Jon Miller has become a fixture of baseball in his 45-year broadcasting career. He’s seen the game change in a multitude of ways. And unlike many others in that position, he does not appear to distrust or discount those changes. He sat down with USA Today while the team was in Washington, DC and talked about a variety of things.
When asked about analytics, and whether it helps or hinders fan enjoyment, he had the most diplomatic answer I’ve seen yet. He clearly values the more in depth analytics available today, but notes the difference in the value of that to a GM versus a casual baseball fan, but without implying that fans don’t care. He shares an example of what fans used to value in an anecdote about the Orlando Cepeda trade, noting that fans were angry because of Ray Sadecki’s win-loss numbers. While some may still value those numbers, a lot of people have learned that there is more to evaluating a pitcher than just their win count, and that is thanks to analytics.
He discusses the changes he’s seen over the course of his career, from the frequency of usage for pitchers, the rising prominence of shifts, and the increase (and increase in attention to) attendance numbers.
We even get some prime Jon Miller shade, aimed at the Orioles organization:
I was there (in Baltimore) for 14 years and I was hoping that would be my place, but I was pretty disappointed when all of a sudden I didn’t even get an offer (to return). Now, I look back and say, ‘What was I thinking?’ I can’t even imagine if I had stayed, because the whole organization seems like it has gone downhill so badly.
Miller, who has broadcasted primarily for the Orioles and Giants, with a lengthy stretch of national coverage as well. Miller says his national work was a dream. Getting to go from a Giants vs. Dodgers game to a Yankees vs. Red Sox game in the same weekend, he says, was a dream. But he says that he has grown to love the every day ins and outs of following one team, especially your hometown team, as the season narrative begins to weave itself.
In that same section, Miller implies (though he doesn’t outright state) that it is his intention to spend the rest of his career with the Giants. Which is excellent news for Giants fans!