst 2-3 seconds of a broadcast are literally the most important 2-3 seconds, that's kind of important, isn't it? (And it's actually more like 8 seconds in this clip, which is really quite a long time when discussing the biggest call of a game.)
I understand your point here, but I'm willing to give more weight to the other 3 hours of a baseball broadcast. If the announcer does a good job for those 3 hours, and then has a less-than-stellar call for the Big Moment At The End, I'll be happy. Most games _don't_ have a dramatic moment, but all games last about 3 hours.

Just my own preference, I guess.
 

ColdSoxPack

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That's why Vin Scully's call of Gibson's HR in game 1 of 88 WS so great. After he says..."She is gone", he keeps quiet for almost a minute and let's you enjoy the moment. Switching sports same with Pat Summerall. One of his best was when Vinatieri hit the winning field goal in SB 36 he just said......"It's good....Patriots win". Then he let you enjoy the moment for a minute(Or in shock like Rams fans) before he spoke again.
This was the best call ever but we have had to listen to Jack Buck's terrible call ad nauseum. Why didn't he believe what he just saw? He saw it happen.
 

runnels3

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That's why Vin Scully's call of Gibson's HR in game 1 of 88 WS so great. After he says..."She is gone", he keeps quiet for almost a minute and let's you enjoy the moment.
Even better is Don Drysdale's radio call and the aftermath. TWO minutes of crowd noise and then "this time Mighty Casey did NOT strike out!" - another minute of din and "...the Dodgers acted as if they were touching a REMbrandt at home plate!"

Classic. We lost him way too soon.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpsqaSJkovw
 

coremiller

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That's why Vin Scully's call of Gibson's HR in game 1 of 88 WS so great. After he says..."She is gone", he keeps quiet for almost a minute and let's you enjoy the moment. Switching sports same with Pat Summerall. One of his best was when Vinatieri hit the winning field goal in SB 36 he just said......"It's good....Patriots win". Then he let you enjoy the moment for a minute(Or in shock like Rams fans) before he spoke again.
Of course, when Scully finally spoke again he said, "In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!" A classic line. Scully was the best.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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I'm not sure I understand your point with these three sentences. To me, Gus Johnson is anything but a "generic" announcer. I understand the criticism that he gets a little too fired up at times, personally I love it, but you always know when Gus is calling a game. Brian Anderson vs Joe Davis I agree is generic.
The first part was just a reply based on the previous post about announcers over-yelling which I think stems from the rise in popularity of Gus Johnson + the American gotta be loud to be heard mentality. Gus Johnson exudes genuine excitement. Steve Levy, serial voice raiser, does not.

The second part is just a general observation about the announcers I've heard over the course of the playoffs who are exceedingly generic. I've got no beef with GJ.
 

nattysez

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Thanks for starting this thread.

Ron Darling has been excellent during the Giants-Dodgers series.

John Smoltz has been so bad during the Sox that I've just started muting the TV. He is basically Joe Morgan with less of a pedigree, a worse voice, and less of an excuse for being so old-school given their respective ages.

Matt Vasgersian was laughably bad. I can't easily recall a worse national TV play-by-play announcer. He completely mis-called both the WC game HR AND the ALDS ground-rule double -- just one of those would have been a career-defining screw-up, and he did it twice within a week.

I really don't enjoy listening to Will Flemming. Someone -- possibly Sean McDonough -- has given him bad advice about making a name for himself by being snarky and harshly opinionated on the air, and it really doesn't work for me, especially for baseball. I think it's fine to be critical and to call a spade a spade, but he sometimes sounds like a guy in a game thread rather than a professional broadcaster. I hope he gets some advice from his brother, who's 10x the broadcaster Will is.

Lastly, FS1's broadcasts are really bad. The pitching zone box somehow broke for at least one game, FS1 has been making graphics mistakes, and the scorebug is ugly. MLB should be reading them the riot act for screwing up these broadcasts so thoroughly, but MLB probably is just counting the rights money.
 

8slim

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People really liked Summerall's call of the Vinatieri FG? I guess I wouldn't expect him to have gone full Gil Santos, but he made it sound like the Pats just made a 34 yard field goal in the 2nd quarter of an October regular season game. That call completely failed to meet the moment, IMHO.
 
Ron Darling has been excellent during the Giants-Dodgers series.
He really has been, and pretty much always is (from what I hear of him). Brian Anderson is perfectly acceptable, which is enough to make that partnership easily my top choice of the Divisional Series booths I've heard.
Matt Vasgersian was laughably bad. I can't easily recall a worse national TV play-by-play announcer. He completely mis-called both the WC game HR AND the ALDS ground-rule double -- just one of those would have been a career-defining screw-up, and he did it twice within a week.
Even independent of his calls in the key moments...what does Vasgersian bring to the table? Is he funny? Is his voice smooth and easy to listen to? I honestly can't understand his prominence as a broadcaster.
I understand your point here, but I'm willing to give more weight to the other 3 hours of a baseball broadcast. If the announcer does a good job for those 3 hours, and then has a less-than-stellar call for the Big Moment At The End, I'll be happy. Most games _don't_ have a dramatic moment, but all games last about 3 hours.

Just my own preference, I guess.
No, for the most part I'm with you here. But there ought to be commentators that are both enjoyable to listen to for three hours *and* can nail the key moments, right? (And in fact, there are some, although not as many as it feels as though there used to be - or maybe there are just as many as there have always been, but they're more easily lost in the shuffle because the volume of sports on TV is so much greater than it was?)
 

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Even independent of his calls in the key moments...what does Vasgersian bring to the table? Is he funny? Is his voice smooth and easy to listen to? I honestly can't understand his prominence as a broadcaster.
I wouldn't underestimate the value of voicing a popular video game franchise. I don't get his appeal either, but I've been familiar with his voice since well before he rose to national prominence solely from playing the game.
 
By the by, it's patently obvious that the world of sports commentatary is not a meritocracy. Which is quite remarkable, in a way, because...well, let me quote one of my favorite passages from Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch:
One of the great things about sport is its cruel clarity: there is no such thing, for example, as a bad one-hundred-metre runner, or a hopeless centre-half who got lucky; in sport, you get found out. Nor is there such a thing as an unknown genius striker starving in a garret somewhere, becuase the scouting system is foolproof. (Everyone gets watched.) There are, however, plenty of bad actors or musicians or writers making a decent living, people who happened to be in the right place at the right time, or who knew the right people, or whose talents have been misunderstood or overestimated.
Sports commentators fall squarely into the latter category. I understood this at a very early age, and that understanding is one of the reasons I never really committed to becoming a commentator at the age when I should have done, and now wished I had done. (Actually, I'm not sure I would have ever become a commentator if I had not come to the UK, but I can talk about that in my Diary thread.) At the same time, I honestly don't know what objective criteria (if any) are ever used when it comes to choosing which commentators get the choicest gigs; it seems as though you're at least as likely to get a good gig if you're related to a prominent commentator than if you're actually, you know, good at the job of commentating. But maybe my/our criteria for what qualifies as "good" are different than what most sports viewers think?

(Note - I'm not aware of much if any nepotism when it comes to sports commentators in the UK, and actual merit does seem to be more relevant here than it does at times in the US, even if who you know seems to be at least as important as how good you are. Or at least, how good you think you are....)
 

Bertha

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It has been said over and over, the announcers are intended to draw in and keep the casual fan, not the typical SOSHer. Orsillo is very much aware of who his employer is, and may intentionally be using a different style to match when doing national broadcasts.

Thanks to many here, I have utilized the ESPN2 statcast option when available this season. That is geared more toward the hardcore fan. Less cliches, more useful and intelligent data, i.e. less of O’Brien-esque statistical fluff.

My hope is that style of commentating and production continues to become more available.
 

The Filthy One

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It has been said over and over, the announcers are intended to draw in and keep the casual fan, not the typical SOSHer. Orsillo is very much aware of who his employer is, and may intentionally be using a different style to match when doing national broadcasts.

Thanks to many here, I have utilized the ESPN2 statcast option when available this season. That is geared more toward the hardcore fan. Less cliches, more useful and intelligent data, i.e. less of O’Brien-esque statistical fluff.

