Twins announcersPublished 11:01am Thursday, September 11, 2008
One thing that I haven’t done that other Twins bloggers have done and that is criticizing the Twins announcers. The TV guys, as you know, are Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven and the radio guys are John Gordon, Dan Gladden and Jack Morris.
One reason I haven’t said too much about them is because on a small scale I have been doing the same thing. For the last 20 years along with my friend Jay, we have broadcast WCA high school ball games. We tape them for Runestone Telephone and they are replayed after the game. So after doing this for awhile I understand a little more of what some people are criticizing.
Dick and Bert have been thought of as homers, and they are. They are hired by the Twins and they are supposed to make things look better than they sometimes are. They may carry that responsibility a little too far at times but it is very difficult not to do. My friend Jay is like these guys as he always finds a positive in everything and with high school kids I suppose that is a good thing. I will be a little more critical sometimes because quite frankly we are doing TV so the fan can see what is going on so there is no sense hiding it at times.
Compared to other announcers I have heard, Dick and Bert are all right. They make the game for a casual listener very entertaining. I have met them both and had a chance to really get to know Bert and he is just one heck of a great guy. But there are things these guys say that does get a little annoying. Bert with his “major league LEVEL”. Everything is LEVEL. Also his repetition of “dropping the barrel of the bat” gets a little old and doesn’t always make sense in the situation he is calling.
Dick goes overboard when a Twin makes a nice defensive play especially if it is Nick Punto. Now I’m not picking on Punto, at least not this time, because before him it was Juan Castro that Dick fawned all over.
Ron Coomer has gotten better. When he first started he talked a lot and didn’t really say anything profound. Now every once in awhile he surprises me with something interesting. But you can tell he is having fun. Roy Smalley, I think, has had some great input into the games he does. He may be a little more serious but there is nothing wrong with that either.
As far as the radio guys I don’t listen to them as much. John Gordon is a throw back of the old baseball announcers and that can be refreshing but not insightful. But who said the play by play guy needs to be insightful. Gladden has also gotten better over the last few years. He plays the company line to a certain extent but sure isn’t afraid to say what he thinks either, especially if it’s a blown play. Jack Morris may be the extreme of the company guy. He really doesn’t sugar coat things much and his knowledge of the game, especially pitching, has been interesting to here. He is a little too negative at times and his radio voice can get a little boring to listen to.
The things I have brought up about these guys are very minor. Again, having done this myself for the past 20 years I know it’s hard not to be kind of repetitive in some things. After all you are who you are and it really comes across over a number of years broadcasting with the same person and same team. At least all these guys make the game exciting or at least not boring. The Wild broadcasters are the same but the Timberwolves announcers can take an exciting game and put you to sleep.
I know the Wolves aren’t that great of a team but even when they were winning this Hanneman guy made it too boring to watch. He has no personality whatsoever and as bad as some people make think Dick and Bert are they are tons better than this guy. The Peterson guy who works with Hanneman isn’t too bad. I think he really knows the game and explains it very well but he doesn’t have a real stand out personality either. I think Hanneman is holding him back however.
I know when the game is on TV the game should be the thing and the announcers just the fluff that goes along with it. But good announcers can really make or break the enjoyment of it and I don’t think Dick and Bert have done that yet, at least not for me.