Waltz, Hutton, and FishStripes: Broadcaster Quality Update


I sat in and watched about eight innings of tonight’s ugly 8-3 loss to the Red Sox. I’ve got some opinions on the Marlins’ play tonight, but I’ll save that for Blogservations.

No, this part is designed to drop an update on my opinion of tonight’s broadcast and what went down on it.

– There were about 10-15 mentions of how patient the Red Sox hitters are as a group. The majority, if not all of them, referenced OBP. I was especially happy to see Hutton pound on how high the top-of-the-lineup guys are in terms of OBP. A good chunk of me thinks he honestly gets that OBP is a big part of being useful at the top of the lineup; after all, the man’s very smart to have worked this long in the business. Maybe he was emphasizing it because the Marlins don’t do it.

Still, when you hear him talk about Bonifacio like he still has a shot as a leadoff man, you wonder. When you hear him advise Bonifacio to talk to Juan Pierre about the finer points of bunting, you raise your eyebrows. He needs help making contact and drawing walks, not bunting. JP can help the contact, but he’s never had an eye for the zone.

By the way, still no mention of slugging percentage. I’m glad that they chose the better one of the OPS parts, but come on. Power is very well measured by SLG, everyone does it, and it’s even the cooler, bigger number! Come on guys!

– Waltz made a long mention of Bill James on the broadcast as the two Marlins broadcasters discussed the balanced excellence of the Red Sox front office and scouting. As you know, the immortal Mr. James works for the Sox now, and Waltz expounded upon what James has done for the sabermetric community and the evolution of advanced statistics. There was about a ten second pause after Waltz finished where nothing was said during the broadcast. Waltz then went back to play-by-play. You kind of get the feeling Tommy Hutton wasn’t a fan of Bill James.

– Here’s what I found the most interesting. Our friends at FishStripes got a TV shoutout on Email Tuesday when dan 2.0 got his question aired and “answered” by the guys. The question asked about maybe moving Chris Coghlan/Dan Uggla into a combination of 2B/3B and playing Brett Carroll’s weak bat and plus glove in the outfield. When I heard it, it got me all riled up, because I had the suggested idea too.

"…If the club wanted to play players with nothing in the way of bats, why not move Brett Carroll to LF, where his superior glove could help out the struggling outfield defense. At least in this situation, Fredi wouldn’t be tempted to give Brett Carroll a leadoff spot because of his “speed,” and Carroll would bring more than lip service to the team’s defense. They could try Coghlan at third, where he might have more success, and see if he’s worth a long-term look, especially with Dan Uggla’s ever-growing arbitration salary."

I know, tooting my own horn, but I liked the idea and I was glad to see that someone else had come up with it too. But I guess it was a little much to ask for a decent answer. Waltz froze for a second before proclaiming that it was a “good question,” while Hutton went into a diversion about how he was sure Larry Beinfest, Fredi Gonzalez, and the rest of the brain trust thought of the idea. Then, without giving too much reasoning, Waltz waved it off by saying Bonifacio would be better than either of those guys at third, while Hutton claimed that management thought Coghlan profiled as an outfielder anyway.

These are the same two guys that claim Uggla’s reputation is mostly based on the All-Star game and not the obvious lack of range and the statistical backup (career Range Runs at -11.3, though the numbers have been wildly incosistent). Do they think Uggla doesn’t have the arm for the hot corner? If so, they should at least go out and say it. Coghlan seems to have a decent enough arm, certainly enough to handle left field. Why not try him at 3B before moving him to a completely foreign position? If the team’s scouts honestly felt that he profiled more as an outfielder, why wouldn’t they ask the minor league coaches to play him a bit in left field?

I enjoy Waltz’s voice and work as a play-by-play guy, and he seems to keep himself informed of at least the people and players we go up against. Hutton clearly knows a lot about the game, but I feel as if he’s one of those old timers who is well set in his ways and not looking to change the way he thinks about the game. That’s fine for him as a fellow Marlins fan, but it certainly takes away from my enjoyment of the game when he mentions the old cliches of insider baseball instead of updating with the new knowledge now available.

In short, those two still have a ways to go to get a thumbs up from me.