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Video of the Day: former ballplayer declines to overstate how good the game was back in his day

Mar 6, 2011, 9:20 AM EDT

When was the last time you heard an old retired ballplayer going on about how the game today is better than it was back in his day?  Ladies and gentleman, the intellectually honest Jerry Remy:

Wait, I take it back. I can remember at least one instance of an old-timer talking about how the game now is better, but that was a long time ago and he was far, far more profane than Remy was about it. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  1. JBerardi - Mar 6, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    Dustin Pedroia agrees:

  2. Glenn - Mar 6, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    Jerry Remy is the best color man in the game today – an excellent combination of intelligent analysis, humor, and insight. I feel so lucky to get to listen to him nightly during the season.

    • Davidw7 - Mar 6, 2011 at 10:11 AM

      I suppose most home team fans will say that though. I think Bert Blyleven is the best naturally being a Twins fan.

      I do like Remy though.

      • Glenn - Mar 6, 2011 at 2:46 PM

        You might be correct, but Remy is no homer and if I have to listen to a guy every night, I hope that he is good and will not think so just because he is my team’s announcer. I could listen to Vin Scully or Ernie Harwell describe grass growing. Boston has had pretty good announcers over the years, though. Curt Gowdy, Dick Stockton, and Sean McDonough quickly come to mind. And yes, Blyleven is good.

      • JBerardi - Mar 6, 2011 at 8:05 PM

        Remy is the GOOD kind of homer. He’s obviously pulling the Sox, but he doesn’t let that blind him to what’s actually happening on the field. In other words, if someone on the Red Sox is called safe on a play they really should have been out on, Jerry isn’t going to pretend they really were safe, but he’s not going to pretend he isn’t happy about it, either.

  3. alfreddigs - Mar 6, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    Reminds me of this Onion article: In My Day, Ballplayers Were For Shit

    • JBerardi - Mar 6, 2011 at 12:19 PM


  4. simplicitymadecomplex - Mar 6, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Actually I believe the Red Sox Nation [nation not community] has 2 of the better “baseball guys” working “colour” for them [or NESN -is there any difference ?] in J. Remy and Mr. Dennis Eckersley.

    And yes I would really enjoy “hearing” more from Dennis rather than Jerry by having Dennis move to the booth during a game while having Jerry do the re/post game babbling.

    However either one is much, much better than any one of the talking heads that the evil empire throws at the fans.

  5. scottp9 - Mar 6, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    While I don’t disagree with anything that’s been said here, it should be noted that Remy currently makes a living broadcasting baseball games, and thus might be more inclined to promote today’s game than some of the old timers who get interviewed about the game in their day and have no financial stake in the popularity of today’s game.

    • florida76 - Mar 6, 2011 at 7:16 PM

      No doubt, Remy among others, has a vested interest in the status quo. While Remy is correct about the specialization and guys arriving to spring training in better shape, fundamentals are sometimes lacking today. Whether or not the quality of play overall is better today is open to debate. The 1976 Cincinnati Reds would definitely sweep the 2010 San Fran Giants in a seven game series.

      • JBerardi - Mar 6, 2011 at 8:07 PM

        The 2010 Giants would crush the ’76 Reds, easily. Fundamentals my ass, these guys are bigger, faster, stronger, better trained, better prepared, better coached… just plain better.

    • JBerardi - Mar 6, 2011 at 8:34 PM

      Meh. Remy has no need to promote any particular era. Sure, he makes a living broadcasting games, but he’s been there for 20 years and he’s massively beloved by Sox fans. He’s not going anywhere, regardless of what he says about baseball in the 70s or any other time period.

  6. Jack Marshall - Mar 6, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    Re: Boston broadcasters: Ned Martin was the best of a great lot,and the Martin/Jim Woods combo in the late 70’s was the best of all. And Castigliano is terrific.

  7. aronmantoo - Mar 6, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    I started following baseball in the 50’s when it was still a game. I remember the baseball elders telling me how the game was so much better back when they were young, Pitchers throwing both games of double headers and all the .400 hitters. It surprised me to hear someone say the game is better now

    • JBerardi - Mar 6, 2011 at 8:31 PM

      If you read Bill James New Historical Baseball Abstract (which is not so new anymore), he breaks down the history of baseball, giving each decade since 1870 it’s own chapter. One article that exists in each one of these chapters is “Old Ballplayers Never Die”. Each of these articles consists of a quote from an player from an older era (ie, the chapter for the 80s would have a guy who played in the 50s or 60s), talking about how much better the game was in their day. Usually this has something to do with the kids these days not being as devoted to the game, making too much money, not being as tough, etc. So, all the old guys who talk about the 50s or 60s as some kind of golden age of baseball? Well, the old guys of the 50s spent most of their time talking about how much better the game was in the 20s and 30s.

      The game continue to get better over time. Old ballplayers continue to insist it doesn’t. And so it goes.

      • cur68 - Mar 6, 2011 at 10:21 PM

        This reminds me of some archeological stuff I came across. Someone had translated some graffiti @ Pompeii. It was apparently left as a warning to the local youth about how young people didn’t respect their elders any more and that the city was much better ‘in the old days’.

      • florida76 - Mar 6, 2011 at 11:03 PM

        If sports were purely a physical exercise, you could say today’s players are better, but I’m still not sold on that notion. Fundamentals, chemistry, and great players are important. How many hall of famers will the 2010 Giants team have? It’s a wild guess at this point, even with their young pitchers. The 2010 Giants would have no answers for the 1976 Reds, facing the likes of Rose, Bench, Morgan, Perez, etc.

        One of the advantages the older great teams of the past had was continuity, largely before the era of free agency. The great players and teams had something else going for them, and it wasn’t just pure physical talent.

  8. cur68 - Mar 6, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    I’ve always like Dennis Eckersly as a broadcaster. He’s witty and was the first person I ever heard refer to a high fastball as ‘top cheese”. I realize this piece is about Remy, and he’s real good, too; funny, self depreciating and sincere. But no one will ever be as good as Duke Snider, as far as I’m concerned. He was THE voice of baseball for me when I first started paying attention to the game and the Expos were the best team in the world (contrary to the evidence of win/losses) because the Duke said so. I think I’d give almost anything to see an Expo’s game again and hear the Duke & Van Horne talking shop. I bet lots of Dodger fans feel the same. And of course, the incomparable Jacques Doucet, who did the Expo games in French on the radio. You guys haven’t lived till you ear a French guy call a ball game. He’d get real worked up whenever anything happened and you’d swear he was at a hockey game or something.

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