20. Boston Red Sox: 2.14
-Dave O’Brien (play by play)
-Jerry Remy (analyst)
-Dennis Eckersley (analyst)
Previous rankings: 13 (2014), 16 (2016), 26 (2017), 7 (2018)
Previous grades: 2.44 (2014), 2.34 (2016), 1.86 (2017), 2.68 (2018)
Most popular grade: B (27.98% of votes)
Analysis: Some of this grade is due to the ballot box being flooded by other fanbases (which happens every year, much like it did last year in the other direction), but the grade seems right. The post-Don Orsillo era in Boston just isn’t resonating with fans all that much, and if it was, you would see a much larger share of A grades than the 18.10% received by the Red Sox booth this year.
19. Cleveland Indians: 2.17
-Matt Underwood (play by play)
-Rick Manning (analyst)
Previous rankings: 19 (2014), 22 (2016), 20 (2017), 21 (2018)
Previous grades: 2.09 (2014), 2.19 (2016), 2.12 (2017), 2.15 (2018)
Most popular grade: C (35.20% of votes)
Analysis: I don’t have a take on the Indians booth, but the consistency in their score and ranking over five seasons is incredible. This is who they are, and this is who they will be.
18. Tampa Bay Rays: 2.18
-Dewayne Staats (play by play)
-Kevin Burkhardt (play by play)
-Brian Anderson (analyst)
Previous rankings: 16 (2014), 24 (2016), 25 (2017), 22 (2018)
Previous grades: 2.20 (2014), 2.10 (2016), 1.88 (2017), 2.15 (2018)
Most popular grade: C (27.85% of votes)
Analysis: This represents the highest grade and ranking for the Rays since way back in 2014, and while I can’t pin it on anything specific, having Kevin Burkhardt in the booth for a select amount of games per year can’t hurt.
17. Cincinnati Reds: 2.22
-Thom Brennaman (play by play)
-Jim Day (play by play)
-Chris Welsh (analyst)
-Jeff Brantley (analyst)
Previous rankings: 15 (2014), 25 (2016), 18 (2017), 17 (2018)
Previous grades: 2.20 (2014), 2.09 (2016), 2.27 (2017), 2.32 (2018)
Most popular grade: B (28.34% of votes)
Analysis: The Reds retain their position from last year, and are another example of consistency in our rankings (minus that drop in 2016). They’re also the first team in this year’s rankings to crack 20% of A grades, so good for them.
16. New York Yankees: 2.26
-Michael Kay (play by play)
-Ryan Ruocco (play by play)
-David Cone (analyst)
-John Flaherty (analyst)
-Paul O’Neill (analyst)
-Ken Singleton (analyst)
Previous rankings: 25 (2014), 27 (2016), 2 (2017), 12 (2018)
Previous grades: 1.93 (2014), 1.95 (2016), 3.00 (2017), 2.53 (2018)
Most popular grade: A (31.89% of votes)
Analysis: The Yankees were one of two teams (along with the Dodgers) to receive at least 3,000 votes (which is not a surprise), and because they’re the Yankees, they saw huge spikes in both their A and F grades. The huge cut of A votes was balanced out by 23.01% of their votes coming in as an F, if only because they’re the Yankees. Much like last year, when they ranked 12th, their grade seems right and not too extreme like in 2016 or 2017.
15. Seattle Mariners: 2.34
-Dave Sims (play by play)
-Aaron Goldsmith (play by play)
-Mike Blowers (analyst)
Previous rankings: 10 (2014), 12 (2016), 16 (2017), 10 (2018)
Previous grades: 2.47 (2014), 2.49 (2016), 2.34 (2017), 2.55 (2018)
Most popular grade: B (31.58% of votes)
Analysis: Edgar Martinez is pictured in that screencap. He’s not a Mariners analyst, but hey, I got lucky in regards to finding a decent video shot of the announcers. Anyway, this ties the lowest grade ever for the Mariners, and is their second-lowest ranking ever, but they’re also the first team in our rankings with a percentage of D votes under 10%. They’re also the last crew you’ll see with a share of A votes under 20%, and the first crew with a cut of B votes over 30%. Like I said in the intro, the Mariners are the barometer for the league this year – they’re direct in the middle of the rankings, and their score was the average across the league.
14. Houston Astros: 2.39
-Todd Kalas (play by play)
-Geoff Blum (analyst)
Previous rankings: 23 (2014), 18 (2016), 10 (2017), 14 (2018)
Previous grades: 2.00 (2014), 2.32 (2016), 2.58 (2017), 2.42 (2018)
Most popular grade: B (30.84% of votes)
Analysis: We’ve come a long way from CSN Houston, gang. In the third year of the Kalas/Blum partnership, the Astros retained their place from last year with a slight tick back in their overall score. More than 75% of the Astros’ grades were at least a C, and again, this seems fair for them.
13. Chicago Cubs: 2.479
-Len Kasper (play by play)
-Jim Deshaies (analyst)
Previous rankings: 5 (2014), 6 (2016), 5 (2017), 9 (2018)
Previous grades: 2.72 (2014), 2.82 (2016), 2.85 (2017), 2.60 (2018)
Most popular grade: A (31.01% of votes)
Analysis: This marks both a low ranking and grade for the Cubs, but continues a slide that started a year ago (when they initially fell four spots from five to nine). I think a decent chunk of this score is just the fanbase taking some overall frustrations with the organization out on the broadcasters, which you can see with the relatively low percentage of D and F votes. If the polls were getting flooded by anti-Cubs sentiment, you’d see a much higher share at that end of the spectrum.
12. Philadelphia Phillies: 2.483
-Tom McCarthy (play by play)
-Ben Davis (analyst)
-John Kruk (analyst)
-Jimmy Rollins (analyst)
-Mike Schmidt (analyst)
Previous rankings: 26 (2014), 17 (2016), 15 (2017), 19 (2018)
Previous grades: 1.90 (2014), 2.33 (2016), 2.34 (2017), 2.27 (2018)
Most popular grade: A (30.57% of votes)
Analysis: Phillies fans sure turned up this year, giving the team their highest score and ranking since we’ve started doing this. Only the Dodgers and Yankees received more total votes, but if ten of those A votes didn’t show up for the Phillies, they would have slipped behind the Cubs and into 13th. Maybe the ranking is a bit high, but the range seems okay to me.
11. Chicago White Sox: 2.4975
-Jason Benetti (play by play)
-Steve Stone (analyst)
Previous rankings: 10 (2016), 17 (2017), 16 (2018)
Previous grades: 2.57 (2016), 2.31 (2017) 2.35 (2018)
Most popular grade: A (32.70% of votes)
Analysis: For the first time ever, the White Sox have finished above the Cubs in our rankings. Shocker! The Benetti and Stone duo debuted highly back in 2016, then took a step back over the last two years before surging ahead this year (probably because the White Sox aren’t completely awful this season). Benetti and Stone seem to have good chemistry, and Benetti himself is showing a passion for the team that can really resonate with viewers. I’m just happy that we did these rankings before this weekend, when Bill Walton and Michael Schur will join Benetti in Anaheim, which possibly would have warped these rankings.