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Broadcast Team Groupings in Boston Sports History

Discussion in 'Our Errors are Mistakes: The Media Forum' started by Marbleheader, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. Marbleheader

    Marbleheader Dope Dope

    After the passing of Gil Santos, I was thinking about the state of Boston's broadcast teams. I know things could be much worse and it comforts me that Yankee fans have to listen to some of the most annoying broadcasters in the country.

    However, the current collection of broadcast teams are probably the weakest in my lifetime. For those of us that grew up with the likes of Ned Martin, Fred Cusick, Gil Santos, Johnny Most, it's quite a step down. We had it pretty damn good and we'll probably never be blessed with such generational voices across all 4 teams like that again.

    A little breakdown of the past 40 years:

    Tim Neverett-Joe Castiglione
    Dave O'Brien-Jerry Remy

    Bob Socci-Scott Zolak

    Jack Edwards-Andy Brickley
    Judd Sirott-Bob Beers

    Mike Gorman-Tommy Heinsohn/Brian Scalabrine
    Sean Grande-Cedric Maxwell

    Compare that to:

    70s:Ken Coleman-Johnny Pesky
    70s Dick Stockton-Harrelson
    80s Ned Martin- Montgomery
    90s: Sean McDonough/Kurtz-Remy
    00s: McDonough/Orsillo-Remy

    70s Ken Coleman/Ned Martin-Jim Woods
    80s Ken Coleman- Joe Castiglione
    90s-00s Castiglione-Trupiano

    70s-00s Gil Santos-Gino Cappeletti/Scott Zolak (Some Curt Gowdy, Dale Arnold, Jon Morris)

    70s-80s Bob Wilson-Johnny Bucyk (Some Ordway, Park)
    90s Wilson-Bucyk and Bob Neumeier-Bob Beers
    00s Dave Goucher-Bob Beers

    70s-mid 90s Fred Cusick-Johnny Peirson/Derek Sanderson
    mid 90s-mid 00s Dale Arnold-Gord Kluzak and Dave Shea/Andy Brickley

    70s-80s Johnny Most- Gil Santos/Glenn Ordway
    90s Ordway-Jerry Sichting and Spencer Ross/Howard David- Cedric Maxwell

    70s Dick Stockton/Len Berman- Bob Cousy
    80s Gil Santos-Bob Cousy and Mike Gorman-Tom Heinsohn
    90s Gorman-Heinsohn and Heinsohn-Cousy

    Castiglione is good but he's definitely lost his fastball. Gorman is still very good and Tommy is what he is at 80. I'm not a fan of Jack and Cedric's shtick .You either love them or hate them. Zo's shtick can be annoying at times but I can tolerate it. Socci and Sirott are pretty much the same guy, nasaly voice, vanilla, too verbose. Neverett is a nothingburger and O'Brien is O'Brien. Still some decent talent there with guys like Grande, Remy and Brickley, but we were pretty damn lucky to have the guys that have been the soundtrack to our sports memories before them.
  2. FL4WL3SS

    FL4WL3SS Member SoSH Member

    Brick is probably the best color guy in hockey. Jack wears on you, for sure, but Brick is amazing.
  3. Merkle's Boner

    Merkle's Boner Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Gorman is my favorite single broadcaster working today. There's no way he's a step down from Johnny Most.
  4. Marbleheader

    Marbleheader Dope Dope

    Gorman is the best of the current group and he's been around long enough to span the majority of the era.

    The Celtics radio broadcasts are fine, Grande is good, but he's just a step down to me from the Most years.
  5. Laser Show

    Laser Show Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

    Castiglione and O'Brien were a fantastic radio pair. It's a shame they moved DOB to TV, he was much better on EEI
  6. jaytftwofive

    jaytftwofive lurker

    You forgot Don Earle of the Bruins-late 60's-1971. I know he wasn't there a long time but the funny thing is when we moved to the Philadelphia area in the fall of 1971, I'm watching an early Flyers game and I say.......that voice sounds familiar. Sure enough it was Don Earle. I don't know if he got fired or took more money to go to Philly? He was OK a bit of a homer. There was always this urban legend that he was fired for saying......"Hit the bleeping post". Is that true or not? The other story was that it was Bob Wilson when he was broadcasting another team.
  7. jaytftwofive

    jaytftwofive lurker

    He may be before your time but I would put Curt Gowdy as no.1 for Red Sox with Nedley 2nd. For Sox-Gowdy, Martin and Parnell. For Pats it's Gil and Gino. Cusick for Bruins. Most was a legend but he was too much of a homer for me but I guess he has to be no 1 with Glenn O. as partner. And the funny thing is when you took the Celtic mic. away from Johnny he really knew basketball. It was kind of an act. Same with Heinsohn as a Celtic announcer compared to when he was on CBS. He was very objective.
    #7 jaytftwofive, Apr 21, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
  8. Ale Xander

    Ale Xander Member SoSH Member

    Grande and Brick are each the best in their positions.