My hope is that style of commentating and production continues to become more available.
It seems like the future of this is leading to multiple commentaries on the game at once, accessible not just through TV channels but also Twitch, Twitter, etc. People are already hacking this experience with MLB.TV + WEEI audio feed, Twitch livestreams like the one Fangraphs has been doing, even some of the reaction stuff that Barstool does on Twitter.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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I reckon there must be an appetite to just talk about good and bad commentators, and indeed specific commentary moments, in a dedicated thread here in the Media forum - no? Several people in the Braves-Brewers NLDS thread were talking about Orsillo's call of Freddie Freeman's homerun last night, so let me start by shining a spotlight on it here:

View: https://streamable.com/7wottr

I like a lot of what Orsillo brings to the table...but this is simply not a good call. If he shuts up right after "Freddie Freeman has left the yard and puts the Braves on top!" and lets the moment breathe, it's pretty decent - not upper echelon great, but memorable enough to fit the situation. But he keeps talking for another eight full seconds, until Freeman is rounding third base - not just not adding anything to the table, but taking stuff off the table with each successive phrase. To me, that betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of what makes big commentary moments great: it's not simply a bad call, it's the sort of mistake that a great commentator would never make. Maybe he briefly blacked out and thought he was on radio?
Amen … I almost pointed this out in that game thread last night … all he had to do was a “back back back goneeeee” and shut up and let the crowd do the rest of the work. But no .. Orsillo won’t shut up. He completely ruined a classic moment.

But, of course he’s not alone in this. It’s like the show producers think viewers have a three second attention span.

I used to kind of like Smoltz but this year he’s just mumbling drivel. Long streams of word salad or complaining about how modern baseball strategy sucks.

It’s now such a low bar that my view of a Good Announcer is that they don’t annoy me.
 

Bergs

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Nothing personal, CP, but this entire thread rubs me the wrong way. You are trying to apply objective criteria to the unmeasurable. Why is Nina Simone better than someone with perfect pitch on some singing show? Because it's art, not a set of rules. Holding ANYONE in your chosen field to the standards set by Vin Scully is like saying Freddie Hubbard sucked because he wasn't Miles Davis (FH was actually technically better, but that's another conversation).

A regional announcer's job is to become "part of the family" by vibing with a color guy and "singing with a good intrument". Orsillo does that with accumen that might be unparalleled this side of Bob Eucker in this century. You're dinging him on presentation when in fact that might be the least important category to the local audience.

A national announcer's job is weirder, because there's no pre-existing booth chemistry with the color guy, so I guess you just let it rip. You are 100% correct when you say DO should have shut the fuck up earlier on that HR call. But the percentage of people who consciously notice that kind of shit is comprised of other broadcasters and some weirdos like us.

Orsillo is NOWHERE near as good without a known commodity partner as he is with one. But he's still better than pretty much every other national announcer on the balance.

So yeah, DO yapped too much on a HR call no one will remember in 2 years. But he's good at making me want to hang out with him calling a ballgame. That makes him top tier.
 

jaytftwofive

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People really liked Summerall's call of the Vinatieri FG? I guess I wouldn't expect him to have gone full Gil Santos, but he made it sound like the Pats just made a 34 yard field goal in the 2nd quarter of an October regular season game. That call completely failed to meet the moment, IMHO.
After he called it he let you watch the celebration. Pat was one of the best.
 

Chainsaw318

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if not for my shutting and health i wouild been a commentator and a good one too
I believe this, other than that for baseball you would spend too much time talking about John Elway and the Broncos D-line.



I have fond memories of McDonough from his time here and was kind of glad to have him back part time on the radio, but he either has lost some of what made him clever and charming, or maybe he never was. The voice is nostalgic, unfortunately the commentary not as much.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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Prime Pat was great with Madden.

Super Bowl 36 Pat was a disaster, an embarrassment to Fox, and a disservice to all football fans.
I'm probably closer to your viewpoint than the "great, understated Summerall" viewpoint. There is a point where the understatement gets to an extreme, and the announcer loses all empathy (trying to find the right word here). Joe Buck for example was very understated at one point but has gotten better with his walkoff calls. He is not overly wordy but raises the timbre of his voice and it allows space while letting you know the magnitude of the moment.

To take it to the extreme I picture an unfeeling Summerall on actual devastating announcements. Stoic voice: 'Pearl Harbor was been bombed. This is not a good day.' *Run news reel*. Stoic voice: 'The Hindenburg has crashed down to earth just after takeoff.' *Run news reel*
 
Nothing personal, CP, but this entire thread rubs me the wrong way. You are trying to apply objective criteria to the unmeasurable. Why is Nina Simone better than someone with perfect pitch on some singing show? Because it's art, not a set of rules. Holding ANYONE in your chosen field to the standards set by Vin Scully is like saying Freddie Hubbard sucked because he wasn't Miles Davis (FH was actually technically better, but that's another conversation).

