FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. “How, do you think, is it possible to illicit more articulate/amusing responses?”

    You can start by using elicit, not illicit.

    Comment by Chris — March 2, 2012 @ 10:21 am

  2. Tou and ché, my friend.

    Comment by Carson Cistulli — March 2, 2012 @ 10:22 am

  3. Look how much effort went into this. Why deride it? It’s really interesting!

    I think a permanent link on the homepage would help you even out the votes, but I’m not sure if that’s stylistically appealing.

    Really cool, though.

    Comment by Giancarlo — March 2, 2012 @ 10:26 am

  4. Any chance this could be done for newspapers as well? For instance, here in NJ the Newark Star Ledger has really incorporated sabr stats in the last few years, including weakly discussions of FIP, WAR, etc on sudays during the season, with lots of citations back to fangraphs. Would be curious if other newspapers are following this trend…

    Comment by tcnjsteve — March 2, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  5. People will elaborate on crews that they watch regularly. I don’t watch the Dodgers away broadcast ever because I know its terrible, so its hard for me to say much more than “they suck” about them and vote double 1’s. You would have to somehow restrict voters to only vote/comment on crews they watch maybe 20 games or more per season, if you want to weed out those types of responses.

    Comment by bill — March 2, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  6. Oh, I don’t know, responses into the illicit side of baseball broadcasting would probably attract more readers too …

    Comment by Bad Bill — March 2, 2012 @ 10:40 am

  7. Thank you for doing this. One of my favorite things to come of the internets in a long time. I’m so glad you took it upon yourself to take up this suggestion.

    1) You could post all the links at the very beginning, but specifically ask people to fill out one per day in the daily notes following a schedule of your choice.

    2) You could have two suggested broadcasts teams per week during the season and ask everyone who wants to vote to watch a weeks worth of games (for one of two teams, or both if you pick teams playing early and late). This would allow a sample size of more than one, and pick up some of other votes.

    Comment by glassSheets — March 2, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  8. I absolutely loved this analysis. If you ask me, to make it more complete, keep the voting open year round. More and more people with MLB EI and MLB.TV will be exposed to so much more generating more results and further in depth analysis.

    Baseball benefits more from the PBP and Color on the radio, I think. But with crews like the Giants, Mets and a few others it really takes the overall game to the next level.

    I found myself becoming quite the Giants fan 4 and 5 years ago when I picked up on Krukow and Kuiper. I basically tune in just to listen to them talk.

    Thanks again for doing this!

    Comment by peelpub94 — March 2, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  9. Perhaps asking for comments on Direction, Graphics Quality and Technical details would provide better insight? I for one appreciate broadcasts that include things like Pitch Counts and non-obtrusive graphics.

    Comment by Stephen — March 2, 2012 @ 10:49 am

  10. Or including audio quality per network. Some networks broadcast in 5.1, others in 2.0 changing the overall sound and experience. Even some networks choose to compress their video more than others. This creates significant disparity in video quality from network to network.

    Comment by peelpub94 — March 2, 2012 @ 10:52 am

  11. I should add that if you did option #2 it would give us some good material to chat about on NotGraphs as well.

    Comment by glassSheets — March 2, 2012 @ 10:53 am

  12. I want Vin Scully to read me bedtime stories.

    Comment by Derek — March 2, 2012 @ 10:53 am

  13. Actually, that’s a good point — regarding NotGraphs, I mean. I don’t know if asking a more general group of readers (like, on the main site, I mean) to all listen would have great results, necessarily, but that sort of thing WOULD be feasible at NotGraphs, I think.

    Plus, this would give NotGraphs readers — themselves rendered inert by the crushing weight of life’s meaninglessness — it would give them something to do.

