As a Minnesotan who’s been forced to listen to Chip Caray announce the most important games of my beloved Twins’ season I’m in complete agreement with Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, who basically eviscerated the TBS play-by-play man in his column today.
Sandomir gets into all the gory details of Caray’s ineptitude–including his numerous screwups from Game 1 of the ALDS–but here’s the short version:
Caray is still prone to bad play calls, descriptive exaggerations and factual errors. Every announcer makes mistakes, but Caray’s lips form a pattern of an announcer out of his element. The producer, Glenn Diamond; the director, Lonnie Dale; and the statistician are either failing him or he is spurning their advice and support.
No one in the production truck could rescue him from his 10th-inning classic faux pas during the Twins-Tigers tie breaker Tuesday night. Caray called the Twins’ Nick Punto’s sharply hit liner to left field this way: “Line drive. Base hit. Caught out there. The runner tags. Throw to the plate. On target. And in time! A double play.”
Sandomir’s description of that play doesn’t even do it justice, as Caray completely botched the call of one of the most important and action-packed moments of the season. Worse, he made zero mention of the massive blunder and then did the exact same thing the next night, breathlessly announcing another line out to left field as a “base hit” before trying to save himself by acting as if the ball nearly dropped for a single.
Those are the two most glaring mistakes, but Caray is incredibly tough to listen to even when he’s not making huge errors. Every ball hit with any sort of authority is “belted” or “smoked” and every pop up is “fisted.” He fills the broadcast with non-stop babble focused on hyperbole, lavish praise of mediocre players, half-truths passed along as facts, apocryphal stories and anecdotes, and the blatant misuse of statistics. And at least once an inning he says something that’s just flat-out wrong.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post described Caray’s announcing style perfectly when he wrote: “He’s like an interpreter who can speak with a French accent but doesn’t know French.” It’s almost as if Caray is playing the part of a baseball announcer, rattling off the lines he’s supposed to say with the inflection he’s supposed to use, but unlike his legendary grandfather Harry Caray and his highly underrated father Skip Caray he’s not fit to actually do the job. I’m already dreading listening to his mistake-filled nonsense tonight.