Biggest "Homer" Announcers.
Biggest "Homer" Announcers.
A pal of mine Joel Nemerof who fled the cold streets of New York years ago after a stint in baseball's minor leagues, lives near me in South Florida. He knows the game of baseball as well as anyone, and has a pet peeve about our National pastime. He can't stand MLB announcers who are "Homer." My friend goes crazy over the broadcasters of the Miami Marlin games. They irritate him so much that when he does watch Marlin games on television he keeps the audio off. The Marlin's broadcast team are Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton. The Marlin's announcers seems to broadcast as if no one is watching, which, to be fair, is probably true. Rather than rise above the monotony, however, they seem to embrace it, fading into the bleak, orange emptiness that surrounds them. Perhaps the only notable thing about Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton is their propensity to call players by first name, a classic "homer" giveaway. Waltz and Hutton rank high on baseball's worse "homer" list but they don't occupy first place. That distinction belongs to an ex-major league player. We'll name him later.
The Boston Red Sox Jerry Remy is called a "homer." Some say it's all based on his New England accent. His critics say anyone sporting such a prominent New England patois must have an intense sports bias. Remy fans say he's a colorful and evenhanded announcer and doesn't deserve the "homer' rap.
The Philadelphia Phillies announcer Chris Wheeler is a local kid that got a job with the hometown team out of college and kind of just stuck around until someone threw him in front of the mic. That was three decades ago, and the man with no baseball background of appreciable charisma has been calling for the Phillies ever since. Wheeler loves history. Especially Phillies history.The only thing he loves more is sharing that history with the viewing audience. Wheels as his friends call him was at the Phillies-Cubs game in 1987, and yes, he is going to recount it in excruciating detail.
Chip Caray is best known for being an awful announcer. He insists on calling Atlanta Braves players by their first name and, by extension, dragging the family name through the mud.
Tampa Bay has Brian Anderson. The Rays are a really good team with a ton of talent but no one in Florida seems to care. Faced with such deficits you almost have to be a "homer." "Guys!" Did anyone see that Evan Longoria base hit? It was pretty awesome. "Hello?"
In describing Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton, the words "dominant" - "duable" -and even "under-appreciated," come to mind. Perhaps it's his condescending treatment of opponents that's caused him to bounce from the Angels to the Brewers to the Diamondbacks, all in the course of one decade.
The Yankees have the only female broadcaster in the Major Leagues. She's Suzyn Waldman and she took a lot of B.S. to make it in the alpha male world of baseball broadcaster's, but, her heart is as pinstriped as they come. One can't fault her for showing emotion, but it's clear she's not after journalistic objectivity.
We can name many other "homers", the late Ron Santo of the Cubs was one, the Pirates had Bob Prince, and who can forget Harry Caray who was a Cubs fan first and their broadcaster second. The Wrigley fateful loved him. After all, straight men like Mel Allen and Red Barber never got a statue. Harry did.
Today's number one "homer" is Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox. His critics, claim his broadcast's are like "watching a game with a grumpy uncle you never want to watch games with, it isn't fun." They say,"only the most passionate and "delusional" White Sox fan could call his needling "homerism" and incessant catch-phrasing as "endearing." They say he's a "clown", and a biased one at that.
There's little consensus in the subjective world of evaluating announcers, but baseball gives us two "absolutes."
The White Sox Ken "Hawk" Harrelson is the "absolute" worst "homer" in MLB, while Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, at age 84, is the "absolute" best announcer in the game (1950-present)...
Our Marlin broadcasters Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton could one day take over Harrelson's number one "homer" position, but if they call games for another 50 years they'll never reach the Vin Scully status. My pal Joel would be happy if they found other jobs. Like calling "Bingo" games at the nearby Hollywood, Florida Seminole Casino.
by: Larry Upton
"Upton on Sports"-source:bleacherreport/wikipedia/Larry Upton
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