Readers of one popular baseball website are not a fan of the Cleveland Indians broadcast team.
The Cleveland Indians have played mediocre baseball for multiple years. When they do start playing well, fans’ hopes rise, but ultimately gets disappointed more often than not. That disappointment goes from the players to the broadcasters.
According to Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs.com, the website ranked Cleveland’s broadcast team 25th in all of MLB. FanGraph’s rankings were crowdsourced via the readers who ranked Tribe broadcasters Matt Underwood and Rick Manning on charisma, analysis, and on an overall grade.
The 25th overall ranking shows relates back to the rankings as they received in those a 2.6 for charisma, 2.5 analysis, and 2.6 overall based off of a 1-5 ranking. Among the readers who made a comment, one of them mentioned studio host Al Pawlowski.
"I met [studio host] Al Pawlowski once like 10 years ago, and we talked about how he called a Sumo Tournament for ESPN2."
Although FanGraphs listed the Cleveland Indians broadcast team as the 25th best, are they really? No, the duo of Underwood and Manning is not a top five broadcast team, but they should not be ranked this low.
"It’s quite possible that Cleveland’s television broadcasters suffer a bit from having to compete for the market’s affections with radio voice Tom Hamilton, generally beloved by the people. There’s no real uniform complaint among FanGraphs readers, but rather just a collection of minor criticisms."
As expressed by Cistulli, readers and I am confident fans in general, understand that both Underwood and Manning do solid jobs. Yet, the frustrating part is more when Manning says random statements every so often that either do not make sense or are irrelevant to the situation at hand.
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Underwood has been calling Cleveland Indians games on television since 2007, but has been a broadcaster for the Cleveland Indians for the past 17 seasons. Manning, who is a former Cleveland outfielder, is now in his 27th season calling games as Cleveland’s color commentator.
Could Underwood and Manning be better? Yes, there is always room for improvement. However, they are successful, veteran announcers for a reason.
I do not mind Underwood’s trademark statements, such as “And it is gone to Souvenir City” when referring to an Indians home run. Still, both are inconsistent every so often, but that happens.
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No one is perfect. If Cleveland wanted a better broadcast team, I would actually like to see former Cleveland pitcher Jensen Lewis or another former player be the color commentator within the next few seasons. Should no changes be made, it is not the worst thing because Manning’s experience and knowledge of the game is very valuable.
An aspect that gets overlooked in their approach to calling games is how balanced they are. Of course they would like to see Cleveland win and can be a homer at times, but when the appropriate situation(s) arises, appropriate complements and appreciation of Indians opponents are made.
There has been a number of TV play by play duos calling Cleveland Indians games over the years. Yet, none over the last couple decades come close to Cleveland’s current duo. When thinking about all of the broadcast teams nationally and locally calling baseball games, my thoughts always go back to Underwood and Manning.
I look forward to hearing them call games when I watch Cleveland play. Could those criticisms be less if the Indians won more? Maybe, but that is hard to say. Still, when comparing Underwood and Manning to other teams’ broadcasters and sports channels, they should be ranked higher.