View Full Version : Great plays and mistakes

07-18-2006, 10:17 PM
Since I got XM radio, I've been listening to a lot of baseball and there seems to be something rather common among most announcers. It's actually common in other sports as well, but I listen to more baseball so I guess I notice it more there. It's the whole double standard about what are great plays and what are mistakes.

Announcer Bob is the play by play guy for Team A. The slugger for Team A hits a home run. Bob praises the hitter for a good piece of hitting. The next inning a hitter for the other team hits a homer. Bob berates the pitcher for giving up a homer and mentions that the pitch was a mistake that allowed the hitter to hit it out. No credit is given to the hitter for actually hitting the homer and all blame is attached to the pitcher for giving it up. When Team A's hitter hit a homer, he was praised and no blame was attached to the opposing pitcher for giving it up. Was either homer the result of good hitting, poor pitching, or perhaps a little bit of both? Bob, however, never sees things both ways.

Later in the game, the slugger strikes out. Bob tells the listener that the hitter is the one who struck out and that doing such was somehow his fault and is a sign of a poor at bat. When a player on the opposing team strikes out, the pitcher is praised for striking him out. What announcer Bob believes: "When our pitchers strike out a hitter, it is a great piece of pitching, but when our hitters strike out it is poor hitting and unacceptable."

The same holds true for walks. An opposing hitter walks and it is all the pitcher's fault for walking him. A hitter for Team A walks and it is a great at bat to draw the walk.

And on and on and on. In football it's always a great play when your defensive back intercepts a pass but a poor pass when the other team picks off your QB. If your QB is sacked, it's the line's fault for giving it up, but if your team sacks the opposing QB, it's a great play by the defensive player.

I guess there are plenty of examples in most every sport and hardly any announcer is immune. Even some of the "non-biased" network announcers fall into this trap on occasion and possibly betray their loyalties. The bottom line: Our team makes great plays but the other team only accomplishes anything good if one of our guys screw up and allow them to. I know that sometimes a play happens a certain way because of a mistake of some sort and sometimes it is through a good piece of skill on the part of an athlete, but to many announcers this is a one way street. Most of the time I just ignore it, but occasionally it gets on my nerves.

Johnny Footstool
07-19-2006, 10:43 AM
It gets on my nerves, too. Many people seem unable to see thing objectively, without bias. It's not just in sports, either.

07-19-2006, 10:51 AM
Its because humans arent perfect. At least thats what I learned through my travels. No such thing as 100% "unbiased" as everyone has one.

07-19-2006, 03:17 PM
ORH, you obviously aren't listening to George Grande enough, because he certainly praises the other team a whole lot. If Aurilia K's or even gets out, it was a great pitch no doubt. Don't make me start talking about the Cards, they do everything right...i mean, all the little things right.

07-19-2006, 04:29 PM
one of mlb's greatest mistakes is the creation of the nymets

07-20-2006, 06:11 AM
Honestly, bias in broadcasting really doesn't bother me in the slightlest.

You know it will be ther going in, I'd much rather the guy wear it on the sleeve and run with it then feign impartialism.

Think about it - the clubs employ these guys to talk about their teams. The overwhelming bulk of listeners and eyeballs on that broadcast are fans of the team. Give them what they want.

What I loathe about broadcasts is the idiotic, brainless cliches and baseball bookisms that get bandied about on a daily basis on all baseball broadcasts. Be a homer, that's fine, but think about something before you say it.

I want to throw things at the screen everytime I hear a color "anaylst" berate a team for batting 3 left handers in a row. But no one makes a peep if they bat 6 righties back to back.

I've had the mlb package for a few years now and have seen and heard some downright awful announcers. Just do like I do - turn on the stereo, turn off the sound and enjoy the game without intrusion. I find for the really bad announcers, this is quite the fix.

07-20-2006, 06:16 AM
ORH - there was a chunk of a column in Baseball Prospectus a I read last week that you might find interesting


Think about the last game you watched on television. Was there a leadoff double at any point, or perhaps a leadoff single followed by a stolen base? With a runner on second and no one out, the broadcasters will invariably talk about how the batter has to get the runner over to third. If he does this with a groundball to the right side, not only will there be effusive verbal praise--even in the first inning--but there will be a camera shot of the player walking into the dugout after making his out and being greeted with enthusiasm.

If the player lines a single to left that scores the run, though, you’ll never see that shot. You’ll see him getting a pat on the rear from his first-base coach, while the guy who scored slaps hands with 30 people in the dugout.

It’s a small point, but I think it’s one of those ways in which events that actually reduce run scoring become ingrained in our minds as positive ones. That sequence--and look for it in the next game you watch, I guarantee you’ll see it--costs a team runs on balance (fractionally, but it’s a negative-EV event), but is treated as a terrific baseball play. Multiply those congratulatory shots by 2,000, and you can understand why it’s hard to convince people that it’s a bad play.