Syracuse might as well dedicate an entire course to the importance of announcers recapping the score for viewers, as S.I. Newhouse breads a new cast of robotic sportscasters year after year.
Pittsburgh Pirates announcer Greg Brown is a renowned play-by-play voice, but he would’ve failed the class over the weekend after fumbling the score during the Bucs’ ninth-inning rally in San Diego. Pittsburgh entered the ninth inning against the Padres trailing 2-1 during the second game of their three-game set. Ke’Bryan Hayes stepped to the plate with two on and one out and he hit a three-run homer to give Pittsburgh a surprising lead.
Brown had a tremendous call as the ball flew over the fence and aptly updated the audience on the score. But in his excitement, Brown had the wrong score. We’ve seen it numerous times. Live TV is hard. Math is also hard. Combining the two is bound to cause an occasional slip-up, which is why broadcasters constantly need to keep up to date on the score of any game.
YOUNG HAYES GIVES US THE LEAD!!! pic.twitter.com/afZwEy7YHf
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) May 29, 2022
In football, you should never go more than two snaps without recapping the score. In basketball, broadcasters are taught to recap the score with every point change, never letting more than 90 seconds go without an update for the audience.
Baseball is different because there is a lot more downtime, but announcers are still advised to give a score update after every out. The recommendation is more important for radio than TV, but it’s always vital to actively keep the audience informed, and it benefits the broadcaster just as much as the audience.
Brown’s error wasn’t just a case of forgetting how many players were on base for the Pirates when Hayes hit the homer, because he misidentified the Padres’ run total during his first attempt at an update. In his second attempt, Brown had the Padres’ number right, but he still shortchanged the Pirates. Third times the charm though, with Brown awkwardly giving the correct score just after Hayes crossed the plate.
Brown’s call of Hayes’ homer sailing over the wall was epic, filled with excitement, and perfectly timed, but his math on the fly, not so much.