Tonight's Contestants: Pat Tabler and Buck Martinez of Rogers Sportsnet
Credentials: Buck Martinez is another baseball lifer. He played the game for twenty years (1967-1987) as a catcher for lesser known, little watched squads in Kansas City, Milwaukee and Toronto, making one trip to the post-season. He's managed the game (including a stint in Toronto at the dawn of the aughts) and has broadcast games with ESPN, TBS and now back in Toronto [Sidenote: fans of EA Sports might remember Buck Martinez as the play-by-play announcer for the baseball games in the 90s...I know the history of the phrase "a can of corn" because every eighth play in those games Buck Martinez explained the etymology of that phrase] Martinez's color-commentator is Pat Tabler, who won a world series with the Blue Jays in 1992 and was a great clutch hitter (.500 with the bases loaded).
Analysis: Competent. Steady. Reliable. A little bland. (Not unlike Canada itself!) With two hitters in the booth they really can't analyze much of the pitching, but do a good job noting the defensive shifts, base running decisions, and hitting styles of all players. They don't really get into any chummy chatter, nobody tells jokes, they simply talk about the game, and when you're full of the rampant enthusiasm of a new season and a new coach it's easy to concentrate on the game. They don't deride the other team, but they don't really mention much more than talking points. They're at their most excited anytime a player hits a fly ball to the outfield, assuming (like many Toronto fans it seems) that fly ball = home run...every time it doesn't turn out they seem slightly surprised.
Sample Quote: Martinez: And BAUTISTA hits it back to CENTER FIELD!!!...Span going back!!!........Makes the catch short of the warning track...one out.
Rating: 2.5 Blylevens. There's nothing wrong with competency--it's important to have. It's just a little less engaging than personality. (My sour mood during blow out games probably doesn't help...but still...)