I noticed something this weekend: People were tweeting me about their dislike of Mike Schmidt.

It’s one of the few times over the last two years that I received a series of Tweets about a Phillies game.

Michael Jack Schmidt has been doing home Phillies Sunday (now weekend) games for two years. This is his third season. His annoying brand of commentary is not new. But, suddenly, there’s pushback.

This tells me two things:

  1. People are paying attention again. I can’t tell you the last time I was fully engrossed in a Phillies series like I was this weekend. It had to be 2012. No joke. It’s the first time I felt like I was watching competivie baseball again. Judging by the number of Tweets I got about Schmidt (Hey, Mike Schmidt stinks!), I’m not alone here.
  2. Mike Schmidt stinks.

Great players don’t always make great announcers. Sometimes the greatest players get so caught up in their own greatness that they begin to believe they’re great at everything, especially if it involves the thing they were great at in the first place. Got it? Great. This obviously describes Schmidt, whose knowledge of the game would be fine if it weren’t for his lack of preparedness, disdain for conventions that didn’t suit Mike Schmidt, and insistence on saying questionable things which must have company man Tom McCarthy squirming in his overworked broadcast seat.

Anecdotally, just on Sunday, Schmidt professed how much he detests it when pitchers talk to opposing players when they’re on base – because that’s not what Bob Gibson did! – as if Vinvent Velasquez, who drew a walk while turning in yet another impressive outing, was somehow less competitive because he talked to Carlos Santana on first.* He flashed political leanings with an odd comment about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (regardless of your stance, avoiding politics is Sports Broadcasting 101):

He called Cameron Rupp’s mom, who was being honored for the Phils’ celebration of moms, “cute”:

And he displayed a general lack of preparation, even joking that he stopped keeping score in the seventh.

Somehow this stuff is endearing when Larry Andersen or Gary Matthews does it. When Mike Schmidt does it, he comes across as an asshole, probably because Mike Schmidt has an opinion on everything… and opinions are like assholes. Did I get that right?

All the more perplexing is that the Phillies, because it’s Mike Schmidt, are promoting it – with a sponsor and everything – as Weekends with Mike Schmidt. Though somehow I’d rather have Bernie Lomax in the booth. [I’ve heard that Schmidt is getting an insane amount of money for each homestand he works, but can’t confirm the number.]

Schmidt could be a good broadcaster. His voice is good, he has the clout, and his stories are, at times, interesting. He also has a knowledge of the game (maybe not the one he’s calling, but the sport in general). But he just can’t get out of his own way and stop being Mike Schmidt long enough for us to ever find out if he’s worth listening to.

*He allowed two baserunners, both walks, over the next three innings. Curiously, they were the first two batters after he returned to the mound. But this might have a little more to do with the fact that he was facing the Indians third and fourth hitters than it does with him talking to Santana.