Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hi, Hello And Welcome: Georgie Boy Has Company

It all started Saturday night. Well, it actually started in 1993, but what's the difference?

I generally hate Reds television announcer George Grande because he doesn't have a critical bone in his body (yes, I hate him because he's too nice). He's always telling me how every scumbag on Earth is a good guy, not only on the field, but off...

And he has a nickname (and often nicknames) for every Archibald Graham who ever played a third of an inning at the big league level. Case in point: In recent weeks he's referred to Reds platooning outfielder Jonny Gomes as "Never Say Die" Gomes and "J.G."

My head hurts just thinking about it.

For the uninformed, Jonny Gomes (28-years-old) has played 42 career games with the Reds and driven in a total of 19 runs. This, apparently, is how someone earns two nicknames.

But that isn't what brings me here today.

What brings me here today is a disturbing **trend** in broadcasting: Throwing out statistics that aren't remotely true. George Grande fell victim to this recently (more on that in a moment), which was a little bit surprising, but at least it makes me hate him more...and hating George Grande is one of my favorite hobbies.

(Note: To me, the word **trend** suggests it has the potential to reach epidemic status, but that's not even a possibility here. But I'll call it a trend if it allows me to pile on George Grande and other local broadcasters. Plus, it's my column. I win.)

Brace yourself for some good old-fashioned paraphrasing...

On the Saturday June 18, 2009 telecast of the Reds-Brewers game, Grande had this to say following a Willy Taveras infield single:

"When Taveras hits the ball on the ground he reaches base safely 75 percent of
the time."
No, seriously.

George Grande said these words to a worldwide audience, and not a single person called him out (including his equally inept wingman, Chris Welsh). If you wonder why a dope like George Grande has held such a prominent position for sixteen years, this pretty much explains it. The media's job is to hold people accountable, and yet nobody called out Grande for flat-out lying to viewers.


We've seen (or heard) this before in Cincinnati.

Just last year (which is sometimes called 2008), Reds radio announcer Jeff Brantley went a little overboard stating the merits of having utilityman Jerry Hairston in the lineup more often. And by "a little overboard," I mean he insulted the listeners with an unconscionable lie:

"It is a statistical fact...when Jerry Hairston is in the lineup the Reds win 85
to 90 percent of the time."
He said this. And I heard him.

This wasn't hyperbole for the sake of a good laugh (e.g., Bill Walton claiming Shawn Bradley to be the best center in the history of baseball.); Jeff Brantley wouldn't know facetiousness if it smacked in the face.

This was simply a broadcaster throwing out a completely ridiculous statistic and hoping the listening audience wouldn't question it.

And just to cover my ass, I did some fact-checking, and it appears the Reds were 34-24 (give or take a game) last season with Hairston in the lineup. A record of 34 wins and 24 losses -- for those without their TI-82 calculators handy -- makes for a .586 winning percentage...slightly less than 85-90 percent.


Finally we have former Bengals All-Pro David Fulcher, probably the least talented person who continues to receive steady on-air work in Cincinnati. I didn't witness this event first hand, but Craig, my podcast partner, did.

On a live broadcast of a Cincinnati Marshals game that Craig was producing, David Fulcher openly (and quite seriously) questioned the Marshals' decision at the coin toss. You see, the team captain (who probably has a name) chose heads over tails, and lost. This puzzled Fulcher:

"Why would they choose heads when tails wins 80 percent of the time?"

I know you're thinking that no sane-minded human would honestly believe that. But Fulcher, it seems, is perfectly okay with sharing this information with the world.


I was going to have a cute little wrap-up here, comparing Fulcher to Brantley to Grande, but the more I think about it, the three of them are not entirely relatable. I mean, yeah, they're all incompetent, but that's not what I was going for. I guess I just wanted to illustrate (a.) how poor local broadcasting is, and (b.) how dumb we are for tolerating it.

If nothing else, the stories were enjoyable-----and they were all true.

In the end, tails never fails.

-Brad Spieser (


Daniel Phillips said...

I didn't think that anyone could be that bad, but he is. I was watching a free preview of mlb extra innings and I came across the Reds game. So I listened to him as I watched and it was awful. I just found the two broadcasters really boring. He seemed to not care about how many outs they were making or if they were playing well. I don't know much about being on tv or radio, but I'm sure I could have done better.