Broadcasters: whether you’re talking about Vin Scully or Joe Buck, all of them hold a gig that is highly-coveted and respected. Talking into a microphone for three-plus hours while tracking the flight of a ball is not as easy at it seems.
However, there is a gargantuan difference between Scully, who captivates and interests you with his stories and amazing voice, and Buck, who puts you to sleep by calling a home run like it was a routine ground ball to second.
While no Bay Area sports announcer is “boring,” per se, there are ways we can separate those who are good from those who are just plain awful.
So without further adieu, let’s begin with the worst broadcasters in Bay Area sports, with video evidence:
Note: This list contains only play-by-play announcers, not color commentators.
3. Grant Napear, Sacramento Kings:
I understand that he works for the team, but Napear is just way too attached to the Kings and is undoubtedly one of the biggest homers in the NBA.
That held true when he continuously defended the Maloofs, even during the recent saga when the Kings almost moved to Seattle.
While I admire his passion and energy during games, I dislike announcers who only see things one way, and moan and groan when a call goes against his team:
I thought broadcasters weren’t supposed to be biased?
2. Glen Kuiper, Oakland Athletics
There was a time when legends such as Bill King, Greg Papa, and even Hank Greenwald were calling A’s games.
Now, we’re stuck with Glen Kuiper, who only got the gig after Greenwald retired because his brother, Duane, is the play-by-play announcer for the San Francisco Giants, and CSN broadcasts games for both teams. There’s probably more to it, but I’m guessing Duane had a lot to do with the hire.
Maybe it’s because Duane has set the bar way too high, but listening to Glen call a game is like sitting in the nosebleed section when you can have front row seats (horrible analogy, but you get the point).
I’m not a big fan of Glen’s home run call: “…and that baby is gone!”
Not sure where he got that from, but it’s miles and miles away from Duane’s perfect, “…it is outta here!”
It’s almost like Glen didn’t want to copy his brother, so he decided to come up with the second most annoying home run call in baseball, behind Hawk Harrelson, of course (STRETCH!!….STRETCH!!!!).
Couldn’t he just do a simple, “it is gone!” ? His attempt at a catchphrase isn’t even original, and makes you cringe every time the A’s hit a homer.
Also, Kuiper, along with his partner, Ray Fosse, were laughing when a fan fell to his death trying to catch a ball during an A’s-Rangers game. They were not aware that the fan died while they were on the air, but they were the center of much controversy and criticism afterwards.
1. Bob Fitzgerald, Golden State Warriors
If you thought Grant Napear was a homer, wait till you hear about Bob Fitzgerald and his overflowing hair gel (seriously, how much liquid can a human being put on his hair?).
I swear, Fitzgerald could find a silver lining if a plane crashed and it had no survivors.
I mean, the man kisses up to the Warriors so much, and it is so obvious that it isn’t even funny. Even through decades of awfulness and mediocrity, Fitzgerald never had the audacity to admit that the Warriors were a bad team, scared that he would upset his employers.
He hosts a weekday talk show on KNBR 680, which, not coincidentally, is the flagship home of the Warriors.
“Known for making his callers wait in excess of two hours, Fitzgerald rarely engages in discourse pertaining to accountability in the Warriors’ front office,” his Wikipedia(!) page reads. “Frequently, when bad PR breaks in the news for the Warriors, Fitzgerald will wait until the last two segments to address whatever happened.”
Not a game goes by without Fitzgerald whining about the discrepancy in free throws, as if the referees are the only reason why the Warriors are losing.
Countless times have I heard him say, “The Warriors are only down by five in this game, but the free throws are 30-14 in favor of the Lakers. It has to be difficult to win when the calls aren’t going your way.”
Here’s one example (I have plenty more, but this is the only YouTube clip I could find):
If you wanted more reasons why Fitzgerald is the worst, just Google “Bob Fitzgerald sucks,” and you’ll find a plethora of forums, articles, and even websites dedicated to calling out “Fitz.”
“He’s a company shill,” wrote Bay Area blogger Rich Lieberman. “A good and loyal one. He’s got family and kids to feed and he’ll do anything to kiss the collective asses of just about anyone that controls the payroll. He will work for anybody and tout the line as long as he’s paid, you got that?”
Yeah, I got it.
Heck, even David Stern got it.
Now that we’ve gotten through the bad, stay tuned for the list of the “Best Broadcasters in Bay Area Sports,” which will be published soon.