May 12, 2017

NESN: Dave O'Brien Forgets Basic Facts - Day After Day After Day

The Red Sox played three games in Milwaukee this week, and Dave O'Brien, NESN's play-by-play announcer, displayed an ongoing forgetfulness that had me wondering if he had perhaps struck his head on something hard during the first game of the series and decided not to seek medical attention.

Tuesday

Mookie Betts, as Boston's leadoff hitter, was the first man to bat in the game. The first inning was only a couple of minutes old when Brewers starter Wily Peralta threw Betts a full-count fastball. O'Brien made the call:
And the 3-2 to Betts ... There's a shot, drilled to deep left-center field, sailing back, and she is out of here! ... He put a charge into that one, for his fourth home run of the season, and all of a sudden, the Red Sox, these last several games, have been hitting them all over the ball park. [Jerry Remy offered his thoughts.] So the Red Sox on top just like that, 1-0.
The Brewers scored five times in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back. Eric Thames batted with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning. O'Brien:
The Red Sox have never led and have never tied Milwaukee in this game.
Wednesday

The Brewers scored two runs in the first inning. The Red Sox tied the game with single runs in the second and fourth innings, and prepared to bat in the fifth. O'Brien:
The Red Sox two and the Brewers two. The Red Sox have not had a lead yet, in this series.
Thursday

Betts began the afternoon game with a double, and eventually scored on an infield error. O'Brien:
And the Red Sox, for the first time in the series, have a lead.
Boston was still holding onto that 1-0 advantage as Mitch Moreland batted in the top of the sixth. O'Brien:
The Red Sox did not have a lead in the first two games here. Got a run quickly in the first inning [today], but that's been the scoring.
During most broadcasts, when an announcer says something that is clearly incorrect, he will correct himself - and fairly quickly. Either he realizes his own mistake, his booth partner tells him (silently or otherwise), or someone in the production truck relays the proper information via his headphones. However it happens, it usually happens. But for whatever reason, O'Brien made the exact same mistake four times in three games - on something that he witnessed with his own eyes and told us about - and he never realized it. And no one at NESN noticed it either or thought to correct him.

And because O'Brien annoyed me throughout yesterday's game (actually, he annoys me every game), and I took a lot of notes, I will share them with you.

Other Stuff

O'Brien made a mistake after the top of the second inning on Thursday. The Red Sox had just left the bases loaded and he said Boston had left five men on base through the first two innings. They had actually left four. (It was only two innings, it should be easy to keep track of the LOB.)

O'Brien loves to say, when the count is 0-2, that the count is "quickly 0-2". No, an 0-2 count never arrives "quickly". It always takes two pitches to get to 0-2 - exactly two - every single time. Despite the obviousness of this, O'Brien did this at least four times yesterday: for Jackie Bradley and Domingo Santana in the second inning, for Jimmy Nelson in the third ("quickly in the hole 0-2"), and for Aguilar in the fifth ("quickly out in front 0-2").

Towards the end of yesterday's game, O'Brien noted that the Red Sox were 8-1 in their last nine day games. How in the world is what they did in different parks in different cities against different players  (and maybe not even having the same players in their lineup, but certainly having different pitchers working) at all relevant? It was, like a lot of what is said during games, nothing more than noise pollution.

Eric Thames

Finally, and more seriously, O'Brien made vague comments about Eric Thames throughout the series. The fact that Thames had played in Korea, hit a bunch of home runs, then come back to North America and blasted 11 homers in April (and 13, to date) had, in O'Brien's words, "raised a lot of eyebrows". Thames had become "the talk of baseball" - and it was clear he did not mean that in a good way.

So why were those eyebrows raised, Dave? What is everyone in baseball talking about? Not surprisingly, in roughly 11 hours of broadcasting over three days, O'Brien never actually said. He implied vaguely that Thames might be, you know, using performance-enhancing drugs - even though the guy had been tested four times by the end of April, including twice in one week. O'Brien must have forgotten to pass along that fact. (MLB says all of its tests are completely random.)

(Also, two other players in addition to Thames have hit 13 home runs this year, two others have hit 12, and four guys have hit 11. So 13 is not a crazy high number. Have those other eight guys also been subject to wild rumours about illegal drug use? Has O'Brien cast unfounded doubt on their accomplishments? ... Maybe I shouldn't give him any ideas.)

O'Brien's approach is a cowardly tactic. O'Brien - and every other announcer who sinks to the level of this tawdry bullshit - should have the guts to be forthright. Say what you mean or, please, STFU.

5 comments:

allan said...

During Thursday's game, in the top of the eighth, with the score tied 1-1, Boston had runners at second and third with no one out. O'Brien said: "The Red Sox have not had a late lead in this series, trying to get one right here." (Finally, some accuracy.)

Also, O'Brien should be given significant electrical shocks every time he tells us a hitter "climbs in" to the batter's box and every time he refers to a pitcher being "on the bump". He should also receive shocks when he says, at Fenway, that a batted ball hits "off the tin" or "off the green". He's trying to sound cool, but he sounds stupid.

laura k said...

I hate that gratuitous player-bashing -- even worse because it's all innuendo. Mean-spirited, cowardly, and totally unnecessary.

allan said...

Note to at least one reader:
If you think this post is excessive, I have a suggestion. Do not read it.
Better still, avoid the entire blog.
And go fuck yourself.

Mr Punch said...

This is right, and doesn't even get at OB's worst qualities as Red Sox broadcaster: (1) He talks too much - and it's not the adjustment to TV, he talked too much on radio; (2) he constantly gets ahead of the game ("If Betts walks, that'll bring Hanley up with a chance for a grand slam") - because baseball is so sequential, we all tend to think ahead, and part of the announcer's job is to keep us in the game as it unfolds. OB is not at his best doing baseball, or on TV.

allan said...

he constantly gets ahead of the game ("If Betts walks, that'll bring Hanley up with a chance for a grand slam")

Oh my god, yes. He's like a little kid that way, if this guy gets a double and the next guy hits a home run, and the next guy hits a home run, the Red Sox will be winning". I want my PBP guy to be a bit more mature than a 7-year-old. Is that too much to ask?

And O'Brien is OBSESSED with home runs. OBSESSED!!! The next game you listen to, keep in mind how many times he references home runs. Sometimes it's all he says about a player, ignoring all his other stats. Or he says how long it has been since the guy's last HR. Or how someone like Bogaerts is still looking for his 1st HR of the year. Or how this young player might be good for 20 HRs a year. It is damn near constant.

And please do not get me started on his out-of-nowhere mentions of where a player went to college, which then give him the opportunity to talk about that school's football or basketball team. CHRIST! NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU ADMIRE SOME NON-PROFESSIONAL TEAM IN ANOTHER FUCKING SPORT! NO ONE!

(Okay, so I did not listen to tonight's game and I got annoyed anyway!)