    Comment by Carson Cistulli — March 2, 2012 @ 11:03 am

  14. I’m really glad this is being done for radio too. I think we’ll see a significant rise in the average ratings, league-wide.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — March 2, 2012 @ 11:13 am

  15. I’m guessing most radio teams are pretty good which will make this less funny than the TV broadcaster rankings.

    You should allow extra comments for the truly awful ones like the Yankees. A Back to back and a belly to belly! Ohhhh the Grandy man can, the Grandy man can! Hinske with your best shot!

    Comment by Franco — March 2, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  16. How about asking people to watch out-of-market announcers? Familiarity breeds contempt and/or love.

    Comment by Jason Kramer — March 2, 2012 @ 11:40 am

  17. How about including broadcast team quality in the NERD ratings? They certainly affect game watchability. It would also be interesting to compare the local teams with the national teams for TBS, ESPN and Fox.

    Comment by Marc — March 2, 2012 @ 11:49 am

  18. Perhaps what could be done is having a single link on the side, and that link takes you to a page that contains links for every single team where we can vote. It would remain uncluttered, and it would take only one more click for us to find the team we want to vote on.

    Comment by Bryz — March 2, 2012 @ 11:58 am

  19. You should break it down by play by play and color analysts. The Yankee broadcast hurt because Kay is an absolute moron.

    Comment by metslider — March 2, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

  20. Sorry meant to give that a thumbs up. I think to add on that maybe a box to say the vote was your team or not.

    Comment by metslider — March 2, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

  21. Carson, I’m surprised you didn’t publicly announce your reasoning for not having us vote on national broadcast teams. I know you told me via Twitter, but I think telling everyone why you preferred to avoid them might cause us to put down our pitchforks.

    Or it may cause us to raise our pitchforks and light them on fire before we chase you down in a manhunt comparable to the days of the Salem Witch Trials.

    Comment by Bryz — March 2, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

  22. Ah, Hawk . . . Good to see everyone appreciates the terrible

    Comment by Scott — March 2, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

  23. You’re not going to get away from the vast majority of feedback or comments being “so and so is terrible” or “so and so is teh awesome!!!1!”. By its nature, I’d think that people’s detailed opinions on this (beyond just the number rating) are going to be fairly polarized overall, at the extremes of either hate, love or thoroughly indifferent.

    Thanks much for this project, it’s had a few surprises in it. I have my own opinions on some of the radio side since I’ve gotten to hear a lot more of those (thank you, satellite radio) but I have no context for the TV side of it. So it’s neat to see how beloved or reviled the TV broadcasters are.

    Too bad MLB multimedia rights are so excessive, otherwise I’d suggest looking for samples of each broadcaster on youtube or something…

    Comment by Snowblind — March 2, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  24. Nothing like 6 posts on the same riveting topic.

    Comment by Andrew — March 2, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

  25. “What it reveals, more likely, is that the more charismatic the broadcaster, the less we care — or the more forgiving we are — about the analysis”

    Just curious why you think that this is the case and not the opposite. Are you sure it doesn’t mean that the better the analysis the less we care about or the more forgiving we are of the charisma?

    Comment by Drakos — March 2, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

  26. I agree that most comments are going to be “awful” or “awesome” no matter what Carson does. After all, this is an opinion poll–there are no facts nor criteria to support the ratings.
    If forced to, people will probably give more reasons for their opinions, but those would likely not be the real reasons. A pure emotional reaction is probably the real reason in most cases.

    Comment by Baltar — March 2, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  27. Maybe the correlation between charisma and analysis also shows a flaw in the methodology? Since the two correlate so well maybe just ask for a single score between 1 and 10. That might also eliminate some of the clustering since the range is broader.

    As for getting fewer useless comments, might I suggest you do your study somewhere other than the internet? Otherwise you are going to be stuck with many loud, abrasive, useless people protected by anonymity.

    Comment by MikeS — March 2, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

  28. Am I the only one that thinks the Data for Vin Scully is terribly inaccurate? Why does the dodgers home crew receive 276 votes while the road crew receive 20 votes? Could it be that people who don’t actually listen to Scully vote him up because its Vin Scully?

    Comment by adohaj — March 2, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  29. I am very busy looking at amusing mustache pictures and creating internet meme’s based on the random baseball cards I found stuffed down the back of the seat in my grandpa’s 74 Caddy….thank you very much Mr. Cistulli!

    Comment by Peter R — March 2, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  30. It’s going to be tough to accurately judge the Twins with their new play-by-play voice just taking over for the legend John Gordon. Baseball on the radio will never be the same, in my opinion!

    Comment by Glanzer — March 2, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  31. I really could care less about the in depth analysis. I don’t need Remdawg to tell me Papi’s OPS, I can find out pretty easily. I don’t want Billy Schroeder telling me about Greinke’s in season WAR. I’d rather hear the view that the majority of player’s have and be entertained by amusing anecdotes. I imagine most Fangraphs readers can find out Coco Crisp’s UZR on their own while watching.

    Comment by deadhead — March 2, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

  32. It was probably mentioned already, but it would have been nice if you added the broadcasters for nationally televised games. I see the negative opinions of those who will take the time to write about them (and have my own as well), but I’d like to see the overall consensus about them and how they compare to each team’s broadcast team.

    Comment by Brian — March 2, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  33. I second this.

    Breaking it down by announcer could lead to some really interesting results if you were to compare play-by-play and color guys across the league.

    Comment by Adrastus Perkins — March 2, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

  34. I agree with someone about how it would be very interesting to see a vote on the overall direction/graphics/camera work, etc. Harder to vote on I think, but a very important part of the experience of watching games on TV. For example, I think Krukow and Kuiper are pretty great, but I get really tired of the amount of time spent on commenting on fans in the stands. I sort of doubt they’d be doing that if the producers didn’t decide they wanted that to be a part of the broadcast. And at least Kruk and Kuip make it entertaining, rather than the Fox way, which is to just linger on random groups of fans for no apparent reason, when interesting things are happening on the field – such as the catcher putting down his fingers and the fielders taking position. When Fox isn’t showing random fans, they’re looking up the nose hairs of the pitcher. I really don’t need to see these guys’ faces *this* close on my 42″ HD TV thanks. But I digress… It would be interesting for those broadcasts that use the straight-over-the-mound cam rather than the off-to-the-side cam for main shot. And, as another example, the Indians pitch location box thing that’s supposed to show the strike zone is horrible. It seems like one of those things that couldn’t be screwed up, but they’ve made it so you really can’t tell what part of the two or 3 concentric boxes are supposed to be over the plate, or the black or what.

    Comment by Indians fan in SF — March 2, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

  35. Newspaper? What’s that?

    Comment by Bronnt — March 2, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

  36. Actually, I’d perhaps include one category that is just “Viewing Experience,” to cover a wide scope of things. While I hate listening to the Braves’ TV crew, for example, I really do appreciate Braves’ home games for their centerfield camera angle, one of the most beautiful in the game. The field audio pickup is really good as well (sometimes too good-McCann is known to drop some F Bombs), and if Chip Caray had a good sense of when to shut up and let those come through, the broadcasts would be improved immensely.

    Comment by Bronnt — March 2, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

  37. You might want to use a 1-10 scale instead of 1-5. Those ratings seem very bunched together. If I like an announcer I’ll probably give him a 4, because 3 is merely “average”, while 5 would be “perfect.” Having more choices would help voters make meaningful distinctions in quality, I think.

    Comment by BIP — March 2, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

  38. Carson specifically asked you to not make him work more :)

    Comment by Bronnt — March 2, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

  39. It honestly doesn’t take much effort to hate him. I caught perhaps 2 White Sox games on MLB Network last season, and with no prior knowledge of Hawk Harrelson, it was sufficient for me to say, “These guys are freaking awful. I’m now actually thankful for Chip Caray.”

    The reasons for this are too plentiful and redundant to list here.

