Ballplayer Envy

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about turkey and Christmas trees. Each off-season, you can count on hearing the cries from baseball fans far and wide, crying foul over another huge, multi-million dollar baseball contract. We all do it at times. In some ways its part of being a fan.

With a couple more big signings this week, I ask - why demonize the players for earning every dime they can get? Wouldn’t you?

Fifteen years ago, while broadcasting in professional baseball, I sat with a ballplayer and his parents, after he received a signing bonus worth over $10 million.

“The point of a huge bonus,” she said, “is that now he can simply concentrate on baseball. The money will take care of all the necessary pitfalls of everyday life, and he can keep himself focused 100 percent on being the best ballplayer he can be.”

Beyond that, however, it is simply a matter of supply and demand. There are a limited number of premier athletes with skills that consumers are willing to pay big bucks to see. Period. Regardless of the sport, these are the top fraction of a percent of all who play the game. And we, as fans, have always been willing to pay.

This baseball off-season, I just wish we’d hear less of the envious negatives when talking about a player’s big new free-agent deal.

Am I wrong to admire a great talent for earning every penny he is worth in the marketplace?

Ever Wonder What Minor League Baseball Is Really Like?

Ever wonder what minor league baseball is really like?  As a broadcaster, I saw a lot of amazing things.  Some of them I can still hardly believe.  I've shared some of the stories.  Others have remained untold, until now.

Only Your Mother

While watching Al Michaels call a football game this week, I recalled some wisdom I learned almost 20 years ago from broadcasting legend Marty Glickman. At Fordham, Marty would talk sportscasting for hours. Listening to our tapes and letting us have it – no sugar-coating, just the good and bad. I consider his sage sportscasting advice often, and this week I’ve reflected on one of his most unambiguous points. Al Michaels jogged my mind.

Al Michaels is a terrific play by play announcer in my opinion. Smooth, abundantly prepared and quick on his feet. Michaels has been a mainstay on the national football scene for decades, calling some of the biggest games in NFL history. I am always pleased when I tune in to a game and find Michaels behind the microphone.

The point is – and Marty Glickman’s point – is that nobody tunes in to hear a broadcaster. We all tune in for the game, not the broadcaster, regardless of how wonderful we think they are. Solid broadcasters certainly add to the action, while lousy ones can detract from it. However, we tune in for the game itself. In fact the way Marty put it, “The only person who tunes in to hear the broadcaster is his mother!”

As play by play broadcasters, this should constantly put our ultimate duties – to inform, enlighten and entertain - in perspective. We should be facilitating the fans’ enjoyment of the game, not trying to become a major part of it. I understand I may have some disagreement around Bristol, Connecticut or some other media outlets that push “attitude” above all else. Sorry, but I agree with Marty Glickman.

And so I leave you with this question. Is there any time you tune in to a game to hear the broadcaster?
Check out our full site for hundreds of articles, tips, personal coaching and much more.

Learn the secrets of the Sports Broadcasting industry from our online Sports Broadcasting course!