Hoffman's Houston
enforced errors

Ken Hoffman calls a strike on Fox Sports' coverage of the Houston Astros

Ken Hoffman calls a strike on Fox Sports' coverage of the Astros

Houston Astros
Hoffman says the Fox Sports crew didn't do the Astros any favors. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Note to Fox Sports: Next time you cover an Astros game, leave your announcers at home. They’re awful. Just let the Astros broadcast crew handle the game. We’ve got it covered.

On June 22, the Astros were in New York to face the Yankees. It was a national game on Fox Sports (Channel 26 here), and the Fox announcers were Aaron Goldsmith, who normally does Seattle Mariners games on radio, A.J. Pierzynski, who played 19 years in the big leagues, and Ken Rosenthal, who wears a bowtie.

It was like they had never seen a baseball game before. Truly amazing and painful and annoying all at once. And I’m not one of those homers who thinks announcers and umpires are against Houston teams.

Kemp, not Sipp
For example: They announced that Tony Sipp was coming to the plate to bat for Jake Marisnick. Tony Sipp, while a former Astro, is now a pitcher with the Washington Nationals. They meant to say Tony Kemp. But I guess any Tony would do in a pinch … hit.

At one point, Astros catcher Max Stassi interfered with Aaron Judge’s swing and Judge was awarded first base. The announcers went on for several minutes about how Stassi would get an error for the play and poor Judge would be assessed an at bat, which would hurt his batting average. They said how unlucky it would be if Judge hit .299 for the season. If not for Stassi’s interference, he would have hit .300.

Wrong! Judge was not assessed an at bat — his batting average would not be affected, now or the end of the season. The weird part, Pierzynski was a catcher for all those years in Major League Baseball. He didn’t know the rule about catcher’s interference?

Bad math
The Fox announcers said the Astros were leading their division by 4 1/2 games. No, try 7 1/2 games.

Then, the cruelest cut of all. Because the Yankees would be playing the Red Sox next week in England, the announcers brought Henry VIII into the conversation. That was a reach. I guess they were stretching for some English references. How about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Brexit, England's undefeated women's soccer team in the World Cup, Mick Jagger back on tour, or fish 'n' chips next time? England's fish 'n' chips are incredible. It's because they fry the fish in beef fat. Disgusting and dangerous, yet delicious.

One of the Fox announcers said that Big Hank No. 8 was beheaded, and they went on and on about the 16th-century monarch who gave Larry King a run for his money on number of wives. According to lore, Henry had six wives. King has been married eight times, though he’s had only seven wives. He married one of them twice. I’ll let Elias Sports Bureau decide King’s total.

An F in history
The point is, Henry VIII was not beheaded … he did the beheading. As everybody who read the Cliff’s Notes for Shakespeare’s play Henry VIII knows, Hammerin’ Hank had Anne Boleyn (wife No. 2) beheaded, while Catherine Howard (wife No. 5) lost her head, too.

Advice for the Fox announcers: If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t talk.

In all, Henry VIII had six wives, though technically only three according to English law. He also weighed a hefty 400 pounds, which would not look athletic in a baseball uniform, but would not disqualify him from playing first base for the Astros.

So, Fox Sports, next time you televise the Astros, let the Astros announce team of Todd Kalas, Geoff Blum, and Julia Morales (or Michelle Margaux) do the game. Our crew is terrific and actually familiar with the team and its players.

Although I can’t guarantee that they were English lit majors and up on their Shakespeare.

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