Random Things I’ve Learned By Listening to Playoff Baseball on the Radio

As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I don’t have cable, and though my boyfriend has been happy (or at least pretends he’s happy) to let me watch the Cardinals games on his TV, for many of the other games I’ve been listening to the radio feeds through MLB.com.  It’s been quite some time since I’ve listened to baseball on the radio on a regular basis, and even longer since I listened to any baseball on the radio that involved non-Cardinals announcers.  It’s quite instructive. Some things I’ve learned:

1. Most likely to give you an earworm with their intro music: WXYT (the Detroit Tigers).  From “Highway to the Danger Zone” to “Lust for Life” (otherwise known as the drum heavy song that used to be in all of the cruise commercials), the Tigers’ crew has a knack for coming back from commercial with a song that’s going to bounce around in your head for at least a half inning.

2. Most deserving of their reputation: WCBS (Yankees). I tried to have an open mind, really I did, but seriously.  John Sterling’s never met a point he didn’t think needed to be repeated a dozen times in two innings.  Suzyn Waldman was fairly subdued during the times I was listening, but joined Sterling in a strange, multi-at bat game 5 tangent on how “people shouldn’t speculate what’s going to happen during the games because you never know until you play them” that took precedence over the actual on field action. I never managed to last more than half an hour before switching back to the Tigers.

3. Not as big of homers as they’re made out to be: everyone. Since I wasn’t listening to the Cardinals games on the radio, I was basically a neutral listener.  The only time any announcing team’s home team bias seemed excessive was during the Braves’ last game (the final innings of which I heard on radio after the video feed was clogged by traffic)– and it was hard to tell how much of the excuse making and complaints of unfairness were brought on by the circumstances of the Braves’s collapse.  I may have had many complaints about the Yankees announcers, but at least in the portions of games I heard, the Yankee mystique didn’t get flogged too heavily.

4. Announcer you absolutely must listen to if you get the chance: Bob Uecker (Brewers).  With apologies to CuteSports, the silver lining for me in the Brewers’ last two losses was the additional chances to hear Uecker call games.  Like many of the great announcers, his play by play is fairly unadorned, describing the scene and keeping extraneous chatter fairly brief, but his enthusiasm and understanding of the game comes through in every sentence.  If you can get access to WTMJ through MLB.com or elsewhere, spend a portion of tomorrow’s game 5 appreciating his skill.

5. The one playoff team I didn’t sample: The Diamondbacks.  Sorry guys. Not your fault, I just wanted to keep listening to Uecker.

3 thoughts on “Random Things I’ve Learned By Listening to Playoff Baseball on the Radio

  1. Yay Uecker! He’s a damn national treasure. He can be absolutely hilarious, his stories are great and he and partner Corey Provus really play well off each other.

    As someone who’s listened to him for years, I can tell you that each year he heads a little father off the reservation – sometimes you can listen for two innings and never hear a score because he’s on some story-telling tangent – but you’re totally laughing and smiling the whole while.

    We were in the car for the game that the Brewers clinched the postseason and Uecker post-game was something close to incomprehensible. He was in the booth while his partner was on the field with the mic and Ueck would beg to be put on with the players, but then would spend literally 2 minutes talking, never really getting to a question and then kind of stop and expect the player to have some sort of response. It was both hilarious and incredibly awkward.

    That being said, We’re so blessed to have him here in Milwaukee and I can’t imagine a Brewers season without him.

    • He makes me miss Jack Buck so much. I don’t know what we’re going to do when the last few of the old school announcers are all gone. If any of the young guys are good it seems like they always wind up getting pushed into TV. (Though I did enjoy the Tigers announcers last night, they seem to have a lot of fun even when they were on the verge of blowing it.)

      • Sterling drives me absolutely batty. The name puns are sometimes cute, but I lost respect for him when he literally declared that “Statistics are stupid.” Yankee fans deserve better.

        I dig Uecker (and smile when I remember “Mr. Belvedere”) and Vin Scully (the BEST!) I also tuned into a White Sox broadcast earlier this summer when Chicago played the Yankees. That broadcast team is hilarious!

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