Baseball Broadcaster Impressions Project today with a look at the Tampa Bay Rays broadcasting teams.
TV Broadcasters: Dewayne Staats, Brian Anderson, Todd Kalas
I've watched more Rays games this year than I care to admit to so I have to be honest, I still have no idea what to make of their TV crew. Todd Kalas is great (more on him in a second) but I don't really know what to make of Staats and Anderson.
This doesn't mean Staats and Anderson are bad broadcasters or boring. I guess what I'm trying to say I just get a "meh" feeling listening to both of them. Staats I will admit has a great voice. I would listen to a 50 Shades of Grey audio book if Staats is the narrator. Staats though over relies on MLB game notes during the broadcast and isn't the best storyteller. Half of the time I barely even recognize him in the booth.
Brian Anderson is only in his 2nd year of analysis work. Like all former pitchers he's great at breaking down what a pitcher is doing while sometimes struggles breaking down what a hitter is doing. Anderson will also sometimes succumb to giggling fits you have to look past, but they can be easily ignored. I'll give Staats and Anderson credit for this though, they at least try to keep up with advanced stats without mocking them.
And finally there is Todd Kalas reporting from the sidelines. Now normally I'm not a big fan of sideline reporters in general, and I especially loathe sideline reporters in baseball. What's the point of being a sideline reporter in baseball? There aren't quarters or halftimes to talk to coaches. Most of the information is pointless.
Kalas though, along with Jim Knox in Texas, have a fun time as sideline reporters. They both mingle with the drunks in the outfield and up the overall entertainment level of the ballgame. They're not trying to provide hard hitting analysis or talk to some scrubs parents. They are there to provide entertainment, act a little goofy, and have a good time. If Harry Kalas was anything like Todd, then I truly regret not listening/watching Phillies games while Harry was alive.
Radio Broadcasters: Andy Freed, Dave Wills
Freed and Wills are a combo you rarely see. They're both technically competent when calling the game while both are personable. And neither guy dominates for air time.
That is one thing I have noticed listening to MLB games this year. When there are two play-by-play announcers one usually will try to dominate air time. I love Bob Uecker but he can dominate the air time even when he's not announcing that inning. Ditto to Tom Hamilton. Freed and Wills though give each other the time they need to call games without too much talking over each other.
While I generally enjoyed Freed and Wills, I won't go out of my way to listen to them. Like I said they're both technically competent and personable, they're both not the most charismatic broadcasters in the game. Nothing wrong with that, but a lack of charisma can make a broadcast drag along.