Which MLB television announcing crew entering the 2012 season deserves to take home the top spot in this installment of the Bleacher Report power rankings series? Will it be a broadcasting team that has been together for years? Or will it be a newly formed team?
These are some the questions that will be ultimately answered as we tune in and watch our favorite teams this season.
Here are the MLB television broadcast-team rankings entering the 2012 season.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports South/SportSouth, WPCH-TV
Play-by-play: Joe Simpson/Chip Caray
Analyst: Brian Jordan
Contributors: Ron Gant, Tom Glavine, Dale Murphy
The Atlanta Braves broadcasting history goes back to the inception of cable television as games were regularly aired nationally on Ted Turner's WTBS SuperStation. The advent of social media and the Internet has precipitated the phase-out of Braves games from national broadcast.
The current Braves announcing team consists of a plethora of broadcasters and former players. The play-by-play duties are split between Joe Simpson and Chip Caray. They are paired together on a frequent basis. The group is rounded out by former Braves Ron Gant, Tom Glavine and Dale Murphy.
Simpson is enthusiastic but tends to go silent for long periods of time during the broadcast. This makes the broadcast utterly unwatchable, especially when Simpson is paired with Glavine, who doesn't say much as well. Caray does a slightly better job than Simpson, but not by that much.
One positive aspect of the Braves broadcast is the integration of social media into the broadcast. Perhaps they should rely more on that aspect if they are struggling for topics to discuss during the course of the game.
Broadcast Network(s): Root Sports Rocky Mountains
Play-by-play: Drew Goodman
Analyst: George Frazier, Jeff Huson
A casual fan listening to a Colorado Rockies broadcast will notice a couple of things right off the bat. They will first notice that lead play-by-play man Drew Goodman has spent a lot of time listening to Jim Rome and watching ESPN. Goodman does a decent job with the play-by-play but seems to be trying way too hard at times.
Fans will also notice that analyst George Frazier has an uncanny ability in stating the obvious. Frazier is opinionated, which is a plus, but doesn't really add any worthwhile points.
You combine that with Goodman's announcing style and you have a recipe for broadcasting disaster. Maybe more Jeff Huson would help add some air into this suffocating broadcast.
Broadcast Network(s): Root Sports Pittsburgh
Play-by-play: Tim Neverett
Analyst: Bob Walk
Contributors: Greg Brown, Steve Blass, John Wehner
The Pirates broadcasting team consists of the Tim Neverett/Greg Brown play-by-play tandem, and analysis by Bob Walk, Steve Blass and John Wehner. The Pirates broadcasting team rotates between television and radio.
The Brown/Wehner tandem is very hard to listen to. Brown has a very monotone voice and Wehner doesn't talk that much so you can find yourself dozing off before the end of the first half-inning.
The Neverett/Walk/Blass combinations don't provide much relief, either.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports Arizona
Play-by-play: Daron Sutton
Analyst: Mark Grace
Contributors: Joe Garagiola Sr., Luis Gonzalez, Tom Candiotti
The Arizona Diamondbacks broadcasting team is quite an eclectic group. The group consists of a Ford Frick award winner, a World Series hero, an all-time great Chicago Cub, and the son of a 300-game winner.
Quite a motley bunch!
The play-by-play duties are handled by Daron Sutton. He started his broadcasting career with his Hall of Fame father Don with the Atlanta Braves organization.
Sutton does not have a strong presence in the booth. He struggles with the play-by-play duties and tends to get distracted easily while conversing with Grace.
As for Grace, he is adequate at best. He does a good job of analyzing pitches, which is quite remarkable since he spent his career playing first base.
Gonzalez adds a bit of flavor to the booth when he is present and unfortunately, Garagiola is not able to work the schedule he once did, which is a tremendous loss for Diamondbacks viewers.
Broadcast Network(s): YES Network, WWOR-TV
Play-by-play: Michael Kay
Analyst: Ken Singleton
Contributors: John Flaherty, Paul O'Neill, Al Leiter, David Cone, Lou Piniella
The New York Yankees have had their share of famous broadcasters over the years. Names like Red Barber, Mel Allen and Phil Rizzuto have all left an indelible mark in the Yankees broadcast booth.
