Friday, March 10, 2006

ESPN's Sleight Of Voice on World Baseball Classic Broadcasts

Boog O'Brien? Dave Sciambi? Just How Do They Get Those Voices To Sound Alike?
Your mind can play tricks on you watching baseball at four in the morning, which is where I found myself while trying to placate a 10-month-old with an ear infection.
On ESPN and ESPN2, they were wrapping up delayed broadcasts of World Baseball Classic matchups. It sounded like Dave O'Brien was with Jeff Brantley in Kissimmee on the Deuce calling the Dominican Republic's thrashing of Italy.
But over at the mothership, wasn't that O'Brien and Rick Sutcliffe at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix for the Mexico-Canada smackdown? Turns out, that was the case, with Jon "Boog" Sciambi voicing the other game, doing an indelible O'Brien rendition, meaning nothing flashy, knowing when to shut up and when to inject just the right amount of emotion into a call.
Competent, workmanlike and professional, but at four in the morning, a little eerie.
How did the two collide. Might be familiarity more than anything else, O'Brien used to call Florida Marlins games, while Sciambi was the number-two radio voice for the now-moribund Marlins for the last eight years.
Both also have a tangential connection to the Mets. For the last several years, O'Brien called about 40 Mets games on WPIX-TV. That gig went away with the formation by the Mets this year of their own network.
Team ownership wanted the same lineup in the booth for all 150 games it'd broadcast. O'Brien was reportedly offered that job, but ESPN really showed him the money, and he's now one of their go-to guys on the diamond as well as for college hoops.
Sciambi had an offer to do Mets radiocasts, replacing Gary Cohen, who moves to the TV job O'Brien spurned. But he's instead opted to stay in South Florida -- where he also turned down the Marlins TV job -- for a mix of doing sports talk on 790 The Ticket and ballgames on ESPN.
Speaking of the World Baseball Classic, have you started to care? Do you have any plans to start to care?
When's Opening Day, anyway?

No comments: