So what is a broadcaster’s responsibility?

Talking Chop is miffled about an exchange last night between Chip and Joe and Tom Hart over advanced stats. Predictably, Chip and Joe played the role of dismissive boobs, but that has nothing to do with why I like one and not the other.

The stat geeks hate Joe, but I appreciate his occasional candor and knowledge of the team. Joe is the only one of the Braves broadcasting quartet who criticizes the local nine when warranted, and it’s obvious he’s emotionally invested in the Braves. Stylistically, I prefer his low-key approach to the bombast of his partner. (And so does he; when I interviewed Joe a few years ago he referred to former partner Bob Rathbun as a “game show host.”)

When paired with a pro like Sciambi, Joe is even better but unfortunately he’s saddled with Chip, who’s an unmitigated disaster. He truly doesn’t seem to understand the game, routinely making uninformed observations. Dip is also too cute by half a ton — hell, he doesn’t even do a decent impression of his dad.

Speaking of, I wonder how Talking Chop would feel about Skip. There’s no doubt he’d be hostile to sabermetrics. Would that make him a bad broadcaster? According to TC, it would, which is absurd. Skip was the best: Funny, invested and informed about the team he’s covering. I want personalities, not accountants. There’s plenty of outlets for the latter, if that’s what you want. Most of us prefer to be entertained.

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4 Comments on So what is a broadcaster’s responsibility?

  1. Amen to that; I’ll take a Skip Carey or a Vin Scully any day. I like my broadcasters to have that narrative style, and to be invested in and caring about the team that they cover. The advanced stats are best kept in spreadsheets in the GM’s and Scouts’ offices; give me the personality on the radio.

  2. I can’t believe I’m commenting this way but I think Talking Chop, most of Twitter, and Tom Hart are overreacting.

    I wish Jim Powell and Don Sutton would handle the tv duties but only because Chip & Joe aren’t my cup of tea. I want my broadcasters to be entertaining, informative, love baseball, and be emotionally invested in the team they’re covering. This is why playoff baseball is tough to watch, sometimes.

    I just watched Moneyball and of course have read the book twice. I don’t want to hear one word about statistics beyond a player’s current line. They’re boring and they don’t coincide with the visuals.

  3. Skip would hate sabermetrics, while Pete Van Wieren would offer an opinion as to why they have value. They would have an interesting and entertaining conversation about it. The other night Chip was just blatantly siding with Joe. Joe has a lot to offer – being in professional baseball for 40 years. However he needs someone in the booth with him who is not afraid to disagree with every opinion he has.

  4. As I stated on another blog, I do like some of the newer (people hate when I say that…these metrics have been around for almost 40 years now, let’s stop calling them ‘new’) in terms of the overall season and how they might project a certain player. However, I don’t need to know ever single last metric to understand the game. I don’t need to know how many base hits a player has on the season with a 1-2 count (which is something that I saw on ESPN one night over the score, no lie). Besides the overabundance of numbers, there is the ‘eye’ test for players. Sometimes a guy just has a hit in him that goes against everything he’s done all season. It’s just the way baseball is.

    As for Joe and Skip, they do drive me crazy often. I feel like Joe sometimes pulls for the opposing team, especially when it comes to Boog’s best team, the Marlins. I know that he’s trying to be fair, but I was spoiled by Skip and Pete who lived and died by the Braves. As for Chip…well, I’ll repeat his words: “BELTED, DEEP LEFT FIELD, THAT ONE’S GONNA BE…caught for an out in shallow left.” (Uggg)

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