The winter solstice is been and gone and we are well into the northern hemisphere holidays that centre around winter’s longest night. For many people in the English speaking world this means Christmas or some close variant thereof. Father Christmas has come early for the Kansas City Royals and their fans this year and brought them some proper pitching for next season. But without wishing to sound greedy, there is one more thing that could make it a very happy Christmas indeed for Royals fans: Fox Sports Kansas City could sack Rex Hudler.
It is easy to forget how terrible he really is after not hearing him for three months into the close season, but watching highlights from this year brings back immediately just how poor he is. It is particularly noticeable when some of the highlights have the Royals radio commentary and Denny Matthews on instead. Not only does Denny have a range of knowledge and wit (two things not only not present in Hudler, but seemingly not even known to him) enough to engage well in conversation with his broadcast partner during slow passages of play he is experienced enough not to force the issue. Many times he will stay quiet and let the sounds of the game speak for themselves and when he does talk about a point he explains it well. This relative quiet almost seems to be the hallmark of a good commentator, not only will one not hear inane catchphrases from Matthews one will also not hear them from other skilled commentators like Jonathan Agnew of Test Match Special.
But all Hudler ever seems to do is shout non-sequitors instead of giving analysis. I have recently had the misfortune of having to hear Ravi Shastri do commentary on the cricket and he is almost universally mocked for the same behaviour. But in a way Shastri is still better than Hudler; Shastri is bombastic and overbearing and as such almost impossible to bear if one does not support India. This is annoying, but at least he has an opinion; I cannot think of a single time Hudler has actually stated anything with which one could disagree. He is an absolute master at talking almost constantly (and loudly) whilst saying utterly nothing. He does not have any business being in a job where he is supposed to offer analysis and insight; the Royals need to get rid of him immediately.