Baseball broadcasting in the age of social media: ‘It’s much harder to take chances now.’
In October 1968, Sports Illustrated profiled the flamboyant radio broadcaster Harry Caray, whose St. Louis Cardinals were in the World Series. “In the past decade,” wrote Myron Cope, “the trend of play-by-play broadcasting has been decidedly in the direction of mellow, impassive reporting, a technique that strikes Harry Caray as being about as appropriate as having Walter Cronkite broadcast a heavyweight championship fight.” Caray lamented that his style would inevitably cause him to get fired. He held a baseball broadcasting job every year until his death in 1998.
These days, Caray’s style might not get him fired either. He would merely be taken to task on Twitter.
The last month has seen the mob of social media sweep over the baseball broadcasting landscape like a haboob. On July 28, Atlanta Braves television analyst Joe Simpson chided several Dodgers players for their batting practice attire. He specifically called Chase Utley’s look “unprofessional” and an “embarrassment.”
In the 24 hours that followed, Twitter responded to Simpson with its own color commentary.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here .
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