Friday, August 17, 2007

John Gordon: loveable or laughable?

John Gordon is the radio play-by-play announcer for the Minnesota Twins. He has been doing this for many, many years and he apprenticed at the feet of the master, the late Herb Carneal. So why is John Gordon such a hack?

Gordon mispronounces players' names. Two examples: Ramon Ortiz became "Ray-Moan." Fortunately for the Twins and the Twins radio listeners, Ramon is gone. Lastings Milledge became "Lansing." Fortunately, Mr. Milledge plays for the Mets, whom the Twins rarely play. (Don't get me started on the silliness of inter-league games.) Every team provides the announcers with a media guide, which includes among many other things the phonetic pronunciation of every player's name. Gordon won't or can't use it.

Gordon says "the infield fly rule has been evoked." The infield fly rule doesn't come into play very often, but every time, Gordo says it's been "evoked."

Gordon looses track of the action. Honestly -- he forgets how many outs there are or where the runners are or what the count is. He is usually very quick to correct these mistakes, but he shouldn't have to self-correct quite so often. I know it's probably easier for a listener than it is for Mr. Gordon. Listeners don't have to worry about getting in those endless promotions ("That's another Cambria home run!") ("This call to the bullpen is brought to you by AT&T") or knowing when station breaks are coming, but Gordon is supposed to be able to juggle all that stuff and tell us what's going on in the game. He often can't. Here's one I remember: Two out, runner at first, Twins batter pops out on the fisrt pitch. Gordon says to Gladden "Why wasn't he going for the sac bunt there?" Long pause. Gladden says "Umm...with two outs, John?"

Gordon uses too many cliches and verbal crutches: "Race to the base!" "I'll tell you one thing, Dazzle..."

OK. That's enough. I just don't like the way Gordon works. Volunteer announcers might be no worse, and Mr. Pohlad could take Gordon's salary and use it for something else. A signing bonus for a college third baseman, maybe?

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