"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Three Men and a Broadcast

"Mem'ries, like the corners of my mind..."

I missed it in all the hubbub about Brian Cashman’s holiday festiveness/long-awaited mental breakdown, but ESPN announced its replacements for Joe Morgan and Jon Miller yesterday: Bobby Valentine, Dan Shulman, and Orel Hershiser. As, you’ll recall, no fan of Morgan, I am cautiously optimistic.

I was impressed by Hershiser’s work in the shadow of Miller and Morgan last year; I thought that he brought some good solid analysis to the table, and with considerably less bluster than his co-hosts. As for Shulman, I know I must have watched games he’s called before, but I can’t really recall any distinct impressions of the man. Quick Googling reveals that he wears glasses and is Canadian, so clearly we can assume he’s smart and reasonable.

Meanwhile, my fondness for Bobby V turned to pure love the moment he pulled his Groucho glasses stunt, and what I read about his time in Japan a few years ago just reinforced that. Not to mention that, according to him, he invented the wrap sandwich, which should probably put him in the Hall of Fame just by itself. My only concern is that Valentine will dial it down too much on national TV – he never got too wacky or inventive on Baseball Tonight last year, holding back the full force of his personality. But if he can relax and let himself cut loose on camera, he’ll be great, a natural performer.

I only wish I had time to whip up a photoshop image of Shulman, Valentine, and Hershiser’s heads transferred onto the bodies of Ted Danson, Tom Selleck, and Steve Guttenberg. Get on that, please, internet.


1 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 2, 2010 1:53 pm

I find Bobby Valentine extremely grating

2 rbj   ~  Dec 2, 2010 2:15 pm

[1] Hear, hear. I cannot stand the guy.

3 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 2, 2010 2:37 pm

I like Hershiser. He's been a regular guest on Kay's radio show, and he's bright, professional, and not bland. He'll give you his educated opinion.

Valentine. Wow, I just don't get the fascination with him (which apparently goes beyond his fascination with himself). To me he's a primping, preening, smug, smarmy baseball politico. I respect that he's been in and around the game for a long time, but I've never found him to be enlightening or entertaining as a baseball personality, broadcaster or analyst. I won't not watch games because of him, but I won't tune in for him either. Why the love for Bobby Valentine? What am I missing with this guy?

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 2, 2010 2:42 pm

as for Dan Shulman. I'm not familiar with his baseball work but he's an excellent basketball announcer.

5 Emma Span   ~  Dec 2, 2010 2:54 pm

Well, to me, it's not so much that he's likable -- certainly I can't argue with the description of him as smug and self-satisfied -- but that he's entertaining, as well as a very smart strategist. And he has a sense of humor (see above photo), which is all too rare among baseball broadcasters. He had a great time and was ENORMOUSLY popular in Japan, teaching ballroom dance classes to the public before games and engaging in all kinds of fun, weird promotions.

I wouldn't want to marry the guy, but I like hearing him talk about baseball.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 2, 2010 2:59 pm

I find Bobby V so grating and self aggrandizing that I love him.

7 Emma Span   ~  Dec 2, 2010 3:08 pm

[6] Yeah, that's about the size of it. How very New York of us.

8 MDF   ~  Dec 2, 2010 3:23 pm

I've long believed that the greater popularity of televised football relative to baseball is due, in significant part, to the relative lameness of televised baseball's announcers and color commentators.

On the other hand, the on air group at MLB Network on cable (Greg Amsinger, Barry Larkin, Al Leiter, Joe Magrane, Kevin Millar, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds, Mitch Williams) have great chemistry, seem to have a great time, and combine baseball knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport.

9 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 2, 2010 3:30 pm

I guess I just haven't gotten past his schmuckiness to see the appeal. He probably is a smarter baseball strategist than I give him credit for, because I process almost everything he says as bullshit He always seems to be campaigning for his next managerial job. So even if he's right, it sounds like a sell.

ESPN hired him for a reason. Perhaps being an irritant is requisite for the position.

[7] it's also very New York of us to hang a guy like Bobby V from a flagpole by his undershorts.

10 mrp1017   ~  Dec 2, 2010 3:45 pm

There is nothing wrong with these two existing sportscasters. I love to hear both voices and Morgan is informative on baseball. They work well together. Valentine has a grating voice even though Hersheiser knows his stuff.
I would have introduced Orel into the mix and made it a threesome. You will get tired of Bobby very quickly.
I just wish Jon Miller would do his impersonation of Keith Jackson more often....

11 nettles   ~  Dec 2, 2010 4:19 pm

I've heard Shulman doing Sunday Night games on ESPN Radio. I'd say he's solid. He's no Jon Miller, but who is? Getting rid of Morgan makes it all worthwhile.

12 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Dec 2, 2010 7:50 pm

Valentine > Steve Phillips. Extra points for funky fun Japan time, minus point for saying live on J tv "I adore Geroge W. Bush" (the J tv interviewer was perplxed by that random statement).

Is Miller still doign SF games?

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver