There are so many wonderful broadcasters in New York City. Mike Breen, the voice of the Knicks, is calling the NBA finals right now. The old voice of the finals, Marv Albert, has had one of the most distinguished broadcasting careers imaginable (despite his little biting incident).
Bob Papa has seen his career skyrocket and is great to listen to during Giant games.
The list can just seemingly go on forever: Sam Rosen, Kenny Albert, Doc Emrick, Gary Cohen, Ian Eagle and Chris Carrino all at the top of their game.
Yet, there seems to be a plenty of terrible announcers in the Big Apple to go around. I have selected the worst five of the New York area teams:
Let's start with the honorable mentions:
Bob Wischusen (play by play voice of New York Jets on 1050 ESPN): So frantic in the broadcast booth, you'd think he was David Carr in his Texans days.
Wayne Hagin (second play by play voice of New York Mets on WFAN): Does the man ever get excited?
Here are the Worst Five:
5. Mike Crispino (play by play voice most recently for St. John’s Basketball)
His career seemed star bound with all of his accolades and success in New England. Within his first two years at WLVI-TV in Boston, he was calling Celtics games, and was the head of the sports department. MSG, ESPN, and the Big Ten Network then came calling.
But then his career began falling apart. No longer working for ESPN, MSG seemingly has nothing to give him. Maybe that’s because they heard him do play by play for Knick games when Breen or Gus Johnson couldn’t.
He is atrocious. He is behind the play; he talks too much, seemingly thinking he is a basketball expert, but never playing at even a college level, and did I mention he talks too much?
After a successful career as a host (which he is pretty good at), basketball just does not fit him. The game moves too fast for Crispino and most fans can sense the confusion. Some people should just stick to reading off a teleprompter or asking meaningless questions in a post game locker room.
4. Michael Kay (play by play voice of the New York Yankees on YES)
Where do I start? Michael is a Fordham guy like many of the quality voices listed at the beginning of this article. That is where the comparisons stop.
He was actually pretty decent on the radio. He always asked good questions to guests, and he accurately described the play.
But on the radio he did not have enough time to bore us with his awful stories. Kay often goes off on tangents on things totally unrelated to the current game and at times having nothing to do with baseball.
His fake, cackling laugh does not ease the viewers’ minds about these never-ending stories.
Kay talks too much on television. He doesn’t realize he’s no longer doing radio. He doesn’t set up the play on television, but rather gives word pictures of what the viewer is already watching. Kay, in seven years, has not fully understood the differences between TV and radio.
In fairness, Kay is extremely good on his television show Center Stage because he is a great interviewer. He deserves the Emmy awards he’s won.
Unfortunately for Yankee fans, we continue to have to listen to him on Yankee broadcasts besides when the team is in Detroit or Kansas City (insert silky smooth voice of Ken Singleton)
3. Gus Johnson (play by play voice of the Knicks on ESPN 1050)
It doesn’t help that the guy calling TV for Gus’s main team is Mike Breen. It also doesn’t help that Gus screams when Eddie Curry dunks (well not this year) with the Knicks down 30 in the fourth quarter.
If I wanted to listen to someone scream I would just go visit my mother at her preschool.
Two of the main rules of doing play by play:
1. Don’t ever scream.
2. Know when to get excited because it shouldn’t happen more than a couple of times in a normal game
Johnson routinely ignores these two standards much to the chagrin of his listeners.
Gus is sometimes fun to listen to during March Madness because the games are exciting and his screaming is oddly appropriate. But, when the Knicks are getting the snot beaten out of them by the Oklahoma City Thunder, he is completely inappropriate.
His screaming is not his only flaw. He constantly makes errors in his facts. Sometimes it sounds like he did no preparation for the game whatsoever.
This is another cardinal sin of play-by-play. Some people spend days preparing for an opponent, only to hear Johnson butchering the other team’s second leading scorer’s stat line.
2. John Sterling (play by play voice of the New York Yankees on WCBS 880)
One of the more colorful announcers in the game, Sterling has fallen farther from the tree in recent years.
Yankee fans might still love Sterling from the nostalgia of those calls during the glory days of the franchise in the late nineties. I myself don’t mind the “The-uuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh Yannkeeeesssssss Wiiiiinnnnn” call. Some of his older, cornier calls for player home runs were somewhat clever.
These unique calls are Sterling’s only saving grace. He cannot see in his old age, often getting excited over routine fly balls that he thinks are out. For example, “It’s high, it is far, it’s aaaaaaaa pop out to short.”
Sterling frequently mispronounces opposing players' names and never knows stat lines. He frequently says, “well Damon has to be hitting around .300” when he might be hitting .250. It is unacceptable for a broadcaster not have stat lines because they are easily found in seconds on the Internet.
Sterling is also a huge “homer.” Obviously someone following the team day in and day out will be partial to whom they work for, but Sterling takes it to a whole new level. He cannot say anything critical about the Yanks and this was clearly seen last year when the Yanks weren’t a playoff baseball team.
John, I will have to be objective—you are one of the worst in New York.
1. Suzyn Waldman (Color Commentator for the New York Yankees on WCBS 880)
“My Good Goodness Gracious, Of All The Dramatic...Roger Clemens is standing right in George Steinbrenner’s Box...”
Oh I can fill an entire series of articles dedicated to Suzyn Waldman and her hysterical sound bytes (read on for my personal favorite).
She is the absolute worst. There is no other way around it. She doesn’t know baseball. Her stories are worst than Kay’s and Sterling’s. They have neither point nor value.
She takes opinions when she shouldn’t. These opinions are usually without knowing all of the facts.
She is the biggest “homer” in New York. That’s right much worst than Sterling, which you actually have to try at.
She has made some of the biggest blunders on the air in recent memory. Her voice makes most people cringe.
She used to be a decent beat reporter on WFAN, besides her normal crying fits over George Bell, etc. But, she is unlistenable on the radio (that’s right she is so bad I had to make up a word for her).
Well, of all her dramatic blunders—here is my personal favorite for your viewing pleasure, courtesy of YouTube.