Mike Berardino slipped this gem into his Sunday Sun-Sentinel article:
Whether you're listening to the team on the radio (where new play-by-play man "Roxy" Bernstein can be heard) or watching on television (where Rich Waltz is the new play-by-play man) it's becoming clearer everyday that the Marlins announcers are not amongst the league's elite.
Although it took him a week or so worth of games, Waltz seems to have learned that not every fly ball is necessarily a home run. Or at least he's stopped screaming every time a player - on either team - lofts a ball into the air.
Waltz reminds me of a man who used to sit in front of my family at Giants spring training games... We had Giants seats for many years - starting before spring training became such a chic thing to do (and yes, for those of you really in the know - this goes back as far as Old Scottsdale Stadium). By the time new Scottsdale Stadium opened up my family had moved high enough up on the season ticket holder list that our seats were in the second row just off of home plate (the Giants owners sat a row higher than us - because of a camera well - one section over).
These were great seats - the best I've ever had at a ballpark, and we had them regularly (on an unrelated note, I came across one old ticket stub the other day from a game in the early 90s; the ticket cost $3.50 - today that same ticket would sell for nearly ten times that). The only problem with these seats was one man who sat in the first row. Despite his excellent perspective on the action, he could not judge a fly ball off the bat (hopefully he recognized this and never tried to play in the outfield as a youngster). He regularly would leap from his seat and yell "Home run!" whenever a Giants player launched a high fly ball - whether it was a pop-up for a moon shot. Quite regularly these leaps and "home run" calls were for what turned out to be high pop-ups to the second baseman.
Now, more than a decade later, I think Rich Waltz may have been that man who sat in front of us for all those Spring Training games.
Other than the excited calls for routine fly balls, I've found Waltz's game calling to be uninspired and somewhat uniformed (he seems to be unfamiliar with the Marlins to some degree - and it's clear that he's learning in the booth from Tommy Hutton about team history, how players have performed, etc).
While I haven't heard as much of Roxy Bernstein, he seems to be similar to Waltz - uninspired game calling (but thankfully without the undo excitement over fly balls).
The lack of announcing excellence has gotten me thinking about how the Marlins broadcast team compares to others around the game. And this year, thanks to the glories that are MLB on XM and the Extra Innings package on DirecTV, I'll be able to hear and watch a lot of games from announcing teams across the country.
Eventually I'd like to do an analysis of the various announcing teams around the league - probably focusing on the NL East teams at first, since I catch the most of those games. I'm not quite sure how to go about this though, so if you have any input on how to go about it, or if you'd like to contribute some of your own thoughts on particular announcers let me know. Maybe we can come up with a form or something that folks could score to evaluate announcers/broadcasters.