August 13, 2006

More On Saturday's Broadcast

Laura already mentioned the comments of Fox play-by-play guy Matt Vasgersian on the Fahey hit/out in the top of the 9th, but I have to cite them also.

I found it amazing that after Manny Ramirez dug the ball out of the corner and started a play that ended up with the potential go-ahead run for the Orioles thrown out at third -- leaving Baltimore with no one on and two outs rather than a man at second and only one out against Papelbon (with Mora and Tejada coming up) -- Ramirez was still criticized more than Fahey on the play. Criticized for ... well, I don't really know what for ... allegedly actions in the past, I guess.

From the replay, it looks as though Manny slowed down as he neared the corner, but that was because he expected the ball to bounce out towards him, as it usually does. When it died in the corner, he sprinted in to get it and quickly fling it to Gonzalez.

Talk about a no-win situation. Cut down a potential game-winning run in the ninth inning, helped out by the runner's dumb decision, and have the announcers make fun of you for something that didn't happen.

Sadly, I have come to expect this kind of crap from just about every announcer out there (even Orsillo and Remy aren't above some gratuitous, out-of-context, Manny-bashing), but I'm still a little surprised every time I hear it. I expect the announcer to be a little more professional than a drunk fan in the bleachers making cracks about the opposing team. Silly me.

Another complaint about the Fox and ESPN broadcasters (local guys probably do it too, but I'm less aware of it) is when they make reference to former players or events that happened many years ago -- some very famous, some not well-known at all -- and never explain what they are talking about. And it's the national audience -- with more casual viewers in the audience -- that most needs an explanation, or some explanation.

Two examples from yesterday's play-by-play guy Matt Vasgersian (one I understood, one I'm still scratching my head about):

After a poor swing by a Red Sox player, he likened it to "a Bernie Carbo at-bat" and then never mentioned anything else about it. What he was referring to (I'll bet some younger readers here don't know) was Carbo's 8th-inning pinch-hit AB in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Cincinnati was ahead 6-3, and the Red Sox were four outs away from losing the Series. Carbo took a very poor swing at a pitch in the dirt, but just barely fouled it off to avoid striking out and ending the inning with two guys on base. He then hit a three-run home run to center field that tied the game, allowing Carlton Fisk to win it in the 12th.

He also mentioned someone "doing the Bob Welch thing". What the hell he was talking about? Striking out Reggie Jackson to end Game 2 of the 1977 World Series? Winning an undeserved Cy Young Award? Dealing with alcoholism? What?

Vasgersian also informed us that when it came to deciding what cap Roger Clemens will wear on his Hall of Fame plaque, "a case could be made for three teams really", then said it really will come down to the Red Sox and Yankees. ... I'd love to hear his case for Toronto. Are you out there, Matt?

For the record, and typing as a serious Clemens-hater, if anyone can't figure how what cap Fatass should wear, they should have their head examined. (There is a website out that discusses in fantastic detail how much he achieved in Boston, but I can't find it now.)

Amusing moment: Jerry Remy discussing how Jason Varitek "is familiar with our pitchers ... uhh ... the Red Sox pitchers". Oops.

21 comments:

Woti-woti said...

I often muse about what qualities the ESPN/FOX suits are looking for when they interview these guys for jobs. In Canada, I know that the sports networks look for hockey fanboys (preferably Leafs) who demonstrate their "passion for the game" by constantly yelling at the mic. Being an insufferable smart-ass also helps. This helps explain their moronic behaviour when they cover baseball (hello, Jamie Campbell). I suspect ESPN looks for people who already have a good tailor. FOX, I'm still trying to figure. Obviously, objective reporting and doing simple game preparation is not a sought-after skill.

Jack Marshall said...

Right about the Manny-bashing, Redsock...made no sense at all. He played that ball fine, and Fahey was an idiot to try for third.On the other hand, I kept waiting for them to mention that Wily Mo just needed a base hit to have a cycle, If they ever did, I missed it..Frankly, I think hitting for a cycle is a much bigger deal than Manny's hitting streak, which was treated as if he was about to pass Joe D.
The stat on the bullpen's record with Varitek missing was idiotic, and a blatant misuse of stats. How about running Wells' performance with and without Varitek? Just plain stupid, if you ask me...about as valid as the Melvin Mora pre- and post- quints stat they ran later.

L-girl said...

Good post!

I find the incessant inside joking by announcers really annoying. Some do it to the point that the broadcast becomes a series of unexplained references and inside jokes. When I used to listen to the Yankees on the radio (there's my dark past showing), Charlie Steiner was horrible this way. John Sterling would have to explain half of Sterling's spiel to the audience. And at least he did explain it! On most broadcast teams, no one bothers.

On national broadcasts, that's really inexcuseable. The audience can't be expected to know every reference to every former player - and shouldn't have to! OK, certain plays and moments are incredibly famous and need only slight explanation, but many are not, they're the announcer's own personal memory - and why should he assume we all know what he's talking about?

I didn't get either the Carbo or the Welch reference, even though I followed baseball in those days and know both players. So if baseball lifers like me and Redsock only partially get it, the casual fan is basically lost.

Are the announcers trying to show off their vast knowledge of baseball? Their time would be better spent researching the present-day teams that they're announcing, since their knowledge of those is often comprised of outdated cliches.

***

Woti-woti, you are Canadian? Hi! :)

L-girl said...

