Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Price About As Good A Play-by-Play Man As He Was A Hitter (.214 Career BA)

One of my favorite childhood memories, growing up in the late-1960s, early-1970s, was of my dad working outside, the ballgame on the radio, its lazy descriptions in the background. The sounds of Ernie Harwell and Ray Lane, followed eventually by Paul Carey.

Today I try to do the same thing -- working in the backyard while the Tigers game fills the air from the boombox turned up high. I did it again Sunday, as the Tigers were trouncing the Royals. Somehow, it's not the same.

It's not Dan Dickerson so much -- he I can abide. He's no Harwell, but that makes him the same as the other billions of people in this world, and that's certainly no crime.

It's, frankly, Jim Price.

Price does the fourth and fifth innings of play-by-play for the Tigers radio network, and they can make you hate baseball on the radio.

Where do I begin with how bad Price is?

Well, there's the score, number one. As in, he rarely gives it. Score-giving is, to me, a cardinal rule of radio broadcasting. It's the first thing people want to know, for crying out loud. Yet Price makes you wait brutally long -- sometimes until a run is scored or when the inning ends.

A large part of calling baseball on the radio is the "painting of the picture". Remember, your listeners know what a baseball diamond looks like. But they don't know what's happening on it until you set the scene. A batter swings and grounds the ball to second base -- this may seem mundane and routine, but Price can butcher it, don't worry. He particularly massacred a double play started by Neifi Perez.

First, he rarely tells you when the batter is swinging. He'll be babbling and all of a sudden the ball is in play. This was true in the Perez double play.

I'm listening, not even knowing a pitch was thrown, when all of a sudden I hear, "Ground ball...oh, what a play by Perez! Over to Guillen....he's out! They got him!"


That was Jim Price calling a double play. Note that the above description only includes one of the two outs.

I'm sorry that I can't do Price's butchering more justice here, but I hope you get the idea. There are plenty more examples, believe me.

In trying to describe Price's style, I think I can sum it up best this way: Jim Price calls a baseball game on the radio as if he's an amateur newshound calling in a story as it's happening.

"There's a ...ohh! Did you see that? Now he's...oooohh!! Wow!"

I made that up, but it might be Jim Price calling a big Tigers hit, for all I know.

I usually don't slam people here, but Price's scattered playcalling irritates the hell out of me -- mainly because I know it can be done soooo much better. And, to be honest, it bothers me because it decreases my enjoyment of the listening experience. When Dickerson took over for the sixth inning it was like giving a man lost in a desert a drink of water. I was SO very relieved.

Maybe I'm being too hard on the guy. What do YOU think?


Blogger Novice Blogger said...

You're preachin' to the choir, Greg.

Jim Price.
Nice guy.

But a train wreck behind the mike.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I can't remember if this is the same guy ... but, umm, does he talk a lot about being a "member" of the '68 team? Has anyone else heard ENOUGH about THAT! : )

9:56 AM  

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