What Hawk and his dryly funny and smart color man Steve Stone thankfully never do is turn their booth into a nightly, headache-inducing talk show. In my mind, there is no worse trend in the last 40-odd years of sports broadcasting than this. I believe ABC gave rise to the disease with Monday Night Football and spread it into Monday Night Baseball featuring the insufferable Howard Cosell. Now, it’s almost everywhere; stuff three people into the booth, and fill the “empty spaces” between the action—when viewers might otherwise be thinking for themselves and feeling suspense—with endless topical lectures and debates. ESPN broadcasters are the worst, often missing events on the field because they’re so busy pontificating.
I don’t always agree with Hawk. I believe these newfangled sabermetrics improve our knowledge and understanding of the game, and I like when a baseball broadcaster or analyst can refer to WHIP, OPS or VORP without making fun of them. But it’s far from the reason I tune in to a baseball telecast. I have all the Joe Sheehan, Jonah Keri, Rany Jazayerli, and Fangraphs I need daily on the Internet, and can read them between innings if I need to.
I want something different from a TV broadcaster. I want a good tour guide to entertain and educate me while I sit back and relax and enjoy the action.
When he goes nuts, I forgive him, because I go nuts sometimes, too. The important thing is that he’s focused on every crumb of action and lets a ball game breathe, and I wish more announcers would remember to do that.
Posted: April 15, 2013 at 12:21 PM | 43 comment(s)
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