Monday, May 6, 2013

Colorado Rockies broadcasters are some of the best, and the worst, in the business

Drew Goodman and George Frazier during the FSN days.
Following a Major League Baseball team in earnest is a very difficult task. They play 162 games per year, and they play most of them in the summer, when the weather is screaming for outdoor activities that don't involve watching baseball on TV.

However, those committed fans are stuck, for better or for worse, with the broadcasters that the network and radio stations pick to describe the game for them. There is usually little common ground when it comes to a team's broadcasters, people either love them or hate them.

The Colorado Rockies are no different, there are plenty of opinions that abound about the guys and gals who   become a part of every fans living room six to seven times per week. The Rockies have some extremely talented voices, along with some that have jobs in baseball for some unknown reason.

Jack Corrigan

On the radio side, Jack Corrigan has been calling baseball games in Colorado for the past 11 seasons. To say that he has seen some bad baseball is an understatement. He also broadcast Cleveland Indians games from 1985 to 2001.

Corrigan has a great voice for baseball. His understanding of the game is solid. His signature home run call "It's touch 'em all time" is good, but not great. However, his pace is perfect. He does a great job of explaining enough about the game, without getting boring. He is clear and concise. Overall, he is a very good radio broadcaster.

Jerry Schemmel

As good as Corrigan is, he has to spend half of his time compensating for Jerry Schemmel. The former basketball play-by-play guy came over to the Rockies in 2010 to great excitement. He was phenomenal in his years calling Nuggets games. He was descriptive with a fun pace to the game.

Baseball has proven not to be Schemmel's forte. He often seems disinterested in the game, and forgets to describe the all-too-important aspects of the game to the radio listener. Often times he will say phrases like "it's a hit to center field...and it's caught." To the fan listening on the radio, it sounded like the player got a base hit to center, so when the player catches the ball, it is confusing. He also over amps fans on too many occasions. Routine fly balls are often met with an excitement in his voice, leading a fan to think something besides a can-of-corn fly ball was hit. On several occasions Schemmel mis-reads fly balls. On more than one occasion he has called a pop-up with excitement saying "a drive to right-center field...and the second baseman will make the catch." Even the casual fan would be able to tell the difference between a drive to right-center and a pop up on the infield. His descriptions and pace are maddening.

Drew Goodman

The Rockies play-by-play man on the ROOT Sports side is simply one of the best in the business. Goodman  doesn't make the common mistake of talking just to fill dead air. He describes the game very well and is always able to bring something insightful to the broadcast. One thing is clear with Goodman, he does his homework. His preparation shows during every game and he doesn't put it on cruise control. Even in a rough 2012 season in which most fans had tuned out, Goodman took his job seriously and brought his best effort every night. Rockies fans are lucky to have a guy who has the talent to be on the national stage in Denver full time.

George Frazier

George Frazier is the most polarizing figure on Rockies broadcasts. He has fans, and he has people who can't stand him. There is no in-between. For me, Frazier is extremely good. He does a great job of explaining what is going on inside a pitcher's head. He brings little tidbits of information that can teach a fan the details that make Major League Baseball special. For example, on Sunday Michael Cuddyer hit a home run on the first pitch of his 3rd inning at bat off of Rays starter Alex Cobb. Frazier pointed out that Cobb was making a slight adjustment with the grip on the ball when he would throw his sinker. He pointed out the slight movement in his glove was likely noticed by the Rockies hitters, allowing Cuddyer to tee-off on the first pitch.

Frazier doesn't overdo it. He doesn't take himself too seriously and seems like he understands that the average person watching knows a decent amount about baseball, but insight from someone who has played is valuable.

The critics of Frazier point to his annoying laugh and his seemingly lack of attention as reasons why the would like to see him go. The former pitcher can go a little overboard with his antics sometimes, but overall he is very good. His chemistry with Goodman works very well. It is evident that they are good friends.

Jeff Huson

The great debate is who is worse, Huson on TV or Schemmel on the radio. The honest answer is that it is a toss-up. Both are so terrible that they ruin the experience of watching or listening to the game. The issue with Schemmel is that his pace and style doesn't lend itself to radio. Huson's style only lends itself to those who have no ability to hear.

Huson is baffling. It is difficult to decide if his style is one that is trying to teach a six-year-old how to play the game, or if he takes himself too seriously. He will often simply repeat a statement that Goodman just made, but they way he says it, it comes across as a counter-argument. Many of his statements start with the word "and" and as he explains, his voice continues to sound more and more whiny. He can spend a full inning explaining how and why the grounds crew of a stadium will manicure an infield a certain way. If that isn't bad enough, the explanation comes immediately following Goodman explaining the exact same thing in one simple sentence.

Huson seems strained on the broadcast. It is easy to imagine that he is completely warn out after every game because he was so stressed about making the right points at the right time. There are no words to fully explain how terrible Jeff Huson is at color commentary on the TV side. It is hard to imagine that there aren't hundreds of far more talented TV broadcasters who would do a far better job than Huson could do on his best night.

For the most part, Rockies fans have at least one decent option on both the TV side and the radio side. The nights when Goodman and Frazier are in the booth together are easy for fans. On the radio side, the innings when Corrigan takes the play-by-play are far more enjoyable.

It will be interesting to see if any changes are made once the 2013 season concludes.

