Chip Caray’s awful announcing caused me to watch much of TBS’ postseason coverage with the television muted and Richard Deitsch of SI.com recently asked Turner Sports president David Levy about the oft-criticized play-by-play man:
Certainly, Chip made some on-the-air errors that we are well aware of, and like we do with all our sports, we will sit down in the next two to three weeks and evaluate everything. including our production and our talent. We always want to make our telecasts better. We add people. We subtract people. We add cameras. We take cameras off. I can’t make any decisions or comments today, but we will look at it the next few weeks.
But I do think it almost snowballed to the point where some of the sportswriters and columnists were actually missing an incredible postseason. Instead of writing about the game and the storyline and what was happening, it became about Chip. And I think they missed a lot. I’m not saying he didn’t make errors. Don’t get me wrong. But was it that big? Was it that big of a story? That was always my question. I’ll never know the answer to that, but obviously the writers and columnists do.
Is an announcer doing a horrible job really a huge story? Perhaps not in the grand scheme of things, but it’s tough to ignore when TBS put Caray in position to be the lead play-by-play man for the early portion of the playoffs and he failed miserably. That’s going to get a ton of attention, right or wrong. Levy and Turner Sports probably don’t mind the positive attention that Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson, and Kenny Smith get for doing a great job on TNT’s coverage of the NBA.
Levy’s comment that “the sportswriters and columnists were actually missing an incredible postseason” sums up why Caray was such a disaster. He caused huge baseball fans like me to actually turn off the sound accompanying the events TBS was covering and thus took away from the games being played. You can blame that on sportswriters and columnists, but ultimately TBS picked Caray for the job and Caray performed horribly. Luckily it sounds like we won’t have to suffer through him again next October.
Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.
While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.
Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.
Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”
Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.
If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.