Jesse Spector of Sporting News is offering up reviews of local MLB broadcast teams. He got to the Twins and the lead team in the booth of Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven in a post published Tuesday, and it wasn’t kind. On a scale of 1-10, the Twins’ broadcasters on FSN were given a 3. He says the broadcast features an “eye-popping amount of homerism” while adding that a lot of the non-game discussion is “excruciatingly boring.”
In a bit of interesting timing, the next game following that post — Tuesday night, Twins at Tigers — featured some of the sharpest critiques from Blyleven that most Twins fans have ever heard. Two instances stuck out:
*In the top of the second in a scoreless game, Trevor Plouffe was on second base with no outs. Brian Dozier grounded out weakly to third base, with Plouffe unable to advance. Blyleven, who astute listeners know often comments on players advancing runners by praising them for “doing their job,” was critical not just of Dozier’s inability to do so but also of the second baseman’s approach at the plate in the at-bat. The takeaway was that Blyleven thought Dozier made no attempt to try to hit the ball to right field.
*The more publicized incident came in the bottom of the seventh, when Paul Molitor removed Phil Hughes with one out and the Twins ahead 2-1 — with the one run having just scored on a long triple and a sacrifice fly. Blyleven criticized the move, alternating between questioning why Molitor would take Hughes out and whether Hughes had asked to come out of the game. We would learn later that Hughes has been battling shoulder fatigue, but in the moment the words were quite strong.
Others on Twitter noticed, too. Seth Stohs, a longtime Twins blogger and fan, wrote “Blyleven going after Molitor AND/OR Hughes pretty hard … I appreciate that, saying things typically not said on air, but enough is enough.” Judd Zulgad, who used to write the Star Tribune’s TV/media column and is now a radio host on 1500-AM, added, “Blyleven questioning why Molitor took Hughes out of the game is as aggressive as I’ve heard an FS North analyst go after the home team.”
Having watched the game, I agree with Zulgad. And I would add that honesty from analysts is a welcome thing — but the obvious danger is when the information at hand is incomplete, as happened last night.
Your thoughts, please, in the comments.