I refer, with great pleasure and relief, to Vince Cotroneo. Radio play-by-play is very important to me, as it used to be my craft and I consider it to be an essential component of the baseball experience.
Last year, I was quietly underwhelmed by Vince, something I was hesitant to mention publicly because I knew Vince read the site, I got the impression he was a genuinely nice guy who was doing the best he could, and because I know my standards--and many of your standards--are unfairly high due to the history of A's play-by-play on the radio.
But in 2006, Vince seemed to be where Ryan Goleski is right now: Trying too hard and, as a result, mostly whiffing. As for making adjustments mid-season, many a time I screamed at my radio, "I don't need to hear every single fly ball described as `sent in the air,' because this is the one thing I can gauge about a fly ball without seeing it!" However, my radio seemed unwilling to transmit this pearl of wisdom and at the end of the season I felt about the same about Vince's play-by-play as I did in April.
This spring, I haven't always enjoyed what Vince has been saying ("Halsey throws it behind Ellis, and everyone is safe!") but that's not his fault. So far this spring, not only is Vince's play-by-play description crisp and easy to follow, but Vince also seems far more relaxed. He seems to be letting the game, and his rapport with Ken and Ray, come to him, and for the first time I can see hope--hope I struggled to see last year but couldn't, even when I was giving every benefit of every doubt.
It's a long season, and it will be even longer if Kennedy and Halsey make too many starts, and if you're a baseball fan then for six months the play-by-play announcers become important members of your family. It would be great if Vince's second season with Oakland is a "breakout season" and so far, I'd say so good. Kudos, Mr. Cotroneo. Now can you pitch lefty, and give us, say, 5-6 solid innings?