Indians TV broadcasters Rick Manning and Matt Underwood have a bad habit of presenting their uninformed opinions as facts, and they were up to their usual shenanigans again during Thursday afternoon’s victory over the Twins.
Before debunking today’s misinformation, let me explain why this bothers me.
No one influences the Indians fan base more than Manning and Underwood. Others, such as Tom Hamilton, Terry Pluto and Paul Hoynes, have influence as well, but we can pick and choose who among those we want to gather information from. But we’re all subjected to Manning and Underwood.
When they share bad information, it seeps into the fan base and their uninformed opinions get accepted as facts.
I haven’t lived in Cleveland since 2012, so for the past few years I’ve been watching games on MLB.tv. This gives me access to the away broadcast, which I frequently use to avoid STO. Manning and Underwood aren’t the worst broadcasters in the game, but they’re definitely in the bottom half of the league. There only a small handful of other teams whose broadcasters I avoid more than our guys.
The big issue I had with them last year was their ongoing conversation about Carlos Santana and his lack of patience with runners on base (I wrote about it last June). Not only were they wrong, but at that point in time Santana had the lowest chase percentage in all of baseball with runners on base—in other words, he wasn’t just patient, he was literally more patient that every other hitter in the league.
How Manning and Underwood can watch 162 games per year and come to such a horribly wrong conclusion is baffling, but it isn’t really the issue. It’s OK to share an observation (even if it proves to be wrong) so long as you eventually check out the stats. But they didn’t. This conversation dragged on throughout the course of the season, and never once did they reference any numbers to add to the conversation.
Now for today’s issue…
During one of Lonnie Chisenhall‘s at-bats, Underwood mentioned Chisenhall’s stats versus right-handed pitchers (since a righty was on the mound). He followed it up—without any stats—by mentioning how Chisenhall has been much improved in recent years against lefties.
He couldn’t have been more wrong.
Chisenhall has gotten progressively worse against lefties, since his first full season in the majors in 2014.
It’s a shame that we’re subjected to this duo year after year. Stats like this are so readily available, there’s no excuse for talking about a player’s performance without referencing numbers to support your stance, and yet Manning and Underwood pass off their conjectures as gospel night after night.