    Comment by Bronnt — March 2, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

  40. Awful comment-I hate Baltar

    Comment by Bronnt — March 2, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

  41. LOL, Bronnt.

    Comment by Baltar — March 2, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

  42. Yankee’s radio team isn’t a problem. They’re both awful.

    Comment by Franco — March 2, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

  43. Looks like these are for TV only, which makes it even more surprising the Twins rank in the top half.

    Comment by Tom — March 2, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

  44. I think we need to do the rankings using the most perfect rating system ever devised: the 20-80 scale.

    Comment by Krog — March 2, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

  45. Why do you care if a newspaper is publishing FIP and WAR figures that they copy from fangraphs when you clearly have a computer and can simply go to fangraphs and see them?

    Comment by colin — March 2, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

  46. Lets throw in a bunch of scouting buzzwords too for good measure.

    Comment by colin — March 2, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

  47. You could always ask for comments about what makes the crew unusual or unique. Or one example of when they were particularly spot on… or had lost the plot completely.

    Also, please do the radio side, those guys deserve the same respect.

    Comment by Greg W — March 2, 2012 @ 11:59 pm

  48. If you mentioned that the comments would be used in the article, I probably would have made mine more soundbite-ish. I kept mine brief and to the point since I figured there’d be 100s of votes and it wouldn’t even be read.

    Comment by bleh — March 3, 2012 @ 3:14 am

  49. I am glad to see the White Sox announcers last on this list. As a Twins fan, every time I have to watch a White Sox-Twins game on Chicago’s broadcast I wanna rip my ears off. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t watch one of these games on mute. They are the most biased and annoying broadcaster’s in all of baseball (save maybe Joe Morgan).

    Comment by Zack Berry — March 3, 2012 @ 11:04 am

  50. I’m confused by the whole idea of “charisma” being one of the two most important qualities for broadcasters. I’m sure that if you put Joe Pesci behind the microphone for play-by-play, he’d be really charismatic. I’m also sure that I’d change the channel, pronto.

    Comment by dirtbag — March 3, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

  51. im a giant fan and the team not only has krukow and kuiper, who are informative, funny and engaging. the gaints also has John Miller, one of the best baseball broadcasters ever, rotating from radio to TV, along with his sidekick, Dave Flemming. This four man team is the best in baseball.

    Comment by Oil Can Boyd — March 3, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  52. at least the mets have something…

    Comment by Dylan — March 3, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  53. Thanks for doing this, I found it very interesting.

    I think if you designed your survey similar to the REI review system, were you can choose between a group of descriptive words for “Pros” and “Cons” to rate each team. It should be revealing and simple to total…

    Comment by elstunk — March 3, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

  54. As a huge Dodgers fan, I know from experience that the disparity in rankings between Dodger home and road games is warranted. How people rank home vs. away announcers may seem unfair for Eric Collins and Steve Lyons, though, because they are competing against Vin Scully for the affection of the Dodger faithful. But at the same time, it is entirely fair because Collins and Lyons are horrible at what they do.

    With Vin, we have what seems like an artist painting an Americana baseball picture onto the canvas of your mind with his preferred medium of poetry itself. It’s as if he’s combined those two art forms–the visual and the written/spoken– and does it in real-time.

    Collins and Lyons, on the other hand, are like two average guys watching a baseball game, and we happen to be eavesdropping in on their boring conversation that is loosely related to baseball (in between the excruciating silences, of course).

    Comment by TheMooseOfDeath — March 3, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

  55. I am unsure this is useful to me because, although our broadcasters are not very good, I always watch my MLB Package games with those announcers because when I watch another teams broadcasters the Team bias annoys me. I want the announcers to always be biased towards the NATS. Keeps me from yelling at the TV.

