Crowdsourcing MLB Broadcasts, Part 3: The West

Here at FanGraphs, we devote a lot of time to analyzing baseball. I flatter myself to think that our analysis, in some cases, helps shape the way you consume the sport. Measured in that way, however, we fall far short of the influence that your local broadcast of choice exerts. We may grace your brainwaves for a handful of minutes every day, but every time you watch a game on TV, the announcers are granted three hours to shape your view and enjoyment of the sport.

In fact, I would venture that no one group contributes more to your enjoyment and understanding of baseball than your most frequently-viewed broadcast crew. Despite that, it has been over four years since we last compiled a ranking of broadcast groups. Starting Monday and continuing until today, we will post a series of surveys, one for each major league franchise. We will then use the results of these surveys to compile a comprehensive fan-based ranking of all television broadcast crews.

When you peruse the section for your team or teams of choice, you will find a link to a poll. That poll covers three categories, as well as an overall ranking. In addition, there is a separate space for any additional comments you would like to make. The eventual ranking of broadcast teams will be quantitative, but I will include relevant comments from this section in my writing of those rankings.

The “Analysis” score covers the frequency and quality of a broadcast team’s discussion of baseball. Of note, this doesn’t mean sabermetric or statistical analysis, though some broadcast teams certainly excel in that area. Rather, it covers all the ways in which a broadcast team attempts to inform viewers about the players on the field and the game situation they find themselves in.

Is a color commentator particularly adept at breaking down a hitter’s adjustments? That’s excellent analysis. Does a broadcaster mention a player’s DRS, then use that number without context to explain why someone is a good or bad defender? That’s bad analysis, despite its use of advanced metrics. This category’s score should represent how much you feel you learn about baseball while you watch the game.

The “Charisma” score covers the amount of enjoyment you derive from listening to the announcers. Does the booth’s camaraderie make you feel like you’re listening to a game with friends? Does an announcer’s wistful recounting of his playing days leave you in stitches? Do you find yourself just downright having fun listening to their stories? All of that is contained in this category.

The “Coherence” score was the most difficult category to name. It covers how well the broadcast explains the action on the field as it happens. Is the play-by-play crisp and informative? Do the announcers keep viewers abreast of the count and game situation in discussing team strategy? When a strange situation comes up, do they convey what happened and what it means for the two teams effectively?

The “Overall” score does not need to be an even weighting of each of the three categories above. It is simply a measure of how much you enjoy watching a broadcast. Some broadcasts excel at emphasizing their strengths, focusing on whichever qualities their viewers most enjoy. Others mistakenly emphasize weak points. All of this, and any other factors that influence your experience while watching a broadcast booth, apply here. One note: please do try to separate any feelings you have about the team itself from this rating. A club can have an excellent broadcast even if the product on the field often disappoints, and vice versa.

The third set of 10 surveys covers the teams of the NL and AL West divisions. If you’d like to respond to an earlier survey, the East can be found here and the Central can be found here. Please feel free to respond to as many surveys you like, so long as you feel you have watched enough of the broadcast in the past two years to have an informed opinion about it.

One final note: the unique challenges of broadcasting during the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the composition of several booths. I have endeavored to list the most current information available for each broadcast team, but in some cases the personnel mix for 2021 may still be in flux, or I may have otherwise erred in compiling the list of contributors. If your enjoyment of a team is particularly contingent on a single broadcaster whose status for next year is as of yet unknown, please mention that in the space provided for additional comments in the survey.

AL WEST

Los Angeles Angels

  • Victor Rojas handles play-by-play duties.
  • Terry Smith also handles play-by-play duties occasionally.
  • Mark Gubicza provides color commentary.
  • Tim Salmon appears in select games to provide color commentary.
  • Alex Curry provides field-level reporting.

Click here to rate the Los Angeles television broadcast team.

Houston Astros

  • Todd Kalas handles play-by-play duties.
  • Kevin Eschenfelder provides additional play-by-play coverage.
  • Geoff Blum provides color commentary.
  • Julia Morales provides field-level reporting.

Click here to rate the Houston television broadcast team.

Oakland Athletics

  • Glen Kuiper handles play-by-play duties.
  • Ray Fosse provides color commentary.
  • Eric Chavez occasionally provides color commentary.
  • Dallas Braden provides field-level reporting and color commentary for home games and select road games.

Click here to rate the Oakland television broadcast team.

Seattle Mariners

  • Dave Sims handles play-by-play duties.
  • Aaron Goldsmith occasionally handles play-by-play duties.
  • Mike Blowers provides color commentary.

Click here to rate the Seattle television broadcast team.

Texas Rangers

  • Dave Raymond handles play-by-play duties.
  • Tom Grieve, C.J. Nitkowski, and David Murphy provide color commentary.
  • Nitkowski doubles as a backup play-by-play announcer.
  • Mark McLemore occasionally provides additional color commentary.
  • Emily Jones provides field-level reporting.

Click here to rate the Texas television broadcast team.

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Steve Berthiaume handles play-by-play duties.
  • Greg Schulte occasionally handles play-by-play duties.
  • Bob Brenly provides color commentary.

Click here to rate the Arizona television broadcast team.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Joe Davis handles play-by-play duties.
  • Charley Steiner and Tim Neverett occasionally handle play-by-play duties.
  • Orel Hershiser provides color commentary.
  • Nomar Garciaparra provides additional color commentary in select games.
  • Alanna Rizzo provides field-level reporting.

Click here to rate the Los Angeles television broadcast team.

San Francisco Giants

  • Duane Kuiper and Jon Miller alternate play-by-play duties (depending on network).
  • Mike Krukow provides color commentary.
  • Dave Flemming occasionally provides additional color commentary.
  • Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez appear for select games.
  • Amy Gutierrez provides field-level reporting.

Click here to rate the San Francisco television broadcast team.

San Diego Padres

  • Don Orsillo handles play-by-play duties.
  • Mike Pomeranz and Jesse Agler occasionally cover play-by-play duties.
  • Mark Grant and Mike Sweeney provide color commentary.
  • Tony Gwynn Jr. appears for select games.
  • Bob Scanlan provides field-level reporting.

Click here to rate the San Diego television broadcast team.

Colorado Rockies

  • Drew Goodman handles play-by-play duties.
  • Jenny Cavnar handles play-by-play duties for select games and also provides field-level reporting for other games.
  • Jeff Huson provides color commentary.
  • Ryan Spilborghs provides additional color commentary.
  • Cory Sullivan appears for select games

Click here to rate the Colorado television broadcast team.





Ben is a contributor to FanGraphs. A lifelong Cardinals fan, he got his start writing for Viva El Birdos. He can be found on Twitter @_Ben_Clemens.

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Re Diamondbacks: The great Joe Garagiola died in 2016.