As baseball doesn’t have a clock, it moves at a slower pace than, say, basketball, soccer, or hockey. Even American football, with its lengthy pauses between plays, has an air of urgency about it thanks to the play clock and game clock. And the fact that baseball moves only as the players want it to means more potential dead air time that announcers have to fill by saying something. Most of the time, if nothing especially insightful, the time-wasting banter is harmless enough – perhaps one announcer makes a joke at the expense of the other’s golf game, or something. It only has to be better than total silence.
Occasionally (and unfortunately), though, the announcers’ offerings won’t be better than total silence. It’s tough to fill those three hours or so that a full baseball game generally takes, and occasionally, an attempt at light humor will just be…wrong. As an example, witness below what Detroit Tigers announcer Rod Allen had to say about the heavy concentration of Latino players in the Tigers’ lineup yesterday. Suffice to say, dead air wouldn’t have risked offending an ethnic group:
We should say this: no, we do not believe Rod Allen has anything at all against Latinos. We fully believe this was an attempt at harmless humor gone wrong. But it did go wrong, and Allen did reduce a group of people to a lazy stereotype. We have a feeling that Allen’s a nice enough guy, but we also have a feeling he’s already heard a thing or two about the above remark from his bosses…and similarly, we have a feeling we’ve heard the last of that type of joke from Allen.