We're in the hot, lazy days of August, so it's time to have a little fun. A four-part series, ranking the play-by-play and color men in this area. This is based solely on their local work, since national assignments apply to a lot of these men. Next: A look at the radio color analysts in the area. Enjoy.
7. Suzyn Waldman (Yankees/WCBS)
Like a lot of the Yankees voices, it's really beating a dead horse to take shots at Suzyn Waldman. The fact, however, is that a lot of Waldman's inherit annoyingness comes from the fact that John Sterling completely bloats the broadcast to the point where Waldman is barely needed. That said, when she does get a chance to speak, she rarely says something worthwhile, rarely says something relevant, and rarely says anything useful. It's almost as if she spends the entire nine innings of the game trying to make John Sterling look intelligent. Thankfully, she fails almost all the time.
6. John Andariese (Knicks/ESPN)
One of the more nondescript analysts in the area, there simply isn't a lot to say about Andariese, who does his job fairly well. He's somewhat bland, as if he's afraid to say anything to much in favor or against the Knicks, too afraid to come off as a homer or a hater. For the most part, however, he's fairly solid, but could be better.
5. Marty Lyons (Jets/ESPN)
Lyons is solid and articulate, though has the tendency to over-annunciate things. He has fairly good insights into the broadcast, and teams with Wischusen okay, though you get the sense the whole thing's just a little bit too serious. Otherwise, Lyons is very good.
4. Sherry Ross (Devils/WFAN)
Doesn't get a lot of credit because of the little-listened to Devils radiocasts, and divisive among fans, but I'm a big proponent of Ross' work. Brings a different perspective to the typical jock-ocracy of color analysis and, having covered the sport in print for more than a decade, a knowledge that rivals few. Has good chemistry with Matt Loughlin, and is often funny and always engaging. Tends to try and "wrap up" her sentences a little too neatly, and can sound a little rehearsed, but is underrated.
3. Dave Maloney (Rangers/ESPN)
Maloney can get on people's nerves and be a homer at times, but he's exactly what the radio color analyst should be. Smart, engaging, funny guy who tells it like it is, gets into the game, but never oversteps his boundaries. Could probably call the game himself, and is always abundant with material. Also tends to sound a bit rehearsed, but is usually fairly off-the-cuff.
2. Tim Capstraw (Nets/WFAN)
Capstraw has a rough job, working on what is likely the least-listened to radiocast on earth at times, and working for one of the worst teams in basketball history. But he was downright great at times during the 09-10 season, and tends to be all the time. Works great with Chris Carrino and is always fun, but knows when to criticize.
1. Carl Banks (Giants/WFAN)
Banks has emerged as an unlikely great analyst. You'd have thought he'd be working for the Giants years ago, but has just recently stepped into the booth, with massive shoes to fill after the passing of Dick Lynch, a throwback in every sense of the word and one of the best broadcasters in New York sports history. However, Banks is doing him justice. He hasn't quite got the colorful personality of Lynch, but that'll come later. For now, he's honest, articulate, and always an entertaining listen.
Jets, Giants Remain a TV Hit
The New York market provides not just Major League Baseball with some of it's most popular teams, but football as well.
Monday's Jets/Giants New Meadowlands Stadium opener scored a 3.6 rating and 5.6 million viewers for ESPN, which is up 16% in ratings and 23% in viewership from last year's comparable game, a Panthers/Giants telecast. Its the 2nd highest-rated pre-season game on ESPN since 2008, and drew higher ratings than every single regular season baseball game on TV this year.
Meanwhile, Hard Knocks remains a relative hit with this Jets-centric season. Episode two drew an 0.6 rating and 812,00 viewers on HBO Wednesday. While that's down 7% in viewers and 17% in ratings from episode one (870,000 viewers, 0.6 rating) it's up from 2009's second episode of the Cincinnati Bengals Hard Knocks (0.4 rating, 556,000 viewers) by 20% in ratings and 32% in viewers. Its also up from the second episode of the 2008 Cowboys season of Hard Knocks (0.3 rating, 347,000 viewers) by 40% in ratings and 58% in viewers
Meanwhile, the night before, Sunday's Mets/Phillies tilt drew a 1.5 rating and 2.3 million viewers on ESPN. That outdrew an NFL pre-season game on NFL Network between the Broncos and Bengals. While NFL Net is in much fewer homes than ESPN, that the allure of Tim Tebow couldn't outdraw a fairly meaningless August Mets game is good news for the sport.