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How Rockies broadcasts can please the most people

Jenny Cavnar and Ryan Spilborghs should form a parallel broadcast team

In last night’s series opener against the Dodgers, Rockies fans got what they’d been asking for: Jenny Cavnar did the play-by-play with Ryan Spilborghs providing color commentary. And the combination worked. She’s figured out how to modify her “Fire Up the Fountains!” call for the road, which is now a brief, “She Gone!” which works just fine, and makes her Coors Field call a bit more special. Her chemistry with Spilborghs works well — the booth had a nice energy, and Spilborghs was able to show a different side of himself as a commentator. (Spilly’s feelings about hotdogs will stay with me for awhile.) Plus, there was enough space in the booth for Cavnar and Spilborghs to develop their thoughts and have a compelling conversation. The game ended with an unusual 6-3-2-3 out, and they just handled it.

Cavnar continues to become more confident with her play-by-play. I read some Twitter comments arguing that she lacked in enthusiasm when calling the big plays, but I’d give her a pass on that for two reasons. One, she’s practicing and getting better (moreover, she was unsure if Gerardo Parra’s home run was, in fact, a home run, so I understand her hesitance to commit). Two, as a woman in the booth, she may be trying to avoid possible gender-based criticism that she’s “too emotional,” which is a problem that largely eludes male commentators. Cavnar will find the right balance in due time.

With that in mind, I’d like to make a proposal to AT&T SportsNet RM, especially given those who criticize Drew Goodman and Jeff Huson games as “outdated” and a bit dull. I realize it’s impossible to please everybody, so why to try to please more viewers and allow both Goodman and Huson and Cavnar and Spilborghs to call games?

Not everyone finds the Goodman/Huson pairing tiring. My parents in fact like Goodman and Huson — they’re familiar personalities that my parents have developed a relationship with through years of Rockies games, and they represent part of an aging and dwindling baseball market. (See this poll by Morning Consult for more.) They like watching baseball on TV with Goodman and Huson doing the play-by-play, and MLB certainly doesn’t want to abandon them. So Goodman and Huson should keep doing what they’re doing: broadcasting their game on television, complete with Twitter surveys, for whomever prefers their coverage.

But in addition, AT&T SportsNetRM should create a second online broadcast, airing concurrently on MLBtv, with Jenny Cavnar and Ryan Spilborghs. This one would have a broadcasting team with a different voice and perspective, and it could focus on more advanced metrics and social engagement. (Spilborghs shows a lot of curiosity about advanced metrics, and his knowledge of the mechanics of the game is unquestioned.)

Drew and Huson can still “Take a good look! You won’t see it for long!” while Jenny and Spilly can “Fire up the fountains!” And everyone wins.