Jay Busbee over at Yahoo! Sports put together a list of the 50 worst announcers in sports. Always a contentious topic, the article has gotten 2654 comments to date, with plenty of suggestions for additions to the list. Quite frankly, announcers in the media saturation age have become so overanalyzed by columnists like Mushnick and Raissman that it is difficult for anyone to look good. They spend an inordinate amount of their time speaking to the public, and that just means they will eventually say something stupid or make a mistake. Whereas in the past, those mistakes would go largely unnoticed, today they are placed onto YouTube within minutes.
Regardless of my opinion on the issue, the Yankees’ TV and radio play by play men were both recognized as being among the worst at their professions. WCBS Radio’s John Sterling came in at number 17, with the caption reading “Catch-phrases flop to the ground like beached marlin; “Thaaaaaa Yankees win!” is the worst victory cry ever.” I disagree with this assessment of Sterling, as I find him entertaining when the game is on the line. While I find his frequent mistakes irksome and feel that many of his catchphrases are over the top for an April game against the Royals, I cannot deny that his antics get me excited in the 7th inning of a big game against Boston. People who do not like his victory cry probably do not like the fact that it means that the Yankees won the game. One of the indelible moments of the 2003 ALCS was Charlie Steiner and Sterling teaming up on “Thaaaa Yankeeees Wiiin” after Aaron Boone sent the team to the World Series. Is he overly emotional, repetitive, and prone to error? Certainly. But is he entertaining? Always, and that is what I want from an announcer. Just as an aside, I can tell you from experience that his antics bring children closer to the game, as I frequently hear children who may otherwise be disinterested mimicking his calls. For a sport that has lost many younger followers to flashier games that lend themselves better to minute to minute excitement, this is a factor that cannot be overstated.
Yes Network’s Michael Kay came in at 49 on the list, a ranking I vehemently disagree with . Kay is awful, and he should be much higher up. He never adjusted to the switch from the radio to TV, and is therefore overly descriptive and talks at moments that should speak for themselves. Furthermore, he is obviously trying to be unbiased, and overcompensates by showing more excitement upon success by the opposition than when good fortune strikes the Yankees. Thankfully, the Yes Network has a team of about 75 announcers, so there are games in which we do not have to listen to Mr. Kay even if we do not mute the television.
Just to question the credibility of the list, Mike Francesa checks in at 32. Being that Francesa is not an announcer outside of the few gimmicky instances in which he called games with his former partner, this just seems like an uncalled for potshot at Mike due to his notoriety. Also, Gus Johnson is on the list, which is patently ridiculous. Gus is so awesome that they need to create a new word that denotes someone being even more awesome than awesome, and use that word to describe him.
How do you feel about the Yankee announcers?