Crowdsourcing MLB Radio Broadcasters, Part 3: The West

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.

This last set of 10 surveys will cover the AL and NL West. 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 WEST

Los Angeles Angels

  • Terry Smith handles play-by-play duties
  • Mark Langston provides color commentary

Click here to rate Los Angeles’s radio broadcast team.

Houston Astros

  • Robert Ford handles play-by-play duties
  • Steve Sparks provides color commentary

Click here to rate Houston’s radio broadcast team.

Oakland Athletics

  • Ken Korach handles play-by-play duties
  • Vince Cotroneo provides additional play-by-play commentary
  • Ray Fosse appears for select games

Click here to rate Oakland’s radio broadcast team.

Seattle Mariners

  • Rick Rizzs handles play-by-play duties
  • Aaron Goldsmith and Dave Sims provide color commentary
  • Each also provides additional play-by-play commentary

Click here to rate Seattle’s radio broadcast team.

Texas Rangers

  • Eric Nadel handles play-by-play duties and provides color commentary
  • Matt Hicks provides color commentary and also handles play-by-play duties

Click here to rate Texas’s radio broadcast team.

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Greg Schulte handles play-by-play duties
  • Tom Candiotti provides color commentary
  • Mike Ferrin appears for select games

Click here to rate Arizona’s radio broadcast team.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Charlie Steiner handles play-by-play duties
  • Rick Monday provides color commentary
  • Tim Neverett provides additional play-by-play for select games

Click here to rate Los Angeles’s radio broadcast team.

San Francisco Giants

  • Jon Miller handles play-by-play duties
  • Dave Flemming alternates play-by-play duties with Miller
  • Duane Kuiper appears for select games
  • Mike Krukow appears for select games

Click here to rate San Francisco’s radio broadcast team.

San Diego Padres

  • Ted Leitner handles play-by-play duties
  • Jesse Agler also handles play-by-play duties
  • Tony Gwynn Jr. appears for select games

Click here to rate San Diego’s radio broadcast team.

Colorado Rockies

  • Jack Corrigan handles play-by-play duties
  • Mike Rice provides additional play-by-play and color commentary

Click here to rate Colorado’s radio 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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AngelsLakersFan
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AngelsLakersFan

It’s quite difficult to rate the Angels radio duo this way.

Langston is very good, especially when discussing pitchers, and he has the ‘charisma’ of a television analyst despite being on the radio.

Smith, conversely, is essentially blind, can’t follow the game on the monitor, stops paying attention regularly, is objectively terrible and has the charisma of the cockroach alien from Men In Black.

So I guess 5/10 across the board…

Matt
Member
Member
Matt

I don’t listen to the radio broadcasts very often anymore, but I used to love Terry and Rory Markas. They had great chemistry; the right amount of cynicism and humor to get you through a game.

AngelsLakersFan
Member
AngelsLakersFan

He might not have been all that terrible 20 years ago.

Pwn Shop
Member
Member
Pwn Shop

Amen, I made the same comment on my rating. I think i said Mark in my description of basically what you said, but what i mean is ‘the play by play discussion’ which is usually Terry.