Thursday, February 3, 2011

John Gordon's last season

It was already known that John Gordon was sharply cutting back on his broadcast schedule in the coming season. The veteran Twins radio announcer is to call 90 regular season games this year -- that's slightly more than half the team's games.

But now he's announced that this will be his final season, period.

I've been critical of his work for some time. A few years ago I ran, as part of my print column, a semi-regular feature dubbed The Gordon Files, in which I attempted to chronicle some of his inanities, such as informing listeners that "Carlos Santana" was scheduled to start a particular game. (Carlos Silva? Johan Santana? Or the guitarist?) I abandoned it for a variety of reasons, one of them being my own errors, and another being that it was seen in some corners as mean-spirited.

Which was never the intent. I have nothing against John Gordon; I'm sure he's a prince of a man and a hard worker. I have a problem with the quality of the work.

As a listener, I want to know where the baserunners ended up after a single. Gordon doesn't always tell us. (Nor does Dan Gladden; the two often seem locked in a conspiracy to keep the listeners ignorant of what's happening,) It irritated me last summer when Gordon told us that Jim Thome was scoring on a ball hit into the gap and Thome was thrown out about five seconds afterwards.

I know I would be a poor announcer myself. I would stutter and stammer and talk too fast and fail to enunciate clearly, because I do those things without a mic in my face. I would probably be too disorganized to keep up with the constant stream of promos that get in the way of describing the game.

But my own inability to throw a major-league level breaking ball doesn't mean I can't evaluate a pitcher and find him wanting. This is the major leagues, he holds a major-league job, and (my opinion) he doesn't do it on a major-league level.

Now his exit is in sight, and I will strive this season to stifle my complaints. And it's entirely possible that more rest will mean better broadcasts; it's been my observation that he's worse on day games after night games.

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