    Comment by Nats Fan — March 4, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  56. What would breaking it down by broadcaster do other than prove that Hawk Harrelson is the worst person in the world at his job. By that I mean, you won’t find a carptenter who is as bad at being a carpenter as Hawk is at his job. If I were as bad at my job (assistant manager at a restaurant) as Hawk is at his, I’d have to take a shit on everyone’s plate before they ate. That’s what he does. He shits on your plate of baseball.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — March 4, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

  57. When watching the scenes in Home Alone with the buglars bantering in the van I often think “man, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern would make a great broadcast team”. At least top 10 I’d say.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — March 4, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

  58. Or it’s that people can’t stand to listen to their away games so they don’t vote. Should present this data to the executives who hire the broadcasters. “Your ratings are low because you hired a bafoon”, good for the fans, good for baseball.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — March 4, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

  59. or “buffoon” whichever you prefer.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — March 4, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

  60. I think the one common theme in the shitty commentators is that they’re homers. Nobody likes a sore loser and in baseball, even good teams lose 40% of the time. Can’t be bitching about how you were robbed 40% of the time, gets old. Nobody likes bad winners either, so when you win to go 40-60 on a walk off home run, and you are acting like you just won the world series, it pisses people off too.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — March 4, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  61. As a Twins fan, it boggles my mind that Dick Bremer is paid to be on TV. #13? And, he is an unwatchable talking Press release. I actually prefer Hawk, because he, like Blyleven, at least puts some conscious effort into his buffoonery.

    Comment by David — March 4, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

  62. Rankings are right on with STL Cardinals near the bottom. I’m a cardinals fan, and forced to listen to the radio while i mute Dan and Al. Ricky Horton has made it better when he’s on. Hrabosky has to be the worst and most annoying announcer ever. I remember him talking about meeting Roberto Clemente when he first came up. Said Clemente was a towering figure when he stood next to him. Clemente same height as Al.

    Comment by Rich Wayman — March 5, 2012 @ 7:43 am

  63. Braves Chip Caray and Joe Simpson…….People hate Caray because he overexcites everything, and he is loud. I agree he is no the best but I don’t dislike being excited, because it get’s me excited. And Joe, well he knows a lot, but he has no credentials, he basically was a bench player in his day, so when he starts bragging about hitting mechanics I just don’t believe him. Plus he is too old fashion.

    They deserve to be better than the Pirates duo, man those guy’s are depressing. And can’t believe the Yankees are so low on the list, Al Leiter, Michael Kay, John Flaherty, among others are very knowledgeable and entertaining.

    Comment by Tomas — March 5, 2012 @ 7:58 am

  64. Michael Kay is neither knowledgeable or entertaining.

    Comment by TKFJ — March 5, 2012 @ 10:27 am

  65. I find teh # of votes cast per team interesting. Of course, you’d figure a smaller market team like Kansas City will have fewer survey responses, but there seem to be a few outliers. Toronto has the most responses with 414, I wonder why? Arizona with 259 responses is third only to Toronto and the Dodgers, which is a bit surprising to me. The Cubs with only 170 responses seems a little bit lower than I’d expect for a team with such a big following.

    Comment by David K — March 7, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

  66. Note to Blue Jays:

    Send Dan Schulman a blank cheque…

    Comment by AL Eastbound — March 8, 2012 @ 10:33 am

  67. Have a page that displays responses that we can vote up, hence eliciting people to be more amusing.

    Comment by Ignorant Tool — April 2, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  68. Other analogies:

    -A dolphin trainer killing the dolphins at a seaworld show
    -An engineer making all the lights at a traffic light green for 2 seconds
    -The owner of an amusement park charging you to use the bathroom
    -Mark McGwire telling players on the Cardinals to use steroids
    -An NBA GM hiring Kurt Rambis as a head coach
    -A parent showing Saw 3 at a 7-year old’s birthday party
    -Charles Barkley playing golf professionally

    Comment by diegosanchez — April 10, 2012 @ 10:28 am

  69. I think, and this may just be my feeling so take it for what it’s worth, that the best, quickest, and most reliable method of eliciting more articulate responses is to post it somewhere other than “the Internet.”

