Oh, for Vin Scully’s voice along with TBS’ video

Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully won't be calling the team's National League Championship Series for TBS to the chagrin of some fans. Columnist Chris Erskine offers up some solutions for the Dodger faithful.
(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

They’re back.

The same TBS announcing team that frosted many Dodgers fans in the division series now moves on to the Dodgers-St. Louis Cardinals series. Seven games, potentially, 30 hours or more. I can almost feel my head start to pre-explode.

If you’re like me — and let’s hope you’re nothing like me — you’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out how to get your car into the living room so you can listen to Vin Scully on the radio while watching on TV. Me, I’m ready to drive through the kitchen wall.

Not so long ago, you had a transistor radio in every cabinet, but these days radios are rare as we obsess over every new gizmo. Radio Shack sells high-quality small radios for $29.99, so that’s one solution. You can also connect via your laptop, preferably with a pair of decent remote speakers (from $19.99), and pick up the Fox feed through your Wi-Fi system.


Or maybe just move your TV into the garage. Sometimes, I’m so techie it scares me.

Even if you do manage to tap into a radio feed (AM 570), you’re still often dealing with a five-second gap between what you hear on radio and what you see on the screen. Reader David Gaon asked the obvious: Why doesn’t Fox radio sync up its signal for 570 to the TBS video?

Evidently, Fox engineers are still scratching their noggins over that one, for I’m waiting to hear back. No-brainers can be so complicated sometimes.

So why the radio signal can’t match the video feed remains one of the great mysteries of modern life, along with Will Arnett’s sitcom career and why soccer players have the best-looking wives.

Meanwhile, Ernie Johnson and his crew are heading to St. Louis, a cradle for some of the game’s most celebrated announcers — Harry Caray, Jack Buck, Bob Costas. And now this TBS team.

As the Dodgers string together more postseason pearls, you decide if this crew is worthy. In great numbers, Dodgers fans grumbled through the Braves series, citing perceived favoritism of the Braves.

“At the end of Game 4, I would swear the trio was despondent and Ernie Johnson was choking up on camera,” Dodgers fan Robert Samuels said. “I had never seen anything like it, especially in contrast to how excited the booth appeared to be after the Braves took the lead.”

Now, they get a chance to redeem themselves in the nation’s second-biggest TV market, though TBS insists there was no bias at all.

“This is my 25th year with Turner and my 32nd year in sports, and if there’s one thing I pride myself on it’s being impartial,” Johnson said Wednesday by phone.

He said fan perception that an announcer is biased “really comes with the territory. I’ve seen it for years and long before I was involved.”

Johnson is a pro’s pro, with a good rep in the industry. He’s probably best known to sports fans as a studio host.

“I think that Ernie is better suited to NBA studio work or [Major League Baseball] studio work,” says Joe Lucia, a writer for Awful Announcing, a blog that tracks and critiques broadcasters. “But he’ll get the job done.”

Alleged bias aside, the TBS booth work is surprisingly flat, given the talents involved. It’s as if they’re stuck together on jury duty.

Who doesn’t admire Cal Ripken, the ultimate gamer? Well, me. At least not in the broadcast booth.

Then there’s Ron Darling, who studied at Yale before moving on to postgraduate work with the Mets. Darling wrote an excellent book on pitching but suddenly sounds like Jerry Seinfeld trying to explain the aurora borealis. Lately, he makes Steve Lyons sound like Nostradamus.

“Darling used to be really good but I think his quality of work has declined,” Lucia said. “Earlier in the year, we had talked about him as a [Tim] McCarver replacement. I think I had him No. 2 on my list.”

Text message to Bud Selig’s replacement: Is this really the network you want staging your October floor shows?

Admittedly, all baseball fans have an adjustment period when moving from the comfort zone of their home-team announcers to fresh faces on the national telecasts. Dodgers fans in particular miss their guy, a national treasure, the gold (and plaid) standard for announcing.

Text message to the auto club: Just plowed the car into the kitchen. Please send a tow truck.

Twitter: erskinetimes