A regional announcer's job is to become "part of the family" by vibing with a color guy and "singing with a good intrument". Orsillo does that with accumen that might be unparalleled this side of Bob Eucker in this century. You're dinging him on presentation when in fact that might be the least important category to the local audience.

A national announcer's job is weirder, because there's no pre-existing booth chemistry with the color guy, so I guess you just let it rip. You are 100% correct when you say DO should have shut the fuck up earlier on that HR call. But the percentage of people who consciously notice that kind of shit is comprised of other broadcasters and some weirdos like us.

Orsillo is NOWHERE near as good without a known commodity partner as he is with one. But he's still better than pretty much every other national announcer on the balance.

So yeah, DO yapped too much on a HR call no one will remember in 2 years. But he's good at making me want to hang out with him calling a ballgame. That makes him top tier.
I think you're being a bit harsh here, given that we're mostly on the same page as far as what Orsillo brings to the table. It's perfectly fair to call out a bad moment from a commentator I'm otherwise mostly happy about; I'm sure you'll know Orsillo much better than I do, but to me he does have a perfectly smooth voice and a relatable delivery most of the time, even if he struggles to rise to meet the most dramatic moments. (And he's certainly better to listen to alongside Jeff Francoeur than Chip Caray is!) Funnily enough, that description also fits Sean McDonough pretty well, at least to me - a great commentator whose voice is unfortunately prone to badly breaking when he gets super-excited.

Anyway, I created this thread not just to criticize commentators, but also to praise them. So please do praise away - I hope people will eventually share clips not just of dramatic moments but also of funny or insightful things said during the normal flow of a game which fit the "vibing with a color guy" description.
 

moretsyndrome

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I believe this, other than that for baseball you would spend too much time talking about John Elway and the Broncos D-line.



I have fond memories of McDonough from his time here and was kind of glad to have him back part time on the radio, but he either has lost some of what made him clever and charming, or maybe he never was. The voice is nostalgic, unfortunately the commentary not as much.
I don't know. He was bringing a lot to the table guesting on Sox games this year. I found myself laughing out loud during the broadcasts, which is refreshing. A lot of it was him giving Joe Castig a hard time about his age, with Joe taking it in stride self-deprecatingly. Then Joe would tell an awesome story that only someone of his age could tell. It was a good way to pass the time, which is what baseball is all about.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
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Jul 15, 2005
28,263
Hingham, MA
I'm probably closer to your viewpoint than the "great, understated Summerall" viewpoint. There is a point where the understatement gets to an extreme, and the announcer loses all empathy (trying to find the right word here). Joe Buck for example was very understated at one point but has gotten better with his walkoff calls. He is not overly wordy but raises the timbre of his voice and it allows space while letting you know the magnitude of the moment.

To take it to the extreme I picture an unfeeling Summerall on actual devastating announcements. Stoic voice: 'Pearl Harbor was been bombed. This is not a good day.' *Run news reel*. Stoic voice: 'The Hindenburg has crashed down to earth just after takeoff.' *Run news reel*
I didn't / don't have a problem with understatement. Pat's call on the game winner was... ok. But overall Pat had not only lost his fastball, but he had lost all his other pitches too. He was past being ready to retire that point. Just prior to AV kicking the winner they showed a replay from pre-game where he drilled a 50+ yarder... and Pat said, "well, he missed that one". No Pat, you just didn't watch the replay correctly. Here's the sequence. I have the video starting at the 5:06 mark if it doesn't work.

View: https://youtu.be/GC4qgrUgF9I?t=306
 

Bowhemian

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Nov 10, 2015
3,740
Bow, NH
I didn't / don't have a problem with understatement. Pat's call on the game winner was... ok. But overall Pat had not only lost his fastball, but he had lost all his other pitches too. He was past being ready to retire that point. Just prior to AV kicking the winner they showed a replay from pre-game where he drilled a 50+ yarder... and Pat said, "well, he missed that one". No Pat, you just didn't watch the replay correctly. Here's the sequence. I have the video starting at the 5:06 mark if it doesn't work.

View: https://youtu.be/GC4qgrUgF9I?t=306
Thanks for posting that, I could watch that on a loop all damn day long. I agree that PS was toast at that point in his career, but honestly I couldn't care less. He could have been talking smack about my mother and it wouldn't phase me in the least, even now 20 years later. Mainly because I'm not really listening.
 