    E.g., I get great responses from my cat on most everything I post on my refrigerator. He’s not a fan of some of the more advanced metrics, but I think he’s coming around.

    Comment by War2d2 — April 10, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  70. He already does!

    Comment by Bryan — April 17, 2012 @ 10:27 am

  71. just tuned into Chicago AL (first time). It was grim. figured it must have ranked last. Yup.

    Comment by JLuman — April 20, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

  72. Carson,

    I grew up in radio and TV, am a rabid baseball fan, worked at the AA level for 7 seasons (mostly in charge of marketing and promotions) and I firmly believe this project has the ability to take off and generate a tremendous amount of interest and traffic for the website.

    One idea that emerged as I started sifting through the rankings is that you should crowdsource as much of the work as possible (I’m also a techgeek).

    One enhancement would be the submission of audio and video clips that support a voters opinion of respective broadcasting team. I realize that MLB would likely be an obstacle to making this a reality, but presented properly they could bite. And even if they don’t bite I believe there are ways to utilize ‘fair use’ for a project such as this.

    As for the crowdsource aspect, you guys seem fairly adept at database usage. Why not construct a sponsored (hello MLBAM) area of the website and recruit (either by nomination or application) interested Fangraphs users to blog a critique of each game broadcast. I don’t think anyone ever watches all 162 Game (even when they say they do) . . . so perhaps a team of 3 bloggers per franchise could contribute to each broadcast team page, with the hope that at least one of the three is available to cover each game.

    The bloggers can assign numerical scores to the broadcast, note areas of improvements or excellence, annoyances, amusements, etc . . . AND readers can log on and offer their game to game rankings.

    This way, at the end of the season you and whoever else at Fangraphs can then take and crunch a far more exhaustive set of data for the broadcast team rankings – plus you will have (hopefully) produced a popular platform for venting and/or celebrating the various broadcasters – something that – to me at least – has been looooong overdue.

    Comment by BigLeagues — April 24, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

  73. Exactly. The Yankees have one of the best pairs in the booth with Singleton and Cone, and one of the worst with Kay and Flahrety.

    Comment by samuelraphael — May 7, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

  74. how dare you? did you just give a slight compliment towards hawk harrelson? The man who revers to the end of a ballgame as a female sexual organ?

    if you dont’ know what i mean, here you go:

    Comment by radicalhenri — May 7, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

  75. Agreed, would love to see how broadcasters such as McCarver/Buck/Darling/Smoltz/etc rank. I know I have my thoughts on the topic.

    Comment by Curt — May 16, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  76. I am glad the White Sox crew is where it is….I am a sports better…when I bet on a game involving the White Sox, (therefore watch the game) I have to turn the volume off….Harrelson is that bad,…irritating and annoying!

    Comment by Geron — May 18, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

  77. Hey Zack, I couldn’t agree more…..I posted the very same thing before I saw your post!! Harrelson really is annoying…..the ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘good guys’ etc is so annoying….I wish ‘He Gone’ (sic)….

    Comment by Geron — May 18, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  78. Bob Brenly is great, but you guys do realize that Len Kasper is the other half of the Chicago Cubs tv broadcasts, right?

    Comment by Dane — May 18, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

  79. Hawk and Stone get way too much hate from everyone. Is it his catchphrases? His umpire tirades? All warranted. Hawk is an intelligent announcer and Stone is a good color commentator. It gets lost in your hatred for the White Sox. If you hate Hawk because he does his job with enthusiasm, then you’re truly an idiot. Frankly, I wished more announcers were a bit like Hawk, because they’re a lot of them that are too boring to watch. I’d rather have an announcer that was a homer for the team THAT HE WORKS FOR! than have commentating as dry and boring as a gold tournament. Terrible rankings. Terrible.

    Comment by BillisBack — June 1, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

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