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According to the Star's sports media guy Chris Zelkovich, Tom Candiotti will do 30 games on Sportsnet this year as analyst. This is an excellent development; it means we'll only have to suffer through 90 games of John Cerutti, who is one of the main reasons the term "colour man" is rarely used any more.

"John has proved himself as a solid broadcaster and I look for both he and (play-by-play announcer) Rob Faulds to be even better now that they've had a year together," said Scott Moore, Sportsnet's vice-president of production.

You say solid, I say stiff.

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_Jordan - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 09:34 AM EST (#99070) #
Sources indicated that Candiotti will be the analyst on Opening Day, drawing criticism from several observers who believe the first game should be broadcast by Juan Guzman.

Cerutti is remarkably dull, all right, but it doesn't help to be paired with Rob Faulds, who seems like he's watching the game on TV himself rather than broadcasting it to an audience. Put Cerutti with Dan Shulman, and I'll bet the ex-pitcher could be significantly more interesting -- not Buck Martinez, certainly, but better than he is now.

I dread the day Brian Williams and Pat Tabler work a game together.
Dave Till - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 09:41 AM EST (#99071) #
I feel sorry for people who don't live within radio range of Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth. Silence may be your only viable option.

I still think that the worst Jays colour man of all time was Fergie Olver.
_pete_the_donkey - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 10:29 AM EST (#99072) #
Funny, but slightly off-topic Rob Faulds story...
3 friends and I went down to Spring Training for a week last year to watch our beloved boys in blue. We saw 2 games in Dunedin, and travelled to lovely Al Lang Field in Tampa to watch the Jays and Devil Rays (quick aside - why the Rays play in the awful Tropicana Dome is beyond me - Al Lang Field, located on picturesque Tampa Bay is one of the most beautiful stadiums I've been to - wake up Tampa management. Add some more seats, and perhaps some folks will attend your games! Baseball, outdoors, on grass - what a novel concept.) So, Faulds is walking around the stadium with no shirt on - I swear, he looks like a malnourished gorilla, all that hair and gut. Fatty Faulds sits down one section over to us, shades on, outstretched in the sun, looking like some sort of hairy beached whale (although whales are probably infinitely more intelligent, and don't start off every fly ball call with "SKIES IT!"). So, we start yelling "You stink, Faulds...", then the quick look-away. Faulds had no idea (a) who was calling out his name, (b) how anyone in Florida would recognize him, and (c) how we knew he really sucked. After about an inning, he up and walked away (I was hoping he was on his way to drown himself in Tampa Bay, but my luck isn't that good). Anyway, it was probably funnier in person, but we were all very happy that we gave old Fauldsy an earful.
Coach - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 10:35 AM EST (#99073) #
Jordan, I agree that Faulds is part of the problem. Rob's a fine broadcaster, but unfortunately, he has only the most superficial knowledge of baseball, so he'll never be Dan Shulman or Jon Miller. It seems to me that he tries to lighten up the discussion, inject a little humour, and draw Cerutti out of his shell, with no success. Faulds can't contribute much to an analysis of strategy, and his play-calling is sub-par because he doesn't know a routine fly ball (when it leaves the bat) from a double, or a slider from a splitter, or what the pitcher and catcher were trying to accomplish with a given pitch. So he has to play straight man and ask for Cerutti's "insight," and nobody's straighter than John. I think Faulds and Tabler would have more fun together, and so would their viewers. I hope Candiotti is candid.
_Matthew Elmslie - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 10:55 AM EST (#99074) #
Toronto baseball broadcasters seem to be all nice guys who just aren't very good commentators. The colour guys especially - I remember letters in the paper from Cerutti's playing days from people who got autographs from him and said how nice he was, and Tabler's decency is almost legendary. Faulds and Brian Williams come across as pleasant men, as do Cheek and Howarth.

I accept that we can't have Shulman and Martinez back. Reluctantly, but I accept it. I accept that we've got Cheek and Howarth on the radio for as long as they want the job. That's fine; they aren't great but they're competent and familiar. But I give Faulds-Cerutti a C- at best, and I've given up entirely on Williams and Tabler. Where's Don Chevrier? He's good; bring him back. Maybe someone could try Mike Wilner; I seem to recall reading that he's done play-by-play before somewhere. (Which would mean that Scott Ferguson could get his old job back, maybe.) Or Mike Hogan; that'd be fun.
_Ryan Adams - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 11:49 AM EST (#99075) #
Since TV games being the primary way of promoting the team, you would think that the Jays would take more of an interest in how those games are produced, particularly ones aired on the Rogers-owned Sportsnet. Surely the team and the network must've listened to Faulds at some point and realized how bad he was. Anyone expecting him to improve is apparently unaware that he's been calling baseball games off and on for 15 years (he did some radio games for the Expos back in the late-1980's).

