Ron Fairly quits

DMZ · September 21, 2006 at 4:23 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Announced today.

I’m not sure what to write about this, exactly. Growing up on Fairly, I didn’t care much, came to really, deeply dislike him and then, over time, forgave his shortcomings and found him, especially compared to the other color guys the M’s have, reasonably sharp, willing to criticize a bad play or bad move, and most of all, while often more talkative than I would have liked, he also knew when it was important to shutup, and he had, I’d say, a much better rhythm working with Dave than any of the others. I far prefered him to Valle/Henderson, who are mute-button annoying.

I’d love to see the team hire someone new and interesting, or try and mix in more shorter-term guys like they did with Marzano and others. Most color guys have a couple things they can talk about intelligently and really add something for the fans, but called on to fill the air three hours a day, game after game, they become repetitive and grating. If you can’t find one super-good one, why not borrow a concept from baseball teams and platoon? Find color guys with expertise on the team they’re playing, for instance. Pick some heel announcers. Be creative.

Still, I fear that his replacement, be it a full-time Hendu/Valle rotation or a new 3rd, will make us wish Fairly was back.


84 Responses to “Ron Fairly quits”

  1. firova on September 21st, 2006 7:23 pm

    What’s all this Ken Levine business? Ken Wilson called many more games and is the better announcer. I think he’s hanging out in Hawaii and is probably available. When it was just Niehaus and Wilson and not the circus with “analysts” that they have now, they had a terrific broadcast team.

  2. patl on September 21st, 2006 7:35 pm

    I would like to nominate, as Ron’s replacement doing color, Denny Hocking. The guy tells entertaining stories, he’s not afraid to be controversial, and every time I run into him on a radio interview I hang on to every word and am guaranteed a laugh or two.

  3. eric on September 21st, 2006 7:37 pm

    Levine didn’t just write sitcoms, he wrote Cheers.

    I know Cheers is technically a sitcom…

  4. Livengood on September 21st, 2006 8:33 pm

    Can we have a memorial retrospective of favorite Fairly-isms?

    “Yesterday, I neglected to mention something that bears repeating . . ..”

  5. Bobby Valentine's Porn Mustache on September 21st, 2006 9:17 pm

    Bill Krueger did a pretty good job as the color guy in a few games. But I’m not sure he could do a whole season – or would even want to.

  6. davepaisley on September 21st, 2006 9:37 pm

    “You know, he likes the ball out over the plate.”

  7. LH sock puppet on September 21st, 2006 9:53 pm

    Ah, Ron Fairly. Because I’ve been watching games muted most of the year, I hadn’t realized he was banished to radio. He was at his best doing play by play when grandpa Dave would take his bathroom break. Too bad they hired Rizzs instead of sliding Fairly into that pbp spot.

    But I have to say his Fairly obvious observations (the only good thing to come from KJR) chafed my hide no end. Still, as several have posted, he’s better in any crapacity than those three buffoons.

    rdave, you beat me to it. Levine and Chip Carey were also my two faves of any M’s announcers I remember.

  8. LH sock puppet on September 21st, 2006 9:58 pm

    Oh hey! Levine appears to be at loose ends. At least he has time to dribble out a blog:

    Almost as good as that Coro kid’s.

  9. LH sock puppet on September 21st, 2006 9:59 pm

    Cor c o. C’oh!

  10. JMHawkins on September 21st, 2006 10:28 pm

    I’ll miss him. Dave and Ron were a great, great pair.

    I wonder if Blowers will do some color? I’ve noticed more voice work from him this year (commericals, I mean). I know he’s too much of a believer in grit n’ clutch hitting for most of us, but while we’d love to year the color guy yammering on about VORP and xFIT, I think it would do for broadcast ratings what Dave worries roster construction threads do for USSM.

  11. Bobby Valentine's Porn Mustache on September 21st, 2006 10:45 pm

    Hey, I have a blog! Maybe I could be an M’s broadcaster.

  12. John D. on September 21st, 2006 11:36 pm

    Why now? Couldn’t he have waited until the end of the season? Maybe they didn’t want the announcement of his retirement to be made at the same time as the announcement of Dave Niehaus’s retirement.

  13. Ralph Malph on September 22nd, 2006 12:15 am

    Maybe he did it now so they could still schedule Ron Fairly Day at Safeco, or a Ron Fairly Fairwell Tour the last couple weeks of the season.

