Question #35: Who are your favorite announcers?
In sports, I guess. Though I’m sure my wife would offer some votes for Tom Bergeron from “Dancing with the Stars” or Cat Deeley from “So You Think You Can Dance” — she really likes dancing shows.
I was thinking about this question last night because I’d just heard the sad news about Skip Caray’s passing. Caray was a longtime voice of the Atlanta Braves – 33 years – and because he worked on TBS, just about anyone who’s ever enjoyed a) baseball and b) flipping channels has probably heard him. I also got to hear him a lot during my time at Emory.
I always enjoyed Caray, mostly because I enjoyed his unique tones and timbres. To me, baseball is one of those sports where an unusual voice is a plus – basketball and hockey move so quickly that you need a strong, even voice, but baseball is for the characters. Caray was a character.
As a kid, I remember listening a lot to Tim McCarver on Mets telecasts on WWOR, and the variety of voices the Yankees had on MSG and WPIX. Since my family was more of a Mets family – and they were a lot better – back then, I always found Ralph Kiner somewhat reassuring when I heard him on the microphone.
As for other sports, I’ve always been a Marv Albert guy. Always. Love the Knicks, can’t believe Marv isn’t still calling them (though Mike Breen does a good job) and absolutely, positively miss the NBA on NBC (with Marv and the best intro music ever). I’ll also watch just about any hockey game Mike Emrick calls – he’s the best.
One last thing: Joe Buck. A lot of people hate him, think he’s way, way, way too understated and sarcastic on the air. I actually don’t mind him at all. Again, baseball is the perfect sport for that sort of style. I don’t love him on football, but for baseball, I’m much more comfortable listening to him than plenty others.
It’s good to be back from vacation (sort of). I was going to post this question: Did I miss anything the last two weeks? Holy cow. I was in Boston on vacation when the Manny Ramirez stuff blew up. That was pretty awesome.
Anyway, back to Sam’s question, and what I’ve always said is that, despite a few complete clowns (no names mentioned, but you don’t really have much imagination to figure out who they are) we are blessed with some of the absolute best announcers in sports right here in New York.
Think about it: Gary Cohen, Mike Breen, Sam Rosen, Mike Emrick, Marv of course, Howie Rose, Kenny Albert, Bob Papa. I happen to like Michael Kay, but I think part of that is because I knew him and liked him when he was a newspaper guy — even if he’s of a completely different DNA than the others, and even if he doesn’t subscribe to the Vin Scully, Red Barber, Jack Buck old-school, proper baseball vernacular.
I’m a couple of years (couple?) older than Sam, and I remember Barber and Jerry Coleman, Mel Allen and of course Scooter, Frank Messer and Bill White doing Yankees games, Marv on the Knicks and Rangers — with Jim Gordon and the Big Whistle on the Rangers, too — and of course Lindsay Nelson, Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy on the Mets.
We have always been blessed around here. And some of the new baseball analysts are pretty good, too: my golf buddy David Cone being the newest, but including Ken Singleton and Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez.
I don’t get too caught up in the national broadcasters. For some reason, the network chiefs still think we tune in based on who’s calling the game, rather than who’s playing. I still like Verne Lundqvist’s voice, even if he botches a call once in a while, and I think analysts Phil Simms and Troy Aikman are fabulous. Most of the rest are background noise. I’m not going to turn on or turn off a game based on who’s calling it, even if that means the Yankees on the radio, live from the Lowe’s broadcast booth (funny, I’ve been going to Yankee Stadium for more than 40 years and I’ve never seen the Lowe’s broadcast booth).