I offered up my Top 3 of all-time list, so now I will list the broadcasters I would use for a national telecast today.
Play by Play
- Sean McDonough
- Josh Lewin
- Dan Schulman
All 3 of these broadcasters bring intelligence, wit, and are willing to bring a more modern (sabermetrical) approach to the booth.
McDonough was a big-time broadcasting star for CBS in the 1990’s, but his national role has been diminished over the past decade. I think he has become better over the past few years, as his tone has become more biting.
I know Lewin wears the dreaded Fox scarlet letter around his neck, but I really like the mix of knowledge and irreverence he brings to the booth.
Schulman has the best voice to my ears in baseball. He does a great job of getting the best out of whoever partners with him.
- Orel Hershiser
- Steve Stone
- Al Leiter
As I have mentioned before, I believe the best analysts were former pitchers, as they can explain the reasoning for what is happening on the diamond, pitch to pitch.
I have never been more surprised about a broadcaster as I was when I first heard Hershiser. I always perceived him as being a religious dork, as someone who sings hymns in the dugout could be stereotyped as. My guess was he wouldn’t be tough and analytical about players he competed against or coached. Not the case. Best national baseball analyst I’ve ever heard, as I learn something it seems every time I listen to him.
Steve Stone was held back by working with a senile old drunk for the first half of his career. When Skip Caray is an improvement on who you worked with…well do I need to say anymore. Since the Cubs dumped him, he has become even better, as his critical eye is improved when not having to worry about the wrath of the Tribune Company.
I agree with what others said about the work of Leiter. It is kind of sad that he could be number 3 on my list, considering he hasn’t done the job for even a full season, but baseball has had a paucity of top-notch broadcasters.
NOTE: Ed Farmer would be ranked 3, if he didn’t violate my favorite team rule. When he worked with John Rooney for the White Sox, they were considered the top duo in baseball. Farmer has an acid wit, a brilliant knowledge of the game, and is unafraid of taking on players who are not giving 100%. I’m not sure these qualities would wear well with a national audience, but he is really superb.