Smoltzie returns to Braves broadcasts

Smoltzie, probably the best baseball analyst working today, will join Chip and Joe for “select Atlanta Braves games during the season on FOX Sports South and SportSouth,” according to a press release that just landed in my inbox.

Tom Glavine will also be returning for “select games,” though it’s unclear how many each will work. Tommy G. doesn’t offer much, but Smoltzie will markedly improve the quality of the telecasts.



Pete screwed again

Texas Rangers broadcaster Eric Nadel wins the Ford C. Frick Award, besting Pete Van Wieren, one of 10 finalists. Nadel may be worthy, I don’t know, but any club that has Milo Hamilton as a member doesn’t deserve the likes of Pete, Skip and Ernie.

Sure would’ve been nice seeing Pete inducted into the HOF along with Bobby, Mad Dog and, presumably, Glavine.

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.

Voices of the Braves screwed again by HOF

Guess who’s not among the 10 finalists for the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Broadcasting Award, previously given to blowhards Milo Hamilton and Tim McCarver?

How Skip, Pete and Ernie — beloved locally and nationally — continue to be overlooked is baffling. Meanwhile, DeWayne Staats, employed by three teams before he became “the voice of the Rays,” made this year’s cut.

I’m beginning to think MLB takes pleasure in slighting the Braves.

Last chance to vote for Skip and Pete

If you don’t have a Facebook account sign up for one — it’s free, and it’s the least you can do for the voices of the Braves.


Fan voting for the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award ballot ends at 5 p.m. ET on Friday. Cast your vote on Facebook for your favorite broadcaster!


Encourage Chip Caray to keep tweeting stupid shit

Maybe he’ll get himself canned.

Chip Caray’s Twitter feed last night tweeted the following, which appears to be Caray snarking on a news headline regarding the Aurora shooting to make an anti-Obama point (i.e. the “brighter day” will come when Obama is voted-out in Novemeber):


As The Outside Corner blog details, Caray’s followers called him out as insensitive, after which Caray almost immediately said his Twitter account was hacked.  His feed then goes on in detail to explain that he was hacked, he didn’t say that thing about Obama and then asks for help in trying to change his password on his iPad.

But also, as The Outside Corner notes, if Caray was hacked, it’s kind of an odd hack as immediately before and after the tweet in question, Caray tweeted a bunch of things that would be typical for someone like Caray to tweet. Talking baseball, congratulating Ron Santo on his Hall of Fame induction, etc.

In a world in which everyone who says something dumb on Twitter immediately claims they were hacked … what do we make of this?


Off the field annoyances

The list is growing, thanks to the FSN Twitter chick. Perhaps she and Chip will be involved in an embarrassing, Bobby Petrino-esque incident that will get them both fired. Chip’s singsong narrative is driving me to drink (more).

I won’t even bother to wish for an end to Mark Owens’ obnoxious between innings patter or “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” in the 7th. But it sure would be nice.



HOF robs Skip, inducts annoying gasbag

I knew it.

Tim McCarver, who has been a national analyst on television networks for three decades and simultaneously shined as part of broadcast teams with four big league clubs, was named on Wednesday the 2012 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Hard to take any committee seriously (click the link above to find out who’s responsible for this absurdity) that inducts Milo Hamilton but has no room for Skip, Ernie and Pete.

Cross your fingers for Skip

The HOF will announce the winner of the Ford  C. Frick award tomorrow (not today as originally scheduled). Skip is among the finalists, along with a bunch of guys I’m not familiar with and one with whom we’re all too familiar.

If Tim McCarver gets in over Skip then I suggest we pool our resources to send Deion and a bucket of water to the home of each voter. I’m pessimistic, considering this is the same group responsible for inducting Joe Garagiola and Milo Hamilton.

A programming note and a shameless plug

Tonight at 9 EST on the MLB Network Bob Costas interviews Knucksie, who’s quite the storyteller.

Speaking of storytellers you might enjoy my article just posted on about Larry Munson’s movie club.

No question Munson loved the ladies, but around his movie chums he was more like one of the girls. He could dish with the best of them, recalled Trevor Johns, who worked with Munson on WSB’s “Hometown Radio Show.”

“He was quite the fashion critic,” Johns said. “If he didn’t like what you were wearing he’d tell you: ‘My God, that outfit looks terrible.’ “

“Larry liked being with us because he could be himself,” she added. “And he liked that we took care of him.”

Munson the Brave

Before he became a Bulldog, Larry Munson was, briefly, a voice of the Braves. If only he had stayed and Milo Hamilton left.

Wouldn’t you have loved to hear Larry call Hank’s 715th?

Munson, who said baseball was his favorite sport, reminded me of Jack Buck, and I love Jack Buck. I can easily imagine Larry telling listeners to “go crazy, folks, go crazy” or say “I don’t believe what I just saw” and mean it.

Munson, Ernie, Skip and Pete would’ve been a helluva foursome. Now I’m being greedy.

The first year the Braves were in Atlanta, the television broadcasts were on WSB-TV. An occasional guest color commentator was former major leaguer Dizzy Dean. One memorable Friday night that first year during a rain delay, Dean warbled several verses of the Wabash Cannonball and purchased peanuts from a vendor in the stands, much to Munson’s on-air amusement.

Vote Ernie!

Milo Hamilton is in the Hall of Fame. Ernie, Skip and Pete are not. That ain’t right.

You can vote ONCE A DAY at the Hall of Fame’s Facebook page through September, starting today. Spread the word, and vote daily. If every Braves fan votes 30 times, we can have an impact.

We don’t want to split the vote, so I suggest casting your ballot for Ernie, the senior member of our great triumvirate of broadcasters.

So much for the warm fuzzies

Very disappointing night at the Ted. It should’ve been all about the greatest team in Atlanta sports history and the city’s most beloved announcer but tributes to both seemed little more than afterthoughts. Between innings it was the usual noise, with the overly enthusiastic Down’s Syndrome guy cheering on the saw and the other usual distractions. Why show a highlight of the ’91 team when you can play “Way down yonder on the Chattahooch” for the millionth time. Would’ve liked to have heard Ernie’s voice more than once as well but instead we got John Denver. For the millionth time. Hell, even the trivia question wasn’t about the ’91 Braves.

Whoever rescues this franchise from the inanimate corporate rod that owns it should, as their first act, fire the promotional hacks who seem intent on turning the ballpark experience into one that could be had at any amusement park or suburban megachurch. You guys suck worse than Derek Lowe.

And Derek Lowe sucks.Time for him to become baseball’s best-paid mop-up reliever.

As for the 10,000 overbearing Little Bears fans … I could go on and on. But why waste time on those losers when I can post the greatest rant in sports history. By the way, Lee Elia now works for the Braves.