    Grande and Max isn't a bad team.

    Gorman and Heinsohn isn't a bad team.

    It's a great time to be a Celtics fan.
  9. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    I had heard that story told about Johnny Most in a rare hockey broadcast that he did

    Fake edit: If you can trust Steve Buckley
  10. RedOctober3829

    RedOctober3829 Member SoSH Member

    I'm a big Bob Socci fan. He describes the action really well and is also knowledgeable about football so he can talk it well too. Joe C is great. I love Grande. Jack is left to be desired and I'm not a fan of Judd Sirott at all.
  11. m0ckduck

    m0ckduck Member SoSH Member

    I’m not old enough to have clear recollections of all the broadcasters mentioned by OP, but I do feel that Bob “Mumbles” Montgomery was the worst Boston broadcaster I can recall. Not the biggest Orsillo-Remy fans and yet I’ve always felt that we’ve moved into a state of enormous relative enlightenment compared to the Sox broadcasts of the 80s.
  12. ifmanis5

    ifmanis5 Member SoSH Member

    Gil-Cooz and Fred-Johnny are my two favorites. Sean-Jerry were really good until it got too off topic towards the end. I'm surprised Grande hasn't been called up to a network yet considering how many dinosaurs are still calling games on that level.
  13. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

    Grande is amazing at his job; I can’t really imagine anyone in 2018 being better than him.

    Gorman is equally fantastic and has been the perfect partner for Tommy all these years. Tommy is a jewel; we are all very lucky he is still a part of our lives.

  14. Humphrey

    Humphrey Member SoSH Member

    How about a parallel thread on the worst broadcasters?
  15. lexrageorge

    lexrageorge Member SoSH Member

    I don't consider the state of Boston sports broadcasting to be all that bad. I think part of the problem is that in some cases we are comparing emerging talent (Socci, Grande) with long time legends (Santos, Most).

    Red Sox:

    Joe Castiglione should be allowed to remain until he's unable to do the job; he's this generation's Ned Martin and Ken Coleman. Jury's still out on Neverrett.

    I still say that O'Brien is a big step down from Don Orsillo, and Remy is an institution. Hopefully, they can find good color talent to replace Remy when the time comes. O'Brien/Remy are still far better than either Stockton/Harrelson (the most overrated pair by far) or any tandem that contained Bob Montgomery, who rightfully earns the Joe Morgan award as worst Sox announcer in recent memory. Fun fact: back when Sean McDonough was the lead announcer, there were some games that he had to miss due to national TV duties. Dick Vitale was scheduled to announce a game in McDonough's place, paired with Montgomery. Turned out the game was thankfully rained out (so no mention of Shaq during a Red Sox broadcast).


    When it comes to lining up the field of play, Socci is quickly becoming as good as Santos was when he was in his prime. Probably the best radio announcer of the 4 local teams. As for his partner, I sometimes have trouble separating Zolak the color commentator, who is OK, from Zolak the sports radio host, whom I don't think adds much value. He's not afraid to call out players for missing a block or running a bad route, nor is he afraid to question the play calling from time to time, so I give him credit for that.


    Bob Wilson and Johnny Bucyk remain the radio gold standard here. I think Bob Beers is underrated, however. I have not listened to Sirott enough to form an opinion.

    On the TV front, I get that Jack Edwards is no Fred Cusick. However, Edwards is very good at describing the play and identifying the opposing team's players when they have the puck. I've heard him in interviews, and he's quite knowledgeable about hockey strategy as well as opposing teams strengths and weaknesses. So I can live with his over-the-top comments; unlike others, I don't find them distracting. And Brickley is one of the best color commentators in the business, and is at least the equal of Johnny Pierson and Derek Sanderson.


    We were spoiled by the 80's with Santos/Cousy and Gorman/Heinsohn (and sometimes a Gorman/Heinsohn/Cousy trio) and, radio-wise, Most/Ordway. One year, when the Celtics/Lakers rivalry was its height, Most and Laker announcer Chick Hearn were tapped to call the NBA All Star game on the radio. I only got to listen to a few minutes of it, but it showed a very different side of Johnny Most; no screaming at the refs, no funny monikers for the opposing players. But he could still call the game with the best of them.

