As Bill Simmons acknowledged on his podcast Tuesday, everyone loves to mock sports TV announcers. But as Simmons then demonstrated on the same podcast, it is very funny to mock sports TV announcers.
In a conversation with Ringer editor and frequent sports media writer Bryan Curtis, Simmons discussed Jim Nantz, Gus Johnson, Joe Buck, Bill Raftery, Mark Jackson, Jeff van Gundy and many others. But the most biting and amusing commentary was reserved for local baseball announcers:
So why can’t we fix baseball announcing? How is it so awful every year? I just don’t understand it. Especially the local baseball announcers. It’s just the tone of it, everything’s wrong. All of it. I would change all of it. Everything about just having people, you know, they see a batter, and it’s like “Ah, remember his grandfather. Ah what a third baseman he was. I remember in 1978 I was there.”
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Simmons: A lot of people like Hubie Brown more than I do.
Curtis: I’ve never understood the cult of Hubie.
Simmons: I’ve never understood it either, and I think now that he’s so old it’s like a marvel that he’s still doing it. But, you know, no sense of humor. Now I feel like I’m killing Hubie Brown. But he’s just very technical. He cares about the nuts and bolts. He’s bringing in stuff like, “Ah, that reminds in the 70s Bob McAdoo and Bob Kauffman used to run that play.” And it’s like, who are you saying that to? No one under 35 knows who those people are.
After some more discussion about old-timey announcers, then a conversation about the pitfalls of three-man broadcast booths, Simmons returned to baseball:
“I think that baseball is so fucking boring that you need three. I’m OK with three in baseball. But one of them just has to lay off.”
So in Simmons’ view, baseball announcers are awful, but it’s better to have more of them. Maybe that dilutes the awfulness or something.
Here’s the full podcast. The baseball stuff begins around the 17:20 mark.