The current Yankees broadcast team is led by Michael Kay and an ensemble of contributing analysts. Ken Singleton handles the analyst duties for the most part and is usually accompanied by an additional analyst.
The group is anchored by Kay. He has been a television/radio announcer for the Yankees since the early 1990's. He is the most recognizable face in the broadcast booth. Kay seems to defer a majority of the discussion to Singleton and whomever is occupying the third seat in the booth.
Kay seems to be going through the motions at times. There are also times where Singleton and the accompanying analyst are the only ones paying attention the game. There are undoubtedly too many cooks in the proverbial Yankees broadcasting kitchen.
It may be time to say "See ya!" to Kay.
Broadcast Network(s): Comcast SportsNet Chicago, WGN-TV, WCIU-TV
Play-by-play: Ken "Hawk" Harrelson
Analyst: Steve Stone
Contributors: Frank Thomas
How can you describe a Ken "Hawk" Harrelson White Sox broadcast? Well, the best physical interpretation would be best performed by the comedian Gallagher.
Harrelson has a very unique broadcasting style. He tends to get distracted by random thoughts and frequently goes off on tangents far removed from the action on the field. There must be times when his broadcast partner Stone is absolutely bewildered.
Harrelson is unabashed "homer" from the Phil Rizzuto school of broadcasting. He frequently uses "we" to describe the action on the field. Still, he has his fans and does exhibit a deep knowledge and passion for the game.
As for Stone, when he is able to add analysis to the game he is effective. It seems at times Stone is struggling to get a word in edgewise. The Harrelson/Stone tandem would be a lot better if there was more balance in the booth.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports Kansas City
Play-by-play: Ryan Lefebvre
Analyst: Rex Hudler
Contributors: Steve Physioc, Jeff Montgomery
The Kansas City Royals broadcast team play-by-play duties are split between Ryan Lefebvre and Steve Physioc. Game analysis is done mostly by Rex Hudler but with contributions at times from former Royals closer Jeff Montgomery.
The Lefebvre/Hudler team has an entirely different feel than the Physioc/Hudler pairing. There is a definite lack of in-booth chemistry in the Lefebvre/Hudler team. Perhaps the reason for this is that Physioc/Hudler team spent 11 years together broadcasting LA Angels games.
The Lefebvre/Hudler broadcast is a hard listen. Lefebvre is inconsistent with his play-by-play and gets distracted quite easily. It also seems that Hudler winds up carrying the broadcast as Lefebvre treats viewers with prolonged periods of silence.
In comparison, the Physioc/Hudler broadcast has a more natural, fluid feel. Physioc has good vocal inflection and provides consistent play-by-play and associated commentary. Hudler's broadcasting style is not favored by some people but generally provides decent insight and analysis.
The Royals broadcasting crew is not a strong team but should keep fans interested enough until the squad returns to their winning ways.
Broadcast Network(s): Comcast SportsNet California
Play-by-play: Glen Kuiper
Analyst: Ray Fosse
If you take a stroll down Powell Street on any given summer night there is a good chance that you will hear a Kuiper brother's voice emanating from some sort of drinking establishment. The Wisconsin-bred brothers hold play-by-play positions with the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's.
The Oakland A's broadcast team is comprised of Glen Kuiper and former A's catcher Ray Fosse. Fosse provides good analysis and insight using specific examples from his playing days. Kuiper has a smooth delivery and is easy to listen to.
Kuiper has a tendency of being distracted by discussions with Fosse during the course of the game. One game in particular, Kuiper and Fosse spent an entire half-inning talking about a golf tournament without once mentioning the action taking place on the field.
When the duo is not distracted by extraneous conversation, they are actually pretty good. Just too inconsistent to be placed near the top of the list.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports West, WCOP-TV
Play-by-play: Victor Rojas
Analyst: Mark Gubicza
The Angels broadcasting team is comprised of Victor Rojas and former MLB pitcher Mark Gubicza. Those who watch Angels games are quite accustomed to the fact that Rojas controls the pace of the broadcast.
