The Wall Street Journal has an article today “How Biased is Your (Baseball) Announcer?” After reading it, I’m not sure how biased any home team announcers really are but I do think that this article was biased. They did their survey on only one game in which the home team won and they concluded that the announcers are biased if they use “we”, “us” or “our” in describing the home team. Obscure pet names for home team players were also flagged as well as excessive moping after miscues or unrestrained glee after big moments. Except for these last points, I think this rating system is extremely flawed.
The White Sox announcer team of Ken Harrelson and Steve Stone won hands down, getting flagged for more “biased” statements than all of the other announcer teams combined (five teams were not covered including the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Mets. I am sure there is not any homerism from these announcers). The seventh through eleventh highest “homer announcer” teams, who were each were cited with nine “homerisms” each in their game included the Orioles team of Gary Thorne and Mike Bordick and the Nationals team of Bob Carpenter and B.F. Santangelo.
While I like to listen to announcers who “call” a game fairly and intelligently, I also like, and expect, home team announcers to represent us, the fans. If the announcers make intelligent comments about the game, I have no trouble in their being somewhat of a “homer” especially when the home team is having an epic and long awaited season like the Orioles are having this year. While I can understand some baseball fans living in a city which is not their home team baseball city wanting an almost completely unbiased announcing team, I think most “fans” are happy when their team’s announcers rejoice when their team plays well (as well as complimenting the opposing team for any good baseball that they play).
Having the Oriole and Nationals announcers tie for “homerism” is absurd to me. As an Oriole fan (a former New Yorker who rooted for the Yankees as a child but who has rooted for the O’s for the last 35 years I have lived in the Baltimore/DC area) who has watched a decent amount of Nationals baseball over the past few years, I can’t remember hearing a much more “homer” announcer duo than Santangelo and Carpenter. Almost without fail, whenever the Nationals get a bad or questionable call, they are wining for a prolonged period. Whenever the opponents get a favorable albeit questionable call, they are also wining almost non stop. To have this behavior equated to the behavior of the Orioles announcers is behind the pale for me.
So while I don’t recommend this article to anyone, you can try to access it at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444180004578016652376246198.html?mod=ITP_personaljournal_3 if you want to see an example of bad surveying. Go O’s!