Shortened MLB season starts; List of local radio and TV voices; All face awkward sets of circumstances
Think for a moment. For years, the best of the best, Vin Scully did the whole thing on his own with some help from Jerry Doggett. John Sterling, 82, tries to do play-by-play of a whole game alone. And then there were the years that Jack Buck and Harry Caray were a duo who got it done all on their own in St. Louis. Later in Chicago, Caray and Dewayne Staats did almost every Cubs broadcast by themselves, radio and TV.
But things are different now. Every game is on some version of TV and most take an eternity, thus requiring a bigger crew.
But look here – as Buck would have said. See the list below. I have 84 National League team announcers. That’s an average of about 5.6 announcers per team. There are 77 in the American League, an average of about 5.1 per team. That’s crazy. Baseball has 159 local baseball announcers in all. There are still other voices who pop in every now and then and are not included in the roster below. Add the pre and post studio hosts and analysts plus sideline reporters and there are enough to pack a 747!
In the day, baseball broadcasters were celebrities in their home towns. Today, fans couldn’t identify most of them without a detailed scorecard.
This year, even before Covid-19, announcers were either hired to do all games, most games or a partial list of them. Then there are voices of the day. So you don’t know who’s coming to dinner and whether or not they’ll be interesting.
At least, the baseball fathers are doing a couple things to make the games progress, instead of remaining terminal.
MLB and its teams don’t make any additional money when extra innings add up endlessly. Locally, most of the additional commercials in extra innings are bonused. So no one is cashing in on extra television and radio. And because concessionaires at the ballpark run out of hot dogs and other wares hours into the event, no one is getting richer on additional frames. The only things that go up are the electrical bills and fees for hourly employees. That’s why starting extra innings with a man on second makes sense to the owners, albeit not the statistical line of the pitchers.
Anyhow, enough carping. Some notes:
- The Orioles are sidelining telecasters Jim Palmer, 74, Gary Thorne, 72 and Tom Davis, 71 this season, perhaps to be circumspect, taking precautions not to expose older voices. Palmer will be used as an occasional contributor. Jim Hunter is also out this year. He’s done radio and TV for the team in the past. They’ll also be without Joe Angel who retired at the end of the 2018 season. Joe’s still missed. He was underappreciated.
- MLB’s senior four are still hacking away to some degree; Bob Uecker, 86, John Sterling, 82, Mike Shannon, 81 and Dave Van Horne, 81 next month.
- Spotted two brother combinations broadcasting in the Big Leagues. We knew about the Kuipers, Glen in Oakland and Duane in San Francisco. The brother of the Giants’ Dave Flemming, Will Flemming is with the Red Sox radio team.
- Oakland had no radio station carrying its games in the Bay Area when the season started. Games were available online only. It announced one week into the season, on 7/30, that KNEW-960 AM- will run the team’s games The A’s also have eleven network affiliates including Sacramento. It’s not the first time that there was drama like this. In Montreal, during the Expos final years, the team battled for a flagship and games at times were only available online. By the way, Monte Moore, the longtime A’s voice turned 90 on 7/26.
- Then there’s Jack Morris who apparently does games for both the Twins and the Tigers. Jack is well aware of the fact that it’s impossible to dance at two weddings at the same time but apparently he figures it out.
- Let’s welcome some newly assigned voices. Mike Rice joins Jack Corrigan in the Colorado radio booth. Rice replaces Jerry Schemmel who was cut due to retrenchment by iHeart Media. Go figure. Andy Masur who worked in San Diego and did periphery work for the White Sox in recent years takes over for Ed Farmer who passed in the off-season. Then there’s Tommy Thrall who was a sidekick to Hall of Famer Marty Brennaman in Cincinnati. As you know, Marty retired at the end of last season so Thrall moves into the big radio chair.
- Too bad for Ken Hawk Harrelson. The latest Ford Frick Winner isn’t being honored this summer because the Hall of Fame is putting off all this year’s inductions until 2021. By the way, the next Frick winner, who will be selected toward the end of this calendar year, will honor a network voice. Should be another interesting ballot. Based on the current cycle, the Frick winner selected in late 2021 will be a broadcast pioneer. In other words, the next local voice won’t be picked until the end of 2022 and won’t be honored until 2023.