    Seriously, he was a pretty good ballplayer in his day and there are definitely worse announcers out there.

    Fair-well in BobFinniganland, Ron.

  14. msb on September 22nd, 2006 12:23 am

    #58– gotta love someone who links to Jane Espenson’s page …

  15. joser on September 22nd, 2006 1:33 am

    Just think, someday we will all be reminiscencing about Rick Rizzs and waxing nostaligic about the good old days with Rizzs and his sappy, but oddly endearing, stories.

    No we won’t. Unless he turns into a wildly different announcer between now and then. I mean, he’d have to have ten times more personality than that ‘Arnold’ on “Green Acres,” if you get what I’m saying.

    My favorite Ron Fairly story:

    In 1965, on the last day of the season, with the Dodgers having clinched the pennant the night before, manager Walter Alston let Scully manage, over the radio, from the booth. A very hung over Ron Fairly drew a walk (“He didn’t trot to first base. He didn’t really walk to first base. He sloshed to first base”), and Scully thought it would be fun to have Fairly, slow-footed in the best of times, steal.

    “For those of you in the ballpark with transistor radios listening,” Scully said, “watch Fairly’s face when he looks over to third and gets the steal sign.” After a double take for the ages by Fairly and a foul ball by the hitter, Scully had Fairly go again, and he made it, thanks to the catcher dropping the ball. At that, Scully retired from managing: “All right, Walter,” he said, “I got you this far. Now you’re on your own.”

  16. HireHeyroldReynolds on September 22nd, 2006 3:49 am

    I’m hoping they can get Reynolds. Yeah, he’s kinda pompous, but he
    1. knows alot about baseball- he wasn’t a great player, but he seems to know the little nuances of the game that alot of color commontators miss out on.
    2. he’s honest- i always loved how kruk and tino would patronize certain players and give certain players and teams “free passes” when they messed up or looked bad, and Heyrold would always call the player out. I’d love to hear an M’s announcer ream next year’s Carl Everett.
    3. He’s a local guy- at least a good Mariner. always nice to have an alumn.

    so there ya go. i’m curious to see what they do.

  17. zzyzx on September 22nd, 2006 6:25 am

    In honor of this moment, I’m listening to the Barbara Manning song that has a clip of the Giants winning the west, presumably in 1987 since the catch is made by Jeffrey Leonard. The best part of this is that Fairly blows the call. “He makes the catch and the Giants have won the pe… western division!!”

    Ah, good times. I’ll miss him…

    …well if I were still following the M’s this late in the season I’d miss him…

  18. leetinsleyfanclub on September 22nd, 2006 7:53 am

    How about Carl Everett as the new analyst?

  19. metz123 on September 22nd, 2006 9:12 am

    I had a really weird dream last night about Clemens last start of the year. The Astros sent Clemens to the mound to warm up late in a game so they could pull him and he would get standing ovation. So when they went to pull him they brought a casket to the mound and asked him to climb into it so they could carry him off the field….that’s pretty weird. Even weirder was my vantage of these events was from the broadcast booth and Fairly’s voice was in my ear stating….

    “you see, they’re bring out a casket to make sure he stays retired. They want to make sure he’s really done. They’re going to take him off the field in a casket.”

    His insistance on restating the obvious, ad nauseum, haunts me even in my dreams…..

  20. robbbbbb on September 22nd, 2006 9:31 am

    65: Joser, that story is awesome.

    DMZ hits it on the head, here: Fairly’s not perfect, but he is a pretty darned good announcer. He loves the game, and you can tell. He beats the hell out of most other teams’ announcers and color guys. He’s not Dave Niehaus, or Vin Scully, but hell, who is?

    I think Reynolds would be great. I’d enjoy Buhner, too. And I think Krueger does a nice job on the FSN postgame, and wouldn’t mind seeing him in the booth. Really, though, I’d like all of the above. Mariner people: Color guys are best in small doses! A few games here, a few games there, and we’re getting all sorts of perspective. And it’d be fun to get other teams’ color guys into the booth every once in a while.

    (Does this mean Mike Curto’s got a chance for a promotion?)

  21. Dave on September 22nd, 2006 9:34 am

    (Does this mean Mike Curto’s got a chance for a promotion?)

    No. Curto’s a play-by-play guy, and Fairly was a color guy. It’s a different job entirely.

