I’ve gotta tell you — and it won’t come as a surprise to many of you who are Royals’ fans — the emperor of the Royals’ broadcasting crew, Denny Matthews, is wearing no clothes.
How this guy has remained on the broadcast team since the team’s inception in 1969 is a mystery to me.
His game calls are about as interesting as if he were describing a dog washing…
“There goes the soap on pooch’s coat; he’s getting his back and tail lathered now; he’s shaking off the water…”
I wish somebody would take Denny’s pulse when the game is tied in the bottom of the ninth, and we’ve got runners on second and third, one out, with Sal Perez or another or our top hitters at the plate…“There’s a slow grounder to short, the throw comes home, safe, the game is over…We’ll be right back with the totals.”
Oh, it isn’t quite that bad, but you know — we all know — it’s pretty damn bad.
But nobody dares criticize the guy.
One day last week on Kevin Kietzman’s “Between the Lines” show on WHB radio, Kietzman said, “You won’t hear me say a bad word about Denny Matthews; he’s great.”
That was after Kietzman had spent a couple of minutes extolling the skills of Ryan Lefebvre, the Royals’ best broadcaster by far.
Then Denny’s broadcast partner Danny Clinkscale jumped in and said something like, “He paints a perfect picture in your mind of what’s going on.”
Baloney. He describes nothing and gives out precious little information.
Take today’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, which the Royals ended up winning 11-10. It was a wild game, with a total of seven errors, and both teams looked like they were mailing it in.
I watched several innings on TV, including the top of the 6th inning, where the Blue Jays scored eight runs and wiped out a 7-0 Royals’ lead. In the bottom of the inning, which I also watched, the Royals bounced back and took a 10-8 lead.
At that point, I headed to the grocery store. Actually, I had to go to two grocery stores — the Brookside Price Chopper and then the Brookside Market — to run down everything on the list. I lost track of the game for a couple of innings, and when I turned it on while heading to the Brookside Market, Paulo Orlando was up.
Orlando hit a home run, and, I have to admit, there was actually a trace of excitement in his voice when he said, “Gone!” But then Denny didn’t give the score! I kept waiting for him to give the score, but it wasn’t forthcoming. He did say something to the effect that Orlando had given the Royals “a margin,” but no specifics.
I didn’t find out ’til I got home the game had been tied 10-10 and Orlando’s blast was not only the tie-breaking run but, ultimately, the winning run.
On another game I was listening to several days ago, the opposing team had the bases loaded in a close game, and one player had a long at-bat, fouling off several pitches. Never during the at-bat did Denny say how many outs there were…Turned out there were none.
…What does this guy think? That everybody’s driving around having listened to every pitch and understands exactly what the circumstances are at any given moment?
He’s ridiculous and should have retired long ago.
…On the same “Between the Lines” show I was listening to last week, either Keitzman or Clinkscale noted that Denny wasn’t in the mode of modern-day broadcasters, who display emotion and excitement.
Oh, really? Broadcasters of days gone by didn’t display emotion?
I guess Kietzman never listened to the legendary Harry Caray, of the St. Louis Cardinals and later the Chicago Cubs, or Waite Hoyt of the Cincinnati Reds. As a kid growing up in Louisville, I hung on every broadcast of the Reds’ games, and I remember one game when the score might have been tied, and Reds’ great hitter Frank Robinson came to the plate.
On one of the first pitches, Waite said very calmly, almost in a monotone, “There’s a drive down the left-field line that, if it stays fair, is a home run.”
A second or two or silence followed, and the next thing you heard was Waite shouting, “Home run!” It was one of the most dramatic and exciting baseball broadcasting moments I have ever heard.
…Hell, there were lots of animated announcers in days gone by. Kietzman knows that, but he, like other Kansas City sportscasters, says whatever he has to say to keep from uttering a critical word about “Royals’ Hall of Fame Broadcaster Denny Matthews.” That would be breaking the code of silence.
Well, I just hope the Royals don’t commission a bronze bust of Denny after he’s left the park for the last time. It would be a miscarriage of broadcasting. Truth is, Denny is enshrined in Teflon.