Finn: Red Sox Potentially Changing Radio Broadcast Approach

Jul 3, 2006
11
I've been listening for a while, hardly ever get to see a game on TV. And I'll agree about Sean McDonough.

But, not seeing the games, I've never understood the Dave O'Brien hate. The few years he was on radio with Joe C. were a treat -- it sounded like there was real chemistry between Castiglione and him. For the last few years before Dave O'Brien it was sounding like Castiglione had had enough of the Jerry Trupiano show, and when O'Brien showed up it was sheer pleasure. The dull and clunky years with Tim Neverett only reinforce my view that O'Brien was a genuinely good fit. I'd take him back on radio in a NY minute.
 

Buckner's Boots

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I'm probably the only person who doesn't really like McDonough. I caught the part where Bradford was in the booth on Saturday, talking about the marathon. McDonough was ragging on Bradford's physique ("Have you been training?") as well as on everyone else. It all just kind of came off as wiseass, then retreat to self-deprecation, then more wiseassery...it was just too schticky for me. And his need to get in his wiseass shots cut off Bradford's story at the end of the inning, as well as went over top of Joe's PBP a couple of times. I found myself actually wishing Neverett was still around. And I really didn't think he was anything to write home about.
 

Just a bit outside

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I've been listening for a while, hardly ever get to see a game on TV. And I'll agree about Sean McDonough.

But, not seeing the games, I've never understood the Dave O'Brien hate. The few years he was on radio with Joe C. were a treat -- it sounded like there was real chemistry between Castiglione and him. For the last few years before Dave O'Brien it was sounding like Castiglione had had enough of the Jerry Trupiano show, and when O'Brien showed up it was sheer pleasure. The dull and clunky years with Tim Neverett only reinforce my view that O'Brien was a genuinely good fit. I'd take him back on radio in a NY minute.
I think most people liked DOB on radio. He is not the same on tv. He comes across as a know it all on tv and repeats the same comments throughout the game.
 

koufax32

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A SMD return would also bring back the Haiku Fever from the Nomar days.

Point, SMD.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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I'm probably the only person who doesn't really like McDonough. I caught the part where Bradford was in the booth on Saturday, talking about the marathon. McDonough was ragging on Bradford's physique ("Have you been training?") as well as on everyone else. It all just kind of came off as wiseass, then retreat to self-deprecation, then more wiseassery...it was just too schticky for me. And his need to get in his wiseass shots cut off Bradford's story at the end of the inning, as well as went over top of Joe's PBP a couple of times. I found myself actually wishing Neverett was still around. And I really didn't think he was anything to write home about.
I like McDonough, but I completely agree with the assessment of the Bradford segment. It was terrible. It's pretty clear at this point that "more conversational" is just a euphemism for unfunny people force feeding their audience dumb jock humor. It's like listening to any given NFL pregame show "Been working on your golf game much, Dan?" "Not as much as you've been working on the post-game buffet, Boomer." *insert chorus of fake laughs* Even Castig was playing along the other day talking about someone texting him during the game with some useless quip. I believe Bradford even referenced some infamous EEI caller, too (as predicted when this was announced). Every once and a while during these "conversational" segments they mention the on field action. This is such a sad turn for people who enjoy listening to the games.
 

Pitt the Elder

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I thought SMD was great AND I feel like he overplayed his hand with some of the on-air chuckles. Witty one-liners and tongue-in-cheek observations can really liven up a broadcast, but when it's overdone it starts to feel hackneyed and annoying. There were a few times the guys in the booth were quipping about their name drop competition when they completely messed up the play-by-play, with several belated calls that were clearly done 5-6 seconds after the play.

You put SMD in the booth full time and I think they figure out the balance, but they messed up it a few times over the weekend.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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I think SMD is just feeling himself and getting all the banter and wisecracks out due to the shortened schedule. Not pacing himself over the course of a long season. I for one will be longing for Sean again in mid-summer after a string of (fill in generic PBP guys here).
 

Cumberland Blues

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One run game in the 8th inning, I don't want to hear a debate about whether or not manatees are endangered. Save that shit for blowouts.
 

Delicious Sponge

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I like McDonough, but I completely agree with the assessment of the Bradford segment. It was terrible. It's pretty clear at this point that "more conversational" is just a euphemism for unfunny people force feeding their audience dumb jock humor. It's like listening to any given NFL pregame show "Been working on your golf game much, Dan?" "Not as much as you've been working on the post-game buffet, Boomer." *insert chorus of fake laughs* Even Castig was playing along the other day talking about someone texting him during the game with some useless quip. I believe Bradford even referenced some infamous EEI caller, too (as predicted when this was announced). Every once and a while during these "conversational" segments they mention the on field action. This is such a sad turn for people who enjoy listening to the games.
So well said.

Baseball is a game you should be able to “watch” on the radio.

This new format is unlistenable in its own right, but it also robs us of the special experience of listening to the game.

It’s a horrible idea, and poorly executed at that.

When will it stop?
 

Harry Hooper

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I thought SMD was great AND I feel like he overplayed his hand with some of the on-air chuckles. Witty one-liners and tongue-in-cheek observations can really liven up a broadcast, but when it's overdone it starts to feel hackneyed and annoying. There were a few times the guys in the booth were quipping about their name drop competition when they completely messed up the play-by-play, with several belated calls that were clearly done 5-6 seconds after the play.

You put SMD in the booth full time and I think they figure out the balance, but they messed up it a few times over the weekend.
That's on target, I think. It kind of went like this:

 

Ale Xander

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McDonough playfully made fun of Bradfo running the marathon, paraphrasing, Bradford running with the Kenyans is like Vasquez at the second base bag with Bogaerts.

Also crapped on Aruba saying something like you'll like it if you like sand blown in your face and there are better places to go.
 

Delicious Sponge

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McDonough playfully made fun of Bradfo running the marathon, paraphrasing, Bradford running with the Kenyans is like Vasquez at the second base bag with Bogaerts.

Also crapped on Aruba saying something like you'll like it if you like sand blown in your face and there are better places to go.
And why would legendary broadcasters like McDonough and Castiglione stoop to this level? It’s trash and it’s sad to see them do this.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Haven't had the chance to listen to the radio broadcasts at all this year, and the prospects of a Castig/McDonough booth are intriguing to me. The killer to me in what they're doing with the broadcasts is having a third man in the booth at all. Merloni and Bradford and the like serve no purpose in my view.

Three man booths on TV are barely tolerable but at least you get to watch the action even if the announcers are off on their own tangents. On radio, you get no such luxury. I don't need conversations. I just want descriptions of the game. If nothing's going on between pitches or hitters, silence is okay (though they tend to fill those spots with ads these days which is fine).
 

joyofsox

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I thought SMD was great AND I feel like he overplayed his hand with some of the on-air chuckles. Witty one-liners and tongue-in-cheek observations can really liven up a broadcast, but when it's overdone it starts to feel hackneyed and annoying.
It was leaning that way during today's game. If Sean kept up this pace (even if he is ragging on WEEI for squeezing every penny out of advertisers), the sarcasm would get wearying in a hurry. But having the chance to hear him for the first time in a very long time this weekend was a breath of fresh air. And as someone else here pointed out, Castig seemed more energized.

One run game in the 8th inning, I don't want to hear a debate about whether or not manatees are endangered. Save that shit for blowouts.
That digression was fairly short - and the "It tastes like elephant" was both unexpected and delivered well.
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

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My first hearing of Sean this season. I loved hearing him call the game. I don't like the 3 man booth. At all. But as some others have said, it was refreshing to hear him, sarcasm and all. I've always thought he was the best Sox tv guy they ever had since Ned Martin. And he translates to radio just fine. Perhaps even better than tv. I just wonder how long his sort of organizational (and network) criticism will be tolerated. Also, with Sean in there, that was the best I've heard Castig in a long time.
 

SydneySox

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It was appalling to listen to that today.

I was lucky enough to have the radio on for my commute to work early this morning and when "Boomer" came on it all went to shit. Terrible delivery, appalling timing and worse, a complete lack of play by play. He'd babble randomly about his stupid song shit and then casually mention someone had hit the ball and was out. Out where? Where'd he hit it? Was it close? Porcello ended an inning with a looking 'K' but too bad it came in the middle of a dumb story because we had no idea what was happening, no 'coming to the stretch', no 'here comes the pitch', just an offhand 'aaaand, called third strike.' Called third strike where, you fuck? High, low? Curve? Was it close, was it a sitter, what'd the batter do?