The son of former MLB player Cookie Rojas exhibits above-average play-by-play and analytical skills. He also transitions well between play-by-play and accompanying discussion.
If there is a significant knock of the Rojas/Gubicza pairing, it is the fact that there doesn't seem to be any chemistry between them. At times, it seems Rojas is by himself in the broadcast booth. Gubicza does provide adequate pitching analysis and once in a while chimes in with a relevant story.
It may not be a bad idea to add a third commentator to the booth. Gubicza is more suited as a broadcaster who occasionally chimes in with an occasional point or pitching analysis.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports Wisconsin, WMLW
Play-by-play: Brian Anderson
Analyst: Bill Schroeder
Contributors: Craig Coshun
When you think about Milwaukee Brewers broadcasting, you think about Bob Uecker. The "Uke" spends him time broadcasting games for the Brewers radio affiliate WTMJ.
The current Brewers broadcasting crew is comprised of Brian Anderson and Craig Coshun, who split the play-by-play duties. The full-time analyst for the Brewers is the long-time broadcaster and former player Bill Schroeder.
Anderson does a good job with the play-by-play but does have a tendency of being distracted at times when discussing off-baseball topics with Schroeder. He uses a lot of historical references to add to the broadcast.
Schroeder provides good analysis but tends to take a back seat to Anderson. The Coshun/Schroeder pairing does an adequate job as well. The complete body of work of this broadcasting crew is slightly below average. It definitely leaves hungry Brewer baseball fans wanting more taste and less fill.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports Ohio
Play-by-play: Thom Brennaman
Analyst: Chris Welsh
Contributors: Jim Kelch, George Grande, Jeff Brantley, Sean Casey
The Cincinnati Reds primary broadcast team is comprised of Thom Brennaman and Chris Welsh. The play-by-play role is generally split between Brennaman and Jim Kelch, with occasional work done by broadcasting veteran George Grande.
You get two different feels to the Reds broadcast depending on whomever is paired in the broadcast booth. The Brennaman/Welsh duo tend to be more focused on textbook baseball.
Brennaman has a very distinctive tone and isn't afraid to mince words. The Kelch/Welsh combination is more laid-back and conversational.
Both broadcast teams are adequate but not sensational by any means. If you were going to rate the Reds broadcast team as a whole, you would have to categorize them as average.
Broadcast Network(s): Sportsnet, Sportsnet One
Play-by-play: Buck Martinez
Analyst: Pat Tabler
Contributors: Alan Ashby
The Toronto Blue Jays broadcasting duo of Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler are inherently aware that their team is the only MLB team left north of the border. It also seems Blue Jays ownership have hammered home this fact to Martinez and Tabler to make sure viewers know this from Medicine Hat to Halifax.
The Blue Jays have been unofficially minted "Canada's Team" by Rogers Communications, and Martinez and Tabler are willing ambassadors.
Marketing plans aside, the Blue Jays broadcast duo generally does a good job. The play-by-play duties are captained by Martinez, who joined the Blue Jays booth in 2010. He has a good grasp on player history as well as adeptness in transitioning from play-by-play to commentary.
Tabler is a former Blue Jay and complements Martinez well in the booth. One of his strengths is the breakdown of hitters' mechanics. He may have a role as a hitting coach sometime down the line.
Broadcast Network(s): Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), WDCW
Play-by-play: Bob Carpenter
Analyst: F.P. Santangelo
Contributors: Johnny Holiday, Ray Knight
The Washington Nationals or "Nats" as some call them, have a good broadcasting team. The team is comprised of play-by-play voice Bob Carpenter and former major-leaguer F.P. Santangelo. The team also receives contributions from Johnny Holiday and Ray Knight.
The first thing a casual viewer of Nationals broadcast will observe is the good chemistry between Carpenter and Santangelo. They are both very enthusiastic and tend to make an effort to make the broadcast feel as it is for the home team.
Carpenter is the broadcasting veteran, as he has called games for several major league clubs. Santangelo is relatively new to the broadcasting business. During his early broadcasting days he was the sports radio host for a program "The Rise Guys" on KHTK-1140AM Sacramento.
