While I wasn't paying attention...

Monday, June 09, 2014

While I wasn't paying attention...

...and other thoughts on baseball announcing.

WFAN logo

Sometime during this past off-season, WFAN (660am) switched baseball teams, dropping the Mets who they'd been broadcasting since 1987, and picking up the Yankees from WCBS (880am), their home since 2002.

Not that there's anything wrong here... I'm sure it was a basic business decision... but for me the re-alignment has had terrible consequences as "The FAN" has been a con­stant when I'm in my car, and has been since it moved down the dial (from 1050am) in October 1988.

John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman

And there's the rub... if the Yankees happen to be playing when I turn on the ignition, I immediately have the insufferable play-by-play announcer John Sterling and the annoyingly matter-of-fact com­men­tator Suzyn Waldman intruding into my presence, both unrepentant "homers."

(Yeah, I know... that's why radios have buttons!)

I'm inclined to give Ms. Waldman (67 and never married) a pass on most of her foibles... she's a pioneer in a male dominated arena, and she's toughed out some difficult issues... but there's no excusing Sterling.

I acknowledge that I, as with many who grew up in this area, are spoiled by our exposure to the likes of Mel Allen, "Red" Barber and the incomparable Vin Scully during our formative sports fan years.

Those were announcers with style, highly professional competence and low-key catch-phrases of their own...

"How a-bout that?!" "Go-ing, go-ing, gonnne!"
"They're tearin' up the pea patch." "Can of corn."
"It's time for Dodger baseball!"

Compare them against today's clowns like Sterling and the worst of them, ex-Major Leaguer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson who is so awful he has his own Fan-Hate site calling for his firing by the Chicago White Sox.

Fortunately for most of us, we're only subjected to Harrel­son's inanities during highlight/lowlight clips on cable channel MLB (Channel 790) or ESPN... the big goof sounds like a bit player in a '70s Burt Reynolds good ol' boy flick.

Happily, though, we still have Vin Scully... now in his 65th season calling Dodgers games... to remind us of what ex­cellence in baseball announcing sounds like.

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