Tonight's Contestants: Dave Sims, Mike Blowers and [occasionally] Dan Wilson of Fox Sports Northwest.
Credentials: Sims is a sports lifer, bouncing from job to job (mostly on the radio) and doing play-by-play* all the big three (football, basketball and baseball). Blowers (the regular play-by-play guy) was a utility infielder who bounced around the majors for a decade and is the every day wing man on air. Meanwhile Wilson, an occasional guest color-man, spent 14 years as a catcher (and did all but two of those years in Seattle).
*It's worth noting that the Mariners do have a hall-of-famer on staff (Dave Niehaus) but between technical malfunctions and Fox's monopoly on Saturdays I only saw one game of this series and Sims called it.
Analysis: It was a tale of two ball games yesterday. The pitchers duel and the sudden outburst at the end. Throughout the pitchers duel the cadre of hitters seemed kind of dumbstruck as to what to say. Pavano and French worked so quickly that Sims barely had time to welcome the audience back, say the names of the hitters, rattle off a promo and mutter "Valencia to Cuddyer and another out". Any other down time was spent on little gimmicks including allowing a kid into the press box (he wasn't talkative), singing the Patty Duke theme song, and offering a hot plate of Rally Fries to two lucky fans. (The Seatttle equivalent of getting circled)
Once there was finally something to talk about (from Cuddy's homer on) the booth sprang to life. Sims was especially excited by any hit (after two long hitless spells, I would be too) and Blowers made a few guesses as to what pitches weren't working for Pavano any more. Once the scoring was done and the game settled down again, both Sims and Blowers seemed peppier, but didn't really know what to say now that the ball was in the bullpen's hands.
Rating: Incomplete. I would like to be definitive about this, and I think there are too many strange variables to consider here. With a spastic game, a recalcitrant child, and the absence of the consensus best broadcaster on the team, the Mariners probably deserve a second chance to define themselves. So, as I've told my students in the past: "Think about my notes, and make sure this the best you can do."
(In case you're wondering why I blogged this when I was going to give them an incomplete: hey, you would too if the alternative was writing a thesis....which I should probably go do...sigh...)