MLB announcers biased towards big-city teams

Rachel Kaplan

As the 2008 Major League Baseball season comes to a close, baseball fans across America are glued to their televisions to watch their favorite (or most hated) teams fight for a spot in the World Series. Unfortunately, throughout the entire season–and now the playoffs–viewers everywhere are forced to put up with the blatantly biased national sports announcers.

While it is almost impossible to commentate a sports game without some kind of preference, national MLB announcers seem to make no effort to be objective, always favoring the big-city teams such as the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and New York Yankees. Each of these teams have two to three times the payrolls of the Minnesota Twins, who have a measly salary budget of $62 million.

The concept of wanting an underdog victory has apparently been completely obliterated; MLB announcers make no attempt at hiding their biases, praising the players from larger teams and barely mentioning the smaller one’s roster. Take, for instance, the playoff game between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays on October 19: the commentator praised Youkilis as an “amazing” Sox player even though he was 0 for 17, while there was no mention of any Rays players. Even great Twins players, such as Mauer, who is the first and only catcher in the American League ever to win a batting title, hardly gets any praise when playing big city teams on national television.

Announcers even let their favoritism affect how the relay the game. During the October 19 game when Bartlett, who only had one home run all year, homered to tie up the game, the announcer’s voice remained monotone; when Veritek hit a home run for Boston a couple of innings later, the same announcer was practically yelling in delight. Not only are announcers biased, but they lack basic knowledge about smaller teams. During the Home Run Derby, the announcer didn’t even know Morneau, a past MVP, and the actual winner’s name, calling him Jason instead of Justin. It is no coincidence that Alex Rodriguez never gets called “Aaron.”

While bigger teams advancing into playoffs may wield better ratings for ESPN, National MLB announcers need to be as knowledgeable about smaller teams as they are the larger ones and remain unbiased during games. Although it may not alter the outcome of the game, it greatly affects the viewing of millions of baseball fans around the country; nothing is worse than a 1-0 loss to kick your team out of post-season contention while the sports announcers celebrate the other team’s victory.