His experience as a host has translated well into the broadcast booth, as he provides good accompanying commentary to the game.
The broadcast team is rounded out by Holliday who is an occasional fill-in and former major league player/manager Ray Knight.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports Southwest, KTXA
Play-by-play: Dave Barnett
Analyst: Tom Grieve
The Texas Rangers broadcast team is comprised of Dave Barnett and former major league player and GM Tom Grieve.
Barnett provides solid play-by-play and analysis. He has a very good voice and keeps viewers interested with a mixture of stories and relevant statistics. He is partnered with Grieve, who has quite an extensive baseball resume.
Grieve played a majority of his nine-year career with the Texas Rangers. He followed up his playing days with a career in the Rangers front office. He will always been infamously known, however, as the person who traded away future stars Sammy Sosa and Robb Nen from the Rangers organization.
If there was a negative to be said about the Barnett/Grieve pairing, it would have to be their in-booth chemistry. It seems at times Barnett is talking to himself and Grieve is somewhere in outer space. Barnett carries the broadcast for the most part, making this pairing rather average.
Broadcast Network(s): Sun Sports
Play-by-play: Dewayne Staats
Analyst: Brian Anderson
The Tampa Bay Rays broadcasting team is comprised of broadcast veteran Dewayne Staats and former major-leaguer Brian Anderson.
Staats has been broadcasting games for over 30 years. One of the most memorable games he called was the first night game ever played at Wrigley Field.
He also called the Jim Abbott no-hitter while a member of the New York Yankees broadcasting team in the early 1990's. His clear-and-concise tone and consistent play-by-play adds strength to the Rays broadcast.
The former major league hurler Anderson makes up the final piece of the Rays broadcast team. Frequent elbow injuries caused Anderson to retire from the game prematurely. He joined the Rays broadcasting team in 2008 on a part-time basis and now does the analyst duties.
If there was a knock of the Staats/Anderson pairing it would be the chemistry between the two broadcasters. It seems that the two struggle at times during their conversations. Anderson has a tendency to remain silent for long periods of time.
Staats seems to be fine with this, as he compensates for the lack of interjections from Anderson. There are worse broadcasting duos than Staats and Anderson, but they are exceedingly average.
Broadcast Network: New England Sports Network (NESN)
Play-by-play: Don Orsillo
Analyst: Jerry Remy
The Don Orsillo/Jerry Remy tandem have been providing Boston Red Sox fans play-by-play and commentary since 2001. The strong and steady tone of Orsillo and the native New England tongue of Remy can be heard from Springfield to Cape Cod.
Orsillo provides both consistent play-by-play and game situational analysis. The Emmy award-winning broadcaster called the Hideo Nomo debut as well as Cal Ripken's final game. As for Remy, the former Red Sox second baseman has been with NESN in some sort of a broadcasting capacity since 1988.
He seems to have a good wealth of historical knowledge to draw from his playing days. Remy also likes to use a lot of statistics during broadcasts to hammer home a point he is trying to make.
The Orsillo/Remy team is a good but not solid team. There are instances where it seems Orsillo is anchoring the broadcast, while Remy will chime in on a sporadic occasion. There are a lot of worse broadcast teams out there, but this would be better if Remy would say more.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports Midwest
Play-by-play: Rick Horton
Analyst: Al Hrabosky
Contributors: Dan McLaughlin
The St. Louis Cardinals broadcasting team is an eclectic mix of colorful personalities and former baseball stars. The play-by-play duties are split between Rick Horton and Dan McLaughlin. The color commentary is performed by the often-colorful Al "The Mad Hungarian" Hrabosky.
The Horton/Hrabosky pairing is a strong one as both seem to converse well during the course of the game. Horton is very fluid with his play-by-play and changes his vocal inflection to match the drama unfolding during the game.
This goes along with the Hrabosky commentary that at times is quite opinionated. McLaughlin has gone through some off-the-field issues and has seen his time behind the mike reduced.
The Cardinals broadcast team is not perfect, but it is better than most. An interesting view on most nights.
