I watched Barry Zito pitch against the Tigers last night because I’m still trying to decide if I should keep him or AJ Burnett for my team next year. In the games I’ve seen, Zito’s main problem has been with his command, getting beat when he misses his target. Zito pitched well, but what I enjoyed most about the game was the commentary by Shooty Babitt.
Shooty is an ex-major league second baseman and currently is a scout (I think with the Giants). As a scout, he offered a different perspective than the typical ex-player color commentatary. He talked about strengths and weaknesses of different players, how advance scouts look for patterns with pitchers, where their pitches miss when they get tired, etc. I’d enjoy hearing him call another game.
I’ve done color [for hockey]. It’s hard. Talking with players and seeing what they saw made me a better commentator. Conversely, in the one series I couldn’t make where I had a replacement, the player who filled in for me said in the post-game, “Wow, I’m more tired from standing here and talking than I usually am from playing the game!”
A good color guy is absolutely essential to a good TV broadcast, and unfortunately, there are very few good color commentators out there.