Monday, April 21, 2003

On ESPN, Jim Caple reports on the audition of Mohammed Said al-Sahaf, the former Iraqi information minister, as a part-time substitute for Yankees radio announcer John Sterling, producing a transcript which may leave Yankee fans unable to tell the difference.

Mind you, here in Boston, we've been known to be mildly critical of our own radio announcers.

But there is a difference.

One day last year, on a trip to New York, I happened to tune into a Yankee broadcast of a tight game in which the manager, with one out and men on second and third, had intentionally walked a man. Sterling and his then-partner (I believe Michael Kay) noted that they'd never seen this happen with men on first and third, though you end up with the bases loaded either way. What followed was an extended discussion of why managers act like this, which reached no definite conclusions, instead having segued into a strange discussion of the unknowable ineffability of baseball tradition.

In the same situation, the Red Sox announcers would have just said that the manager was putting a man on first to set up the double play, perhaps quickly noting in passing that it would make no sense to do that if a man was already on first, before getting into a discussion of possible pitching substitutions...

Edited for clarity...


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