This entry covers the more basic—but fundamentally important—subject of pitch description.
Pitch description itself is self-explanatory. Assuming the ball is not put in play by the batter, the listener needs to know what type of pitch was thrown, the location, the velocity, and the outcome (ball/strike/foul).
Pitch “description” can also be referred to as pitch “calling.” However, the latter implies that simply identifying the type of pitch is sufficient, whereas incorporating the breadth of details mentioned above paints a much clearer picture for the listener.
An average baseball game might involve close to 300 pitches thrown between the two teams, the large majority of which are never put in play. The batter/pitcher matchup is baseball’s most basic form, and the way each subsequent pitch changes the odds of an at bat’s eventual outcome is one of the game’s greatest intricacies.
Providing as much detail as possible on every pitch can help the listener visualize the drama of the batter/pitcher battle as it unfolds in real time.
Sean Aronson, Ballpark Digest’s 2016 Broadcaster of the Year, discusses giving back to the industry, research and integration methods, and affiliated baseball versus independent baseball.
Thanks for visiting Growcasting!
If you’ve come this far, then you’re most likely a current or aspiring baseball announcer. Please don’t let me scare you away!
Growcasting has been in development for more than a year, and I’m thrilled to finally launch what I hope becomes one of the best resources for broadcasters of all skill levels.
Many hours were spent sitting in coffee shops trying to organize the final product, and there were times when I wasn’t sure if this would ever get off the ground.
I was very fortunate growing up as a New York Mets fan. While their on-field performance has been checkered at best, the Mets have always had first-class radio broadcasters throughout their 50-plus years of existence.
Starting with the legendary trio of Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner, and Bob Murphy–and continuing with the likes of Gary Cohen, Ed Coleman, Howie Rose, and Josh Lewin–Mets’ fans have always been treated to great radio.
The work of Murphy, Cohen, and Rose are what ultimately inspired me to pursue a career in the industry. The driving force behind Growcasting has always been to raise the bar for all baseball announcers so that more listeners could enjoy the same type of experiences I did when I was younger.
For a long time we only had one television in our home, so there were many nights when the radio was our only means of following the Mets. In September of 1997, the Mets were on the fringes of playoff contention for the first time in a decade. Clinging to longshot hopes, they trailed the Montreal Expos 6-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Then the impossible happened.
After pushing across two runs, Carl Everett hit a two-out, grand slam home run to tie the game. Prior to digging up the box score, I only remembered that the Mets eventually won the game (they in fact won on another dramatic home run in the 11th inning).
However, I vividly remember Cohen calling the Everett grand slam and his unbridled excitement for an accomplishment that was not only against all odds, but momentarily saved the fortunes of an entire season. I can’t remember if I was more excited than Cohen, but I can point to this moment as the first time I realized the power and impact a great radio broadcast can have on a fan’s emotions.
Growcasting will navigate some uncharted waters, and you may not agree with everything I have to say. However, I can promise you that our intent is to provide information and resources that–to the best of my knowledge–can immediately help you improve your broadcasts.
Thanks again for checking out Growcasting.
I’ll close our inaugural post with what I believe to be the greatest half-inning of broadcasting in the history of baseball. The legendary Vin Scully calling Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965. Later this week, I’ll post an analysis of why this clip is the gold standard of sports broadcasting.