By: Kurt Snyder
As all of you know by now, Mike Illitch has decided he would like to use a team of TV color analysts in 2015, rotating Rod Allen, Kirk Gibson and Jack Morris, between the booth and studio.
This move, an interesting one to say the least, makes you question where Craig Monroe fits in. Heck, Monroe and Mateen Cleaves (studio analyst for the Pistons) may have gone to the same broadcasting school after their playing days were over as neither look at home in front of the bright lights.
So, in light of Mike Illitch’s desire to add more knowledge and more “Tigers” to the television broadcast team, a highly rated broadcast I might add, I immediately wondered one thing.
What does he think of the radio team? Are we good there?
Dan Dickerson and Jim Price definitely have a lot of fun and maybe Illitch is good with that style for radio. But things are getting stale.
Dan Dickerson is far from the weakness on the radio team. It’s Price that, let’s just say, tests your patience. Repetitive words and phrases have certainly put a stamp on Price’s broadcasting approach, but he needs to change things up a bit. His perspective never changes.
Dan Dickerson, outside of the fact that he doesn’t give the score to listeners nearly enough in a game, is a solid and exciting play-by-play man. His home run and strikeout calls have become replay worthy for years now. He has done well. But remember, when you have to follow Ernie Harwell, it’s not that you have big shoes to fill, it’s about finding your own style of shoe, because Ernie’s shoes don’t get filled by anyone.
Dickerson does a decent job calling games for the most part, but sometimes gets caught up in conversations with Price that really distract from the play-by-play every listener is counting on. They get stuck on topics that don’t stop and continue sometimes over several innings.
And that is where Price tends to fall short. His constant repetition about a pitcher’s “arsenal” and “the art of pitching” and the continual use of the word “wow” when he just doesn’t know what else to say, can wear on you over the course of 3 hours.
The “nice area” stuff doesn’t bother me. It’s funny, light-hearted, and I get it. It’s definitely an idea born from Ernie’s reputation of recognizing the home town of a foul ball catching fan. It was amazing at the time how many people actually wondered how Ernie could have possibly known where all these fans were from. Who knows maybe people think Price has been to all those “nice areas.”
Anyway, the bottom line here is, if you want to improve a broadcasting team, I wouldn’t ignore the radio crew. Rod Allen actually would be a nice replacement when Price hangs up his spikes in the booth. But at the same time, removing Rod completely from the TV crew wouldn’t be a smart idea when he has been the strength of a highly rated broadcast.
So given that success, it may be smart to just leave it alone, Mike, and come up with a plan to improve radio, because TV “ain’t broke.”