Your place for Minnesota Twins and New Britain Rock Cats coverage, analysis and opinion.

Monday, August 15, 2011

If You Think Dick & Bert Are Bad . . .

Many casual Twins fans seem to genuinely enjoy Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven calling Twins games for FSN. If you tune in just once or twice a week, or for snippets of games here and there, the truth is that they do a pretty good job. Yes, they are "homers," but that's expected. Dick Bremer calls a decent game, and Bert does have good baseball insight.

Of the Twins fans that watch almost every telecast, however, some grow weary of Dick and Bert's style, especially Bert's repeated sayings, such as "You are hereby circled," his dislike for the pitch count, his (up until this season) pleas to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, his general dislike for Kevin Slowey, etc.

Although I watch most Twins games, I think I fall into the first camp. I really don't have a strong distaste for Blyleven and Bremer, and I actually think they do an all right job. Admittedly, I never look forward to Blyleven's insight, and, to that point, Tom Kelly in the booth provided an excellent alternative last month. One of the reasons, though, why I haven't grown tired of Dick and Bert is because I am within earshot of the Yankees' radio broadcasting dynamic duo of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Now, I understand of course that radio and TV are different media markets, but the Sterling/Waldman duo is as famous regionally in NY as Dick and Bert are in Twins Territory, so I think it's a fair basis for comparison.

If you haven't heard Sterling and Waldman call games on ESPN radio, consider yourself lucky. I'm not quite sure where to start. First, I'll give them a little credit: both know baseball pretty well, and they are familiar with players on other teams. OK, now the criticism. John Sterling is a moron. Aside from his trademark "TTTTTTTHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEE YANKEES WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" following a victory (length of "the" is dramatically elongated based on importance or drama of particular win), I find positively annoying his home run calls. Almost every Yankee batter has a Sterling home run nickname. For instance, if Brett Gardner hits a HR, Sterling will excitedly proclaim, "Gardner PLANTS one!" Here are some more: "Robinson Cano, Don't 'Cha Know"; Mark Teixeira has 2: "He sends a Tex-message!" and "You're on the Mark, Teixeira!"; Alex Rodriguez: "An A-Bomb From A-Rod!"; Curtis Granderson has 2: "Oh Curtis, You're Something Sort of Grandish!" and "The Grandy-Man Can!" These are just some examples. Presumably, each Yankee batter has at least one personalized home run call. In and of themselves, there's nothing wrong with it. But, for some reason, the manner in which Sterling uses these catch phrases just drives me absolutely crazy. I strongly prefer a classic "Touch "Em All," or something of that ilk, from a baseball announcer.

Now for Suzyn Waldman. She takes more of a backseat in the broadcast booth, but apparently was very close with George Steinbrenner. She famously cried on-air following the Yankees' loss to the Indians in the 2007 postseason. I guess she's unfamiliar with the cardinal rule that there is no crying in baseball. Additionally, she has been significantly, absolutely and overly dramatic on occasion. When Roger Clemens was visiting with Steinbrenner to announce his return to baseball, and the Yankees, here is what Waldman reported: "Roger Clemens is in George's box and Roger Clemens is comin' back. Oh my goodness gracious, of all the dramatic things - - of all the dramatic things I've ever seen, Roger Clemens is standing right in George Steinbrenner's box announcing he is back!" This, by the way, from a woman that presumably watched the first moon landing and Kennedy's assassination coverage. Just sayin'. Now, to be fair, Waldman apparently had a very close relationship with Joe Torre, and was emotional that the end of the 2007 season likely meant the end of his tenure as Yankees' manager. And, the Roger Clemens thing was, I'm sure, exciting for Yankees fans. But come on.

When you begin with a glass full of the arrogant and annoying (and very good at baseball) New York Yankees, add in a strong dose of John Sterling's personalized home run calls, and a dash or two of a potentially emotional Suzyn Waldman, you have created a fatal and disgusting cocktail. Consider yourself lucky if, as with most of Twins Territory, you are not within the broadcast of ESPN AM 1410 radio in New York!

In a way, repeatedly harping on Dick and Bert is sort of like contiunally criticizing a serviceable, veteran outfielder (whose name may or may not rhyme with Michael Buddyer): when there might not be a reliable, proven option off the bench, in the farm system or available via trade, and when this veteran done the job reasonably well, suddenly that career .270 hitting player looks all right. Sure, maybe Dick & Bert are average, and maybe TK would do a good job filling in more often, but I don't see TK as an everyday fit in the booth. What I have heard in New York actually makes me thankful we don't have such bozos on the (broadcasting) payroll. If you take a listen to Sterling and Waldman, I bet you might appreciate Dick and Bert just a little more!


  1. Dick and Bert would be twice as good if they talked half as much. TV is a visual game and there is beauty in being able to hear the sounds of the crowd and the crack of the bat.

  2. I know some people don't like Dick and Bert, but after using to watch Twins games the last two years and hearing announcers from all over the country--sweet lord are they better than most of the other announcers out there.

    They could be quieter, they could be less self-amused; but compared to the guys in Chicago or Tampa or Oakland, they're practically Vin Scully and Red Barber. (Though, of course, if Scully wanted to call one game, just for the hell of it, I'd personally kick the two of them out of town for the privilege of hearing Scully work).

    Like this post, and the blog in general, hope to check in more in future.

  3. Dick Bremer is not good. Heard him do a big 10 basketball game 7-8 years ago and average at best. But I grew up with herb & Halsey. If a guy was in a slump, a pitcher could not find the plate they were critical. I think Bert's ok if used by a talented play by play guy. Dick's got to go! Homer is too lax a statement.

  4. Grew up in Detroit listening to Ernie Harwell and George Kell. Both Hall of Fame Announcers so it is hard to listen to Dick and Bert who can't compare. But they are OK. But wish they would STOP telling us what each pitch is. Bert is OBSESSED with saying "That was a cutter". Just say it was strike or ball and once in awhile say what it was.