Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mike and Chris Calling the Mets Game

I’ve never habitually listened to or watched the Mets. Even as my interest expanded from merely the Yankees to baseball in general in my late teens, I still didn’t have a vested interest in the Other New York Team. However, I’ve never turned down an opportunity to listen to daytime baseball during my year out of the work force (though I’m now in the publishing industry). And when I heard the Mets game would be called by Mike Francessa and Chris Russo on WFAN, there was no way I’d miss it.

I don’t know if they do this on a regular basis, but if they don’t, they should. I’m used to the stylings of Michael Kay and Co., which means you have the outside possibility of having an interesting personality in the booth (Leiter, O’Neill, and to an extent Kaat are the rays of light). Sterling on the radio is okay, though you don’t get a lot of “regular guy” baseball discourse between him and Suzyn Waldman.

As for the rest of baseball, well, I’m not too familiar. This is my first year with MLB.tv, so I’m just getting used to the commentators around the league. Of course, Vin Scully is the top dog. Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper do a fine job out with the Giants (though they were wholly annoying in the MVP Baseball series). And, much as I hate to admit it, the guys on NESN aren’t half-bad, either. I actually dig them because it feels like I’m sitting around, listening to my buddies talk about the game. And that’s exactly how I felt with Mike and Chris on play by play.

Why can’t we have more broadcasters like this? There should be two categories of sports commentators: two guys sitting around, describing and intelligently discussing the game, and Bob Uecker. There is no reason to make us sit through guys who know nothing about the game being played because they have a “good radio voice.” Does anyone honestly care if a commentator has a low, booming voice? Wouldn’t sports fans rather hear Bill Simmons do the color on a Celtics game than some former NBA player who doesn’t know the first thing about analysis?

When I was coming up with goals for the Sporting Brews in 2006, my first idea was to try to set up a streaming podcast of myself and a friend doing the play by play and color commentary on certain Yankees games. It sounded like a great idea to me; have two knowledgeable baseball fans reasonably discussing the goings on. However, I’d be nailed with copyright infringement before the second broadcast got out on the air (I may not be a huge site, but I figure this is something MLBAM would pick up on pretty damn quick).

I have faith we’ll see a change, though. The old creaky men who call the shots now will be gone soon, and the new generation will step up. That doesn’t just go for commentators, but for journalists as well. We can only take so much shallow and pedantic writing/analysis.