Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Fan's Take on Sunday Night Baseball

The Duk over on Yahoo Sports reports that Steve Phillips, the former general manager of the Mets, and Baseball Tonight analyst is joining the Sunday Night Baseball team of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. The post and the comments to the post bring up a lot of emotion about that long time team. Here's the Fan's take:

Jon Miller is an entertaining play by play man. He broadcasts as a fan and that perspective comes through clearly and brings you into his games. The comments seem to poke fun at his pride in pronouncing Hispanic names correctly, but that seems genuine and it's about time that respect is given the Hispanic players. Why not pronounce their names correctly? Names are important and a source of pride and respect. Butchering them on air is disrespectful. A better man in the booth doing the play by play could not be found. Besides, by now, he seems like an old friend that we've known for so long.

Joe Morgan has his faults and his benefits. His tone and carriage are a tad imperious. He is obviously proud of what he has accomplished in life and very protective of the Hall of Fame and his buddies there. He is not a humble man by any stretch of imagination. But he does know the game and he often points out subtleties that would be missed by many. He doesn't seem to miss much and is respectful of the game.

Obviously, Morgan isn't a man of great humor and a more colorful, analyst might be more entertaining, but there is humor that passes back and forth from Miller to Morgan that has come with a long time being together and it does come out and is entertaining.

Peter Gammons has been wasted in his SNB appearances and if Phillips frees him from that activity, then that's a good thing. Phillips doing Gammons old job would be fine. He has some insight into the game and can make a good point or two. But if ESPN is adding him to the game booth, that would be a huge mistake. First, it takes away from a long-time and comfortable relationship the duo of Miller-Morgan has built. Secondly, it adds a level of tension to make sure all three have airtime. Less is more in a broadcast booth and having three guys in there rarely ever works.

Since Steve Phillips worked on ESPN's Baseball Tonight, then naturally, comments included his work there. Let's face it, the glory days of Baseball Tonight were three guys: Karl Ravech, Peter Gammons and Harold Reynolds. Reynolds was fired and will never be coming back. It's not for us to speculate about what happened there. ESPN made accusations, Reynolds denied them, end of story. John Kruk has been an amiable replacement. But again, Baseball Tonight went awry by thinking more was better. They started trotting four guys out there and then five. Less is more people!

The network hasn't hit the right buttons with its hiring selections. The newcomers lack charisma and any man who has a high voice is a mistake. The other mistake that has crept in over the years is forgetting why we tune in. We tune in to watch highlights. We don't tune in to listen to after game interviews. We don't tune in to see features. We don't tune in for gimmicks. We tune in to watch the highlights. the highlights!

Okay, to circle the wagons back around to the original intent of this post, leave the team of Miller and Morgan intact and leave them alone. If you want meaningless fluff by adding Phillips, put him in the stands replacing Gammons.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

"We don't tune in to listen to after game interviews. We don't tune in to see features. We don't tune in for gimmicks. We tune in to watch the highlights. the highlights!"

Couldn't agree more. A couple other things.

ESPN needs to be reminded that the Yankees, the Mets, and the Red Sox aren't the only teams that play baseball.

They seriously need to ease up on that Souvenir City motif.

Finally, Karl Ravech > Steve Berthiaume