Baseball91's Weblog

July 22, 2011

The Sound of Twins Baseball

Your Twins Radio Network. This year, when John Gordon is given under his new contract -with vacation time -Kris Atteberry will be stepping in. So who exactly is this guy?

Former Hotchkiss American Studies school teacher Tim Katzman, now director of corporate communications for the San Diego Padres, had contacts within the Twins organization and was able to put in a good word for Kris Atteberry.

And this quote from Andy Price, director of game presentation and broadcasting for the Twins in a Hotchkiss Alumni Magazine, who had 275 other applications: “Price said, ‘When I heard Kris’s demo, I heard the talent and liked his background. And we wanted a younger guy who was hungry and would work his tail off to get his shot.’”

With this admission, it sounds like Andy Price set out intent on age discrimination and gender discrimination before landing the new voice of the Minnesota Twins. The Twins had retired that Jackie Robinson number 42, but seemed unclear on what the total concept of discrimination entailed.

So from the world wide web comes the following:

Kris Atteberry, 34, is a native of Bozeman, Montana, a student who attended a one-room schoolhouse in Bozeman through the 8th grade before heading out east to The Hotchkiss School, an independent boarding school located in Lakeville, Connecticut. Repeating the 10th grade was a condition of admission to Hotchkiss. A 1992 graduate, he then attended Stanford University where he met his future wife, Jennifer Posthumus, who attended the University of California-Berkley, and was the daughter of the Stanford women’s fencing coach. Atteberry was staying on campus for a radio internship as she was.training for the Olympics at a Stanford summer sports camp ranked 10th in women’s foil with an outside shot of joining the Olympic team. In 1996, Atteberry graduated Stanford with a degree in English Literature. He then sent out demo tapes to minor league baseball teams around the nation who showed little interest. Then came the tip from a friend that a radio job had opened up in Cody, Wyoming at KODI-AM. Soon Atteberry was serving as the voice of Montana State football and basketball for the five years, as well as the voice of the St. Paul Saints on radio and television before joining the Twins Radio Network team in 2007.

The Pohlad legacy is the low quality of humorless broadcasters hired with their corporate broadcast partners, as evident in the play-by-play, as if reading the encyclopedia, learning the game. Atteberry can read all the books that he wants, but in pinch hitting for John Gordon, he clearly is missing a feel for the game, sounding like a young man still cramming for finals, rather than a connoisseur who knows and loves the game. And by game’s end, I feel like I have participated in a hot dog eating contest, sharing in the discomfort of having too much in the way of unnecessary and expensive accoutrements shoved at me — with embellishment over how great the hot dogs all taste.

Though Atteberry does a nice job with the post game show, his impulse on play-by-play seems too much like a lost base runner, after missing second on his way to third. Not too dissimilar to the base-runners who Atteberry is trying to describe.

The trend in this town for cable broadcasts is towards the caliber of Saint Paul Saints baseball broadcasting, a la Anthony LaPanta, which has resulted in less flavor, and a too forgotten taste. Atteberry’s time in particularly spent in the broadcast booth of the Saint Paul Saints could only have helped him land a job, either making white bread or in broadcasting for Andy Price.

The legacy of the next generation of Pohlads seems to be, though you can make a lot of money with new ballparks, you cannot learn baseball from a book. What had Einstein once said about his attempt to understand the game? Andy Price is the director of game presentation who clearly could have worked in the Nixon White House, if he had been born sooner, based upon recent remarks which he has made during the 2011 baseball season. Asked why no replay of a Ben Revere error which resulted in two unearned runs in what became a 7-5 Twins victory, Price said, “My producer [of the in-house telecast] makes the call on replays. I would tell you that we show as many replays as any team in baseball. Occasionally we do not show a replay that puts a player in a bad situation.” And that was the ongoing philosophy apparent day in and day out on both the Twins Radio Network and with Fox Sports North. The Chicago Cubs’ own Alibi “Ike” Farrell, (played by a former owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates) gets a job as director of “game presentation.” The commissioner of baseball does not allow a home team to use the scoreboard to embarrass an umpire on a controversial play. And now the producer of the in-house telecast has become some kind of spin doctor to the live audience.

