Monday, April 14, 2008

ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Crew Needs Help

ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball was covering the decisive third game of the series in what some call the greatest rivalry in professional sports, the Yankees and the Red Sox.

During a late inning pitching change, ESPN announcer Joe Morgan got on a soapbox about steroids as the change was being made. He was trying to make a point that we should recognize and salute the players who through the performance-enhancing drug years did not use steroids. It's a sad commentary when we need to reward people for not cheating. Regardless, Joe kept belaboring the point and would not give up the microphone, oblivious to the fact that the game had started back up. We missed the call on several pitches, a hit and a pinch runner. This was another example of horrible Joe Morgan announcing. I respect his opinion, but he should know when to shut up and let Miller call the plays. His co-host has a little more box-savvy, knowing not to start a story late in an inning and quickly cutting away from his anecdotes to cover the action. Take a lessen from your co-host Joe.

If you watched any Yankee games during spring training you probably hear the announcers speaking with Joe Girardi at length. Joe had a stint covering games after his year with the Marlins and knows a little bit about announcing. Whenever he was talking with Michael Kay or the other Yankee announcers, he would quickly stop talking anytime something happened on the field, allowing the announcers to report the action. If a manager can figure this out, why not Joe Morgan?

Jon Miller isn't horrible, but he's having trouble seeing the ball a bit. Lately, in two-strike situations, he emphatically starts saying "Struck him out!" on many pitches up the middle even when they end up being fouled or foul tipped. It's pretty obvious to the viewers at home what the result of the play is, but Miller is clearly jumping the gun. He needs to settle down, pause a full second, and then make the call. Repeatedly apologizing or cutting off an emphatic statement doesn't come across well.

Joe Buck, Joe Morgan, the Nascar debacle - it's been a rough weekend for nationally televised baseball coverage.

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