Broadcast Network(s): Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, Comcast Network Philadelphia, WPHL
Play-by-play: Tom McCarthy
Analyst: Chris Wheeler
Contributors: Gary Matthews
The Philadelphia Phillies broadcasting family lost a legend in 2009 with the death of long-time play-by-play man Harry Kalas. He was the omnipresent voice of Philadelphia sports and made lasting contributions to professional football through NFL Films.
Quite a legacy for any Philadelphia broadcaster to live up to.
The current incarnation of the Phillies broadcasting crew is led by play-by-play man Tom McCarthy and contributing analysts Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews.
McCarthy controls the broadcast with an effective vocal presentation as well the use of well-placed statistics. Wheeler brings a local flavor to the booth, as he has been involved with the Phillies in some sort of capacity for more than 40 years. Matthews provides good analysis, as well as stories from his playing days.
Similar to Gary Cohen, who calls Met games 100 miles up the New Jersey Turnpike, McCarthy adds a lot to the Phillies broadcasting team. Couple that with a highly effective Wheeler, and you have a very good broadcasting team.
Broadcast Network(s): WGN-TV, WCIU-TV, Comcast SportsNet Chicago
Play-by-play: Len Kasper
Analyst: Bob Brenly
Whoever occupies the broadcast booth at Wrigley Field will have to deal with all associated Cub curses and the ghost of the late, great Harry Caray.
It seems the current crew covering Cubs games is up to the task.
The Cubs broadcast booth is manned by Len Kasper and former player/manager Bob Brenly. The team has an above-average in-booth chemistry and seem to balance well between play-by-play and analysis. Kasper is a good play-by-play man and is buoyed by the quick-witted humor displayed by Brenly.
Although the duo has a tendency of getting distracted by sidebars at times, they generally do a good job.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports Florida
Play-by-play: Rich Waltz
Analyst: Tommy Hutton
There is definitely a South Florida feel to a Miami Marlins broadcast.
Cue the salsa music!
The Marlins broadcast team is comprised of Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton. Waltz is a veteran broadcaster with experience covering ACC and SEC college football and basketball. He is very opinionated at times and does a good job at combining statistics and play-by-play.
Hutton is former player and also has an extensive MLB broadcasting resume. He provides good analysis and complements Waltz quite well.
One aspect the Marlins broadcasters have embraced is the use of social media during live games. Fans have the ability to email and tweet questions during the actual game.
It doesn't seem that this new tool has gotten in the way of the team from successfully broadcasting the game.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports Houston, KTXH
Play-by-play: Bill Brown
Analyst: Jim Deshaies
Contributors: Steve Sparks
The Houston Astros are in the midst of a downturn but fortunately for fans they have a capable broadcasting team. The team consists of play-by-play man Bill Brown and color analyst Jim Deshaies.
Brown has been with the Astros since 1987 and was honored for his broadcasting work with his 2004 enshrinement into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
He provides clear and crisp play-by-play commentary as well as apparent enthusiasm. Brown also works well with his booth mate Deshaies.
As for Deshaies, he is an average-to-above-average analyst who draws much from his experience as a MLB pitcher. This team is slightly above-average and just on the cusp of the upper echelon of broadcasters in the MLB today.
Broadcast Network(s): SportsNet New York, WPIX
Play-by-play: Gary Cohen
Analyst: Ron Darling
Contributors: Keith Hernandez, Ralph Kiner
The New York Mets broadcasting lineage can be traced back to the days of Ralph Kiner and Kiner's Korner. The Hall of Fame player/broadcaster makes sporadic television appearances these days but will always be fondly remembered by Mets fans.
The Mets broadcast team is anchored by play-by-play man Gary Cohen. He is usually accompanied in the booth by Ron Darling and/or Keith Hernandez.
Cohen is a very strong broadcaster and effectively balances both play-by-play and conversational topics. He rarely seems to miss a beat and does a really good job of using vocal inflection to announce key points within the game.
Darling and Hernandez both provide a good historical vault of baseball stories to draw from their MLB careers. They are especially good at comparing current players to players they played with during the 1980s with the New York Mets.
Darling tends to be a bit monotone so listening to him for long periods of time might give you a migraine. Nevertheless, Cohen is a tremendous asset to this team and is well on his way of carving out his own niche in Mets broadcasting lore.
Broadcast Network(s): SportsTime Ohio, WKYC
Play-by-play: Matt Underwood
Analyst: Rick Manning
Contributors: Al Pawlowski, Mike Hargrove
There is a distinct Northeast Ohio feel to the Indians broadcast booth. All four members of the booth have been involved with the Cleveland Indians and the local broadcasting community at some capacity.
The primary broadcast team is Matt Underwood and Rick Manning. They are spelled at times by Al Pawlowski and former Indians manager Mike Hargrove.
Fans listening to an Indians broadcast experience a smooth play-by-play delivery by Underwood and poignant analysis and wit from Manning. They both seem to have a good chemistry, which adds to the viewing experience.
If you were going to pinpoint one strength of this broadcasting team, it would have to be balance. You have Underwood and Pawlowski, who are natives to the area and have extensive local broadcasting backgrounds. Both Manning and Hargrove have deep historical roots in the Indians organization.
One area Underwood and Manning could improve is the amount of dead air during the broadcast. There are times when it seems Underwood and Manning are not actively engaged in the action taking place on the field.
Generally the Underwood/Manning team provides insightful and entertaining commentary and could be considered one of the stronger broadcast teams in MLB today.
Broadcast Network(s): Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, KNTV
Play-by-play: Duane Kuiper/Jon Miller
Analyst: Mike Krukow
The San Francisco Giants broadcasting team consists of a trio of veteran sports personalities. Duane Kuiper and Jon Miller split the play-by-play duties depending on respective broadcasting schedules. The color analyst role is held by Bay Area mainstay and former Giant Mike Krukow.
Miller is widely known nationally for his previous work with ESPN. He spent two decades working with ESPN and partnered with Joe Morgan for Sunday night baseball broadcasts.
His broadcasting style is easy, smooth, and usually a good listen. He exhibits a good booth chemistry with Krukow. Miller does have his share of detractors who don't like his work.
Krukow, who is a five-time Emmy award winner, has been broadcasting Giants games since 1994. He has a very agreeable personality and provides succinct player analysis. He also does analyst work when teamed together with Kuiper.
The Kuiper/Krukow tandem is the more well-known pairing. Kuiper has also won five Emmy awards and is known for his matter-of-fact play-by-play delivery.
The Giants broadcasting trio works well and is one of the better teams in the MLB today.
Broadcast Network: Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), WJZ-TV
Play-by-play: Gary Thorne
Analyst: Jim Palmer
Contributors: Jim Hunter, Mike Bordick
It's not very difficult to listen to Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer. They converse really well and seem to have a good grasp on the statistical aspects of the game.
Thorne uses a lot of statistics and has a very clear tone to his voice. He also has a good working knowledge of Orioles team history. Thorne has had many years behind the microphone, as he seems at ease behind the mic. His work with the NHL and college football has aided him well.
As for Palmer, he seems to be a very good complementary voice to Thorne. The Oriole Hall of Famer is well aware of team history and provides interesting anecdotes from his playing days.
The team also includes veteran broadcaster Jim Hunter and the former major-leaguer Mike Bordick.
Broadcast Network(s): Root Sports Northwest
Play-by-play: Dave Sims
Analyst: Mike Blowers
Contributors: Jay Buhner, Dan Wilson
The current stable of Seattle Mariners broadcasters have the unenviable task of trying to live up to the legacy of broadcasting great Dave Niehaus. The broadcaster who used to serenade Ken Griffey Jr. with his famous "fly away" home run call passed away in 2010.
The current Mariners broadcasting team is led by Dave Sims, with booth contributions from former players Mike Blowers, Jay Buhner and Dan Wilson.
Sims' broadcasting style can be closely likened to that of the wildly enthusiastic Gus Johnson. Although Sims has a tendency of getting distracted at times, his broadcasts are generally lively and interesting.
He draws from his knowledge base and years when he was an in-studio radio host as he was with WFAN in the 1990s.
