Monday, June 7, 2010

Bob Lorenz For President

Amidst a fairly dismal weekend in Toronto, one decided bright spot was the presence of Bob Lorenz as play-by-play man in the booth.

No one seems to like Michael Kay, but I've defended him to some extent (maybe on this blog, maybe not) because he has a tough job and when you are exposed to someone for three plus hours 140 or so times a year, it's easy to dislike him. Futhermore, given the way blogs and social media are set up, it's easy to complain about any broadcaster and once you start noticing someone's flaws, the hatred of them generally tends to snowball. We've seen in with Joe Morgan partially as a result of FJM and there's no doubt that @YESMichaelKay gives us things to despise about the real broadcaster that we might not have otherwise noticed.

We've heard Ken Singleton do play-by-play fairly often, generally on west coast road trips, and I think that he typically does a good job ("Look out!"), but for whatever reason, possibly the audio mix, his voice often fades into the crowd noise whereas Michael Kay's sticks out like a sore thumb. I know Ive heard Lorenz do play calls when the YES Network was having technical difficulties but I remember thinking that he sounded unprepared (which of course he was). This weekend, though, I thought Lorenz sounded plenty polished and fell somewhere between the abrasive Kay and the low key Singleton.

As I mentioned earlier, I missed all of Friday's game and I was driving back upstate the first eight innings of Saturday's contest, but I found myself enjoying Lorenz's call for the conclusion of that contest and Sunday's game as well. He was energetic, seemed engaged with the game, offered some good insights and deferred to John Flaherty for the heavy analytical lifting.

In all likelihood, we'll probably pick up on Lorenz's verbal tics and annoying go-to phrases were we to have him in the booth for the majority of the year, but as of right now, I'd really love to see him get that chance. Obviously the YES Network has hitched its wagon to Michael Kay and one weekend of games is not going to change that, but maybe Lorenz will have the opportunity to do more games when Michael Kay is taking time off.

Larry from The Yankeeist has already started up a Facebook page for to advocate Lorenz as the primary play-by-play man. I don't know Michael Kay's contract situation off the top of my head, but there's little-to-no chance that he's going to get fired or leave voluntarily. However, there's nothing wrong with showing a little love for Lorenz in hopes that he'll be rewarded somehow for his good work in the booth.


  1. Hey, thanks for the plug, Jay! The more people we can make aware of this pressing matter, the better.

    (Slight) kidding aside, there's definitely no way Kay will ever leave what has to be the best gig in all of sports unless YES fired him, which they won't be doing. Despite the fact that few people I know enjoy his commentary, there must be an overwhelming segment of Yankee fans that does; otherwise I don't see how YES (and the team, assuming the Yankees have some input) could continue positioning him as the primary television voice of the franchise.

    So even though Kay won't be going anywhere, I'd still love to see Lorenz get some more time in the booth. Unfortunately the negative that comes with that move is Nancy Newman helming the postgame, which she just seems way underqualified to be doing.

    Again, people who know better than I do must see something in Newman to continue putting her on the air, but her style feels incredibly grating to me. This probably sounds crazy, but I'd rather Newman be the field reporter and Kim Jones host the pre- and postgame

  2. Bring back Jim Kaat!!! I know he is more the commentary rather than play-by-play but he has so much baseball knowledge and was great to learn more about baseball.

  3. I'm disappointed I was away all weekend; I would have enjoyed the Bob Lorenz experience. I've heard him do a few Spring Training games before, but I'd love to hear him (or anyone else) in place of Kay.

    I second the Jim Kaat suggestion. He asked to come back last year and YES told him they had no room. Too bad with Cone now gone they couldn't find a spot for him this year.

  4. I agree with what Mos said 42 times. The majority of other teams announcers are just fucking horrible. While Michael Kay is a bit of a jackass, he is much much better than most others.

    I have come to hate every announcer that refers to the team as we or is openly cheering for the team in the booth. When Morenau hit that long fly ball a couple weeks ago, Bert Blyleven was yelling "GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT". It is really bad across the board.

    Tampas are bad, White Sox are by far the worst. I remember the Nationals being absolutely god awful last year.

  5. Good points Cliff and Mos (I deleted the repeated comments from the latter). I've often defended Michael Kay in that light as well. Since he does games in New York, there's always going to be fans of other teams watching, so he's gotta know his stuff. He's can't be a homer and basically never is.

    I just think they could do better and the even-keeled job by Lorenz this weekend proves that in my mind.

  6. Sorry about that guys. I tried posting a couple of times and got a blogger status error. Refreshing the page didn't show my comment, so I'd try again later. ...I guess it was actually working the whole time, just not for me.

  7. No problem, Mos. I've been deleting them as they come in. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Lorenz had everything going against him this weekend: Yankees losing games they should win, a very ugly stadium to the television viewer, the boring and faux-analytical Flaherty next to him. That he was able to deliver a few well-called games speaks to his credit. I don't mind Kay all that much (used to live in Pittsburgh and DC, where they announce baseball games like funeral processions).

    Just a little more on Flaherty. He certainly brings more numbers to the broadcast than some other commentary guys do, but the numbers are largely meaningless match-up numbers based on tiny samples. A guy shouldn't be credited for that. He's in a position to actually teach fans about baseball and he doesn't. Paul O'Neill is a goofball in the box, but we all remember him fondly from his playing days. Flaherty has none of that going for him unfortunately, and it's always a dull game when he's there.

  9. I continue to remain baffled why YES insists on dragging O'Neill into the box when he clearly has no interest in being there. He basically says as much every time out.

    I still miss Coney. I thought he was terrible at first -- same with Flash -- but they both grew on me. In addition to growing into an entertaining broadcaster, Cone was also ridiculously well-informed for a TV analyst -- he actually knew about Fangraphs! Still don't know why YES let him get away.