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  1. I totally agree with you about both Goodman and Frazier. I didn't realize just how much I appreciated them until I was in Santa Fe a few years ago and caught a D Backs-Rockies game with the Arizona crew. To call Mark Grace horrible would be a gross understatement! He spent the entire broadcast joking about the game usually telling stories of when he played. It was agonizing.
    I appreciate Frazier's insight. My wife, who likes baseball, but doesn't know a lot of the nuances, really likes Frazier's ability to provide glimpses inside the game. I was very skeptical of George when he came because I loved Dave Campbell. Goerge did a nice job of following him- that was hard to do.
    As for Goodman, I like him, the only problem I have with Drew is that he's too much into the jargon ("AB", "punchout", etc.) And, I do think that he overuses the "great AB" description for when a batter forces the pitcher to throw more than 6 pitches. Often, it ISN"T a "great AB" because the hitter fouls off the pitch which is right in his wheelhouse and he needs to drive it. You don't often get more than one of those pitches in an AB, so if you you miss it or foul it off, it really can't be a great AB.
    I think Huson's biggest drawback is his whiny voice and it's tough to criticize him for something he has no control over. He does have a pretty good knowledge of infield play but it pales with Frazier's understanding of pitching and the game is basically, ALL pitching.
    I really wish ROOT would can it's pre and post game crew. They are fine for what they do, but it's way too much fluff. I like Jenny Cavnar, but that role is sooooo stereotypical, and comes off as gratuitous. Klatt and Ringolsby each know a lot of baseball, Klatt, because he played it and Tracy because he was a pretty good writer. But hey, let these guys be honest evaluators instead of cheerleaders!
    The only time I listen to the radio guys is during spring training and I think that they are both "homers." But they aren't very good because they aren't outrageous homers like Harry Carey or Mel Allen. And, they aren't even close to being journalistic analysts like Vin Scully, Jon Miller, or Red Barber. I actually enjoyed the original team of Wayne Hagin and Jeff Kingery more.

    1. Great comment. Great analysis. What you said about George Frazier is spot-on.

      I think that Jack Corrigan was far better when he had Jeff Kingery as a partner. I think he often compensates for Schemmel.

      I think any long-time Rockies fan misses Wayne Hagin and Jeff Kingery. They were the true voices of the Rockies before every game was on TV.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. David I question Jerry Schemmel and his leadership. Why do they keep him around? I mean it's just a contract right? No one honors those anymore.I would fire him then pay the next guy less and probably hire someone that I have worked with before. Someone who gets up very early and works out in the morning and prepares himself every day.

  3. Absolutely spot on article -- I like Goodman and Fraizer, and sure, over a long season some broadcasts will be better than others, but overall I think they are a top-notch team. Jeff Huson just drives me nuts. I think he feels the need to fill time/air expounding on stuff we (the viewers) figured out well before he started talking...

  4. I agree with your assessment of drew Goodman, but George Frazier is horrible. Most of his comments range from insignificant to completely false. He often makes things up that didn't actually happen, just to have something to say. His voice is dry and grating. A color man is supposed to bring color to the broadcast, but he has no personality at all.

  5. I enjoy Goodman a lot. He is very easy and relaxed, nothing ever fazes him. My problem with Frazier is his ego. He talks about himself waaaaaaay too much. The biggest problem with the TV guys are that they seem, at times, to forget that they are calling a baseball game. They get off on a tangent and sometimes miss plays.

    As far as radio goes, I love Corrigan. He was born to do play by play. I don't mind Schemmel, though he is a little mindless. I think the biggest issue is that he isn't Jeff Kingery. Kingery was a stalwart for fans for years and really is one of the best color men in the business. So, I say go easy on Schemmel a bit, but trade Frasier for a broadcaster to be named later.

  6. Jack Corrigan is the only tolerable announcer of the five mentioned. Goodman and Frazier are flat out horrible. I suppose if you have zero to little baseball knowledge you might somehow enjoy them but to even average fans the constant babbling is insufferable. Leave baseball 101 to little league games, which is where those two should be calling games.

  7. Good article, despite several spelling and grammatical errors. I guess the internet is killing the written word. Get a proof-reader.

    1. I guess the internet is killing the written word. If you are open to being my proofreader, I would love to hire you is $0, must be available to edit articles between the hours of midnight and 3 am, every day, no days off.

      Still interested?

      Get over yourself.

    2. Best you get over yourself!

  8. frazier is awful, everyone else is fine. he has a huge ego and treats goodman like a fool "who never played the game". frazier constantly interrupts goodman, who is trying to make a point and dismisses his opinions. their chemistry is non existent, making it painful to listen to. goodman is always well prepared and never comes across as a "homer".

  9. Corrigan biggest Rockies apologist in Co sports history. Always bs about Rockies product which year in and year out crap. He got lots of practice in Cleveland probobly why Monforts hired him.

  10. Reading several of the comments above, I am in agreement with those that intensely dislike Goodman and Frazier. Goodman blathers on and on about insignificant things, and who he knows. Who cares? Goodman just cannot get around his ego. Frazier is stuck on statistics. And can talk for hours on statistics. There is not a thing wrong with a little pause in the blathering in the booth to hear the background noise of the game. I avoid the frustration of yelling at the TV by muting the broadcast or listening to KOA. The other problem I have is with the camera work. Scouting the stands for cute girls when they need to be paying attention to the field. Also when, there is a runner on first base and when the pitcher throws over there, the switch to the first base camera is always late. I don't think Root Sports could catch a live pick off play at first base with 10 minutes notice.

  11. I really miss Jeff Kingery--he made me wish I was at the game. Jack C makes me want to puke. If Jack gets it right the first time, he repeats it over and over. If he gets it wrong, he may or may not correct himself, then after rambling on, he states 'what I mean is ...'. 'Touch 'em all time' -- pretty lame.