I was surprised, at the completion our offseason crowdsourcing project, to find that FanGraphs readers had ranked Houston Astros broadcasters Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies fourth overall among the league’s 31 television broadcast teams.
Of course, I could also be excused: there has been little reason for anyone to go out of his or her way to watch the Astros over the last couple-few years.
With a new, data-driven front office in place, however, and a team that’s currently ranked 10th in FanGraphs’ totally infallible SI.com power rankings, there are reasons to watch the Astros at the moment.
What I didn’t expect before turning on Sunday’s game between Houston and St. Louis was the degree to which Brown and, in particular, Deshaies could augment a fan’s viewing experience. The duo are both genuinely entertaining (not just “entertaining for baseball broadcasters”) and responsible with the numbers.
By way of illustration, here are five brief sound clips of Deshaies — literally all of them from the first three innings of that Sunday game against the Cardinals.
1. Famine or Pestilence
2. Sample Size
4. Fielding Independent Pitching
5. Pretty Good
Credit to reader joser who drew my attention to the quality of the broadcast in these early innings.