Forget Matt Holliday; Chip Caray is the playoffs' biggest goat

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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.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: