If you haven't been reading up on the Twitter-verse this morning you might have missed a big piece of Angels news. Posted earlier this morning on The Outside Corner was an article by Overlord of MWaH Garrett Wilson calling to attention a
very spiteful rant made by Petros Papadakis on the Petros and Money Show in which he blasts Victor Rojas, the Angels play-by-play announcer. The bulk of his rant stems from Victor Rojas' actions during the 2 no-hitter's he's called during his Angels tenure, the Ervin Santana no-hitter in Cleveland and the Weaver no-no earlier this year, or I guess I should say "inaction". Petros had a problem with Rojas not mentioning the fact that they were throwing a no-no throughout the broadcast, stating that he was essentially "failing to properly call the game" (my words, not his). It was a bit much to take in as an Angel fan, but if he chose to see it as Rojas failing to call the game the right way then so be it.
But it didn't end there.
No, no, no.
He then proceeds to turn into somewhat of a "school-yard bully"; making fun his "stupid haircut", and "stupid tan", and "stupid glasses" (his actual words, not mine) in an incredibly condescending tone. He even goes as far as to say the Angels broadcasting team should call for hazard pay because in his mind being around Victor Rojas is the worst thing imaginable. I don't need to tell you that Rojas partner Mark Gubicza and the rest of the broadcast team, even the players, clearly enjoy and respect him. Papadakis says that he has a lot of friends in the Angels broadcast team and he has great respect for Gubicza, but he clearly doesn't respect him enough to show some class to his broadcast partner. He even chastises him for "analyzing" the game too much, since it clearly is not his job to analyze, just to provide menial play by play. I don't need to tell you how dumb that is.
I don't need to tell you that Victor Rojas is a fine, even great announcer. My favorite thing about him isn't his knowledge of the game; it isn't ability to provide fine analysis in addition to his play-by-play. My favorite thing about him is his non-bias, he isn't afraid to call out the Angels players or coaches when they're making mistakes on the field. We could be stuck with Hawk Harrelson and his constant pandering, yet we get to enjoy a fine commentator whose approach to calling a game isn't one dimensional, hollow "fan-pandering". Rojas keeps it playful in the booth, making it a very enjoyable fan experience to watch and hear his broadcasting. Remember the rally masks? Remember back in Boston during that painful extra-inning game that went well past midnight? Remember how Rojas kept both him and Gubi and the fanbases sanity in check by donning the Angels promotional wrestling masks during the broadcasts in order to try and spark a rally to end the tortuous game? The Angels won that game, but my favorite part was watching Victor and Gubi screwing around in the booth with the Angels wrestling masks on their head, they were having a great time and made it fun for us fans to watch through such a tough game. How many commentators in baseball carry themselves with the same air of professionalism and light-hearted antics in the booth? It's a game our boys are playing on the field, in the end it's just a fun game to be played and watched and I feel that our broadcast team embodies that same spirit of the game in their broadcasts.
This broadcasting team wouldn't be complete without Mark Gubicza however. Many people don't like Gubicza, they feel that he only provides shallow commentary and rides off of Rojas. That couldn't be more wrong. The only point that I agree with on Gubicza's criticism is that he doesn't really provide much that Rojas doesn't already to when it comes to basic commentating. What really sets him apart is his incredible, in-depth pitching knowledge. You'd have an incredibly hard time finding another commentator that has just as much, if not more insight in pitching than Gubicza does. He can clearly explain everything that involves pitching, from the fine-point mechanics to the mentality of a pitcher. Gubicza takes what would seem like a complex situation to explain and explains it so simply and so clearly that anyone can understand it, even me! This is a guy who never played a game of baseball above the Youth League program, a guy who never threw a single pitch in his life, and yet when Gubicza is carefully constructing a picture I'm able to not only follow his every word, but completely understand it. I feel like I could pitch a major league ballgame just from absorbing the insight he has to offer.
You gotta remember that Gubicza was at one point a major league pitcher for 14 years with the Kansas City Royals and the Angels, being selected to the All-Star team in 1988 & 1989 and winning the World Series in 1985. There aren't very many pitchers with the resume Gubicza does that provide commentary for teams, all the fancy pitchers like Jon Smoltz do their broadcasting work for big-time hot shot networks and what not. We're very lucky to have a guy like Gubicza providing the insight he does for us on a daily basis. Sometimes I wonder to myself, "why isn't this guy a pitching coach? He'd make a great pitching coach for the Angels." I wouldn't be surprised if he did end up getting a job as a pitching instructor one day.
What I'm trying to say, in a nutshell, is that this broadcasting team the Angels have is one of the best teams in a while. Rojas is very good at carrying the broadcast while Gubi provides excellent insight into the art of pitching. They keep it very light and fun while maintaining their professionalism. Rojas expressed interest in calling Angel games for the rest of his career, and I for one would not mind that at all.
It is a little weird that used to call Texas Rangers games though.
Just a little.