Bob Costas, won't you please go home?

The announcers for the Major League Baseball division championships are about to drive this fan away from watching baseball.  They just never shut up, instead going on and on about their favorite inanity of the game at hand.  They have an annoying propensity for talking as if the people at home were tyros, completely clueless about the game and uninformed about players we've watched all season.

With a few exceptions, it doesn't matter which teams are playing or which announcers are blabbing; they give the TV-watcher no peace and quiet to savor the game.  The stations try to have a Hall of Fame color commentator on hand to lend wise counsel on what's happening out there on the diamond, and usually that guy has no feel for how much is too much.

The worst such offender is John Smoltz, who in his pitching days was one of my faves.  Smoltz, will you please not talk so much?  We accept that you know more about pitching than anybody who ever threw a baseball, but we're not really all that interested in the exacting details of the craft.  You're almost as bad that way as the worst color guy of all times and places, Bill Walton at a basketball game.  The only guy worse than Smoltz is Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson, who vies with Smoltz for not knowing how much is too much and adds to that a gravelly voice that grates harshly on the ear.

Even worse are the professional announcer cast.  Some of these guys seem to be vying with the color commentator to exhibit their deep understanding of the more abstruse points of the game, or their profound grasp of the psychology of a given moment.  They can't just say some young guy's performing well under pressure; they have to make him sound like Moses coming down the mountain with tablets in arms at the age of 5.

The most detestable of this crew is Bob Costas, who a few years ago used his spot one evening to preach to America about gun control.  I dread the Yankees winning the American League pennant; it would mean having to endure Costas sneaking in snarky comments about illegals at the border or the horrors of guns or Trump or blah, blah, blah.  Costas once was pretty good, but he choked that chicken with politics, and now I don't even want to hear his voice.

One yearns for the days of the Tony Kubek–Joe Garagiola team of the seventies.  Arizona announcers Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly set a high standard today.  They clearly enjoy working together, and humor just naturally arises between them as the game progresses.  They are actually pretty good entertainment all by themselves, quite apart from the game.

Other television teams would do well to study Berthiaume and Brenly to get a clue about how the job should be done.  Good announcing is significantly more than knowing the game and having a string of accomplishments; it's also knowing the people you work with and the people you're talking to (the TV audience).  These neglected aspects of the entertainment that is baseball, especially at the time of year when it draws the most attention, detract greatly from what should be sheer fun and enjoyment.

Image: MiamiFilmFestival via Flickr.

The announcers for the Major League Baseball division championships are about to drive this fan away from watching baseball.  They just never shut up, instead going on and on about their favorite inanity of the game at hand.  They have an annoying propensity for talking as if the people at home were tyros, completely clueless about the game and uninformed about players we've watched all season.

With a few exceptions, it doesn't matter which teams are playing or which announcers are blabbing; they give the TV-watcher no peace and quiet to savor the game.  The stations try to have a Hall of Fame color commentator on hand to lend wise counsel on what's happening out there on the diamond, and usually that guy has no feel for how much is too much.

The worst such offender is John Smoltz, who in his pitching days was one of my faves.  Smoltz, will you please not talk so much?  We accept that you know more about pitching than anybody who ever threw a baseball, but we're not really all that interested in the exacting details of the craft.  You're almost as bad that way as the worst color guy of all times and places, Bill Walton at a basketball game.  The only guy worse than Smoltz is Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson, who vies with Smoltz for not knowing how much is too much and adds to that a gravelly voice that grates harshly on the ear.

Even worse are the professional announcer cast.  Some of these guys seem to be vying with the color commentator to exhibit their deep understanding of the more abstruse points of the game, or their profound grasp of the psychology of a given moment.  They can't just say some young guy's performing well under pressure; they have to make him sound like Moses coming down the mountain with tablets in arms at the age of 5.

The most detestable of this crew is Bob Costas, who a few years ago used his spot one evening to preach to America about gun control.  I dread the Yankees winning the American League pennant; it would mean having to endure Costas sneaking in snarky comments about illegals at the border or the horrors of guns or Trump or blah, blah, blah.  Costas once was pretty good, but he choked that chicken with politics, and now I don't even want to hear his voice.

One yearns for the days of the Tony Kubek–Joe Garagiola team of the seventies.  Arizona announcers Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly set a high standard today.  They clearly enjoy working together, and humor just naturally arises between them as the game progresses.  They are actually pretty good entertainment all by themselves, quite apart from the game.

Other television teams would do well to study Berthiaume and Brenly to get a clue about how the job should be done.  Good announcing is significantly more than knowing the game and having a string of accomplishments; it's also knowing the people you work with and the people you're talking to (the TV audience).  These neglected aspects of the entertainment that is baseball, especially at the time of year when it draws the most attention, detract greatly from what should be sheer fun and enjoyment.

Image: MiamiFilmFestival via Flickr.