On Thursday the Twins made their first transaction of the free agent season. As you may have heard by now, they didn’t sign a player. No, the first new arrival in the Twins organization is play-by-play man Cory Provus.
Provus takes over for the great John Gordon, who occupied the Twins’ radio booth for a quarter of a century. Those are not small shoes to fill, but Provus can handle it. After all, he has spent the last three seasons working alongside one of the best baseball broadcasters ever: Bob Uecker. By all accounts, he was Uecker’s most talented co-star since Mr. Belvedere.
Prior to the Thursday announcement, I was unfamiliar with Provus’s work. I was able to find this interview with him online, and I liked what I heard. He has a good radio voice, which is pretty much the number one quality a broadcaster needs – aside from baseball knowledge, of course. His philosophy of “letting the game breathe” sounds pretty good to me. There’s no need to ramble on uselessly if there’s nothing interesting to say.
If you want to hear a little bit of Provus’s on-air work, you can watch this video of him calling back-to-back homers for the Brewers. Apparently he hasn’t settled on a signature home run call yet, but that’s okay. The Twins don’t have Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, and Prince Fielder in their lineup, so the homer call won’t be so important next year. Even so, he’ll certainly want to come up with one eventually. Fortunately, Twinkie Town has a long list of helpful suggestions (some of the ones on that list are too R-rated for the radio, but it’s good for a laugh – especially the obscure Big Lebowski reference).
I do have one request for Mr. Provus: please be sure to tell us what is happening in the game! I grew up listening to John Gordon, and I liked him as a broadcaster, but he had an annoying habit of ignoring what was happening on the field. When a guest wandered into the radio booth, Gordon and Dan Gladden would spend 10 to 15 minutes chatting with the guest while entire at-bats went by unannounced. Television announcers can get away with this, since we can watch what is happening on the screen, but radio announcers cannot. This fact should be completely obvious, but apparently it isn’t. On one memorable occasion (I think it was back in 2007 or so), a NASCARdriver happened to be in the stadium, and our esteemed announcers wasted an entire inning talking to him. Not only were they not telling me what the Twins were doing, they were not even talking about baseball.
We the fans rely on you to narrate every pitch, Mr. Provus, so please do so. Nothing wrong with having a guest in the booth (as long as the guest is saying something baseball-related; there is no excuse to ever have a racecar driver on the air), but please remember that the action on the field is the reason we are listening! I like to know the result of each pitch, and I absolutely like to know the result of each at bat.
As long as that happens, I’m sure I’ll enjoy listening to Twins games on the radio next year.