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Wall Street Journal: How biased are your announcers?

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:14 PM

The Wall Street Journal did some game-watching recently to find who the most biased baseball announcers are.

They charted the number of "comments perceived as bias" over the course of one game. Surprising no one, Chicago White Sox's Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone carried the torch with 104 biased comments DURING ONE GAME. The next closest was the Indians duo who made 23. Meanwhile, our hometown pairing of Dick 'N Bert finished tied for sixth-most biased comments with nine (with one such example being "I hope there's no suspense. A nice, methodical win would be nice.").

In regards to why this phenomenon happens, Dick Bremer said:

[FONT=Arial]"Former players have tremendous equity in the franchise they played for. From their perspective, I could imagine a strong desire for the team to do well."[/FONT]


While it makes sense in the case of Blyleven but Harrelson, who played in the majors for quite some time, never suited up for the White Sox.

#2 Riverbrian

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:38 PM

Home team broadcasters should be biased. They are broadcasting to fans of the team by a large percentage.

National broadcasters shouldn't be biased.

Finishing 6th... Our guys should be shooting for #1.

#3 snepp

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:59 PM

Showing a bias is one thing, unabashed homerism is another entirely.

#4 Gernzy

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:24 PM

Does this suprise anyone? If you have heard the White Sox announcers you'll understand. They are terrible. I think it's funny people call our guys homers. While they are at times, at least its not this bad,

FYI if you don't know what I'm talking about watch a White Sox game. They're on WGN now and then. It's actually funny its so bad.
I bent my wookie...

#5 70charger

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:35 PM

I think the Dickbert strikes a pretty good balance, actually. After having watched the Reds' broadcasts more than a few times (used to live in Ohio), I'm surprised they're not higher.

#6 StormJH1

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:45 PM

Dick and Bert aren't really that "homerish". I actually think that MLB, in general, doesn't suffer from this problem compared to many NFL and NHL broadcast teams I can think of (though the NFL would be more radio, since there aren't "local" NFL TV crews).

I'm not always a fan of Dick Bremer but I did rewatch the highlight of the Parmelee triple several times just to hear this call:

"Driven to center field..."
(Dead air)
(Ball goes over Granderson and hits wall)
(Dead air)
"Baby needs a new pair of shoes!"

Ah, the stuff you come up with at the end of a 90+ loss season.

#7 Willihammer

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 02:20 PM

I would rather listen to any local crew including Hawk/Steve Stone than a TBS Fox or ESPN squad. Since Jon Miller went back to radio, it is totally unbearable across teh board. Worst broadcasting of the year is during the playoffs.

#8 Curt

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 02:35 PM

The White Sox must really encourage this. In '77 I was in Chicago for a July 4 weekend series with the Twins. I went to two games and I listened to two on the radio. To this day, I have never heard so much homerism, jingoism and mockery of the other team as I did that weekend. It was a truly miserable weekend as the Sox swept four.

#9 TheLeviathan

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 03:09 PM

Quadruple the rate of anyone else? Yup, this study sounds like a pretty accurate assessment to me.

#10 Parker Hageman

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 03:23 PM

Quadruple the rate of anyone else? Yup, this study sounds like a pretty accurate assessment to me.


Right? A one game sample size is not going to yield accurate results.

#11 Nick Nelson

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 03:29 PM

No baseball announcer has anything on Paul Allen, who shrieked like he was watching his mother get hit by a car when Nate Poole hauled in that TD to bump the Vikes from playoff contention in '03.

#12 ofx1

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:02 PM

No baseball announcer has anything on Paul Allen, who shrieked like he was watching his mother get hit by a car when Nate Poole hauled in that TD to bump the Vikes from playoff contention in '03.


Agree, other than Hawk Harrelson who is every bit as much of a mindless homer. I do everything possible to avoid hearing either of them. Ever. The only tiebreaker may be that Allen thinks he's smart, funny, and relevant. I really can't decide who is a more annoying waste of airtime.

#13 glunn

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:17 PM

No baseball announcer has anything on Paul Allen, who shrieked like he was watching his mother get hit by a car when Nate Poole hauled in that TD to bump the Vikes from playoff contention in '03.


Agree, other than Hawk Harrelson who is every bit as much of a mindless homer. I do everything possible to avoid hearing either of them. Ever. The only tiebreaker may be that Allen thinks he's smart, funny, and relevant. I really can't decide who is a more annoying waste of airtime.


On the other hand, Hawk is fun to listen to when the White Sox are losing.

#14 JB_Iowa

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:19 PM

I don't mind Hawk and Stone at all. It's blatant homerism and just doesn't bother me.

I'm much more bothered by the announcers who try to appear to be unbiased but then put in snide little jabs, etc.

Give me a blatant homer any day.

And give me more dead air from most of them including most of the national crews (my biggest complaint about Bremer and whoever he happens to be paired with at the time is that they make my ears hurt. Yammer, yammer, yammer).

#15 108 Double Stitches

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:59 PM

I have MLB and often listen to a few innings from both home and away announcers. Even though
its a sloppy survey, the three facts sound about right: Hawk is 4 times more biased than anyone else,
Cleveland a distant second and Bert And Dick 6th.

