Without Crowd Noise to Drown Out Swearing, MLB Broadcasts Are Picking Up More Hot Mics Than Ever


The MLB season is only a week old, but it’s been a hugely-informative seven days, providing no shortage of useful intel. Already we’ve gathered that playing through COVID will be an uphill battle, the Astros remain public enemy No. 1 and the Red Sox’s depleted pitching staff is far worse than any of us could have envisioned. But as MLB navigates a global pandemic, empty stadiums and a myriad of rule changes, the biggest takeaway from baseball’s opening week has to be the unrelenting parade of F-bombs and other salty language spewing from players’ mouths. Listen to this utter filth (earmuffs!).

It’s been a hot-mic-a-palooza through the early days of the 2020 season with curse words galore. Potty-mouthed big-leaguers are nothing new, though without crowds to block out the noise, audible cussing is at an all-time high, posing obstacles for broadcasters including Dodgers play-by-play man Joe Davis, who was stunned to hear Astros manager Dusty Baker use such colorful phrasing to berate Joe Kelly from the opposite dugout Tuesday night.

“It was like Dusty was mic’d up in the same way that Orel [Hershiser] and I were,” Davis told MLB insider Marc Carig, describing the clarity of Baker’s NSFW taunt, which quickly made the rounds on social media. “It was the same level.”

Aside from Baker, Mets All-Star Jeff McNeil has demonstrated similar vulgarity, uttering choice words at an astounding clip. With players like McNeil and Josh Reddick embracing their inner Sam Jackson by spewing words that would warrant a mouthful of soap, announcers have grown to accept coarse language as an occupational hazard.

“It comes with the territory right now,” explained Diamondbacks voice Steve Berthiaume. “Look, if you heard a bad word that you don’t want your son or daughter to hear, we apologize. But there’s not a ton we can do about it right now.”

Pumped-in crowd noise has done little to drown out swearing as explicit remarks continue to seep into live broadcasts. Networks do have the dump button and broadcast delays at their disposal, but neither are foolproof. With that in mind, Davis and others have learned to roll with the punches, making light of the profanity polluting their radio and television airwaves. “You want to be real,” said Davis. “You might as well reference it and do your best to have a little fun with it, I guess.”

Baseball used to be a family affair but with players not toning their language down in the slightest, it might be best for parents to keep a remote handy, in case they have to scramble for the mute button.

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