I always considered a baseball broadcaster's primary responsibility to paint with words, to describe what he saw happening on the diamond. And if it happened to be a television broadcast rather than a radio, he could add some colorful background information on players, provide a story, or delve a little into statistics.
But whether it was radio or television, I never expected a broadcaster to be a pitching coach, a hitting instructor, or a manager and I certainly never expected him to behave like a clairvoyant and predict what would happen.
He was supposed to be a storyteller or a colorful sidekick. And in that baseball uses no clock, he would provide just enough information as filler to keep it entertaining and informative. The good ones, I thought, would alter their delivery according to each situation and then let the listener or viewer make their own predictions and decisions. He would inspire thoughts in the listeners mind that might provoke further discussion with friends.
Unfortunately, todays broadcasters seldom do this. Instead, they pose as clairvoyants. They pollute one broadcast after another. Hardly an inning goes by without a broadcaster declaring what will happen, what should happen, or why it didn't happen. Former athletes are often the culprits and in many cases, this is true, but I think the blame lay elsewhere and really it is no one's fault at all.
The amount of excellent information available to broadcasters and fans is at an all time high. We are completely inundated with superb statistical analysis, effective batting and pitching techniques, technological wizardry. What's lost in all these developments is the blind and drunk driver of destiny's chariot....the element of unpredictability. This element of surprise is what first attracted me most to baseball. And announcers capable of preserving that element provided years of entertainment.
Dick Enberg (Padres), Vin Scully (Dodgers), and the Cubs announcer...not Bob Brenly, but the other one....Those three guys still paint pictures, add some player profiles and leave it at that. People tell me that Vin Scully is not the same as he used to be. It might be true, but he is still absolutely amazing in that he never gives an opinion. He lays the cards out on the table for the listener to ponder. He'll tell you how bad the pitcher is at holding runners on and how successful the base stealer has been this year and how great the catcher has been at throwing out runners. He'll add depth to his adjectives by providing statisitics and then he'll pause and throws in a, "so we have a duel on our hands."
I hope the baseball broadcast world expands like the print media has with online inventions like this website. I don't go to the Journal for Brewers Info. I don't even go to the team Website. I come here first and then back track to the other sources. Since this website and others like it provide excellent information and dialogue, I'm thinking there must be plenty of broadcasters out there covering the games, including Brewers games on podcasts or elsewhere. I'm thinking they might provide a better balance of clairvoyance, painting pictures and profiles of players.