We’re back. Please tolerate the congestion.
Pleased to have Gary Thorne, venerable broadcaster and the voice of MLB2K10 on the show. We talk a bit about the game and the process by which he records all those sounds. I never knew they do it in a booth with no visual aids. They are basically calling an imaginary baseball game? Wait not just one game…like 70 hours of imaginary games.
We talk about the fact that Thorne isn’t given a script – that he’s hired for the way he calls the game as much as his voice – and how different the game is when there’s nothing to cross-talk about. Isn’t the cross talk what makes baseball announcing so much fun?
We discuss actual baseball as well, as I ask Thorne about the differences between calling national games and local games for the Orioles. And being in Baltimore, does he find his audience is much more dedicated, and therefore baseball savvy, than a larger audience of bandwagon jumpers may be in, say, Philadelphia or Boston? Thorne does agree that it’s important to know the audience, but not to talk over them and get to inside baseball.
Speaking of that, we do discuss the balance of stats and sabermetrics in a broadcast with the “Joe Morgan” types of announcers. Thorne’s wife has a company that trains former players to become broadcasters, so we discuss the importance “having been there” with “the numbers indicate”. What is the balance? And could it be that TV and radio – due to the audience and the time constraints of the game going on in front of you – lend themselves more to “experience” as expertise while the number crunchers can have more focus in print and other non in-game mediums?
We talk a lot about the idea of Floating Realignment, and if it’s a viable idea for change. In fact, is any change needed? Thorne does bring up the concept of buying a championship, which you can make the case that only a handful of teams can afford to do. Of course for every Yankees (or Red Sox of Phillies) there is a Dodgers or a Cubs, who can get to the playoffs, but can’t win anything – a concept to which Thorne rightly brings up the point that getting to the playoffs has been far too marginalized in baseball. It’s still a really big deal.
Last, we talk about hockey. Well, hockey and baseball and which Thorne likes to announce more and which he thinks he is more known for. The short answer: it’s like asking him which kid he loves more.