I had to flick over and watch the TV coverage which, even with the spotty internet on my train trip which meant I was jumping and pausing all over the place, at least showed me some of what was happening on the field.

Is that something we have to try to listen to again?
 

The Gray Eagle

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His voice was weird and he sounded really old. Didn’t help that he was personal friends with Buckner and wanted to talk about him all day. Understandable, but hard to listen to.
 

YTF

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His voice was weird and he sounded really old. Didn’t help that he was personal friends with Buckner and wanted to talk about him all day. Understandable, but hard to listen to.
This. Was in the car and tuned in the pregame show mid stream of Berman being interviewed. He was going on about his time in New England and how it was going to be great to do a few games with Castig as he's known him for a long time. I had no clue that it was him until he was asked about his days at ESPN.
 

scottyno

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"At any rate... back to baseball" pretty much sums up the entire couple innings I heard with him on, 90% talking about anything but the game and then every 30 seconds or so mentioning that another pitch was thrown. Literally no one can be enjoying this and no one was asking for this.
 

nattysez

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I wound up listening to a few innings -- an early inning or two and then the last two or three. He was really bad. Early on, he was panicking and stumbling over his words when trying to describe what was happening in real time. He can handle balls and strikes and homers, but anything more than that was causing vapor-lock. When it turned into a blowout, he just started doing schtick and ignored the action. They must've spent a full 5 minutes dealing with a trivia question.

He and Joe were pretty funny talking about Oliver Perez needing to change both of his shoes, but that was definitely the highlight of his day.
 

SydneySox

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I'd moved to Eck by then and he was loving the shoes as well.

That was the first time in many many years of listening to the Sox on weei (which I do almost daily at my desk at work) that I had no idea what was happening on the field.
 

chrisfont9

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Berman did the lead call in the third, while I was listening, and sounded like he thought he was doing TV. Literally no description of the game whatsoever, as if I could see it for myself. You could pick anyone from this forum and pluck them into the booth and I bet you they'd be thinking, "it's radio, I have to say what's going on." After the commercial Castig was back in charge and I continued doing yardwork fantasizing about WEEI management busting in during the break and firing Berman from his temporary spot.
 

ookami7m

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Didn’t get to listen yesterday but caught the second half of tonight’s game. Agree with all the above on Berman but what really sets him back is the amount of dead air. I turned the radio in my car up way too loud when I first plugged in my phone thinking it was just quiet. Instead it was twenty seconds of dead air from boomer.
 

Big D

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Berman did the lead call in the third, while I was listening, and sounded like he thought he was doing TV. Literally no description of the game whatsoever, as if I could see it for myself. You could pick anyone from this forum and pluck them into the booth and I bet you they'd be thinking, "it's radio, I have to say what's going on." After the commercial Castig was back in charge and I continued doing yardwork fantasizing about WEEI management busting in during the break and firing Berman from his temporary spot.
I felt like he was only saying about every third word he was thinking. It was weird.
 

jmm57

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I had 15 min to go in my commute when the game started. Berman was so bad I switched to the Cleveland broadcast in my mlb app rather than have eei on the radio. Awful job by eei management, and I didn’t think they could downgrade Neverett.
 
Aug 17, 2019
7
Listened to Dale Arnold do a couple of innings the other day. He needs to go to a short season Class A league and learn play by play. There are hundreds of deserving minor league announcers who would love the chance he is getting. Without so much as a description of the pitch, the first thing we hear on a double down the line was "the third baseman dives at the ball and it's past him". Huh? Moments later he completely mangles a Moreland triple in the right field corner. WEEI and the Red Sox should be embarrassed. The pro PBP guys they have on (McDonough, Impemba, Flemming, etc) seem fine, but with no continuity through the year and you never know who's up next. But to have folks broadcasting that couldn't describe someone buttering toast is a disservice to Red Sox fans. The broadcasts have mirrored the inconsistency of the 2019 Red Sox. And that's too bad.
 

Rovin Romine

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Nice to see this bumped. In the old days, I'd listen to the radio broadcast while watching a TV feed. Now I just listen to NESN most of the time.

Has the radio broadcast gotten any better?

If I still lived in NE I'd be up in arms; one of my favorite things to do was to listen to the game while traveling/driving/puttering about on a project.
 

