MLB 2012: Fox, ESPN, TBS, MLB Network. Who Has the Best Broadcasters?

James WilliamsAnalyst IIIApril 9, 2012

Will Terry Fancona be a hit in the broadcast booth?
Will Terry Fancona be a hit in the broadcast booth?Elsa/Getty Images

After almost 30 years in the broadcast business one thing I know for sure is that when it comes to broadcasters, fans know who they like and who they don’t. The funny part is, all of the network’s broadcast teams have their vocal supporters and their equally vocal detractors.

So for your voting pleasure allow me to offer you the national broadcasters for Fox, ESPN, TBS and the MLB Network. It is up to the voters to let me know who you like and who you don’t. May the best network win?

*For the record I am aware that each network has other broadcasters that at times handle their national telecasts. But since it is impossible to offer every possible combination I have stuck to what each network has offered as the lead broadcast team. 

Fox Sports lead team of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver—Back when Fox first made the choice to telecast baseball they signed Buck and McCarver as their top broadcast crew. At the time Buck was making his national debut, the son of the legendary broadcaster Jack Buck, he came to Fox as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals television crew.

McCarver, the former catcher with the Cardinals and the Phillies was the premier color analyst of the time holding the distinction of being part of the lead broadcast team for NBC, ABC and CBS before signing with FOX. The duo remain the top broadcast team in baseball and later this summer McCarver will be presented with the prestigious Ford Frick Award for broadcasting from the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Over at ESPN Sunday Night Baseball this is the second year for the new crew. One of the best and most versatile play by play men in the business, Dan Shulman has settled quite well into the role as the “voice of Sunday Night Baseball.” He has a solid partner in Orel Hershiser, who has developed into one of the top analysts in the business. The third member of the team is former manager of the Boston Red Sox Terry Francona, and he certainly knows baseball, but it is far too early to tell how well he works with his partners.

It is also just the second year that TBS offers a national Sunday afternoon Game of the Week, and while most people know and like Ernie Johnson, Jr. in the role as the studio host for the NBA on TNT, he does a fine job of broadcasting baseball. Johnson is the son of long time Braves voice Ernie Johnson Sr., who most fans remember from the many years that he and Skip Caray did the Atlanta Braves broadcasts on TBS.

Johnson is paired with two former pitchers who have developed into fine broadcasters, Ron Darling who handles the Mets telecasts on SNY in New York and John Smoltz who works with Johnson on select Braves telecasts on Peachtree TV, as well as working for the MLB Network.

MLB Network scored a major coup when they added Bob Costas to a spot as a host for special programming as well as being a broadcaster. Costas is one of the best voices in baseball history and he called the NBC Saturday Game of the Week from 1983 through 2000. Also, while at the network he was the All-Star Game and the World Series.

His partner is another fine broadcaster and former major league pitcher Jim Kaat . He comes to the MLB Network with an impressive broadcasting resume that includes stints nationally with both CBS and ABC as a national analyst on baseball telecast; he was most recently a part of the Yankees broadcasting team on the YES Network.

So there you have it the main broadcast teams for the four networks that broadcast baseball nationally. I leave it up to you to decide the best.