I don't have much of a problem with Cerutti. I think he does provide some insight, although his delivery is awful. On the rare occasions he did work with Dan Shulman on TSN, he was a much better analyst.

Rod Black is terrible and shouldn't be doing anything related to baseball. He clearly doesn't follow the game or the Jays. Last season he was talking about Pedro Swann and said that he was a big part of the team's future.

I like Tabler, even though he usually states the obvious.

It's disappointing that some people won't be able to see Jays games on free TV in 2003, but from a purely selfish standpoint, at least Brian Williams will need to find something else to do.
_Steve Z - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 02:43 PM EST (#99076) #
I am much less concerned with WHO is doing the broadcasting/colour-commentating and more concerned about the NUMBER of games that will be televised. The game speaks for itself. 145 (Sportsnet + TSN) is way more than I expected; I couldn't be more pleased.

Sorry to change topics, but here's an article that I found today about Mark Hendrickson's off-season fun in Hanover, PA.:

And in case your wondering, I found this article, from the York Daily Record, the same way that I found the piece about Hudson's frolics in Mechanicsville, SC, : by doing a Google News Search (enter "blue jays" and sort by date). It's quite an amazing tool. Where else would you find articles abut Eric Hinske Day, direct from the local Menasha daily (or articles about birds, for that matter). One important caveat: Whereas all the articles by local baseball reporters/columnists are accessible this way, it seems that Richard Griffin's "columns" are sometimes (not always) filtered out.
_jason - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 02:46 PM EST (#99077) #
I just turn the sound down on the television and put the radio broadcast of the game on. Cerrutti is stiff, boring, and obvious, but Brian Williams is border-line offesive sometimes.
Coach - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 03:16 PM EST (#99078) #
Steve (above) and Jason (with the Carter cap update on another thread) and everyone:

Not every baseball story warrants its own BB article, so don't hesitate to jump in with breaking news or a link you find interesting. When "Gideon" pulls a hijack on Primer, the thread gets nominated for an award!
Craig B - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 03:19 PM EST (#99079) #
the worst Jays colour man of all time was Fergie Oliver

Dave: Fergie was indeed one of history's greatest monsters, a broadcaster so despicably smarmy he could cheapen a show as ephemeral as _Just Like Mom_. But as a colour man, particularly in terms of his understanding of the game, he could run rings around Joe Carter.

Whereas all the articles by local baseball reporters/columnists are accessible this way, it seems that Richard Griffin's "columns" are sometimes (not always) filtered out.

This earthly Paradise!
Craig B - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 03:24 PM EST (#99080) #
Oh yeah...

Rod Black is terrible and shouldn't be doing anything related to baseball. He clearly doesn't follow the game or the Jays.

Rod Black shouldn't be doing anything related to living human beings. Rod Black should be in the dock at the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. I would rather listen to a three-man booth of Carrot Top, the Urkel kid and Hermann Goering do a broadcast.
_Matthew Elmslie - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 03:35 PM EST (#99081) #
Funny thing about Fergie Olver - while I didn't like the guy either and had no use for his smarminess, I have to admit that when they made him the down-on-the-field guy, he did frequently come up with useful things to say during the broadcast.

So how do we rank the Jays broadcasters over the years? I'd have:

1. Shulman-Martinez
2. Chevrier-Kubek
3. Cheek-Howarth

Is there even a fourth entry on the list?
_Geoff North - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 03:46 PM EST (#99082) #
Man, it's been several years since I've seen Blue Jays baseball on CBC (living in Chicago now, hard to catch them... anyone have any info on Blue Jays on Satellite?) and I still remember cringing at Brian Williams on-air errors. Always did like Buck, and Tom and Jerry were familiar and enjoyable. Does anyone remember who the team were that would be broadcasting games 91-93 on the ATV/CTV network in Nova Scotia? They were my first voice of the Blue Jays and I just loved listening to them at the time. No idea if they were any good though! Just fond memories.
_Matthew Elmslie - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 03:52 PM EST (#99083) #
Geoff: Possibly Chevrier and Tommy Hutton?
_Sean - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 04:19 PM EST (#99084) #
Speaking from the West Coast, my exposure to Blue Jays's commentators has been restricted to TSN, until recently.