Here you go—the list.
TV Scott Garceau, Ben McDonald, Mike Bordick, Melanie Newman, Brett Hollander
TV/Radio Geoff Arnold, Kevin Brown
TV Dave O’Brien, Jerry Remy, Dennis Eckersley
Radio Joe Castiglione, Sean McDonough, Will Flemming, Lou Merloni
TV Jason Benetti, Steve Stone
Radio Darrin Jackson, Andy Masur
TV Matt Underwood, Rick Manning
Radio Tom Hamilton, Jim Rosenhaus
TV Matt Shepard, Kirk Gibson, Jack Morris
Radio Dan Dickerson, Jim Price
TV Todd Kalas, Geoff Blum
Radio Robert Ford, Steve Sparks
TV Ryan Lefebvre, Steve Physioc
Radio Denny Matthews, Steve Stewart, Steve Physioc
TV Victor Rojas. Mark Gubicza
Radio Terry Smith, Mark Langston
TV Dick Bremer, Bert Blyleven Justin Morneau, Roy Smalley, Jim Kaat, Jack Morris
Radio Cory Provus, Dan Gladden
TV Michael Kay, Dave Cone, Ken Singleton, Paul O’Neill
Radio John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman
TV Glen Kuiper, Dallas Braden
Radio Ken Korach, Vince Cotroneo, Ray Fosse
TV/Radio Dave Sims, Aaron Goldsmith
TV Mike Blowers
Radio Rick Rizzs
TV Dewayne Staats, Brian Anderson
Radio Dave Wills, Andy Freed
TV Dave Raymond, Tom Grieve, C.J. Nitkowski
Radio Eric Nadel, Matt Hicks
TV Buck Martinez, Dan Shulman, Pat Tabler
Radio Ben Wagner, Mike Wilner
TV Bob Brenly, Steve Berthiaume
Radio Greg Schulte, Tom Candiotti
TV Jeff Francoeur, Chip Caray, Tom Glavine
Radio Jim Powell, Ben Ingram, Joe Simpson, Don Sutton
TV Len Kasper, Jim Deshaies
Radio Pat Hughes, Ron Coomer
TV Thom Brennaman, Jim Day, Chris Welsh
Radio/ TV Jeff Brantley
Radio Tommy Thrall, Danny Graves
TV Drew Goodman, Jeff Hudson
Radio Jack Corrigan, Mike Rice
TV Joe Davis, Orel Hershiser
TV/Radio Tim Neverett
Radio Charley Steiner, Rick Monday
TV Paul Severino, Todd Hollandsworth
Radio Dave Van Horne, Glenn Geffner
TV Brian Anderson, Matt Lepay, Bill Schroeder
Radio Bob Uecker, Jeff Levering, Lane Grindle
TV Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, Steve Gelbs
Radio Howie Rose, Wayne Randazzo
TV Tom McCarthy, John Kruk, Ben Davis, Mike Schmidt
Radio Scott Franzke, Kevin Frandsen, Larry Anderson
TV/Radio Joe Block, Greg Brown, Michael McKenry, Bob Walk
TV/Radio Kevin Young, Matt Capps, John Wehner
TV Dan McLaughlin, Tim McCarver, Jim Edmonds, Brad Thompson
Radio Mike Shannon, John Rooney, Mike Claiborne
TV/Radio Rick Horton
Radio Ted Leitner, Jesse Agler, Tony Gwynn Jr.
TV Don Orsillo, Mark Sweeney, Mark Grant
TV Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow, Javier Lopez, Shawn Estes
Radio/TV Jon Miller, Dave Flemming
TV Bob Carpenter, F. P. Santangelo
Radio Charlie Slowes, Dave Jageler
I am reminded of when Lon Rosen, the Dodgers executive in charge of broadcasts at the time and again, fired Ross Porter without so much as talking with him, and the Dodgers had to bring in three people to do his job. The length of games and time between pitches is one factor, but then I think of the opposite: in ye olden days, there were fewer commercials and less time between innings, and broadcasters filled that time. When teams started traveling, it was by train, and the announcers and players didn’t exactly have the greatest accommodations. So I’ll say… Read more »