Monday, April 28, 2008

Michael Kay, Yea or Nay?

We've been hearing a lot of anti-Michael Kay talk over the last year. Let's quickly re-phrase that a bit. We've been hearing a lot of anti-Michael Kay talk for years, but it has gotten a lot louder the last year. We're only referring to his work as the lead Yankees broadcaster for the YES Network.

Not his work on Centerstage, which we feel he does very well, or on his radio show, which we could take or leave. There have even been "Fire Michael Kay" blogs started.

Let's review some of our own complaints about Kay as well as a lot of what we've been hearing from others. We won't even bring up his "fivehead". Oops, we just did.


Kay definitely has a penchant for repeating himself. We don't mean the kind of repeating that Tim McCarver does, where he's still dissecting a play from three innings ago. We're referring to his constant mentioning of certain things. Some examples:
The size of Kevin Mench's head; Every time the Yankees play the team Mench is on, Kay goes on about how large Mench's melon is. Okay, we get it. It's a throwback to the '70s when Frank Messer couldn't stop talking about how Carlos May had half his thumb blown off.

The repeat use of phrases, especially corny ones. "He's like the girl with the curl. He's either very good or very bad."

The "Martini Glass" defense to describe the shift when Jason Giambi comes up.

Part of this next example is obviously an issue with the YES director and production team. Every time David Cone is in the booth we don't need to see the last out of his perfect game. Kay is only partially duplicitous (we use that word here because he loves to use it) here since he just intros the clip.
Another irritating Kayism has even bothered his fellow broadcasters, though it's usually good natured. That would be Kay's use of $5 words to describe a scene that could be easily stated in a more user friendly manner. Don't get us wrong, education and expanding your vocabulary is great, but this is a baseball game not an English lit class. Some examples:
"His speech was filled with vitriol."
Act your age. We are all for immaturity, but when you're 47-years old trying to sound 20, you just sound stupid.
"Are you guys down with that?"
The corny factor.
"When we come back we'll put a bow on this one." Heck we can't even stand when he thanks us for tuning in.
Asinine gimmickry - "QuanGorMo" to describe the Yankees 7th thru 9th inning was stupid, and "Generation Trey" to lump Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy together is obnoxious and loathed. What makes the latter worse is David Cone has picked it up. On the bright side, no one else has.

The obvious - Asking John Flaherty about his approach at the plate. Flaherty, except for a year or two, couldn't hit his way out of a paper bag. We don't want to know what his approach is.

The home run call - Coming up with a distinctive home run call is tough. No question about it. But "See ya" is really weak. It's also become the rallying cry for those who want Kay out of the booth. We also hate it because of the guy we played golf with one time who yelled it every time we hit a ball into the woods. We heard it a lot.

Exaggeration - You have to keep things interesting during a broadcast, but Kay overplays many plays. The grounder in the hole at shortstop is a routine play. It shouldn't sound like Brooks Robinson just dove into foul territory, got up, and threw a runner out. Kay is guilty of this all the time. Every ball hit to the outfield is "driven" even if it's a routine fly ball.

To his credit, Kay does a good job of getting the analysts involved in various discussions. But, we have a major issue with the guys in the suits who gave Kay exclusive play-by-play rights. Back in the day we enjoyed the rotation of announcers. At that point they rotated between radio and TV. What makes this worse is that the best play-by-play guy YES has is Kenny Singleton, and he only gets to have that role when Kay doesn't accompany the team to the towns he hates (i.e. Kansas City).

While he probably has a better grasp of the game than John Sterling, he too, like Sterling, seems like he spent his formative years at tap class rather than actually playing the sport. He makes pointless points, that wouldn't be agreed upon by smart baseball people. We also have an issue with Kay kissing ass on YES and then ripping the same people on his radio show (i.e. Joe Torre after his departure).

We would like to see Kay go...back to radio. We were annoyed at first by the Sterling-Kay extravaganza, but they grew on us. Since Suzyn Waldman is horrible on the radio broadcast, it would be a natural fit.

Michael Kay, SEE YA.

Now please fill out our poll and tell us what you think.


  1. Still though, if you listen to Hawk Harrelston you'd probably be more appreciative of Kay

    He has his issues. but I don't think he's really as horrible as some people are going for. I'd take him over most of the fox / ESPN crap

  2. Oh believe me I know. Harrelson did Yankees games in the late '80s/early '90s and was awful.. And he's gotten worse. That "he gone" call makes me violent.

  3. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I wish I had a penny every time I heard this:

    "Matsui in left, Cabrera in center, Abreu in right. Now, Matsui doesn't have a very strong arm, but he has a very quick release."

    I think I called that one 30 seconds before Kay said it two or three times in a two-week span last year.

  4. Many good points, he is still a homer. Part of his problem, he refuses to acknowledge it. He doens't belong in play by play TV but should be sent back to the radio. in 6 years he has not adapted.

  5. I cringed the other night when Kay was trying to teach Flaherty(?) how to pronounce Albaladejo..."Just say Jessica Alba-ladejo!"...The worst.

  6. Yeah we've been talking about that one.

  7. Where has M. Kay been lately. he has not been on the Yankee broadcasts

  8. Kay doesn't like making road trips to towns like Tampa or Kansas City.

  9. Kay's "See Ya" is the most annoying home-run call I have ever heard. He reminds of the kid that could never play sports and has tremendous repressed resentment because of it. Compare him to John Sterling or many other broadcasters and he comes up totally lame

  10. You missed the best part. His overuse of the word "ironic" and the fact that he uses it incorrectly always

  11. I know this topic is a bit dated but I just wanted to chime in that the most obvious shortcoming of Michael Kay's play-by-play is that he does little of it. Time after time he never announces the new batter or the count or the score or the inning it is before commercial breaks. He is too wrapped up in rapping to his co-hosts who he clearly is in awe of. When Yankees games run roughly 3.5 hours and admittedly we are not always watching every pitch, it would be nice to have the play-by-play. Especially for those of us watching on small computer screens! If this is the best the media capitol of the world can do we're screwed!

  12. The only drawback there is that means he'll talk more not substitute for other things.

  13. Kay is so bad that I often mute the TV and listen to Sterling call the game instead.

  14. If I had a dollar for every pitch that "whispered" over the corner...

  15. Hi, my name is Bobby Giangeruso, from Lyndhurst NJ. Each night when Michael Kay, Shows the upcoming schedule. They show a picture of what is believed to be Derek Jeter, when you look a little closer (and Kenny Singleton would know) to me it looks like Paul Blair. As a long time Yankee fan, and avid viewer I would love if Michael Kay and Kenny Singleton could comment on the photograph.

    Bobby Giangeruso.

  16. He is terrible game caller and a prime example of how far the mass of appeal of mediocrity can take someone. His voice is painful to listen to. Michael Kay is the very worst part of every Yankee season.

  17. does anyone know if kay is gay? there are rumors. please set the record straight.

  18. If you have a neutral stance about Michael Kay's announcing then either:

    (1) it is your first time listening to Kay's announcing, and so you think that everything he says is original;

    (2) you met (1) but have mentaly blocked out Kay's play-by-play commentary by making mental notes of plays yourself;

    (3)you become engrossed with the conversation that Kay has with Leiter/Cone/Singleton or whoever else that you miss every play;

    (4)your television's audio function is broken; or

    (5)you have a neutral position for every play-by-play announcer in which case you are not rational.