Having Brian Johnson (R) join Duane Kuiper for three games in Detroit didn't go over all that well for NBC Sports Bay Area.

Fans of the San Francisco Giants have generally been very positive towards their local TV broadcast team (most often Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper; Dave Flemming and Jon Miller swap in from the radio side from time to time, and Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt have been analysts for select games), ranking them first overall in our 2014 rankings, second in 2016, and first overall again this year. However, the reviews turned awfully sour this week. With the Giants in Detroit for a three-game series and Krukow staying home (he’s cut back to 120 games this year thanks to mobility issues stemming from a progressive muscle disease), former Giants’ catcher and current team scout Brian Johnson (who lives in the Detroit suburbs) filled in on NBC Sports Bay Area. His performance didn’t go over well:

(Johnson, seen at right above with Kuiper, is a noted Stanford alum. He played quarterback there, as well as leading the Cardinal to two College World Series titles.)

Yikes. In fairness, Johnson did have some defenders as well:

But those defenders were a pretty significant minority. And from this corner, Johnson’s detractors had a point; listening to two of these games, he occasionally offered some useful analysis (especially when it came to the Tigers, and to how Comerica Park plays), but his inexperience in the booth definitely showed, and he wasn’t that interesting or engaging much of the time. Worst of all, he occasionally made those sorts of “Huh?” comments, like praising Thursday’s aforementioned five-earned-run start from Chris Stratton.

On the other side, though, some of this may be about the dropoff. Krukow and Kuiper are two of the most famed local broadcasters out there, and Miller and Fleming are both known for their national work (past and present). Throwing someone else into that mix is tough, especially if they’re inexperienced, and similar criticisms have popped up for Lopez and Affeldt (particularly for the latter). Johnson’s performance may have gone over better if he was working in a booth where the regular announcers weren’t that loved in the first place. Still, this certainly wasn’t great, and the critics have significant points regardless of who Johnson was filling in for.

Overall, this may be yet more proof that it takes more than a connection with a franchise to make a good on-air analyst. Johnson has that; while he only spent two seasons with the Giants (1997-98) during his seven-year MLB career, he hit a memorable September home run against the Dodgers in 1997, which tied San Francisco with L.A. atop the NL West (which the Giants would go on to win). And he’s clearly kept up with the team since, working as a scout for them since 2010. But there are a lot of other elements that go into broadcasting; in particular, on-air chemistry, knowing what to say and when to say it, and providing insight rather than obvious comments. Judging from the Twitter reaction in particular, this Johnson experiment wasn’t a success.

[Photo from CSNBayArea.com]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.

  • David E. Mevorah

    I watched the first two games of the series on TV and listened to the last game on the radio since it was a day game. Was he Krukow and Kuiper? Of course not. But for a series, he was fine. Now if this was long term, I’d expect a lot better.

  • MrBull

    That’s San Francisco people…won’t hesitate to turn on their own….

    • 2pcj

      And where are you from? It only seems fair to disclose your location so San Franciscans know people there have a pre-existing grudge against them. I’ll guess: Oakland.

      • MrBull

        Guessed wrong….Los Angeles….and now where are you from?

        • 2pcj

          By my own standard, I’m only obliged to disclose my location if I disparage Los Angeles or Angelenos, which I’m not presently inclined to do.

          • MrBull

            What a cop out….man up!

          • 2pcj

            But it what way have I disparaged Angelenos?

  • michaelgreenlasvegas

    This is the standard problem with having untrained announcers–especially ex-players–who aren’t really prepared. As a guest, he might have been just fine, but for the entire series? That’s a problem.

    Giants fans are blessed. Kruk and Kuip have been together so long, they know how to work together–not many times cutting in on each other, and they have a feel for the broadcast. Miller is now the best play-by-play man who hasn’t recently retired after 67 seasons, and Flemming is headed for Cooperstown himself someday. While I’ve thought Affeldt, Lopez, and Johnson were bad, it doesn’t help them to be compared with such a fine crew, either.

  • Peter Stauffer

    Javier Lopez please…

  • Lyle Delp

    I thought Johnson got a lot better by his final game. That said, it is obvious that Javier Lopez is the man. In fact it was obvious every time he was interviewed as a player. Also, how great was Dave Fleming on Sunday Night Baseball last night. We are very spoiled in the Bay.