8slim

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Nov 6, 2001
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I think Summerall's call seems all the more poor to me because the Gil Santos call on the Pats radio broadcast was an all-timer. Just pure joy, punctuated by Gino Cappelletti's laugh in the background.
 

j-man

Member
Dec 19, 2012
2,328
Arkansas
I believe this, other than that for baseball you would spend too much time talking about John Elway and the Broncos D-line.



I have fond memories of McDonough from his time here and was kind of glad to have him back part time on the radio, but he either has lost some of what made him clever and charming, or maybe he never was. The voice is nostalgic, unfortunately the commentary not as much.
ROFL for baseball i would be pushing the DH in both leagues more day games the 25 sec clock for pitching 30 man rosters and what both teams shouild do from a old/new school point of view
 

BornToRun

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Jun 4, 2011
15,220
Thanks for starting this thread.

Ron Darling has been excellent during the Giants-Dodgers series.

John Smoltz has been so bad during the Sox that I've just started muting the TV. He is basically Joe Morgan with less of a pedigree, a worse voice, and less of an excuse for being so old-school given their respective ages.

Matt Vasgersian was laughably bad. I can't easily recall a worse national TV play-by-play announcer. He completely mis-called both the WC game HR AND the ALDS ground-rule double -- just one of those would have been a career-defining screw-up, and he did it twice within a week.

I really don't enjoy listening to Will Flemming. Someone -- possibly Sean McDonough -- has given him bad advice about making a name for himself by being snarky and harshly opinionated on the air, and it really doesn't work for me, especially for baseball. I think it's fine to be critical and to call a spade a spade, but he sometimes sounds like a guy in a game thread rather than a professional broadcaster. I hope he gets some advice from his brother, who's 10x the broadcaster Will is.

Lastly, FS1's broadcasts are really bad. The pitching zone box somehow broke for at least one game, FS1 has been making graphics mistakes, and the scorebug is ugly. MLB should be reading them the riot act for screwing up these broadcasts so thoroughly, but MLB probably is just counting the rights money.
I think what bothers me about Flemming, or it could be McDonough, I couldn’t really be bothered to tell them apart listening to the ALDS, is this “uh ohhhh, that’s not good” tone of voice whenever something bad happened. Like, asshole we get it. I don’t need your ominous, big brother about to get little brother in trouble tone of voice to understand that Tampa tying the game is bad.
 
I like Kevin Harlan a lot - if his voice was a little more sonorous, I reckon he'd be even more highly rated than he already is, because he's really funny and has a great vocabulary and knows how to emphasize dramatic moments. But I thought he blew a chance that any commentator would love to have at the end of the Fins-Jags game: with five seconds left, he asked Trent Green what the players involved in the Hail Mary that he thought would be forthcoming what they'd be thinking, and he didn't for one moment think about the alternative option that the Jags wound up choosing. As the Jags broke their huddle for the 4th and 8 play, I was thinking, "Ask Trent if they can complete a pass for at least eight yards in less than five seconds to get the first down and kick a field goal!" There's a scenario in which Harlan could have looked like a total genius and been talked about for his Romo-esque powers of prognostication...but he never saw the opening. (In his defense, I think most other commentators probably would have missed it as well.)
 

luckiestman

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Jul 15, 2005
22,128
I like Kevin Harlan a lot - if his voice was a little more sonorous, I reckon he'd be even more highly rated than he already is, because he's really funny and has a great vocabulary and knows how to emphasize dramatic moments. But I thought he blew a chance that any commentator would love to have at the end of the Fins-Jags game: with five seconds left, he asked Trent Green what the players involved in the Hail Mary that he thought would be forthcoming what they'd be thinking, and he didn't for one moment think about the alternative option that the Jags wound up choosing. As the Jags broke their huddle for the 4th and 8 play, I was thinking, "Ask Trent if they can complete a pass for at least eight yards in less than five seconds to get the first down and kick a field goal!" There's a scenario in which Harlan could have looked like a total genius and been talked about for his Romo-esque powers of prognostication...but he never saw the opening. (In his defense, I think most other commentators probably would have missed it as well.)
I don’t know. I was watching the one snap coverage to see if it was going to be possible. I think you are blaming the wrong guy though, well you’re not really blaming. I think Green should have brought it up.