BaseballJones

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Nice to see this bumped. In the old days, I'd listen to the radio broadcast while watching a TV feed. Now I just listen to NESN most of the time.

Has the radio broadcast gotten any better?

If I still lived in NE I'd be up in arms; one of my favorite things to do was to listen to the game while traveling/driving/puttering about on a project.
I have always been a big fan of listening to the Sox on the radio (always went to bed listening to the Celtics too - the Johnny Most days). But it’s hard to listen to Arnold on the radio doing PBP. He’s awful.
 

Pitt the Elder

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I echo the sentiment that Arnold is terrible, not only because his play-by-play is literally the worst I've heard for a baseball game but also because he carries over some of his whiny talkshow schtick. Add to that that he routinely calls players by the wrong name... A month or so ago he referred to JDM as "Hernandez" seven times (seven!) in one half inning.

WEEI should be ashamed because they've produced a terrible product this year. Even McDonough, who is great, gets bogged down with the yuck yucks because the whole thing is novel treat for him, not his day to day job. Joe is definitely on the back 9 and it's a shame that they're pairing him with slop this late in his career. You'd think they'd be trying to pair him with an up and coming talent that can take over the broadcast in the next 5-7 years or however long Joe has.
 
Jun 12, 2019
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I echo the sentiment that Arnold is terrible, not only because his play-by-play is literally the worst I've heard for a baseball game but also because he carries over some of his whiny talkshow schtick. Add to that that he routinely calls players by the wrong name... A month or so ago he referred to JDM as "Hernandez" seven times (seven!) in one half inning.

WEEI should be ashamed because they've produced a terrible product this year. Even McDonough, who is great, gets bogged down with the yuck yucks because the whole thing is novel treat for him, not his day to day job. Joe is definitely on the back 9 and it's a shame that they're pairing him with slop this late in his career. You'd think they'd be trying to pair him with an up and coming talent that can take over the broadcast in the next 5-7 years or however long Joe has.
He did the same Friday night. It took him a full inning to realize that Owings was at second base instead of Hernandez, even after Owings had pinch-hit a key double. He's brutal.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Agreed on all fronts. We tried to listen to the game last night on the way back from camp and my boy, wearing a JD shirt and having just spent two hours throwing a ball off the wall, said, "can we just listen to music?"

Brutal.
 

ngruz25

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I like Arnold for his banter with Castiglione. They have a good rapport and seem to get along well.

But man, his PBP can be really tough to understand. It's almost like he's calling the game for a television audience instead of a radio audience. For a radio audience, you obviously need to fill in as much detail as possible so that the listener has a good picture of what's happening. A call like "CRUSHED... and way out of here!" is perfect for TV but only barely passable for radio, for obvious reasons. The picture Arnold paints is often so devoid of those tiny details that really matter for a radio broadcast.

I don't know if it's possible to find archived radio broadcast material, but his call of Devers' home run last night was a pretty good example. It was a baffling call that started like a pop up and ended up a home run.
 

Pitt the Elder

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I think Arnold has a really hard time reading balls in play and anticipating what is going to happen. He is routinely surprised by home runs and cannot guage when to get excited until after something happens. He's like the anti-trupe. As for his regular pbp, he provides no narrative to the call, just a checklist of things that happened with awkward pauses in between.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I think Arnold has a really hard time reading balls in play and anticipating what is going to happen. He is routinely surprised by home runs and cannot guage when to get excited until after something happens. He's like the anti-trupe. As for his regular pbp, he provides no narrative to the call, just a checklist of things that happened with awkward pauses in between.
The bolded is exactly how I would describe him. And honestly, I think part of it is lack of reps behind the mic calling baseball games, especially at Fenway. When he was a part-timer in the booth a decade ago, he wasn't this bad. He wasn't great, but he wasn't egregiously unlistenable either. He was also doing it semi-regularly so his eye was a bit more dialed in as far as judging flyballs and such. I think the combination of being older (and perhaps slower) and being entirely out of practice has had an effect.

At least most of the other folks they bring in to work with Castig aren't out of practice. They're calling games for other teams or networks when they're not in the EEI booth. Bringing in a stone cold Dale Arnold is barely a step up from inviting a fan from the bleachers in to call the game.
 

brandonchristensen

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I’m a big fan of radio over TV as I have young kids and it’s easier to just put the game on my phone in my pocket while running around.

