Number twenty-five in a series.
Broadcast: Tampa Bay Rays on FSN Florida, Rays at Oakland, 8/14/08; Announcers: Dewayne Staats (play-by-play), Brian Anderson (analyst), Todd Kalas (reporter)
When I sit down and watch a game for purposes of writing one of these reports, I take notes on what I see and hear. Since I don’t know shorthand, it means a lot of pushing the “pause” and “rewind” buttons on the remote while I write. Sometimes I end up writing a lot of notes -- mostly when there are a lot of things I don’t like.
For this particular game I didn’t write down a whole lot, and that’s a good thing.
Dewayne Staats and Brian Anderson kept the inane chatter to a minimum. It could be due to the fact that they haven’t worked together much. The Rays’ regular analyst, Joe Magrane, is working for NBC on their Olympic baseball telecasts. Anderson, a former pitcher who now works as an assistant pitching coach for the team, is filling in during some of the games.
While not particularly memorable, Anderson did point out that the Rays are having issues with B.J. Upton, their talented young outfielder. It seems he doesn’t always run all-out to first base. In this game he tried to bunt for a hit, but stopped and watched as it rolled foul. Anderson correctly pointed out that the ball was close enough to the foul line that it could have easily hit a bump or a pebble and rolled back into fair territory. Upton would’ve then been easily thrown out at first because he stopped running. “The umpire will tell him it’s a foul,” Anderson said.
Staats provided solid, professional play-by-play. He’s worked in baseball booths for 32 years, 11 with the Rays. (Both Staats and Magrane have been with the Rays since the franchise's inaugural season; it must be fun for them to finally see some winning baseball on a regular basis.) So the trend continues: when it comes to play-by-play the older guys stick to the game, while the younger guys think they’re stand-up comedians.
The silliest moments of the broadcast came courtesy of Cliff Floyd, the Rays’ DH. He’s a bigger guy who’s had a lot of injury issues, including right knee surgery earlier this year. He went 1 for 2 with 4 walks and scored 4 times, twice scoring from first base on extra-base hits. This led to three different replays of Floyd’s two first-to-home trips, speeded up so it looked like he was flying around the bases.
Todd Kalas (son of the Phillies’ broadcaster Harry Kalas), like most of the reporters teams employ, wasn’t really needed. Grade: B. -- Joe Guckin