Personally, I thought Shulman was fantastic. Martinez was very good. And I have respect for Hughson, though he's even better at hockey.
Dave Till - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 04:22 PM EST (#99085) #
Craig B: Joe Carter was so bad that he was kind of fun to listen to. I enjoyed listening to him drag in references to his World Series-winning home run. And I found his grammar and syntax fascinating, as well as his pronunciation of words such as "roof". While I often turned the sound off when Joe was on the air, I never felt the urge to kick a hole in my screen. When Fergie was broadcasting, this impulse had to be suppressed on a daily basis.

At some point, somebody's going to have to march into the broadcast booth and perform a citizen's arrest on Brian Williams for impersonating a major-league baseball announcer.
_Joe Carter - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 04:30 PM EST (#99086) #
I thought we extablished that I was misconfused.
Craig B - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 04:47 PM EST (#99087) #
1. Shulman-Martinez

Not much of that is due to Martinez. He was OK. Dan Shulman, though, is my favorite play-by-play guy of anyone working today.

I really thought highly of the Chevrier-Kubek team as well. I was disappointed with Tommy Hutton; I'd be overjoyed to have Tommy now.
_Matthew Elmslie - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 04:51 PM EST (#99088) #
Craig: I agree about Shulman (I liked him when he was the afternoon guy on the FAN), but Shulman-Martinez was better than Shulman-Tabler.
Mike D - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 05:04 PM EST (#99089) #
I don't want to make my first post too sentimental, but I have a soft spot for Cheek and Howarth -- even though they may well be inferior to Shulman/Martinez and Chevrier/Hutton.

I was at a ballgame about six years ago when a friend of mine turned to me and remarked, "You ever notice how Jerry's way better than Tom?"

I was shocked, mostly because I had always perceived Cheek & Howarth to be an eternal institution: friendly, familiar and a part of the Toronto media landscape. But I made the point of listening to the next few games on the radio, and my buddy seemed to be correct: Howarth was better at identifying pitches, better at discussing the implications of managers' moves, better at describing defensive alignments. Moreover, Cheek, in spite of his "mercys" and "wow-ees," actually was far more guilty of mailing in his performances; his enthusiasm waxed and waned between innings and even games. I had never even considered the possibility that there was a qualitative disparity between Tom and Jerry. But after listening to that five-game sample, there indeed seemed to be just that.

However, about two months later, I was stuck in traffic while visiting family in Toronto (I live a subway ride from the Evil Empire Death Star at the moment) and I was listening to the fifth inning of a Jays-Orioles game at Camden Yards. At one point, in the middle of an at-bat, Cheek overheard a vendor holler out "Water! $3.50!" and Tom just about lost it. He began to wax nostalgic about going to his first big league game, and then began an inning-long riff on how much money he could have made if he had known that one day he'd be able to sell *water* at ballparks and charge $3.50. It sounds so corny, but Tom just has that folksy delivery that I am still extremely susceptible to.

Plus, Tom forever deserves full credit for his "Touch 'em all, Joe! You'll never hit a bigger home run than that!" His defining moment in broadcasting arrived, and he flourished. Can you imagine the chaotic result if Joe Bowen, who damages audio equipment throughout the GTA when the Leafs score a pre-season goal against Columbus, ever got to call a Cup-winning goal?

I like Tom and Jerry, individually and as a duo. They do lack the consistent excellence of Shulman and Martinez (who improved dramatically as an analyst over the years), but they still remind me of summer barbecues and my dad's transistor radio at the Ex.

Having said all this, Brian Williams must stay away from baseball forever. I'm convinced that the looming menace of his snickering face was the reason why Canadians got so passionate about the Ron MacLean debacle.
_Ryan Adams - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 05:24 PM EST (#99090) #
Have we forgotten about Jim Hughson? I would've ranked him right behind Shulman. When Sportsnet first started carrying baseball, I was disappointed they didn't get Hughson to call games (although I assume his hockey commitments in Vancouver would have made it impossible).
Coach - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 06:08 PM EST (#99091) #
Thanks to Mike D for that first comment, and for a fascinating e-mail he sent me the other day, which began:

I don't know what prompted me to enter a Google search last night for "Josephang Bernhardt" -- masochism, maybe -- but it led me to your website. I thought it was terrific -- an intelligent, well-informed home for Jays fans. I always thought I was alone in my growing dislike for Richard Griffin. Apparently not!

He went on to say he hated Joe Brinkman, which carries even more weight with me than flattery, and inquired about posting his own articles. How could I refuse? Mike, a Canadian lawyer (another one) now in the Big Apple, is the newest free agent in the Batter's Box lineup. Welcome!
_Shane - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 07:04 PM EST (#99092) #
Without saying anything either complimentary or negative about SportsNet's broadcasters, i'll add this about John Cerutti. Bare with me:

I remember listening to a Jays/Phillies spring training game this past spring on radio. J.P. Ricciardi had been in the booth in the early innings talking about his club, etc., and it was now the ninth inning. The Jays were down by a run, or two, with Raul Mondesi on base, and Delgado at bat. Sometime during the at bat Raul attempted to steal a base and was thrown out to end the game with Carlos still at bat. I kinda laughed, because if you knew much of anything about the Oakland A's philosophies, this was not good.

Sure enough, on March 22, in a "Last Word" with Bob Elliot, Ricciardi began saying statments that would re-appear in numerous interviews to come: "I don't want guys hitting early in the count, and I don't want Mondesi trying to steal a base when Delgado is up. Look, I'm not asking him (Buck Martinez) to reinvent the wheel, I'm asking him to clean it up." -- Rest In Peace "Bucky Ball"

So now it's June 3rd, Martinez has just been fired, and they're playing the Devil Rays at SkyDome. It's the early innings and J.P.'s in the booth with Faulds & Cerutti, entering in the Carlos Tosca regime. Vernon Wells is on first, and Cerutti starts asking J.P. about his philosophies, and how he wants the game to be played on the field, etc. Ricciardi says his standard stuff,'This This, That That' and then to paraphrase; "I don't put any value on stealing bases. If you look in the National League right now, The San Fransisco Giants lead the league in runs scored, but are last in stolen bases. There's no correlation between stolen bases and runs scored". The next thing out of John Cerutti's mouth: "Look for Vernon Wells to steal here."

Right in the man's face. You didn't have to be on the field asking the scouts, or read Peter Gammons. The man just told you in person and Johnny Boy Cerutti, "NaaaNaaaNaaaNaaaaaa'd" him. "I can't hear you". Again, I smiled.
_Sean - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 07:20 PM EST (#99093) #
Ryan asked if everyone has forgotten about Jim Hughson--I praised him in my previous post on this thread, so I'd like to think he's not totally forgotten. I'd also rank him #2 behind Shulman as far as TV play-by-play.

Yes, Hughson has a full load of NHL commitments doing Vancouver Canucks games on Sportsnet and his own weekly interview show, so he's not able to do Blue Jays games.
Coach - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 07:42 PM EST (#99094) #
Shane, you're killing me. First the classic Law/Catalanotto interview, now this. I remember that spring training game, but even I am not dedicated enough to listen to exhibitions on Internet radio -- there isn't much to do in New Brunswick, is there? -- so I didn't hear it live. When I learned what had happened, I speculated to a friend that Mondi just might have had a more pressing engagement than extra innings, and got thrown out on purpose.

The Cerutti story (sorry I missed that one, too) confirms my impression of him as a drone. No way he could listen to one thing and think of something else to say at the same time, so he tuned out J.P., who I'll bet wasn't smiling, and babbled on.

Ricciardi, when first confronted with the sheer stupidity of the people asking him questions, wasn't great at masking his impatience. I heard him snap, "you saw the game" at one reporter in a post-game scrum, and his facial expressions and tone of voice often said more than his words, but as the season progressed, he improved. He gave the same direct, honest answers, it just got harder to read what he was really thinking. I don't think the media types got any smarter; J.P. simply lowered his expectations.
_Ryan Adams - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 08:25 PM EST (#99095) #
Sorry, Sean -- I missed that one.

As the season progressed, Cerutti seemed to get a pretty good handle on the team's philosophy and would shoot down any of the "Wireless Managers" who advocated playing little ball more (didn't all of the Wireless Managers do that?). He's still a long way from being a stark raving stathead, but just mentioning on-base percentage periodically puts him ahead of most colour commentators.
_Ryan Adams - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 08:50 PM EST (#99096) #
Contrary to popular belief, there are lots of things to do in New Brunswick. Among them:

- Ensuring that our water falls go in the wrong direction.
- Driving on our 14 kilometers of four-lane divided highway (it's paved, too!)
- Running for the leadership of the provincial Liberal party.
- Keeping the magnets at the tops of our hills in working order.
- Thanking the Irving family for providing us with completely unbiased news coverage (I read in the newspaper that they do).
- Demolishing tollbooths.
- Supporting the continued Canadian occupation of Maine.
- Cursing at transport trucks that only go 90 km/h.
_Shane - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 09:20 PM EST (#99097) #
To enter a guess, either someone (ie. Ryan) A: lives in Southern New Brunswick, perhaps St. John, or B: should forget leadership of a provincial party, he (again, ie. Ryan) should run for Tourism Minister of NB, 'cause he's got this down.
Dave Till - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 11:27 PM EST (#99098) #
I visited Magnetic Hill, N.B., as a kid. I thought it was cool. I even got a souvenir fan.

Re Tom and Jerry: I've always thought that Jerry is a better broadcaster than Tom, because Jerry works harder at it. Jerry's starting to get a little crotchety, though - I think he is getting fed up with the mediocrity on display the last few seasons. Jerry's only problem is that he doesn't have a classic broadcaster's voice, whereas Tom has that velvety baritone.

Do Tom and Jerry actually dislike each other? I keep hearing stories.

Somebody ought to start collecting Tom's favourite sayings. Here's a couple, off the top of my head:

"A day late and a dollar short." = Swing and a miss.
"It's kitty bar the door time." = Late innings, Jays ahead, enemy runners on base.

Despite their failings, I like Tom and Jerry a lot, mostly because they've been here approximately forever. (One of my most prized possessions is a set of cassette recordings of the first few innings of a Jays-Tigers radio broadcast in 1984.)
Craig B - Friday, January 17 2003 @ 01:28 AM EST (#99099) #
It's kitty bar the door time

I always smile when I hear Tom say this. Tom is of course a southerner by birth, a Floridian, but having spent his whole professional career in the north has bleached his accent a bit. But a phrase like this bring the South welling up in him.

"Katie bar the door" is the original, and it's a pure Southernism, a phrase so unfamiliar to Yankees (let alone Canadians) that it has, in the last couple of years, been the subject of three heated debates I have seen about what the phrase is and what it means... one of the contexts is a song by Georgia band R.E.M., I forget the other two right now. It's named after a fiddle tune.

Tom definitely seems to say "kitty", which may be a local or regional variation but is more likely a baseball variation. It's interesting to hear how the phrase changes in baseball or sport generally, where it's intended as an encouragement to bear down and defend. In the original, it means "watch out", or "trouble afoot" or generally danger.

There's a good discussion here:
_Jordan - Friday, January 17 2003 @ 09:08 AM EST (#99100) #
Speaking of Cerutti and on-base percentage --- how long will it take for a network, just one, to give us useful stats on the screen when a player shows up? I forget which network it was, CTV or TSN or CBC -- maybe all three of them -- but they used to display a hitter's batting average, hits, HRs and RBIs. Hits? Precisely how useful is that? And for pitchers, we'd get IP, runs, earned runs and ERA. You know what, Mr. Producer? We only need the first and last of those (though if any network started displaying RA, I'd be truly shocked).

My dream is for one network (preferably Fox or ESPN, but who am I kidding?) to give us these on-screen stats:

W-L, IP, ERA, H, BB, K, RS/9

I am not, of course, holding my breath.
_Matthew Elmslie - Friday, January 17 2003 @ 09:50 AM EST (#99101) #
More Cheekisms:

If a manager was yelling at an umpire: "He was all over him like a herd of turtles."

If someone has lined out or struck out on a tough pitch or something: "That'll make you want to go back into the clubhouse and tear all the fuzz off your T-shirts."
_R Billie - Friday, January 17 2003 @ 09:59 AM EST (#99102) #
Jordan, I would add homeruns to your pitching line as well. W-L, ERA, RA, IP, H, HR, BB, K. Those tell you virtually everything you need to know about a pitcher's performance.

I know they show a pitchers complete line for season to date when he first comes into a game and his complete line for the game when he leaves. At least on most broadcasts I saw last season.

And I could have sworn one network actually showed both batting average and onbase % for batters but maybe I'm remembering wrong. Being at the SkyDome is good because they show all three of avg, slg, and obp updated for each batter throughout the game on the scoreboard.
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