Where Have You Gone Milo Hamilton? A Fanbase Turns Its Bleeding Ears to You
But then there are the fourth and seventh innings which tend to wipe out any of Sparks's positives. This is when Ford generally steps back and lets Sparks handle the play-by-play while Ford throws out some thoughtful analysis. This is an often painful experience as Sparks stumbles through the play-by-play, attempting to describe the game action. It is unlistenable radio, and only the most dedicated of fans can power through it. It's not all Sparks's fault. He's clearly trying, but there's no improvement.
There was absolutely no need for new broadcasters. When they were unbridled from Milo Hamilton, Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond formed a fan-friendly team that made a nice use of stats, social media interaction and accurate game descriptions with strong, sometimes critical analysis of the team when it was called for. They patiently bided their time, built a rapport with listeners, and did their jobs they best they could, especially since they had the whole Milo Hamilton thing with which to contend. But instead of being rewarded, the Astros punished them. And now the Astros are punishing the listeners with a broadcast that, hard to believe, makes one long for the days of Milo Hamilton drooling over attractive women, talking about how much better it was in the days of Hank Aaron and discussing anything but the actual game on the field.
The Astros are a bad team. Bad, but improving from game to game. The radio broadcast shouldn't be bad, especially with most of the city still unable to watch on television. Yet the radio broadcast is so bad it's almost unlistenable, as if Astros brass made a conscious decision during the off-season to drive away any people who might want to follow the team on the radio.
The team deserves better. The fans deserve better. So here's hoping that Reid Ryan's listening in from time to time and planning a few changes for next season.