ESPN is continuing to pay for its expensive rights contracts by laying off the announcers and commentators who make their telecasts worth watching. :sigh:
They can find “contract” people to do the broadcasts for a lot less $$$ and the viewership is the same because people tune in to watch the game, not listen to the announcers.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who watches sports with the sound off because the announcers and commentators are so hard to listen to.
But if I have a choice between several games (usually ones not involving Nebraska or Northwestern), I will often go with the game that has the best announcer/commentator group. (That hasn’t been Monday Night Football for several years.) And that makes it easier to tune out the commercials or ignore an otherwise boring portion of the game.
I have a season pass to the Cubs games on MLB.tv, and I tend to listen to the radio PBP because I really don’t like the TV booth crew. And IMHO the ongoing byplay between the PBP and color announcers doing the games on the radio is often the best part of the game. They work hundreds of games together every year ,some have been together for decades, and they’re entertaining. But I grew up listening to Jack Quinlan (later Vince Lloyd) and Lou Boudreau on WGN. (And I while I liked Jack Brickhouse, I never did care for Harry Caray, he had too much leftover fondness for the Cardinals, or for Steve Stone, whose ability to predict the next pitch was legendary, because he was so often wrong!)
I have always thought that the Radio guys did a better job on a game than the TV, who were usually old players who didn’t have a better job.
In Baltimore, Chuck Thompson and later John Miller were legendary radio guys. John never did make the successful jump to TV, I think he’s still doing Giants games on the Radio.
But we did have an ESPN team doing the Softball World Series, and one year, the team from Texas had 7 or 8 players who could drag bunt (from the left side). The batters would come up as a lefty, bat left until they got 2 strikes, (where a foul ball would be an out) , then move to their normal right handed batting position and swing away. The color commentator, who was a legend in NCA Softhball pitching, made the observation about the 3rd inning, that the “Texas team had a bunch of switch hitters…” (I was doing Official Stats and could only shake my head.)
Continuing with the Softball World Series, all of our announcers are contract people, hired for the week. We tend to get the same folks each year, and I’ve built up a good relationship with some of them, but ESPN has the control and announcing crew working from Charlotte for much of the youth baseball playoffs. At some point, I expect our crew to be there as well, maybe excepting the Championship game.
Another observation, Girls Softball sometimes out draws the boys, but ESPN is putting most of the Softball Little League games on PPV/ESPN+.
BTW - I still wear my N-Cat hat during the series to intimidate the ESPN people.
Steve Stone and Jason Binetti make a nice TV team for the Sox. A lot of mutual respect plus a healthy old guy young guy vibe.
I loved the pair of Harry and Jimmy when they worked for the Sox. Harry was on his game then and upset pretty much everyone in the organization, but the fans loved him. By the time he got to the Cubs his drinking had caught up with him and he became a nostalgia act.
Harry left for a better deal with the Cubs and Jimmy was bounced for making derogatory sexual comments about the players’ wives, which even in the early 80’s were considered too politically incorrect to keep his job (He lasted at least a few days after the comment; today he would have been fired in about 2 nanoseconds)
The good radio guys take the time to describe what you can’t see, the TV guys tend to get distracted by trying to explain what you can see.
I wonder how annoyed they get with the in-game ‘sponsorships’. “This foul ball is brought to you by Blitzo Beer.”
With the best of the radio announcers, you can get a pretty good visual image of the game in your head, so if you do see a replay of an interesting play afterwards, it looks just like you envisioned it would look.
I was sorry to see Ashley Brewer get the ax, I like to watch pretty women etc.
Women in sports broadcasting face challenges men don’t have to face. Nobody cares what the male PBP or sidelines announcers wear, and men don’t have to prove their credibility to be doing sports. And of course unless it’s a women’s sports event, women never get the ‘color commentator’ slot.
In the case of the Big 3 Male Sports, its hard to find female former players.
We used to get Pam Ward as the PBP for the Senior Softball Championships on ESPN. She had a female color announcer and they didn’t miss much. (and they had some NU guy on the phones to the Talent Stat person feeding them goodies from the scorebook).
My son made a little history when he hired a female assistant coach for the Baseball team. She had played Div I Softball and was an infield wizard, and she could go out on the big field and make plays that were scary. I also had a first ever Female manager in an American Legion Baseball game. The regular guy got sick and she was the last (wo)man standing. FWIW, I think she won the game.
There have been color commentators who have branched out from the sport they played to do commentary on other sports, but they got their foot in the door doing their own sport first.