This year I’ve stopped both for the most part. Dale Arnold makes Lou Merlino sound good.
 

Harry Hooper

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The bolded is exactly how I would describe him. And honestly, I think part of it is lack of reps behind the mic calling baseball games, especially at Fenway. When he was a part-timer in the booth a decade ago, he wasn't this bad. He wasn't great, but he wasn't egregiously unlistenable either. He was also doing it semi-regularly so his eye was a bit more dialed in as far as judging flyballs and such. I think the combination of being older (and perhaps slower) and being entirely out of practice has had an effect.
Your points could be valid, but I think having the third man in the booth might be a factor. Maybe Dale is trying not to clutter up the broadcast with too much chatter, and has strayed too far into the minimalist PBP direction?
 

InstaFace

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I don't know if it's possible to find archived radio broadcast material, but his call of Devers' home run last night was a pretty good example. It was a baffling call that started like a pop up and ended up a home run.
I don't disagree with your overall point, but that's a bad choice of example. Devers had a downward, chopping-wood swing that looked defensive, he hit a ball that looked like a pop-up, and his absolutely superhuman skills right now somehow carried that out over the monster. It was a HR that took the announcers by surprise because it took everyone by surprise - yourself included, I'd wager. Starting that call with a pop-up tone makes total sense.
 

Twilight

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Nov 17, 2006
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I’m a big fan of radio over TV as I have young kids and it’s easier to just put the game on my phone in my pocket while running around.
Sorry for the thread diversion, but could you pity a poor backward soul and explain how you do that? The last time I tried to listen to the game on my phone (it was quite a while ago), I tried to use WEEI's website on my phone's browser and the game seemed to be blocked. Regular WEEI talk radio didn't seem to be, more's the pity, nor were other radio websites. I had tried previously using my TuneIn Radio app with the same result, so I assumed I was blocked for some reason. I'm in Maine, btw.

More on topic, I want to like Dale but agree on his poor PBP. Lewin has made me laugh a few times and I like McDonough's staff nicknames, but the former is unremarkable and the latter isn't as good as he used to be. Impemba inspires neither esteem nor disdain. Merloni is nearly unlistenable but for stories about Manny, Baerga and other early-oughts Sox he told a few weeks ago, which was one of the best radio host moments of the year for me. Evidently Baerga was quite a character.
 

PudgeFIST

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aka the "dale Arnold experience". I guess since he has called all 5 Boston sports teams (as he will mention every 5 minutes or so)
he thinks he can just bring his own "style". Screw it if its ridiculous. He was a regular with Joe a few years ago, then went back t hockey, thank god.
They keep having him back, so they must think he doesn't suck. He's much better at hockey, he should stick to that.

Listened to Dale Arnold do a couple of innings the other day. He needs to go to a short season Class A league and learn play by play. There are hundreds of deserving minor league announcers who would love the chance he is getting. Without so much as a description of the pitch, the first thing we hear on a double down the line was "the third baseman dives at the ball and it's past him". Huh? Moments later he completely mangles a Moreland triple in the right field corner. WEEI and the Red Sox should be embarrassed. The pro PBP guys they have on (McDonough, Impemba, Flemming, etc) seem fine, but with no continuity through the year and you never know who's up next. But to have folks broadcasting that couldn't describe someone buttering toast is a disservice to Red Sox fans. The broadcasts have mirrored the inconsistency of the 2019 Red Sox. And that's too bad.
 

PudgeFIST

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Aug 19, 2016
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You can buy or subscribe to the MLB AtBat app and the radio stream is free.
I can't stand the "radio" app for eei, so i have it in the mobile browser and every time i wanted to listen through the browser
this year, i got the game. Maybe a handful of times. Usually that means someone screwed up, but i didn't pay for the AtBat app this year
and i wanted the radio broadcast. And i got it. In the past, its not always been there. REal over the air radio is "free" but the internet stream
is supposed to be a paid for option. So its not you or the state/area thats blocked, its just a paid service for everyone, or its supposed to be.

