September 11, 2012

Baseball Broadcaster Impressions: Houston

Continuing the Baseball Broadcaster Impressions Project with a look at the Houston Astros broadcasting teams.

TV Broadcasters: Bill Brown, Jim Deshaies

When Fangraphs did their Broadcaster Rankings earlier this year I was surprised to see the Houston Astros out of all teams be ranked so highly for their TV broadcasters. I was surprised to see so much gushing about a pair of broadcasters for a team that has been irrelevant for 5 years now. Well turns out the gushing was correct.

Brown and Deshaies are an excellent broadcasting duo. They're funny, informative, and entertaining. A fresh breathe of air for a terrible baseball team. I can't imagine how crazy Astros fans would become if they had to sit through the dullness of Matt Underwood and Rick Manning while the team stinks.

This duo will also mention advance stats during the broadcast which is also a shock. They both openly talk about advance stats and what they mean pertaining to a player they're talking about. Usually you'll only get one broadcaster who is up to speed on advance stats and not the other. These two though are both up to speed on advance stats and educate their audience on them.

Finally I'll say this about this duo. They're really not that great at broadcasting the actual game, especially Brown, but they're entertaining. They're not there to take you to broadcasting school, in a way kinda like Duane Kuiper, but they're there to call what they see and to entertain you. At the end of the day that's all what you can really ask for.

Radio Broadcasters: Milo Hamilton, Dave Raymond, Brett Dolan

If you look up Milo Hamilton's Wikipedia page you'll see he's worked for many different teams the past 60 years and was fired from every job except from the Houston Astros. He was fired by both the Cardinals and Cubs in favor of other broadcasters. He was fired in Atlanta for criticizing the attendance. He was fired in Pittsburgh for not being Bob Prince. The Cubs fired Hamilton again after he lost a power struggle with Harry Caray. He finally landed with the Astros after that and has been calling their games ever since.

I had not listened to Hamilton until this year. The big complain about him with the Astros is that he makes the game all about himself instead of just calling the action. I can say after listening to Hamilton a few times to say his critics aren't wrong. When Boog Powell visited the radio booth, Hamilton never talked about the game and only talked about Boog's BBQ stand that isn't in Houston. It was distracting from the game and quite honestly unprofessional.

Hamilton will retire from calling baseball games after this season which is a good thing for the Astros because that means Dave Raymond will take over the main duties.

Raymond, like Giants announcer Dave Flemming, is a Stanford grad who knows a lot about advance stats and has introduce them into broadcasts. The Astros radio broadcasting team will immediately improve with the addition of Raymond and the subtraction of Hamilton.


  1. This will show my age, but I remember when Hamilton announced Cubs games for his 2nd stint. I was going to school at Northwestern then and would listen to Cubs games while working. He would frequently talk over Brickhouse and barely talk about the game. How he's in the HOF is beyond me.

  2. apropos of this: