The Scully Series 2021: Yankees & Red Sox

Modern exploration of local broadcasters for all 30 MLB teams

Welcome to the 2021 MLB Season! I am back with a full season to rate, review, and listen to every team’s broadcast with “The Scully Series.” If you missed the brief version last season, don’t worry; I have a description of what you can look forward to as a refresher down below. We will start this mini-series with a traditional pairing of teams who will always be connected at the hip, the New York Yankees, and the Boston Red Sox. Two pillars of the broadcasting community are on display to kickstart the season.

REFRESH* Oh, the good old days of listening to baseball broadcasts on your local radio station. As a fan, you’re partial to your hometown crew because of familiarity. As almost an extension of your family or a longtime friend, some of the greatest MLB broadcasters have a unique place in the hearts of millions of baseball fans. Are you one of the people that have the misfortune of being in a market that has a substandard color team? But here’s a thought! Have you ever said to yourself, “I wonder what other teams’ broadcast booths sound like?”

With an MLB.TV subscription, we have the capability to listen, rate, and rank every team’s broadcasters. With an homage to the best to ever do it, we have nicknamed this “The Scully Series.”  The best part is that you can do this as well along with us from the comfort of your home. Let us dive in…

 

New York Yankees

 

Announcer: Michael Kay (YES Network)

 

Play-by-Play 

 

One of the play-by-play announcers that almost every baseball fan has heard at least once, Michael Kay is a broadcaster that brings a confident tone and speaking style that resonates with millions. As the voice of the Yankees for 30 years, you’re bound to encounter some iconic moments, but Kay displays a keen approach to capturing the emotion of a play.

His in-game announcing is akin to Vin Scully in the modern-day. The rightful heir to the throne, Kay uses a similar approach to Scully – one of minimalism. Never too high, never too low. Just a pleasant “even keel” that Kay reaches with ease. Seemingly never having to adjust the volume, Kay is able to vocalize the excitement of the game while maintaining the elegance of broadcasting.   Rating: A+

 

Storytelling, Modern Adaptations, History

 

In the game that I listened to against the Orioles, there wasn’t a major reliance or emphasis on Statcast type statistics. Kay seems to use more of a simple approach to the game. Exit velocity was something that was brought up a few times, and talk of Gerrit Cole‘s spin rate caught my attention.

The most memorable instance of storytelling came through when Kay was mentioning young prospect Jack Leiter. He went on to tell of a time when the Yankees drafted the younger Leiter, son of Al, but failed to come to a contract agreement. Now, the most sought-after pitching. prospect in the draft, Kay and the broadcast crew cut to some of Leiter’s collegiate highlights to show fans of his progression as a pitcher. Other stories that I have encountered from Kay have been that of the old-time Yankees or the Core 4 teams, transporting fans back to the many glorious years of title teams. Rating: B 

 

Likeability / Ease of Listening Rating 

 

Having listened to many Yankee games, I have somewhat of a positive bias towards Kay. His voice is synonymous with two things for baseball fans: Derek Jeter’s career highlights and World Series celebrations. To some, the polarizing draw to the Yankees leaves a stale taste in their mouth, regardless of what it is about the team. Meanwhile, New Yorkers associate Kay with this generation’s glory years.   Rating: A

 

Signature Calls

 

“Going back, at the track, at the wall…See Ya!” – Michael Kay (one of the most recognizable calls in all of baseball) Rating: A 

 

Boston Red Sox

 

Announcer: Joe Castiglione (WEEI)

 

Play-by-Play

 

The first time laying ears on Castiglione brought me back to listening to baseball on the radio as a child. More of a quick talker than Michael Kay, Castiglione is able to fit a ton of description into the game, while quickly pivoting whenever the action gets going. More of a conversationalist, Castiglione is able to give transactional history, pregame information, the count, and ball action all within the same sentence.  Rating: A

 

Storytelling, Modern Adaptations, History

 

Castiglione is a classic old-school storyteller. Bringing in anecdotes from years past, Joe has a knack for drawing you in, as if you were both sitting in the booth together. Playing to the sounds of the stadium, the Red Sox’s failures and successes are very much alive in Castiglione’s voice. Most of the phrases uttered are of the throwback variety (“deep into the night” and “pumped in that fastball”), but the delivery with proper tone and sequencing doesn’t make the broadcast sound dated on first listen. This is congruent to the fact that I did not encounter any advanced stats during my listen.  Rating: C+

 

Likeability / Ease of Listening Rating 

 

Nothing about Castiglione’s call was hard to listen to. His voice was very consistent during the entirety of the game, not getting off-topic or jumping out of the booth during big plays. As I mentioned previously in the writeup, the old-school approach that Joe brings to the game leaves no question as to why he is a Hall of Fame broadcaster. It was like a conversation between old friends watching a game in the living room; only you overhear them as you sit in the kitchen. As the most tenured Red Sox announcer ever, the storied franchise has been lucky to have one of the most recognizable voices calling their games during their World Series title runs in the 2000s. Rating: A

Signature Calls

 

“Can you believe it?!” – Castiglione after the Red Sox recorded the final out of the 2004 World Series. Rating: B

 

Since this is an exploratory series that will be continued throughout the season. let me know in the comments if you’d like to see other categories or concepts discussed. I’d love input to incorporate into future team reviews. Hope to have your eyes and ears throughout the 2021 season.

 

Illustration and image by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)

Collin Carlone

Collin is somehow a fan of the Phillies & Dodgers simultaneously; although Matt Stairs had some thoughts about that back in ‘08. In his spare time, he plays disc golf like a pitcher in hopes to defy physics enough to be featured by Pitching Ninja.

  • Avatar DB says:

    As a Yankee fan since before Kay was ever on the air, he’d be NOTHING without the vast perspectives of his color crew. Paul Oniel, David Cone, and Ken Singleton are pretty much the best in the business. YES has the best color crew in all MLB, and Kay (no matter how many times he mentions on-air that he has the same alma mater as Scully,) would have been relegated to obscurity long ago without them. The voices you should have featured here, if you were talking about solitary voices, are the WFAN radio personalities, John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

    • Avatar Matt J. says:

      So true. I like Kayster, but Coney and O’Neil make the YES broadcasts the great experience they are. They’re solid but not spectacular. Same could be said of Castiglione…he was a much better personality when he had Merloni and O’Brien sharing duties with him (I lived up in Red Sox country back then).

      Sterling and Waldman, though…best in the biz at this point. Great play-by-play, great stories, great dynamic…especially when Sterling let’s Suzyn talk!

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