So it is not Kris Atteberry but all part of the process of the creation of the brand. And when your boss was Andy Price, you almost needed to come home to a woman who had grown up in a home where fencing was a way of life. A generation of television viewers now has grown up with an audio processing disorder which comes from these Twins broadcast partners, on radio and television.  A blind umpire cannot miss the lack of a sense of humor in the broadcast booth, in a game that was supposed to be entertaining. The alarming thing is watching on television to witnesses so many radio described fly balls to have reached the fence, caught on the front edge of the warning track. The embedded speech recognition involved now everything except the truth about what is happening at the radio home of the Minnesota Twins.   Too often not even coming close to the fences, in the radio broadcast of the Minnesota Twins, not close to the Truth.

Selling the brand name …. making some kind of statement out of a brand, knowing what to expect when you bought the brand.

The power of brands, in a historical relationship like baseball. And the underlying suggestion in the Andy Price quote was that a directive had come from on high? “I would tell you that we show as many replays as any team in baseball.” The commissioner was instructing the people who had no real idea about baseball how to operate a club? With a system in use at the time, about power. With the indicator, when a play was on, being ‘for the good of the game” power from the commissioner.

Willie Mays once was barred from an association with baseball because he was hired to represent a casino in Atlantic City? As was Mickey Mantle. And now the official sponsor on so many broadcasts was the local casino. As heard on the Twins Radio Network.

Baseball was nothing except the stories about life, with wins and losses. About power and the ways to pass on power. In stories. Only NOW money was a guideline that could be laughed at. Like the truth about what went on on the diamond could be laughed at, by the director of game presentation. Not many people remembered when “for the good of the game,” Bowie Kuhn had voided the trade of Vida Blue because of the amount of money being exchanged, using the power vested in the commissioner.

Because of the amount of money involved! Just ask Frank McCourt about the vested power of the commissioner, watching out for the best interest of baseball. With a kind of the royal prerogative which held reign even with the courts. As a fan tried to enjoy with enjoyment, a personal identity with the brand name which led to some kind of trust, in a home team. On the baseball operation side.

Watching out for the best interest of baseball, the commissioner was considering additional use of replays, for the audience at home. With everything except the truth apparent to the suffering fans watching in the wind and the cold and the rain of the post-season. And what was missing was the truth, like when Kris Atteberry is trying to describe a cool breeze blowing at the ballpark when the heat index is 110 degrees, as some kind of vicar of the commissioner, watching out for the best interest of baseball.

The Minnesota Twins were making some kind of statement, through the likes of Kris Atteberry and Andy Price. And I was looking in the first pages of the press guide for the Church Impiratur in this story. Because Bud Selig’s cologne was in the air, on the quality control over brands. Run the fingerprints, and check it against the commission’s. And bring Matt Hoy, Andy Price’s boss, in for questioning.

Twenty-six seasons later, the new younger Pohlad legacy believes the audience is like them, learning the game out of an owner’s manual, cramming for the finals themselves? And in a sense, cheating the audience out of the truth which is happening before their eyes, like protecting a coveted Coca Cola formula –or even Pepsi. The sound of Twins’ baseball? For the corporate broadcast partners who sold the ads, priceless.

http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_26134984/contraction-nearly-took-it-all-away-from-minnesota

The hardest part about baseball does not involve developing a power hitter as much as developing power. If you read this linked piece about contraction, ask yourself if a car salesman like Bud could ever develop a credibility. Could you ever believe Bud Selig again, after his part in the collusion fine in the history of the game of the 1980s, before he went behind the scenes to build consensus? There comes a time in modern events when a public could see behind the clouds as the victors tried to rewrite history, to give glory onto themselves. Such is the time in baseball in the summer of 2014, as the crown is passed to a new leader, as the old leader tries to build a self-glory about himself and about those who had been loyal to him. As the truth is sacrificed “for the good of the game.”


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Bud Selig
Kris Atteberry

“The pink slime isn’t really ever pink.”

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1 Comment


  1. The Minnesota Twins fired their broadcasting manager Andy Price just as its radio team moved to a Pohlad-owned FM station. Carl Pohlad’s grandson was in charge of these media group decisions these days, for the wondering publc that had a hard-time pickcing up the radio signals which has been about as strong as the communication signals between the pitchers and catcher over the past season. Price has moved into production these days at ESPN 1500, the former broadcast partner of the Twins for a show called “Made in Minnesota”, while airs at 9 am.

    Comment by baseball91 — January 16, 2014 @ 11:05 PM


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