In sportscasting, there are two main questions that broadcasters will debate on until the end of time. First, is Joe Buck a good sportscaster? And secondly, can a sportscaster jinx a shutout or no-hitter? We’ve attempted to tackle the first question a couple of times, but today we’re talking superstitions and how they impact our calls.
I for one don’t believe in jinxing a player. For hockey, if a goalie is minutes away from a shutout, I’m going to tell you that’s what is going on. I believe to do anything else is a disservice to my audience. That being said, a large segment of the sportscasting landscape feels differently and won’t dare utter the words “perfect game” or “no-hitter” or “shutout” when the situations warrant.
Awful Announcing looked at this from a baseball perspective and spoke with several sportscasters on their superstitions and whether or not you can jinx a player or situation from the booth. Unsurprisingly, opinions varied.
Five innings into the Nationals’ June 21 game against the Marlins, Washington ace Max Scherzer induced Miami shortstop JT Riddle to one-hop to second to close another hitless frame. As Scherzer walked off the mound, MASN play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter declared that the pitcher was “untouched,” and color commentator F.P. Santangelo suggested vaguely that viewers remain in the “same seats.”
Over the next three innings, Carpenter and Santangelo hinted that Scherzer was having a noteworthy afternoon but stopped short of revealing exactly what was happening. Only after A.J. Ellis singled in the eighth inning on a comebacker off Scherzer’s glove did Carpenter use the words on everyone’s mind: “no-hitter.”
For as long as announcers have called baseball games, they’ve faced a choice in how to handle a no-no. They can either bluntly declare that there’s history in progress, or they can dance around the subject in homage to the on-field tradition of keeping the words “no-hitter” as far away from the pitcher as possible.
Click here to read the full story.