On the other hand, I kept waiting for them to mention that Wily Mo just needed a base hit to have a cycle, If they ever did, I missed it.

They mentioned it a lot, actually. They referenced Damon as the last Red Sox player to hit for the cycle in the same order. Maybe you were taking the dog out at the time. :)

L-girl said...

Charlie Steiner was horrible this way. John Sterling would have to explain half of Sterling's spiel to the audience.

Typo. Sterling explained Steiner's spiel, not his own.

redsock said...

Second time in 2 weeks that Pena has hit for 3/4 of the cycle.

...

Yeah, like Mora is taking care of the quints all by himself, not getting any sleep at night.

You'd think they were presenting it as a joke, but they were not.

L-girl said...

Yeah, like Mora is taking care of the quints all by himself, not getting any sleep at night.

It took him 2 tries to get the number of babies right. First he said 4.

9casey said...

Wow..........Thats a lot to take in...what it comes to Manny .he gets disrespected everywhere. He is going to go down as one of the 5 greatest hitters of all time and never(as of now) win an MVP...In , arguabbly his 2 best seasons. He lost to , Giambi and Juan Gonzalez....Talk about a victim of the steroid era.....

redsock said...

He is going to go down as one of the 5 greatest hitters of all time

He's great, but he's not that great.

In Career OPS+, Manny is tied for 20th place.

Other active players: Bonds #3, Pujols #9 and Frank Thomas #14.

Beth said...

weird, i actually found whatsisass there and rem-dawg the least offensive FOX combo ever. although, that's probably due mostly to the fact that i was so happy to see remy and the fact that least offensive FOX combo is kind of like being the world's tallest midget.

9casey said...

Among active players...........He is 4th in HR, 7th in carrer batting avg. and 5th in rbi's.......and he is 34 ....Red Sox fans do not appreciate the hitter he is....Can you see him when he leaves the came atop all those categories besides HR's .I can.

9casey said...

hManny is 10th in OPS and 21st in carrer adjusted OPS, whatever that is.....

redsock said...

Beth: The Fox broadcast was actually pretty good. It didn't have McMoron, for one thing.

And it's nice to hear Remy when he's not trying sell hotdogs and t-shirts.

redsock said...

carrer adjusted OPS, whatever that is.....

Adjusted OPS+ is OPS (on-base % + slugging %) that is also normalized for both the park and the league the player played in.

Thus we are able to compare the numbers from players who played in high offense eras (the 1930s and the late 1990s) to eras when offenses were extremely low (Deadball Era, 1960s). And we can get some common ground for hitters who enjoyed playing in bandboxes (or at high altitude) and hitters who were forced to play their home games in pitchers parks.

We can use ERA+ the same way. And we learn that Pedro Martinez's 3.90 ERA in 2005 was a better pitching performance than Jerry Koosman's 2.08 ERA in 1968.

Jere said...

Wait, so the Toronto Fox channel chose our game over the Yanks? Good for you. I had no chance...

Funny about the Carbo thing. I agree that's a terrible job by the guy for not explaining it, but I always refer to a "bad swing followed by good swing" as "pulling a Carbo." The fact that he did that was made famous by Joe Garagiola in the TV special about the '75 Series. "First, the worst swing of the series...[awesome crack of bat sound]...and then the best." Classic. Redsock knows what I'm talkin' about...

Wow, the way people talk about WMP around here would have me believe he hadn't been 8 for 39 in August going into Saturday. You realize a super long home run is still worth just the one run, right? I know I'm known as an anti-Arroyo trade guy, so I don't have much, uh, credibility on this issue, I guess. But I do love those long homers and hope he becomes Jim Rice and not Sam Horn, but, I'm just saying, he still scares me a little at the plate and in the field.

Jack Marshall said...

Jere: Sam Horn is surely the downside, but Wily Mo has always been more highly regarded than Sam ever was...and he's much faster, a better all-around jock. I'm pretty sure Wily Mo is already past Horn's career totals, and he's awfully young still. Meanwhile, you have to admit that Arroyo is on track for a season very much like his norm. 12-10, 13-11. something like that.

Pokerwolf said...

Fatass is already on record saying that he'll go into the hall in a Yankees cap. Presumably, because he wants to "stick it" to Boston for some reason.

I am SO GLAD he isn't playing for the Red Sox!

Jere said...

"I'm pretty sure Wily Mo is already past Horn's career totals,"

They're at right around the same number of at bats right now. Everything is almost identical across the board, accept Horn walked twice as much.

Wily Mo is 20 points higher in average, but only 8 points higher in OPS.

Pena: 1 HR every 16.716 AB, Horn: 1 HR every 16.778 AB, if my math is correct. Pena: 1003 AB, Horn: 1040 AB.

redsock said...

Fatass is already on record saying that he'll go into the hall in a Yankees cap.

It is no longer the player's decision.

Jere said...

I wish it was, since I never want to see him in a Sox cap again, let alone for eternity.

Meant to say "except" before, not "accept."

Jack Marshall said...

Jere: Thanks for that info. And it reinforces my point: Wily Mo is at the beginning of his career, and he's done about as much as Horn by the time he had flamed out. I was really disappointed by Sam, by the way. Like Wily Mo, his power was amazing, and he had hot streaks that made one sure that he was the second coming of Willy Stargell. Then he'd stop hitting for a month.