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Broadcaster Rankings (TV): #30 – #21

Introduction and #31

Beginning in late November, we’ve spent much of the offseason asking readers to rate the television broadcast teams (on a scale of 1-5 for charisma, analysis, and then overall) for all 30 major-league clubs — with the intention, ultimately, of determining which broadcasts might best reflect the sorts of inquiry and analysis performed here at the site. (Click here for more on this project.)

Below are the 30th- through 21st-ranked television broadcast teams, per the FanGraphs readership. (Note: teams ranked in ascending order of Overall rating. Other note: Overall ratings are not merely averages of Charisma and Analysis.)

30. Los Angeles Dodgers (Away)
Broadcasters: Eric Collins and Steve Lyons
Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 2.2, 2.1, 2.1

Three Two Reader Comments
• “Steve Lyons while calling a Dodgers/Cubs game in May 2010 said ‘Xavier Nady literally has no throwing arm.’ I’m still laughing about that comment today.”
• “Eric Collins is always busy asking questions to Lyons. I’m not sure if they’re disingenous because at times they are seem incredibly rudimentary. To the point where I wonder, ‘Why/how is he broadcasting a baseball game if he doesn’t know THAT?’ Perhaps it’s just Collins indirectly attempting to educate the layman viewer at home by asking Lyons these questions.”

There were only 22 votes submitted for the Dodgers away broadcast, and two of those were (obviously, given the reader comments attached to them) for Vin Scully, and thus not counted. As a result, it was only really possible to find two — as opposed to three — publishable reader comments.


29. St. Louis Cardinals
Broadcasters: Dan McLaughlin, Al Hrabosky, and Rick Horton
Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 2.4, 2.1, 2.3

Three Reader Comments
• “I shouldn’t feel like sleeping when my favorite team is on TV.”
• “Whenever possible, I try to play some sort of alternate broadcast while the regular TV broadcast is on mute.”
• “Al Hrabosky… is the reason I am an alcoholic.”

It appears, from the reader comments, that Dan McLaughlin is a passable play-by-play man for most FanGraphs readers, but that Hrabosky and Horton are difficult to enjoy.


28. Colorado Rockies
Broadcasters: Drew Goodman and Jeff Huson (and George Frazier, too)
Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 2.6, 2.6, 2.5

Three Reader Comments
• “It’s like watching a game with guys who used to play with you in high school; you feel like you should listen to what they say and care about what they are saying but they are so arrogant and often wrong that it is more hassle than it’s worth so you just stand up to go get a hot dog and watch the game from the concourse. You then proceed to write a run-on sentence describing the horrible experience.”
• “Drew Goodman and Jeff Huson are fair broadcasters, although their ‘analysis’ generally tends to be obvious and pedantic to those who know the game or follow the Rockies. Their enthusiasm, also, too often feels forced and over-amped. But they’re not bad.”
• “I’m getting angry just thinking about Huson… I’m kinda angry at you guys for bringing him up. You ruined Christmas.”

Sorry for ruining Christmas, guys.


27. Atlanta Braves
Broadcasters: Chip Caray and Joe Simpson
Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 2.8, 2.6, 2.7

Three Reader Comments
• “Chip Caray… has gone out of his way to bash sabermetrics, mainly the use of OBP, many times before, both on air and on his Twitter account.”
• “Pales in comparison to the halcyon days of Joe and Boog Sciambi, who had a sort of odd couple charm and respect for one another.”
• “Let me be the 108th respondent to say it… fisted.”

The general sense from readers seems to be that Joe Simpson understands the game pretty well, and that his extended run with the team allows him to give historical context to certain events, players, etc. Caray has some supporters, although it seems difficult not to compare him (and unfairly so) with his father and grandfather.


26. Philadelphia Phillies
Broadcasters: Tom McCarthy, Chris Wheeler, and (sort of) Gary “Sarge” Matthews
Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 2.6, 2.7, 2.7

Three Reader Comments
• “I remember watching all 19 innings of the Reds vs Phillies game last year on mute.”
• “Tom is fine. Sarge thinks that hitting is an important part of winning.”
• “Gary Matthews… must go. His splendid hats may stay.”

Philadelphia fans very clearly miss Harry Kalas, courtesy of whom they were treated to Excellence in Broadcasting for decades. Fans appear split on Matthews, which is generally the product of a stronger personality.


25. Toronto Blue Jays
Broadcasters: Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler
Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 2.8, 2.7, 2.8

Three Reader Comments
• “The radio team, Jerry Howarth and Alan Ashby, would have easily been 5/5 in all categories.”
• “Buck Martinez’s coiffure = eighth world wonder.”

The Toronto TV broadcasters received the most votes of any team, at 414. Vin Scully’s Dodgers home broadcast was a distant second, with 322 ballots cast. It seems, generally, that Toronto fans much prefer the radio broadcast of Ashby and Howarth — and regard Martinez as probably a slightly above-average color (or, uh, colour) man doing play-by-play work.


24. Cleveland Indians
Broadcasters: Matt Underwood and Rick Manning
Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 2.9, 2.9, 2.9

Three Two Reader Comments
• “I often turn on the radio while I watch.”
• “Rick Manning once said that it would be better to allow a solo home run than a double that could lead to a rally.”

A lack of enthusiasm seems to be the definitive quality of the Cleveland broadcast team — both in the booth itself and among the fans who we’ve asked to write about them.


23. Washington Nationals
Broadcasters: Bob Carpenter and F. P. Santangelo
Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 2.8, 2.9, 2.9

Three Reader Comments
• “I am glad MASN dropped Rob Dibble. He was a train-wreck of old school analysis and tough guy mumbo jumbo. FP Santangelo — Dibble’s replacement — is a much more complete color commentator than Dibble was. He still saunters off into superfluous old school analysis too often for my tastes, but it seems clear from listening to him that he has at least given newfangled analysis a fair shake.”
• “Bob is an effective and accurate, but not exactly inspiring, play-by-play guy. F.P. is an excellent color broadcaster, in part because he’s that rare ex-player broadcaster who doesn’t spend all his time talking about himself (he talks about the guys he was teammates with instead).”
• “If they were a Nationals player they would be John Lannan.”

The general sense appears to be that this crew has something like “upside.” Perhaps if the team finished above .500, reader sentiment will change.


22. New York Yankees
Broadcasters: Michael Kay and Ken Singleton (and David Cone, John Flaherty, Al Leiter, and Paul O’Neill)
Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 2.8, 2.8, 2.9

Three Reader Comments
• “[Cone’s] love of FanGraphs and statistical analysis brings a fresh POV.”
• “With the Yankees, it is all about who is along Michael Kay. If it’s Singleton, Leiter or Cone, Kay can be excused for his AM radio schtick. With Flaherty, the booth becomes an echo chamber for bad analysis. Paul O’Neill is a push, but they play videos of him breaking water coolers, which is a great plus.”
• “Hello from Australia, Carson!”

During the course of the season, there’ll generally be a brief Twitter freakout once every week or two because David Cone has mentioned FanGraphs during a Yankee game.


21. Arizona Diamondbacks
Broadcasters: Daron Sutton and Mark Grace
Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 3.3, 2.7, 3.0

Three Reader Comments
• “Sutton likes to use sabermetrics, probably because it drives Grace crazy.”
• “They do have witty repartee at times.”
• “Thankfully, the radio team of Greg Schulte and Tom Candiotti is very good.”

There is some disagreement among respondents regarding the degree to which the D’backs broadcast team utitlizes sabermetric-type analysis. If I’m not mistaken, the Twitter feed for the pair is rather active and does certainly link to FanGraphs articles and research (including, literally, this morning).