Crowdsourcing MLB Radio Broadcasters, Part 1: The East

Over the course of this offseason, FanGraphs is compiling a crowdsourced ranking of our readers’ favorite broadcasts. Last month, we announced the results of the crowdsourced vote on TV broadcasts. Now we are once again asking for your help, this time for each team’s radio broadcast.

The radio broadcasts will follow the same general format as our earlier TV broadcast surveys. 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 radio 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 listeners 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 listen to 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 listeners 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? I expect that this category will prove more divisive in radio than it did in the TV ratings, because play-by-play announcers carry more weight when there’s no visual component.

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 listening to a broadcast. Some broadcasts excel at emphasizing their strengths, focusing on whichever qualities their listeners most enjoy. Others mistakenly emphasize weak points. All of this, and any other factors that influence your experience while listening to 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 first set of 10 surveys will cover the AL and NL East. The other 20 teams will follow in subsequent days. Please feel free to respond to as many of the surveys as you’d like, provided you have listened to the broadcast often enough in the last two years that you feel you can provide 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. Also, if I incorrectly identified a team’s main announcers, please let me know in the comments and I’ll correct it.

AL EAST

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Ben Wagner handles play-by-play duties
  • The team has not yet announced a replacement for Mike Wilner

Click here to rate Toronto’s radio broadcast team.

Baltimore Orioles

  • Geoff Arnold, Brett Hollander, Kevin Brown, and Melanie Newman combine in pairs of two to handle play-by-play duties
  • Mike Bordick, Ben McDonald, Brian Roberts, Dave Johnson, and Gregg Olsen provide color commentary

Click here to rate Baltimore’s radio broadcast team.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Andy Freed and Dave Wills comprise the main pairing
  • Neil Solondz provides occasional play-by-play commentary

Click here to rate Tampa Bay’s radio broadcast team.

Boston Red Sox

  • Joe Castiglione handles play-by-play duties
  • Sean McDonough and Will Flemming provide additional play-by-play commentary
  • Lou Merloni provides color commentary

Click here to rate Boston’s radio broadcast team.

New York Yankees

  • John Sterling handles play-by-play duties
  • Suzyn Waldman provides color commentary

Click here to rate New York’s radio broadcast team.

NL EAST

Atlanta Braves

  • Jim Powell handles play-by-play duties
  • Ben Ingram provides additional play-by-play commentary
  • Joe Simpson provides color commentary
  • Don Sutton and Mark Lemke appear for select games

Click here to rate Atlanta’s radio broadcast team.

Miami Marlins

  • Dave Van Horne handles play-by-play duties for five innings
  • Glenn Geffner handles play-by-play duties for the remaining four innings

Click here to rate Miami’s radio broadcast team.()

New York Mets

  • Howie Rose handles play-by-play duties
  • Wayne Randazzo provides additional play-by-play commentary
  • Ed Coleman and Brad Heller appear for select games

Click here to rate New York’s radio broadcast team.

Washington Nationals

  • Charlie Slowes handles play-by-play duties
  • Dave Jageler also handles play-by-play duties
  • Pete Medhurst appears for select games

Click here to rate Washington’s radio broadcast team.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Scott Franzke handles play-by-play duties
  • Larry Anderson and Kevin Frandsen provide color commentary

Click here to rate Philadelphia’s radio broadcast team.





Ben is a writer at FanGraphs. He can be found on Twitter @_Ben_Clemens.

2 Comments
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David Kleinmember
2 years ago

Howie Rose is a legend and the absolute best but sadly he’s stuck with Wayne Randazzo who is a complete bore, I very much miss Josh Lewin.

svyatogornyjmember
2 years ago
Reply to  David Klein

Wayne is okay but I agree that Josh was good with Howie. Probably his best partner.