I watched the Guardians-Yankees division series playoff game last night on TBS. By the end of the broadcast, I was left with two unshakeable conclusions.
First, it’s hard to beat a team that has spent huge amounts on player contracts. Every player in the Yankees batting order seemed to have hit at least 20 homers, knocked in at least 70 runs, and either won an MVP, a batting title, a World Series title, or a Golden Glove award before they went for the big money in the Bronx.
And second, Bob Costas just talks too much. Way, way, way too much. So much that his partner in the booth, Ron Darling, was hard pressed to get a word in edgewise, even though, unlike Costas, he often had something interesting to say about what was happening on the field. By the end of the game, I felt like hitting the mute button, just so I wouldn’t hear Costas rip through another set of weird statistics and seemingly pointless anecdotes.
There’s nothing to be done about the payroll difference. Regrettably, it’s just part of the big-league game these days and something that you need to accept when you root for a small-market team against one of the cash-rich big boys. All you can do is hope that lightning strikes and your team can somehow prevail despite the stacked deck. But the broadcast booth blabbing is jarring. You’re used to listening to your hometown TV team, and then suddenly you’re dealing with a national media personality who apparently feels compelled to gush out verbiage like a fire hydrant on a hot summer’s day.
Baseball is a slow-moving, pastoral game. Part of its appeal is the sights and sounds and rhythms. A chatterbox announcer interferes with all of that. Make your occasional point, and call the action, sure — but there is absolutely no need to fill every precious moment of silence or background crowd noise or the organ sounding the notes of the “charge” call with mindless yammering about in-the-weeds data analytics or curious back stories that really don’t have anything to do with the game.
Bob Costas has had a storied career in broadcasting, but in my view his approach really interferes with enjoyment of the game. Take a breath now and then, Bob — won’t you?