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MLB Radio Announcer Report Cards
Posted by Ted Rossman at 6/9/2008 11:59:00 AM
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A couple of weeks ago, I provided my rankings of the MLB television announcers, from top to bottom. Predictably, the list provoked some interesting debates. Here's my list of the radio broadcasters. I think that radio broadcasting is tougher than television broadcasting, because the broadcaster has to paint a picture that the listener cannot see. Still, I give higher overall marks to the MLB radio teams than their TV counterparts. As always, keep those comments coming.

1. Cincinnati: If you haven't tuned in to Marty Brennaman, give him a listen. He strikes a perfect balance between rooting for the Reds and telling it like it is.

2. Seattle: Dave Niehaus is excellent, one of those instantly recognizable voices, and I think Rick Rizzs is a good sidekick.

3. Chicago Cubs: Ron Santo is the dictionary definition of a homer, but he's endearing and a local legend. Play-by-play man Pat Hughes is outstanding.

4. Texas: Eric Nadel leads a crisp broadcast team.

5. San Francisco: I think Jon Miller has good days and bad days -- on his good days, he's among the best in history. Dave Flemming is a strong understudy.

6. Boston: Joe Castiglione is another voice that oozes history and local charm. Dave O'Brien is better suited for TV, but I like him anyway.

7. Kansas City: Denny Matthews means summer and baseball to many midwesterners; even though he's in the Hall of Fame, he's not as well-known as he should be.

8. L.A. Dodgers: Vin Scully's first three innings are exceptional. Rick Monday is pretty solid and Charley Steiner is horrendous.

9. L.A. Angels: Not flashy, but very descriptive and insightful.

10. St. Louis: John Rooney is a classic. I know Cardinals fans love Mike Shannon, but I just don't think he's a very good broadcaster. A regional icon? Yes.

11. Philadelphia: I'm not a big fan of the constant rotation (the Phillies are one of those teams with a handful of announcers that alternate between radio and TV), but there's a lot of talent on this crew. Harry Kalas' voice is great for radio, but unfortunately he spends most of his time on TV.

12. Cleveland: Tom Hamilton goes from talking normally to screaming like a banshee faster than any other MLB announcer. Still, I find the Indians' radio team a good listen.

13. Pittsburgh: Another team that alternates its broadcasters constantly; some think these guys are boring, I think they're smooth and relaxing.

14. Toronto: Jerry Howarth is very good and Alan Ashby has always been one of my favorite analysts.

15. Arizona: Greg Schulte is a rising star and Tom Candiotti is a capable analyst.

16. San Diego: These guys are a fun listen, if not technically sound. Ted Leitner is the real-life Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell's character from Anchorman), Jerry Coleman has six decades of professional baseball experience and Andy Masur is an up-and-comer.

17. Baltimore: Joe Angel's voice can get on my nerves; I like Fred Manfra.

18. Colorado: They're solidly in the middle of the pack.

19. Oakland: See above.

20. Detroit: More of the same.

21. Milwaukee: Bob Uecker is pretty good, but his monologue style can get tired and he would be way more entertaining if he acted more like his character from the Major League movies.

22. Chicago White Sox: Ed Farmer might be a decent analyst, but as a play-by-play voice, he's one of the worst. Steve Stone is excellent and salvages a respectable ranking for this crew.

23. Houston: I used to really like Milo Hamilton, but he's gotten very curmudgeonly in his age. His young sidekicks are rounding into form.

24. Minnesota: I think these guys are boring and I have a hard time following their descriptions.

25. Washington: They try, but their enthusiasm exceeds their talent.

26. Tampa Bay: See above.

27. Florida: See above.

28. N.Y. Mets: Howie Rose and Wayne Hagin are pretty bland for my ears.

29. Atlanta: If they were boring on TV, Skip Caray and company are unlistenable on radio. They don't give enough description of the action and they're painfully slow.

30. N.Y. Yankees: John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman are just awful. An embarrassment to the nation's largest city and the sport's most storied franchise.


"An Aaaaa-bomb from A-aaaarod" - what's not to like?
Posted by vtadave at 6/9/2008 2:17:00 PM
Yeah, it is amazing how bad the Yankees' announcers are. Has it always been like that or were there multiple stations for awhile?
Posted by schoenke at 6/9/2008 2:19:00 PM
Thanks to the old XM, I've listed to just about everyone's announcers in the past couple of seasons. I hope it's not purely the homer in me, but I think Uecker is still one of the best.
Posted by dvr9484 at 6/9/2008 3:12:00 PM
I'd have the White Sox higher; Stone is just absolutely fantastic, and he actually has a semblance of chemistry with Farmer. The contrast between Stone & Farmer and Chris Singleton & Farmer is stark. I also like Charley Steiner more than you do.
Posted by Erickson at 6/9/2008 3:47:00 PM
Oh, and +1 to your comments on Sterling/Waldman. Just embarrassing to listen to.
Posted by Erickson at 6/9/2008 3:48:00 PM
As a Yankee fan, I listen to their radio broadcasts on XM regularly and have never had a problem with Sterling/Waldman. In case I am just thinking like a homer, what is it about Sterling/Waldman that I should be embarrassed by? Do they make a lot of mistakes or do you find they are just boring/hard to listen to?
The other broadcast I hear regularly are the Dodgers and I think Vin Scully is still fantastic.

