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Baseball play-by-play announcers: The good and the not-so-good

Vin Scully is 85 years of age.

Earlier this season, he delighted baseball fans when he announced that he’d be returning to the Dodgers’ broadcast booth in 2014 for an unprecedented 65th season.

He hasn’t lost a step.

Last Friday (which happened to be the 13th of the month) the Dodgers were hosting the Giants in Los Angeles, and in the bottom of the second inning, Scully not only did his normal job of beautifully describing the action, but educating as well. The wordsmith informed the viewers on the history of the superstitious day without taking credit for any of the knowledge he shared.

“I’m not trying to get smart, just looked it up, figuring a lot of you folks might find it a little interesting,” Scully said. “Like you, I’d be lost without Google. I’m not trying to show off.”

It was simply Scully being Scully — the best play-by-play announcer that has ever uttered a syllable into a microphone.

Then Tuesday night in Toronto, we witnessed the other side of the coin.

Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez stepped to the plate against Toronto’s R.A. Dickey and hit a line drive to right field. New York play-by-play man John Sterling automatically went into his signature home run call, “it is high, it is far…it is gone!”

Except there was a problem, it wasn’t high. It wasn’t far. In fact, it was caught by Blue Jays’ right fielder Rajai Davis. This chain of events caused Sterling to shift into apology mode.

Painful to listen to, and obviously embarrassing for the veteran announcer, but it was funny.