Sorry for the thread diversion, but could you pity a poor backward soul and explain how you do that? The last time I tried to listen to the game on my phone (it was quite a while ago), I tried to use WEEI's website on my phone's browser and the game seemed to be blocked. Regular WEEI talk radio didn't seem to be, more's the pity, nor were other radio websites. I had tried previously using my TuneIn Radio app with the same result, so I assumed I was blocked for some reason. I'm in Maine, btw.

More on topic, I want to like Dale but agree on his poor PBP. Lewin has made me laugh a few times and I like McDonough's staff nicknames, but the former is unremarkable and the latter isn't as good as he used to be. Impemba inspires neither esteem nor disdain. Merloni is nearly unlistenable but for stories about Manny, Baerga and other early-oughts Sox he told a few weeks ago, which was one of the best radio host moments of the year for me. Evidently Baerga was quite a character.
 
Last edited:

brandonchristensen

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Sorry for the thread diversion, but could you pity a poor backward soul and explain how you do that? The last time I tried to listen to the game on my phone (it was quite a while ago), I tried to use WEEI's website on my phone's browser and the game seemed to be blocked. Regular WEEI talk radio didn't seem to be, more's the pity, nor were other radio websites. I had tried previously using my TuneIn Radio app with the same result, so I assumed I was blocked for some reason. I'm in Maine, btw.

More on topic, I want to like Dale but agree on his poor PBP. Lewin has made me laugh a few times and I like McDonough's staff nicknames, but the former is unremarkable and the latter isn't as good as he used to be. Impemba inspires neither esteem nor disdain. Merloni is nearly unlistenable but for stories about Manny, Baerga and other early-oughts Sox he told a few weeks ago, which was one of the best radio host moments of the year for me. Evidently Baerga was quite a character.
MLB At Bat, $2.99 a month. It's a terrific app, no black outs.
 

Twilight

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Nov 17, 2006
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Thank you both--very helpful. I might not be the only one with this question.

$18-20/year isn't crazy. Strange--it's frustrating to pay anything when it's free over a radio (or if it's non-game content over the website), but I guess you're really paying for added convenience and some other features. OTOH, when you divide $20 by the number of games you might listen to, it's a fraction of the price of a movie or audiobook, and seems eminently reasonable.

I didn't see in the FAQs--can you hear playoff games, too (up until the WS)?
 

ngruz25

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I don't disagree with your overall point, but that's a bad choice of example. Devers had a downward, chopping-wood swing that looked defensive, he hit a ball that looked like a pop-up, and his absolutely superhuman skills right now somehow carried that out over the monster. It was a HR that took the announcers by surprise because it took everyone by surprise - yourself included, I'd wager. Starting that call with a pop-up tone makes total sense.
Dave O'Brien didn't seem to struggle with it, and he's a better point of comparison than me.

I should add that I could be misremembering the call. I can't find audio of it, but I know I was taken aback by what happened.
 

The Gray Eagle

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13,000
Thank you both--very helpful. I might not be the only one with this question.

$18-20/year isn't crazy. Strange--it's frustrating to pay anything when it's free over a radio (or if it's non-game content over the website), but I guess you're really paying for added convenience and some other features. OTOH, when you divide $20 by the number of games you might listen to, it's a fraction of the price of a movie or audiobook, and seems eminently reasonable.

I didn't see in the FAQs--can you hear playoff games, too (up until the WS)?
With the app, you get the radio feed of every MLB game, not just the Red Sox. You can usually choose which team's announcers you want to listen to as well. Playoff games have always been included and select preseason games are available too. If you can't listen live, you can even listened to archived versions of games after they are over.

It's really worth the money if you like baseball on the radio at all.
 
Aug 17, 2019
7
Listened again today, & unlucky again to get Arnold again for a bit. What occurred to me is that he is so lacking in description that when something does happen both he and the listeners are startled by it. For instance, you hear silence, then “a strike out...a change up outside and Leon swung at it”. That’s backward..it should have been...”here’s the 2-2 pitch..a swing and a miss...a change up outside”. It made me realize that while some think this is boring...saying “here’s the pitch” or “here’s the 2-1 pitch” heightens the anticipation that SOMETHING is going to happen. It gears us up that we’re going to hear about some sort of action. Sometimes it’s just a ball low, sometimes it’s a home run. But we know and anticipate something is about to occur. Blurting out after it has happened is just not very good announcing and hard to listen to.