    Obviously, Gorman/Heinsohn remain at the top. I think Brian Scalabrine tries too hard, and I don't hear a lot of actual insight from him. But I'm willing to give him time until Jaylen Brown is ready to take over the reigns. I don't listen to the Celtics that much on the radio these days, but I do like what I hear from Grande and Maxwell.
  16. cshea

    cshea Member SoSH Member

    Jack Edwards’ histrionics and over the top descriptions are too much for me. I appreciate his enthusiasm for the Bruins and the game of hockey, but he has really started to drag down the viewer experience. I feel like he has gotten worse over the past few seasons, but maybe I’m just getting old and grouchy. Brick is so good that I just want Jack to describe the play and then get out of the way and let Brick analyze what happened. In hindsight, I wish NESN had Orsillo’d Edwards and replaced him with Goucher before Gouch took off to Vegas. Goucher is tremendous. I haven’t listed to Sirott much. His goal calls seem cringeworthy based on the highlights I’ve heard, but the few time I have listened during the run-of-play Sirott has been good. Beers is and has always been excellent.

    I don’t watch/listen to the Celtics much, but I’ve always been a fan of Gorman, Tommy, Grande and Max. Gorman seems like the best basketball pbp man out there, but I admittedly watch very little basketball. I did listen to a Wallach fill in game once and he was bad.

    Socci is good, but is no Gil. There will never be another Gil Santos, so it is hard shoes to fill, but Socci has done a great job. I’m lukewarm towards Zolak. Sometimes I think he lets the fan side of him creep in too much. I think he gets in the way when he starts cheering/grunting/making noises before Socci has completed his call of a play. I’m all for homers calling my teams game, and the “unicorn’s! Show ponies!!” stuff is fine by me,
    but I think Zolak sometimes steps on Socci’s toes and makes it confusing to the listener by reacting to something that Socci has yet to describe.

    I’m indifferent towards O’Brien. He’s good, but probably a step down from Orsillo. Eck is the best color guy NESN uses. Remy is fine, but Eck is really top notch. Gomes was painful this past weekend, hopefully his stint is done for the year. Castig is losing it which is too bad. I grew up without cable so one the Sox moved most games to NESN, I spent many nights listening to Castig and Trup, so Castig holds a high place in my broadcaster rankings. Neverett is meh.
  17. NortheasternPJ

    NortheasternPJ Member SoSH Member

    Fully agreed about the Bruins. They messed up letting Goucher walk. He was fantastic on the radio and if he wanted the TV gig they should have given it to him. I am not anti-Edwards either, but Goucher was great.

    Surprised no mention of Wallach so far on the C's radio broadcast. /sarcasm
  18. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    In the early 80's Ken Coleman was paired with Jon Miller for a while. Jon Miller in a rain delay is unforgettable radio. His Sherm Feller imitation was so good, he once announced an entire inning and nobody knew.
  19. jaytftwofive

    jaytftwofive lurker

    And how about if you could have had announcers from other teams. Even national broadcasters. They can be alive or deceased. Other then Vin Scully who was the greatest(He would be too obvious) who would you take. Baseball- Harry Kalas, long time Phillies broadcaster and Al Michaels. I know he's starting to wear on us in football but how great he was IMO in the 70's and 80's for ABC. Basketball- Marv Albert. "YES!" Hockey, I was always liked Dan Kelly...."Shooting!" Football Pat Summerall is too obvious(Though I would have loved him) Marty Glickman and Dick Lynch were great announcers for the Giants. I also would have liked it if Gowdy had stayed here and done the Pats. Merrill Reese of the Eagles is a legend and very good but a little too much of a homer.
  20. runnels3

    runnels3 lurker

    Actually Gowdy did a season for the Pats network back in the mid 80s, I believe.
  21. Humphrey

    Humphrey Member SoSH Member

    Jay, how can you leave out Keith Jackson? Not only was he a legend in college football, but he was the original MNF broadcaster and didn't lose the job due to performance.

    And he was good at baseball too, and he was saddled with Cosell* while doing it.

    * I didn't hate Howard on MNF, but he absolutely sucked at baseball, IMHO.
    #21 Humphrey, Apr 26, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
  22. jaytftwofive

    jaytftwofive lurker

    You're right I did forget him. But I think of him more as college football even though he did MNF the first year in 1970. He called Chris Chambliss's HR over Royals in game 5 1976 ALCS, but Howard interurupted and took over. Very unprofessional. And not to bring up a bad memory but he also did an infamous game on OCT. 2nd 1978 for ABC and called in infamous Home Run. Sorry. I have to think Brent Musberger would have been great for football and basketball.
  23. jaytftwofive

    jaytftwofive lurker

    Yes I did see that on the list now.
  24. Captaincoop

    Captaincoop Member SoSH Member

    I generally barely even notice who is calling a basketball or football game. But the Sox broadcasts have been noticeably less fun to watch with DOB and his rotating partners than they were with Orsillo or McDonough and Jerry.

