We proudly present our top five sports broadcast teams in New York City sports.
By Robby Sabo
When reminiscing about the history of sports certain memories just stick like glue.
Of course photos and videos are the staple. We remember classic moments with visuals, for a picture is worth a thousand words.
Along with those visuals come the more nostalgic aspect, the voice.
Anybody who’s claimed to be an NFL fan at one point in their life understands how important NFL Films became to the league. Steve Sabol brought another element to the game, a cinematic angle.
An element that brought the legendary voice of John Facenda.
Facenda’s voice is the echo in our minds anytime we remember Vince Lombardi’s first Super Bowl Championship. He is the soul to the all-important moment.
This is why broadcast teams are so important.
The play-by-play man and color commentator(s) become more than just voices, they become companions. No sports exemplifies this better than baseball.
For six straight months (sometimes seven), baseball becomes that one true best friend for many fans. Daily routines often consist of waking up early, putting a hard-day’s work in, and then turning YES Network or SNY on to hear the familiar voices of the home team’s guys.
Because these voices stay with us for so long, we’ve decided to countdown the top-five broadcast teams in New York Sports today:
The Worst: YES, Yankees: Michael Kay & Friends
First things first, let’s start with the worst.
By far, the team over at YES Network that handles New York Yankees games take the crown of worst by a landslide. It’s a shame that the most prolific team in American Professional Sports history employs the worst broadcast squad there is.
The first very obvious question that needs to be asked is simple. Why in the world are there so many guys calling games for the Yankees?
From Paul O’Neill to David Cone; John Flaherty to Al Leiter; Ken Sigleton to Michael Kay.
I mean “goodness gracious.”
Not only do we have wait with bated breath on who’s going to call the game on a given night, but Michael Kay is one of the worst play-by-play men in the business. There’s no subtle comfortable feelings with Kay. Everything seems forced and in your face.
Let’s not forget how horrid his home run call is. He screams “see ya” like he’s sitting on the toilet.
5. WFAN, Yankees: John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman
OK, before everybody goes nuts, hear me out.
We all know the Yankess broadcast team over at WFAN on the radio leaves a lot to be desired by way of perfection. John Sterling does a horrible job of actually describing what’s transpiring on the field and Suzyn Waldman is oftentimes overshadowed.
Overshadowed on most occasions, but Waldman will never live down the Roger Clemens infamous exciting return call.
Despite his ineptitude of describing the action and hilarious daily bloopers, Sterling does have a unique quality that Yankees fans love. He reminds them of the team, even if he’s only talking as sparingly as possible.
Many Yankee-haters destroy Sterling for the ridiculous home run calls he comes up with – and yes, they are ridiculous. At the same time though, he calls it fair from both sides. Nobody will ever confuse Sterling as one of those knuckleheads who scream at the top of their lungs when the home-team does something great.
4. MSG, Islanders: Howie Rose, Butch Goring
Although Howe Rose’s most famous call will forever be remembered as a part of the New York Rangers radio broadcast team – “Matteau, Matteau, Matteau” – he is a New York Islanders junkie first and foremost.
Still calling games for the Mets on the airwaves, he’s played the role of top Islanders voice on TV since 1995.
While Butch Goring is still learning the trade to a degree, Rose carries this team to the No. 4 spot.
3. MSG, Knicks: Mike Breen, Walt “Clyde” Frazier
We all know Walt “Clyde” Frazier is as flashy as it gets. His various collection of loud suits probably has its own locker room at MSG Network.
While his clothing gets most of the play, it serves as a semi-distraction from his overused catch-phrases we hear on a game by game basis. “Poasting and toasting,” “dishing and swishing,” and “styling and profiling” are just a few of the many.
Despite these phrases that most of New York Knicks fandom adores, Frazier isn’t a strong color commentator. He’s a knowledgeable basketball man, yet has trouble conveying his message in the most analytical of fashions.
His partner, Mike Breen, is one of the best in the business.
First the Knicks were graced with one of the best of all time in Marv Albert. Then, Breen filled in with flying colors.
Breen’s play-by-play style is one of the top voices in not just basketball, but all of sports. ABC/ESPN choosing him as the top NBA voice in the world was one of the smarter moves they ever made.
2. MSG, Rangers: Sam Rosen, Joe Micheletti
“And this one will last a lifetime.”
Is Sam Rosen truly a great voice? Probably not. It’s not a classically smooth voice that translates perfectly to fans in the living room.
However, it doesn’t mean he’s still not tremendous at what he does.
The man lives New York Rangers hockey. He eats, sleeps and breathes the organization (except of course when he’s doing the NFL for Fox or some nondescript boxing match somewhere).
If John Davidson was still at MSG, that duo could’ve topped the list. Still, Joe Micheletti’s presence was a perfect recipe for success in the booth at Rangers games.
The reason Rosen is so loved is purely based on passion. He conveys passion without being too loud (like Michael Kay), or too zany (like John Sterling).
1. SNY, Mets: Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez
Hands down (and it’s not even close), the top broadcast team in New York City Sports today is the one that takes care of the New York Mets for SNY.
Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez are flat-out tremendous. Nobody is as in-depth as these guys.
Admittedly, Cohen is probably a better radio announcer (one of the best). Through time, however, he’s become very solid on TV. He describes the action very well, almost too well for the screen.
Hernandez and Darling couldn’t be more perfect as a color combination. Both guys are former Mets who respectively played opposite positions (everyday player and pitcher).
The back and forth that ensues when breaking down a simple baseball thought is the most analytical piece of baseball information you’ll listen to in the game today.
Fans actually think they know everything about baseball until they listen to a Mets broadcast. Oftentimes they’ll describe the thinking behind the most mundane movement by a right-fielder in a certain situation, yet it makes complete sense.
Furthermore, none of these guys are afraid to call out the team for putrid play or lack of aggressiveness. This is such a refreshing attribute that the Yankees broadcast team simply cannot grasp.
Even Yankees fans (like myself) know which broadcast team is the best in New York.