One of the things that makes me crazy are bloggers who rip sports announcers, without saying who they think are actually good. I would agree that other sports seem to have more quality of depth in their booths, but I would suggest that a large reason behind this is that baseball is the toughest sport to broadcast. Considering how much slower the action is than the other Big 3 team sports, baseball broadcasters can’t rely on emotion to help push the telecast along. Statistics and strategy are a much larger part of the fabric of the game than they are in other sports broadcasts.
So here is your assignment. I want you to list your current Top 3 play-by-play men, your Top 3 analysts, and the ultimate broadcasting duo you would hire for your World Series telecast. Keep in mind that this is for a national telecast. Some guys are good doing a local game, but wouldn’t translate well to a national audience. The only rule I have is that you can’t use your own team’s broadcasters. (So if you are Dodgers fan, no Vin Scully or if you are Yankees fan, no Slobberin’ Susan Waldman.) Since it seems like a universal notion among the blogging universe that every broadcaster Fox, ESPN, or TBS uses is dismal, I want to see who you would employ. Time for all the haters to put their balls on the line. I will post my current list on Friday, as I will wait to take the shrapnel until then. So you have an example of what I’m looking for, I will post my all-time Top 3 in each category. You can list your all-time list as well, but I’m most interested in who you would hire now.
Top 3 All-Time Play by Play Men
- Curt Gowdy
- Bob Costas
- Bob Uecker
Top 3 Analysts
- Tony Kubek
- Steve Stone
- Don Drysdale
- Bob Costas and Tony Kubek
Gowdy had the voice of the big event, when you grew up in the 70’s. Game 6 of the 1975 World Series between the Reds and Red Sox is the ultimate baseball game for many. During this historic game, the broadcasters were just as good as the action, with Gowdy and Kubek the maestros behind the mic. It’s been a long-time since he did baseball play-by-play, but Costas brought a modern style to the game, while still maintaining a baseball purist attitude. Uecker is seen by some as a bit of a buffoon from pitching Miller Lite or playing the part of Harry Doyle, but he is really a joy to listen to do a game.
Many of you don’t remember the former Yankee shortstop Kubek’s days as a broadcaster, but he was the first ex-jock I ever heard who wasn’t afraid to be honest with his criticism. I’m partial to pitchers as analysts. Stone and Drysdale are/were consistently strong with their takes on what players were doing on the field, despite it putting them occasionally in the team’s doghouse they worked for.
From 1983 to 1989, Costas and Kubek were one of the 2 broadcast teams that did the Saturday afternoon NBC Game of the Week. They played off each other beautifully, as they brought a real intelligence to the game, without the sing-songy vocal inflection that so many baseball broadcasters use.
(Note: my list is post-1974, because I don’t remember much before then.)