    There is just so much dead time, or time when a game is out of reach, and those guys made it fun to watch. Especially McDonough, his not-so-veiled shots at opposing players and umpires used to crack me up.
  25. Vinho Tinto

    Vinho Tinto Member SoSH Member

    Or Red Sox management. It’s crazy that he held on to that job for as long as he did while roasting the managment’s incompetence.
  26. BuellMiller

    BuellMiller lurker

    I remember a game between the Red Sox and Indians in 2000 I think, in which Pedro was pitching, and there were a few dustups between the teams. Pedro went inside on Einar Diaz (one of the Indians catchers), and Einar tried to act tough. Sean called him "Hall of Famer Einar Diaz" the rest of the game, and either he (or Jerry) said something like if more pitchers had the balls and skill to throw inside like Pedro, you wouldn't have as many opposite field homers by batters who didn't deserve them. When the Indians made the final out on a popup, Sean was dripping with contempt for them in his call.
    And in one of those seasons near the end, they got self-aware (or at least their producers did), and would put up an "Inane Banter Warning" during a blowout whenever Sean and Jerry went off the trail a bit.
  27. jose melendez

    jose melendez Earl of Acie Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    I think DOB is miserable. I remember watching a game last year and he revealed he had no idea about the whole Budyy LeRoux thing. Maybe if he came from out of town, I'd give him a pass, but he's from Mass, he should know.
    Johnny Most was, for my money, the best of them all. Listening to him call a game was actually better than watching it on TV, because sometimes actual basketball games were boring, but never the imaginary one Johnny called
  28. ledsox

    ledsox Member SoSH Member

    A classic gaffe from Neverett last night. He had Mookie catching the Joyce HR ball that landed in the bullpen.
    Now these plays can be a tough tell at times but he didn't even question his own call for a full 13 seconds from his catch call. Then it was another 14 seconds before he made a definitive HR call. So almost a half minute to correct himself. His reason was that the A's bullpen did not celebrate the ball landing in the pen. He mentioned this twice in defense of himself and then he brought it up again 3 minutes later to Joe as if he hadn't mentioned it before. It was bizarre.

    Overall, I don't mind Neverett (usually) and still enjoy Joe C but just the inning before Joe was also on an island. On the Piscotty catch where he went into the stands Joe said three times that a fan was holding out the ball and it was no catch. To be fair it was also the umps field ruling (no catch). But clearly on tv we could see it was Piscotty holding up the ball and not a fan. I don't think Joe ever realized this. He obviously ignores the monitor to his detriment at times. Also notable on where he calls pitches around the zone.

    I still long for the calls of Martin and Woods. Those guys were tops for me.
  29. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

    The Buddy Leroux thing as in his attempted coup in 1983? When DOB was in college at Syracuse and probably no longer really "home" in New England anymore? Seems like an odd thing to hold against a guy.
  30. jose melendez

    jose melendez Earl of Acie Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Yes. It's pretty basic Red Sox history.
  31. milfordsoxfan

    milfordsoxfan Member SoSH Member

    I have a very distinct memory of being drunk in college watching this game. In addition to "the Hall of Famer Einar Diaz," I recall that either Sean or Jerry referred to Jaret Wright as "that punk Jaret Wright" quite a few times after one of the brawls. I think it was Jerry, I can't find any video. I did a little searching, and this was the game: April 23, 1999. Here's an LA Times writeup.

    Also, Darren Lewis started that game for Trot, got one AB, and then Trot pinch ran for him and got two ABs. Darren Lewis, 1999: 538 plate appearances, OPS+ 57. That just about squares with my memory.

    Anyway, that approximate era of Sean and Jerry was tremendously enjoyable for me and my buddies in college. The alcohol may be a factor.
  32. loshjott

    loshjott Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Not to mention it happened on Tony C Night.
  33. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

    But you said yourself, you'd understand if it was an out of town guy versus a hometown guy. O'Brien basically was an out of towner at the time of the incident and would remain so for another twenty-odd years before returning to Boston. Guess I find it plausible that he might have missed what happened and never really had reason to catch himself up on it.
  34. jose melendez

    jose melendez Earl of Acie Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    I always followed the team when I was away, and I'm surprised he didn't too. I know it was not the internet age for much of when he was out. That said, when I was in Germany without internet in the 90s, I'd buy the Int'l Herald Tribune every day just for box scores.
  35. Humphrey

    Humphrey Member SoSH Member

    My favorite Sean McDonough wisecrack was the game cited below against the Indians, John McNamara's first game against his former team in 1990.
    The Sox were losing by a run, two out no one on and Dewey Evans had two strikes on him. McDonough said (sic) "the Red Sox are down to their last strike, but as John McNamara would probably know better than anyone else, that doesn't guarantee victory".
    Well, Evans hit a single on the next pitch and the next two pitches were hit for a triple and a single, Sox led by one and won the game!

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