  22. kcw2 on September 22nd, 2006 10:34 am

    To: 50, 53, & 58, re Ken Levine.

    Can’t hurt to call or email the Ms.


  23. John D. on September 22nd, 2006 10:38 am

    What is more tiresome than hearing Ron Fairly continually point out the easy double play that’s available if one will only let that popped bunt drop, is the fact that over the years very few players–I can only remember Jeff Nelson–have let it drop.
    You’d think that dropping it would be expected by now.

    [Casey Stengel used to spend part of Spring Training working on hitting the cutoff man, and properly executing the rundown play. He felt that either of these could mean a game or two in the standings–maybe a pennant.]

  24. msb on September 22nd, 2006 10:55 am

    I think most teams spend part of spring training on hitting the cut-off man and executing the rundown play. Wasn’t that how Pokey (remeber him?) turned his ankle?

  25. West Coast King on September 22nd, 2006 11:07 am

    Glad to see Fairly go. Wish Rizzs would quit too!

  26. ira on September 22nd, 2006 11:15 am

    I’ve emailed the M’s, suggesting that after several unsuccessful seasons an entertaining broadcaster would fit the bill, such as Ken Levine.

  27. BJC on September 22nd, 2006 12:19 pm

    I have a soft spot for Harold Reynolds. I took my young nephew to a game at the Kingdome way back when and we waited outside to get some autographs. The last player standing outside signing autographs, with his car running and a bunch of incredibly rude people climbing all over it, was Harold Reynolds. No way I would have been so patient or nice.

  28. Mike G. on September 22nd, 2006 2:04 pm

    I was one who definitely got annoyed with Fairly from time to time. However with having Gameday Audio available I got to here what other teams had to offer. Good God, If I was a Cubs fan and had to listen to Ron Santo day in and day out……. Anyways I think it’s safe to say: Ron Fairly is a color guy with value over replacement level talent.

  29. Panev on September 22nd, 2006 2:26 pm

    Considering time and place, Fairly did a good job. In his early years he did teach many in Seattle about the game. Unfortunately the same comments that worked in the mid 90’s weren’t as well received in 2006.

    Jay Buhner is a nice guy, but a horrible announcer (No Doubt?).

    Hendu and Valle hopefull do not get more games than they are currently doing.

    No thanks to the crafty lefthander.

    No Blowers, please.

    Harold would be good, and probably good for his career, but his bank account may not be a match. I have no idea as to what he was making or could make with the M’s, but I am guessing there is a significant gap between the two.

  30. Ed Tsantamount on September 22nd, 2006 2:33 pm

    Maybe they’re moving him to bench coach.

  31. Red Apple on September 22nd, 2006 2:51 pm


    Nice Pulp Fiction reference.

  32. Steve T on September 22nd, 2006 4:12 pm

    Hey, another Barbara Manning fan. Nice.

    I would take Krueger in a heartbeat. None of these other guys. If you think they’re bad now, wait until you hear them when they have to do it every single day. Every single day is HARD for a color guy; you think Fairly’s a dummy for repeating himself, but jeez, how many stories do YOU know? Can you talk entertainly on the air for 5 minutes, let alone 500 hours?

  33. HireHeyroldReynolds on September 22nd, 2006 5:40 pm

    Nice little article from John Blanchette of the Spokesman Review:

  34. BelaXadux on September 22nd, 2006 7:54 pm

    Fairly has been in the game of baseball over 45 years, and it’s time. The team has been pushing him to the margins to make way for ‘more up to date’ shills. Also Dave Niehaus is done, done, DONE, so their long-time partnership is about to end anyway. Fairly is a good example of the old-time baseball guy, and not a bad example. He knows the game, was a player, has a solid and not vapid point of view on how to play the sport, and calls it pretty much like he has seen it. The sport and most teams’ media strategies calls for more polished and confrontive guys on the surface who grovel obsequisly to the organization’s spin below the surface; that’s not Fairly. He can do the math while reading the writing, or mix his own metaphor (as always) to the same effect. He was a friendly voice, and I’ll miss that.

    —But it’s a great opportunity for the Ms to ENTIRELY revamp their broadcast team. Will they bungle it?? Of course. But they could hire an entirely new play-by-play guy and a new color guy matched to him for an up to date and really good team. Curto and Steve Stone??? In my dreams.

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