The art of storytelling is what sets good baseball broadcasts apart
Miss the pucks yet?
You know, I’m quite glad when good people get big jobs and there’s no doubt that Dan Shulman is one of the very best baseball broadcasters in the world but, man, did I miss him on the radio Sunday night.
(I know, it’s been a while since he’s been there but I’m not in the car for extended time on most Sundays).
Was driving back from Buffalo and not much helps pass the time than a big ball game on the radio and the Nats-Braves last night was pretty big with division and wild card implications.
But it wasn’t that good, to tell you the truth.
No disrespect to the guys doing the game but they seemed to be treating it as some fast-paced action event, all breathless and loud and excited.
It was baseball. It unfolds at a leisurely pace, you can’t over-hype it with excited yelps with every hit and baserunner.
I guess that’s why the best pros get to the really big gigs, they understand radio inflection, they get that the game is somewhat slow and there are times when stories should be told rather than stats delivered.
The game I listened to was too full of “information” rather than stories, I could learn what this guy or that guy had done in his last 20 at-bats or four pitching outings but I didn’t hear an old story once.
I wish Vin Scully did every baseball game every night from every ball park.
There is no sport better suited to radio than baseball, never will be, but it’s best suited to that medium because the best broadcasters know how weave tales into the game, they know when to throttle back on the excitement and let some history come through.
It’s got to be tremendously hard, requiring experience, context, the ability to string along a story in between plays.
The greats do it; the lesser greats turn what could be a tremendously enjoyable evening into just another game.
So, what’s an NFL day like for a grunt?
(Yeah, that’s how I spent my Sunday, chronicling the adventures of the Buffalo Bills; Smelly Ford Focus got me through another few hours of driving)
Well, I don’t have anything to compare the Buffalo experience to but the Bills do it up pretty well.
An interloper gets a seat on the 50, albeit three rows back, but there’s a good gratis breakfast, the PR folks couldn’t do enough for you, access to the locker room and interview room post-game goes off without a hitch and the players were quotable, glad to answer any question and available in pretty good time.
The only issue would be the somewhat antiseptic feeling in the press box, which is glass-enclosed and the windows don’t open.
Now, I understand how glad you’d be for that in, say, November or December but it tends to make it eerily quiet in there, no ambient crowd noise, you can’t hear the hits and it’s kind of lke watching a game on the best 120-yard long HD television in the world.
If it wasn’t for all the Sunday afternoon/evening basketball that’s in my future, I’d go back again in a heartbeat.
Heard this on the radio whilst typing this morning (thanks, Q107, you never disappoint) and it opens an age-old debate.
Which Darrin was better?
I’m going with Dick York but it’s close.
And, yes, I had as big a crush on Elizabeth Montgomery as you can imagine; who didn’t?
But I liked Serena a bit better than Samantha and when I used to watch Hollywood Squares, I always thought of Paul Lynde as Uncle Arthur.
And wasn’t Abner Kravitz the most put-upon husband of all time?
Yeah, I spent far too many hours of the formative years watching TV.
Speaking of coming Sunday afternoons …
Two weeks today is media day, two weeks tomorrow is first practice out east in Halifax (yes, I’ll be seeking food/drink input from Haligonians as we get closer to the date) and you can sense a level of anticipation here and around the league.
I understand Valanciunas got in on the weekend, I think about a dozen of the 16 guys coming to camp are in town (Lowry gets in today, I’m reading) and the coaches are hanging around devising practice plans and stuff like that.
Guess that’s all a long-winded way of saying we’re closing in on a time when there’ll be legitimate HOTH items for here.
Oh, yeah, Bills fans.
I know we couldn’t hear the audience as well as we’d like but apparently there’s some reward system where fans get free subs or somesuch if the team scores 20 points in a game and when the Bills got third touchdown, I didn’t see anyone going wild with glee over free food at all.
There’s a difference in the two crowds.
Wonder if the guy I was following down the Peace Bridge yesterday morning – the one with the Ontario licence plate that read SASK RR – was a bit conflicted about going to a Bills game?
And I guess there’s nothing wrong with a church charging $20 a car to park on a Sunday morning but when I pulled up around 11 a.m. I did wonder where all the parishioners were.