I’m sitting here tonight listening to another Jays broadcast. As someone who’s spent the past few years trying to gain a better understanding of the sport I love I hardly even notice Buck or Tabby – or really, any broadcaster – speak. They’re mostly white noise to me.
Admittedly, I like to point out some of the more ridiculous things they say. Tabby calling the White Sox manager Robin Williams shortly after the actor’s tragic suicide was among them.
Of course there are also the mispronounced names by Buck, or Tabby’s homoerotic descriptions of players. One of my favourites is when they call so-and-so “a ball player.”
No kidding they’re a ball player. I wouldn’t watch them play baseball otherwise.
Those mistakes are excusable. In all truth, they’re on the air for threeish hours a night, 162 nights a summer. It can be tough to fill all that air time.
I wonder, though, what would it be like without announcers? I have an idea, having watched the postseason last year on MLBtv, and it’s actually pretty cool. Give me the sound of the crowd, crack of the bat and an umpire yelling safe on an exceptionally close play.
I’m all for that.
But watching a game without announcers might go even further than that. Forcing people watching the game to actually pay attention to what’s happening and make judgments about what’s good and what’s bad based on their observations might actually make people a little more aware about baseball.
The people who man the booth have credibility. We naturally consider them to be knowledgeable baseball people. And while guys like Buck and Tabby, who actually played in the big leagues, have experience of the game most of us will never come close to understanding, they all too often delve into a part of the game in which they have no understanding.
Using numbers and results to evaluate the talent level of a baseball player is not something a fellow baseball player is ever asked or required to do. It’s not their job.
It is, however, the job of the rest of us who weren’t born with the god-given talent of hitting the shit out of a moving baseball.
And yet, when we hear utter ridiculousness from the likes of the play-by-play and colour commentators, we think they must know something.
Baseball fans might be better off to hit the mute button when they watch baseball.