BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Play-by-Play Announcer

Today we’re kicking off the new week with a look at the play-by-play announcers of the Boston sports teams. This group contains some veterans who have seen multiple championships for the Patriots and Celtics and of course the 2004 Red Sox World Series championship. They’ve had experience calling some huge games at the highest level. Of them, who rates as the best and worst in the eyes of the fans?

Here’s how our voting turned out:

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Veteran announcer Gil Santos of the Patriots Radio Network gets the nod in the category, pulling in 340 votes for 26% of the total. Santos has seen it all with the Patriots, from the darkest points in franchise history to the glories of Super Bowl Championships. Santos has great “pipes” and his call of Adam Vinatieri’s game winning kick in Super Bowl 36 still gives me shivers whenever I hear it. He may miss things here and there, but he is still a pleasure to listen to whenever he calls a game.

I was a little surprised at Don Orsillo’s second place finish. (274, 21%) He’s a likable guy, but doesn’t do much for me as a play-by-play guy, though he’s improved greatly from his early days on the job. He’s still learning to call the big moments with the proper emotion and emphasis, but his pitch by pitch calls are generally solid.

My vote would’ve gone to the third place finisher, Mike Gorman of the FSN Celtics broadcasts. (228, 17%) Gorman just finished up his 25th season calling Celtics games on the network with Tom Heinsohn, and I believe the comments by the reader below describe Gorman very well. He’s a class act all the way as well.

Reader Comments: Gorman gets my vote. He's just an outstanding professional, and always has been. "GOT IT!!!!" He has a perfect understanding of appropriate announcing emotion. His tendency to rein Tommy in the last few years when it is called for has also earned him points with me…. I went with Grande as best announcer in a strong field of contenders. I'm an extremely casual NBA fan, but Grande (and Maxwell) do a great job of presenting the game. There's just enough conversation to fill in the slow parts of the game, but their tangents never take away from the action that's taking place…. I went with the wildly underrated Dave Goucher for best. He brings listeners the action—in a tough sport to call on the radio—in a professional and interesting way. He also has an excellent voice, knows the tempo of a game, and defers well to his analyst when necessary.

Here’s the results of the worst poll:

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No big surprise here. Jon Meterparel (sorry your name got spelled wrong in the poll, Jon) won this one going away with 419 votes that represented 32% of the total. Meterparel who called Revolution games back in the day, didn’t win over a whole lot of new fans with his calls of the Boston College Football team. He sparked a mini-controversy with the City of Boise after making comments about the city where BC accepted a postseason Bowl invitation. You can occasionally hear some of his screaming, mangled calls during WEEI segments, which really tell you all you need to hear about his talents. Another Boston College announcer came in second as Ted Sarandis and his passionate, though over-the-top calls have turned off some listeners. Sarandis will often speak out during his broadcasts against what he perceives as a lack of support for the BC hoop games and is borderline insulting to the Conte Forum crowds at times.

Reader Comments: "Yawn" Orsillo gets the nod. He's about a twentieth of the announcer that Sean McD is. I don't listen to BC football so I'm not going to go with Meter, and Sarandis makes me laugh more than half the comedians I see…. Worst is Trupiano. In the past few years Jerry has decided that HE is the show, not the action on the field. At points last year after Palmiero tested positive, Jerry would go on forever about the topic, to the point where even his partner seemed to have had enough. And one more piece of advice: When a fly ball is hit, LOOK AT THE OUTFIELDERS! If they are jogging instead of sprinting back, you can lose the “WAY BACK!!!” call—it's probably going to be caught…. Where to begin on how awful Calistaparel is. Is it the cracking, girlish voice when he gets excited? Is it the multitude of factual errors during the broadcast? Is it the fact that his analyst—a supposed "nonprofessional"— had to tell him, "Wait for the official to make the call, Jon." ? I think that you could literally pull someone from the stands who could do a better job. BC has a lot to answer for in their choice of radio "voices."

Tomorrow: “If BSMW was Full-Time…”

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