Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Orel stands alone

I remember it well.

I was at work. It was a Monday. About 6:30 in the evening.

I had just begun my nightly ritual of scanning the sports wire to review the news of the day. After reviewing a handful of stories, I came across the following message from heaven:

"Urgent: Miller, Morgan out at ESPN"

I couldn't believe it.

What did I do?

Well, I'll admit I may have shed a quiet tear of joy.

The Associated Press item went on to cite a New York Times report that ESPN was looking for a new broadcast team for the first time in 20 years. It had not renewed the contract of Sunday Night Baseball color man Joe Morgan. It had also relieved play-by-play man Jon Miller of his Sunday Night TV duties, but had asked him to stay on as a radio guy, which if you ask me is the perfect job for him.

I know you didn't ask me for my opinion. I'm giving it anyway.

The next thing I remember there was much rejoicing.

What? No, not in the newsroom. They're clueless about baseball.

But on Twitter, yes, many people threw parties. They were brief, link-filled parties. But they were fun. Then the blogs got ahold of the news and they acted like this:

No, I did not look them strangely. I understood what they were feeling exactly. I even complimented them on their costumes.

But, yes, the news was well-received.

I found the news even more special for one particular reason.

Both Miller and Morgan have ties to the Giants. Miller's day job is broadcasting Giants games. Meanwhile, Morgan is from the Bay area, played for that pathetic team, and has spent the last 15 years of his life defending Barry Bonds at least 15 times a day. Whenever the two happened to be in San Francisco for a Sunday Night game (which seemed suspiciously too often), you couldn't separate them from their lovefest with the organization and the ballpark. It was as if they were in full embrace the entire time they called the game.

Now, imagine what they'd be like after a certain team won the World Series.

Thank you, baby Jesus, I do not have to go through that.

What does this have to do with Orel Hershiser, you ask?

Well, that's what I wanted to mention. Hershiser was added to the Miller-Morgan team last season. Normally, I do not like the three-person booth, but in my opinion, he helped lend some sanity to the proceedings. I can't help but look back and think ESPN was already trying to answer critics by adding Hershiser to the mix.

Now, Hershiser is the only one left.

I find that interesting, and a little bit funny. Known Giants apologists exit. Known Dodgers hero remains.

Oh, I know Hershiser won't be the only one in the Sunday Night booth next year. The New York Times says Dan Schulman will likely get the play-by-play role. That's fine. Not terribly exciting, but I don't look to the broadcast booth for excitement in a baseball game --  no matter what ESPN thinks.

I like Hershiser in the color man role. He provides an interesting insight into the game and you can tell he loves it. He's a lot more personable than Morgan, and he doesn't have to have the last word. He can joke around, even if he appears rather awkward in those situations.

But I'm a Dodger fan. I'm supposed to like Hershiser, even if he didn't return my TTM signature request. (I know, he did answer Night Owl's request).

It's hard for me to gauge Hershiser's plusses and minuses objectively. He's my second favorite player ever. With my Dodger fandom, I'm too close to the situation. Also, I have this semi-irrational fear that Hershiser will become too much the face of ESPN baseball and people will start to loathe him, which seems to be the way these days. Show your face on TV too much and everyone becomes a critic.

So I'm asking, what does everyone think of Hershiser and his broadcasting? Like him? Hate him? Meh about him?

Personally, I'm looking forward to Sunday nights next season. I haven't said that for years.


  1. He is certainly better than Morgan and McCarver, but that's not really saying much. A lot of a broadcaster's success depends on his partner, so it will be interesting to see what chemistry Hershiser has with his partner next year. I always liked him as a pitcher (except in '88 when he robbed Danny Jackson of the Cy Young Award), and hope he does well in the booth.

  2. So glad Joe "I'm the best ever"Morgan has finally got the boot.As for Orel? I think he is a good announcer,first heard him at 2009 little league ws,he was excellent.To be fair a drooling loon would be better than Joe Morgan.

  3. To me Orel was "all right". He just seemed...to black and white. (not the kind that Morgan always pointed out) he added insight but there is no flair to what he is saying. Reminds me of the teacher on Feris Bueller, "Bueller, Bueller, Bueller..." But hey aanything is an improvement on Joe Morgan.

    Now to add some Red Sox bias to your Dodger bias, I would rather see Eckersley get the job. He did great on NESN as the color man when covering for Remy and he is probably more recognizable to the masses than Hershiser. Not only does he konw the game but he is edgy and you can never be exactly sure what he is going to say.

    (see I told you I would get around to answering...)

  4. I've enjoyed OH in the booth. Never was a fan of Miller or Morgan. To me, Orel has some great insight, both as a pitcher and a coach.

    He never really seemed animated, but I think that his knowledge was deep, just not tapped enough.

    I did note that in your blog post that you didn't mention Orel's ties to the Giants. I'm not trying to "harsh your mellow". (See goose/gander or pot/kettle.)

    With regard to Orel looking awkward? He's always looked awkward to me.

    I'd like to see him return as a sideman, but I don't know who I'd put in with him.

  5. Happy to switch over to Orel, just wish I knew more fellows to pair him up with. Wait, what are Steve Garvey and Ron Cey up to these days? :-)