Yikes!!!! Dodgers extend Charley Steiner
for three years so if you live in the West San Fernando Valley you won’t have to lament the fact you can’t get KLAC 570 anyway.
I’ve tried to be fairly snarkless when I moved from TBLA over to here but it is hard when a move is made that doesn’t seem reasonable on so many levels. Normally, in the media world of 2018, who is doing PBP on the radio is of little consequence but in Los Angeles, it matters because of the Dodger TV deal with Time Warner that has left thousands of fans out of the loop when it comes to watching the Dodgers on TV.
The other alternative is the old-fashioned one that brought many a fan into the Dodger family. The Radio. With that being the case you would think the Dodgers would try to hire the best possible play by play announcer to be the voice of the team for those who don’t have the Time Warner option.
Instead, the Dodgers have plugged away with Charley Steiner who is considered the worst play by play announcer to ever grace a microphone in Los Angeles. One has to ask why? I’ve met Charlie, he’s a good guy, he loves the game of baseball, he is passionate about the game of baseball, but…………he isn’t good at being the play by play announcer of baseball for radio. This isn’t a new thing, Charley has been the play by play guy since they unceremoniously removed Ross Porter from the gig back in November of 2004. and even fourteen years ago you noticed the drop off from Ross to Charley.
There are two compelling reasons for not extending Charley Steiner. The foremost is that he simply can’t describe over the radio the action on the field well enough that you have any idea of what is happening. He can handle the simple plays when he takes the time to actually tell you what happened, but give him something complex and you can forget about it. Am I alone in this assessment? I don’t think so, it seems fairly unanimous across the multiple modes of communication (bloggers, blog commentators, sports radio commentators, writers, fans at the stadium, twitter, Instagram) that the majority don’t think he’s good at his job. I could give you all the links but that is a lot of work, and rarely does anyone who reads this drivel ever click on a well-researched link so I’m going to save myself some time and expect you to believe me because I’m an older white male and if you can’t trust the opinion of an old white male, who can you trust in today’s environment?
The other reason is problematic. Charley is old school. The Dodgers are the new school. Charley still thinks wins and RBI’s are important and every game he’ll try to explain why he feels that way. The Dodgers went out of their way to hire a progressive young TV announcer by the name of Joe Davis. Joe has tried very hard to enlighten Dodger fans on what it is to be a baseball fan in the 21st century. He hasn’t turned Nomar but it is fairly clear that Orel is on the bandwagon. Dodger management makes every baseball decision using the latest baseball knowledge and you can bet that “wins” and “runs batted in” are not part of those equations. Wouldn’t they want their radio voice to also be part of that group think? Why give voice to those who still live in the 20th century? Why not try to educate them?
Those are the two major reasons I would not have extended Charley, but I have a third and it may surprise many of you. I’m sixty, I was basically aged out of my career at the age of 56, so I’m a little sensitive about discrimination against seniors. Charley is 69 years old. He wasn’t good at his job when he was 55, and he’ll only get worse. There are very few job openings for play by play announcers in major league baseball. It would have been nice after a lengthy career, for Charley to simply retire and let one of these would be announcers get a chance.
At any given moment, Major League Baseball’s 30 clubs have at least 750 roster spots to fill. Between the 60 full-time play-by-play jobs and other assorted radio and TV gigs, there are a fraction as many broadcasting jobs in the majors. The play-by-play positions are the pies in the sky for minor league broadcasters, and it’s basically impossible to rise quickly or cut corners in pursuit of one of those.
Charley got his chance and ran with it having a long and varied career announcing sports. I think he should have stepped aside and let someone else get his shot.
But wait a minute. What about Vin Scully, he was on the job for 66 years and no one was asking him to retire at the age of 69, why should we ask Charley Steiner to retire at age 69?
Because, Vin Scully was Vin Scully, the best at his craft in describing the action on the field and even at age 69 he was still in his prime as a play by play announcer. Charley Steiner is not Vin Scully, Charley is the nice guy in the office who let you hang around because he’s a nice guy but you’d replace in a minute if you found someone who could do the job better, and believe me the minors are filled with folk who can do the job better.
Yet, the Dodgers went with Steiner, and like a host of other fans, if I’m driving and the Dodgers are playing, my only choice is Charley Steiner, so for the next three years I’ll continue to curtail my driving experience while the Dodgers are playing because I can only take so many shivers down my spine when hearing Charley try to explain a close play at the plate while trying to finish a story he started that we have all heard one hundred times before.
Hours after I wrote this post, the Dodgers announced they added Tim Neverett to their broadcast team. I was unaware when Charlie Steiner signed his extension that he was cutting back his schedule, so when he takes a day off, Tim Neverett will handle the play by play duties. Tim will also be seen on the TV side when Joe Davis does his national assignments.
Tim has a varied background whose latest work was doing radio play by play for the Red Sox but buried in that resume was some work for the Dodgers AAA team when they were in Las Vegas. He has been in the business since 1985 and I’m happy to see the Dodgers give someone with that extensive resume a shot. All the other play by play announcers who have been toiling for thirty years in the minors will have to wait their turn.
Here is a snippet of Tim talking about his gig with the Red Sox.
Here is a snippet of Tim being made fun of by his TV mates when he drops a fly ball
Here is a snippet of Tim doing a big radio call of the Red Sox winning the 2018 ALDS