The rest of the broadcast team is comprised of former Mariner players. Blowers tends to give good analysis but is often silent at times. This is a good broadcast team. Sims' enthusiasm makes the viewing experience enjoyable and interesting.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports Detroit
Play-by-play: Mario Impemba
Analyst: Rod Allen
The Detroit Tigers broadcasting tandem of Mario Impemba and Rod Allen have probably one of the most challenging jobs in sports. They have the unenviable job(s) of trying to replicate the success of one of the greatest broadcasters of all time, Ernie Harwell.
You have to wonder whether Impemba or Allen ever ponder the fact that they are following in the footsteps of a man who was so good at his craft he was one famously traded for by Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey.
Tough shoes to fill indeed!
Nevertheless, Impemba and Allen have done a good job filling Harwell's shoes. Both exhibit a good working knowledge of the game as well as in-booth chemistry.
Impemba is good at integrating statistical analysis into his play-by-play work. He is also adept of providing viewers with what they cannot see such as the current vibe permeating the crowd during a specific point of the game.
Allen is a good complement to Impemba as he mixes both historical analysis as well a bit of humor. He often will bring in a specific example from a discussion he has had with a Tiger player or member of the coaching staff. This seems to work really well during the broadcast.
If you were going to rate the Impemba/Allen tandem, you would have to place them close to the top of the list. They have done an admirable job following in the footsteps of Harwell.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports North
Play-by-play: Dick Bremer
Analyst: Bert Blyleven
An outsider listening to a Minnesota Twins broadcast for the first time will notice two things a) Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven are a good pairing, and b) Blyleven is awfully opinionated.
Minnesota native Bremer has been broadcasting games for the Twins since 1983. He was joined by Blyleven in 1996 and the duo has been paired together ever since. Bremer is also the voice of the Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball team.
Bremer has a very clear voice and brings strong analytical skills to the table. He also has good in-booth chemistry with Blyleven, which makes the viewing experience much more enjoyable.
If there was one knock on Bremer, it would have to be the fact that he has a tendency to be overpowered in the booth by Blyleven.
As for Blyleven, the Hall of Famer has been known to speak his own mind frequently on the air. A famous obscenity-laden outburst took place before a broadcast during the 2006 season.
He wound out being suspended for five games which prompted some fans to don "Free Bert" shirts to protest the network's decision.
The Bremer/Blyleven team generally receives positive reviews from the fans and deservedly so. They are one of the best teams in the business.
Broadcast Network(s): Fox Sports San Diego
Play-by-play: Dick Enberg
Analyst: Mark Grant
Contributors: Mark Neely, Tony Gwynn
One of the most preeminent voices in all of professional sports is the play-by-play voice of the San Diego Padres.
Who would have thunk it?
That is exactly the case with the well-traveled and well-decorated broadcaster Dick Enberg, who handles the play-by-play duties for the Padres. Enberg is widely-known for work with NBC, CBS, ESPN and his coverage of a plethora of sports.
Enberg is nearly flawless in the booth. He transitions exceedingly well from play-by-play to commentary and back. His treasure trove of sports experience is seen quite frequently during discussions with his booth mates.
He is generally teamed with Mark Grant, who brings good analysis and a bit of humor to the presentation. Contributions from Mark Neely and insight from former Padre great Tony Gwynn round out this exceptional broadcast crew.
Broadcast Network(s): Prime Ticket, KCAL
Play-by-play: Vin Scully
Analyst: Steve Lyons***
Contributors: Eric Collins
*** Provides analysis for games in which Collins does play-by-play
If you were to tally up the achievements and accolades of Vin Scully during his 60-plus years in the broadcast booth, it would stretch from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. The remarkable thing about Scully is not only that he still broadcasting at the ripe old age of 84, but he is doing so on a high level.
Scully weaves a colorful web of statistics and personal anecdotes, all while not missing a beat with the play-by-play. He does this all without any assistance in the booth.
The crew that covers the Dodgers for most away games is Eric Collins and Steve Lyons. Comparing the Collins/Lyons tandem to Scully is like comparing apples to oranges. They do manage to put together an above-average broadcast with good chemistry, play-by-play and statistical integration.
The Dodgers broadcast team as a whole is very strong, and Scully's longevity is a marvel to witness.