Posted by bvg2723 at 6/9/2008 5:14:00 PM
Ron Santo the worst, is "Aw Jeez" really analysis? I'm not sure how the Cubs announcers can be anywhere near the top half.
Posted by herbilk at 6/9/2008 6:23:00 PM
The Cubs announcers are where they are because Pat Hughes is one of the best in the business. If the radio wasn't ahead of the TV, I'd mute Len Kasper and Bob Brenly and listen to Pat and Ron every game.

Steve Stone is probably the best color guy out there. I'm convinced a Pat Hughes/Steve Stone announce team would solve all the world's ills.
Posted by uwmichael at 6/9/2008 6:46:00 PM
You've acurately assessed that Denny Mathews is underrated, and I believe that Pat Hughes is the best out there. He raises the Cubs broadcast level more than Santo can pull it down. I also agree that somehow I enjoy Tom Hamilton, even though I feel like I shouldn't.
But you've overrated a few.
Charlie Steiner is much worse than you've described (he's he's he's much worse than just horrendous)and there are several minor league broadcasters who rate higher than Sterling/Waldman. If you're not embarrased by their fluff, you're not paying attention.

Posted by thepearl-673 at 6/9/2008 7:52:00 PM

Posted by thepearl-673 at 6/9/2008 7:53:00 PM
I also wanted to mention Mike Shannon. He is right down there with Sterling/Waldman. I'm sure Cardinal fans like his message, but he's just awful.
Posted by thepearl-673 at 6/9/2008 8:00:00 PM
As a group, the Giants anouncers are not only the best know but may be the best ever. We've had great ones here but these guys are smart, witty, attentive and constantly fresh so that they appeal to new baseball fans and veterans.
Posted by IRA at 6/9/2008 8:45:00 PM
Best ever? Quite a stretch.

The Giants radio team is strong, but I've been subjected to Krukow/Kuiper more than once. Actually once was enough.
Posted by vtadave at 6/9/2008 10:36:00 PM
Dave - I'm interested in your Kruk and Kuip criticism. Have at it...
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 6/10/2008 1:46:00 AM
Steve Stone is excellent. Don't even get me started on Ron Santo.

Dan Dickerson is underrated for Detroit's PBP, but Jim Price is a hack (and a homer) in the other chair.
Posted by spianow at 6/10/2008 5:33:00 AM
Here's an amazing stat for you: John Sterling hasn't missed a Yankees broadcast since he started in 1989. "He has called more than 2400 games over the last 16 seasons, without missing one." That includes pre-season, and post-season. I absolutely hate listening to him and Waldman but that's impressive.
Posted by Rugby12901 at 6/10/2008 8:27:00 AM
Sterling blows so many HR calls...and cant even get the Yankee players names down. He sounds like a goat being electricuted with his Yankees win call...
Posted by nardiajn at 6/10/2008 9:58:00 AM
None of these guys could possibly suck any more than Joe Morgan. I know, it's TV, but he's unlistenable. He spent 5 minutes Sunday night comparing Soriano's swing to Hank Aaron's. "A lot of people have said his swing is like Aaron's, but it's nothing like Aaron's." Then he talked about how much it was like Aaron's.

Jon Miller is always bad, if only because he puts up with blatant lies, non-sequiturs, and comments that make no sense.
Posted by SaltLakeCityBuzz at 6/10/2008 11:32:00 AM
Jerry Coleman is by all accounts a nice guy and a dedicated servant to our country, but he's an abjectly horrible announcer. He can't pronounce anyone's name anymore and has no discernible difference between fly balls and ground balls, let alone nuances like deep and shallow.

In a game last week he said "Justin Huber is Australian, but he speaks English." If it was meant tongue-in-cheek, it wasn't obvious in real time.
Posted by MattM777 at 6/10/2008 12:46:00 PM
Good job. I don't agree with all; however, your points are well- made. Enjoyable read.

Posted by zipstick at 6/10/2008 12:59:00 PM
Sterling....Cuuuut on and missed. He is the absloute worst.

Although Wayne Hagen is prety boring, Howie Rose is one of the best analysts I've heard. Insightful. Knows his Mets history. And never shys away from criticizing the Mets
Posted by debirns at 6/10/2008 1:31:00 PM
Ditto on Dan Dickerson being quite good, and Jim Price is awful. Maybe the Tigers are gun-shy to get rid of Price after the backlash for canning Ernie Harwell (way to go Monahan!) for Rizz and Rathbun, but if that's the case they are way off base. The Tigers used to have Tom Paciorek sub on the TV broadcast and I thought he was quite good. He'd be a nice replacement for Price, or perhaps they could bring in some decent former Tigers, like Dan Petry or even Jack Morris. Both guys are well spoken, and a lot less horrific than Price.
Posted by lvtdude at 6/10/2008 2:57:00 PM
"Wow." - Jim Price
Posted by lvtdude at 6/10/2008 2:59:00 PM

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