But the two things it really doesn't address -- Hawk is entertaining. And the Yankees anouncers can
get off on their special place in the baseball universe (entitlement to such a high payroll, etc.). Even
if that doesn't quailfy as "bias" in the Wallstreet journal article, its for all intents and purposes
impossible to listen to if you are not either a Yankee fan, or a Yankee hater collecting fodder for
your next sports bar brawl.

#16 TheLeviathan

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 07:36 PM

Right? A one game sample size is not going to yield accurate results.


That said, it did conclude with the proper findings, unbalanced as the results may be.

Even as obnoxious as Paul Allen is (and good god, the english language is in desperate need of devising a new term to more properly encapsulate the manner in which he makes me want to hurt small, cute animals every time I hear his voice) he has little on Hawk.

#17 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 06:40 AM

Hawk is entertaining.


I don't think "entertaining" is the word I would use for Hawk.

...well, maybe when the Sox have just suffered a soul-crushing defeat, then he's entertaining. One of these days, we're going to hear him cry on-air and it will be glorious.

He's easily the worst announcer in baseball. Well, maybe Rex Hudler is right there with him. Hudler is ****ing awful.

#18 Willihammer

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 07:51 AM

At least Hawk knows the players names.

#19 gil4

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:01 AM

Hawk is entertaining.


I don't think "entertaining" is the word I would use for Hawk. / ...He's easily the worst announcer in baseball.


I agree - he's an illiterate, inarticulate jerk. John Sterling gets a dishonorable mention for his "Yankees win. Theeeeeee Yankees win", mainly because it reminds me of Harrelson's ""You can put it on the board! Yes!" But he's nowhere near the Hawk range, except for that one call. (Hopefully he gets to choke on it again tonight.)

#20 nicksaviking

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:14 AM

Quadruple the rate of anyone else? Yup, this study sounds like a pretty accurate assessment to me.


Right? A one game sample size is not going to yield accurate results.


True, Hawk would have been everybody's first choice as most obnoxious/homerish announcer going into the study; it's possible that could have already swayed the opinion of the evaluators.

On the otherhand, I'm pretty sure his picture is next to the definition of "outlier" in several Statistics 101 textbooks.

#21 Steve Penz

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:38 AM

Is homer the same as a "company guy?" Dick / Bert are company guys. It makes sense to me. They toe the line. The guys on the radio have license to be more honest because you don't tune into a radio game unless you are a real fan. I do get tired of hearing Dick use the term "Bouncer" to describe a ground ball, and at times it seems like if you took, "dropped the barrel of the bat" away from Bert that he would be lost. And then.....Eric Karros comes to town for a national game. He renews my appreciation for Dick/Bert.

#22 nicksaviking

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:17 AM

Dick and Bert both have been picked to do national broadcasts for FOX. Neither have shown discernable biases while working those games from what I could tell. Mitch Williams on the other hand...

#23 Mauerzy4Prez

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:47 AM

Am I wrong or aren't most of the tv broadcasters actually employees of their respective ball clubs? If that is the case, this whole idea of being biased doesn't really matter. They would be expected to show their favoritism for their employers wouldn't they? If I was the CEO of Target, I wouldn't want my employees telling guests that they think Wal-Mart is just as good.

#24 snepp

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:25 AM

Dick and Bert both have been picked to do national broadcasts for FOX. Neither have shown discernable biases while working those games from what I could tell. Mitch Williams on the other hand...


I like Bert the national broadcaster quite a bit more than Bert the Twins broadcaster.

#25 Fire Dan Gladden

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:42 AM

I saw a reader comment for that article saying:

"In other news, the sun will come up tomorrow"

I have listened to many other local announcers for MLB games. I expect the home team guys to have a certain level of homerism, it comes with the territory. Hawk's problem is that he thinks everybody watches the game to hear him announce. The best announcers give you the game without being a huge part of the action. I still believe the Ted Robinson/Jim Kaat team was the best TV team we have had (which is why they both moved on to national arenas).

#26 Fire Dan Gladden

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:45 AM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but when a team is on the National broadcast, doesn't one of the Home team's broadcast crew help call the game? Being picked to call a national game for your team isn't that big a deal.

I do agree that Bert tones it down a bit on those broadcasts.

#27 jimbo92107

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:59 AM

I don't mind a little cheer leading from the hometown crew, as long as it doesn't affect their honesty when it comes to how players are performing. It's embarrassing when an announcer sees the pitch graphic reveal a ball, and he still says it was a strike. It's also embarrassing to hear an announcer make excuses for poor fielding or a bad approach at the plate.

Dick and Bert are pretty good about keeping the perception bias to a minimum.

#28 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 12:21 PM

I don't mind Hawk all that much, although I imagine it would get tiresome after a while.

Thats my problem with DickBert...a little homerism is fine, but the endless repeats of the same old tired lines gets old quickly.

#29 notoriousgod71

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 12:25 PM

http://www.csnchicag...ages/soundboard