OTC: Denny Matthews, Royals HOF Play-By-Play Voice, Needs To Be GONE!

Denny & Fred. Back when Matthews cared about his craft.

“I got that wake-up call from Ryan (Lefebvre’s) game-saving throw out at the plate. I dozed off when it was 5-3 (Seattle).… I flipped on the old radio and then instantly was put right back to sleep.”
Doug Stewart, comparing the excitement of what Lefebvre is bringing to the Royals’ late-season broadcasts to the dullness and lifelessness that has enveloped Denny Matthews’ work even as the Royals fight to contend in September for the first time in over a decade, 810 AM
GH: Lefebvre made his signature call just the day before when he was lucky enough to me at the mic for the Royals radio call of Justin Maxwell’s dramatic game-winning grand slam. That call will define Lefebvre’s career for now – until he gets a chance to top it someday in the postseason. Doug Stewart is passively taking a shot at a Kansas City sports broadcasting legend – the HOF honored Denny Matthews. Stewart does not mention Matthews by name – rather he refers to the once great voice of the Royals only by his lethargic disregard for his craft, his profession and his audience. Read on.

“I got to be honest with you. It is an issue. It’s probably not one you’re going to hear about in a lot of places but…”
Soren Petro, responding to Stewart’s comments regarding Denny Matthews’ play-by-play work on Royals Radio, 810 AM
GH: It is not easy to negatively critique a legend – and Denny Mathews is a sports legend here in the Midwest or anywhere Royals fans have roamed for the past 45 years. Why aren’t we going to hear about it anywhere else? Great question. I love Denny’s work. Always have. Hell, I like Denny. I’ve spoken to him casually many times, interviewed him multiple times, even been to his home – but I have never been shy about voicing my displeasure with how he has allowed his work to deteriorate in a similar downward spiral as the team whose radio booth he occupies. Why are so few willing to say what we all (or most of us) know? Petro never mentioned Matthews by name either. Maybe we should refer to Matthews as Lord Voldemort.

“We’ve heard for a long time that you don’t get fired up about games that aren’t going anywhere. What do you keep in reserve? If this isn’t the time to unleash, if this isn’t the time to go Lefebvre… Time to get fired up! The Royals need to address that situation. That’s an issue.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: The Royals have a young, exciting and hopefully ascending team – for the first time in two generations. They also employ one of the crankiest and least exciting play-by-play radio dinosaurs in MLB. I listened to highlights of Matthews’ calls from Monday night’s game in Seattle – a game that was a novel all its own – and Matthews’ work was so weak it was fireable. It was that putrid. He sounded disgusted to still be sitting in his chair as the evening grew to 11:30 PM (PT) as Greg Holland closed out the game. Will the Royals do the right thing and force Denny to retire? Will Denny do the right thing and retire willingly? Either / or. The Royals do not need Matthews back for next season.

“If you don’t want to be at the game, you certainly shouldn’t be broadcasting the game. I’m going to put it at that and they can take that baton and go where they need to go with it. There’s got to be an interest in what’s going on on the field. There’s got to be a passion for this ball club. There’s a passion for this fan base that has to be reflected by the employees of the Kansas City Royals. And we’ll leave that there.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: I was disappointed that Petro refused to call Denny Matthews by name. He skirted that very important detail like a kid who still worships at the altar that was once Matthews’ throne. There is no throne anymore. There is no great call waiting to leap from Denny’s larynx. There is just an old man sounding like he is wishing he was anywhere but where he is but who has nowhere else to go. Gone!

and Twitter / @greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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40 Responses to OTC: Denny Matthews, Royals HOF Play-By-Play Voice, Needs To Be GONE!

  1. Mike DeArmond says:

    I get the criticism of Denny. But the guys I want gone are Fizz and Dud.

    • Greg Hall says:

      I too think the two Angel imports are an insult to the Royals’ audience. How can the Royals’ management think so little of a fan base that obviously cares a great deal? These two carnival barkers are a joke.

      • Say What? says:

        I think Ryan and Hud are actually pretty good together.

        • Alphonse Tooty says:

          In response to Say What (because you never seem to know where comments will land on this site) I do too. Some people look really hard for something to bitch about. Mike doesn’t seem to realize some people call him DeTard.

  2. The Word says:

    Interesring, Matthews seems to be the oppisite of Holtus jizzing after a one yaed gain. I’m OK with Matthews.

    • ironhorseblues says:

      +1 on Holthus jizzing on his calls. He is so over the top that he is a joke. I mute Mitch Holthus when the Chiefs score a touchdown to keep from hearing him and his lame/fake announcer voice.

    • John Giardino says:

      I’d rather have Matthews than Holthus every day. When you listen to old recordings of announcing greats (I’ll use Red Barber as an example) they kept their composure.

  3. harwood benjamin says:

    I’ve complained so much about D. Matthews that it feels like I’m beating a dead horse. This is not a recent phenomenon tied to the Royals’ two decades of doldrums. His calls when the Royals were winning division titles in 84 and 85 were also lifeless. I think he fancies himself a classic announcer in the mold of Vin Scully, but he’s just moldy. There’s a difference between professionalism that avoids homerism and a boring style that saps away the enthusiasm of fans.
    Once he’s out of the booth, we can deal with the Anaheim exiles.

  4. Scott says:

    I was shocked he was there last night. He long has cherry picked his schedule and road trips. I figured he’d already be doing whatever it is that he does in the off season by now. I just assumed a road trip in late September would be one he’d already chosen not to participate in.

  5. Alphonse Tooty says:

    The call to end the game was awfully lame but Denny’s delivery is nowhere near the top of my list of concerns. He’s probably living with the regret of staying with a loser instead of taking the St Louis job he was offered years ago.

  6. Phaedrus says:

    Denny’s about the only Royals announcer that I like. I don’t mind Hudler, but I get tired of being lectured to by Lefebrve, and I can’t stand Physioc.

    Seems like everyone wants their announcer to be like Gus Johnson nowadays.

  7. Steve says:

    I think that’s a good point about Gus Johnson. I actually didn’t think Denny was that bad last night. I will admit the call to end the game, the strikeout, wasn’t great and he didn’t do a very good job of expressing how pissed off Saunders was (I saw the replay later). But the play at the plate and everything else was fine with me. Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved Denny, and I know he isn’t perfect, but the game still isn’t as fun to listen to on the radio when he isn’t there.

    Also, I think he was there on a road trip this late in the season because the team is still playing for something. I think he still cares.

  8. jimmyd says:

    So, doing the right thing is forcing Denny to quit? He and LeFeb are the best we have by far. You’ve been beating this dead horse way too long Greg. The real guys we need out of town are Rex and his enabler Physioc. They are ridiculous and embarassing for any adult who know anything about the game. Everytime he speaks he says something Rextarded.

    • Mike DeArmond says:

      Rextarded. Perfect!

    • Phaedrus says:

      Rex made a good point last night about the Seattle pitcher failing to back up 3rd. Right after he said that, the pitcher didn’t back up 3rd again and it cost the Mariners a run.

      He has some good insights….he’s just not the most eloquent speaker in the world (similar to Frank White in that regard). I’d rather have that than listen to Ryan lecture me about how OBP isn’t that important and that bunting is a great strategy.

      • Mike DeArmond says:

        Rex is a dork. He adds nothing but a need to mute an entire telecast. The only thing dumber is Holtus’ Chiefs Kingdom crap.

        • ironhorseblues says:

          Everybody says (team)Nation! except the Chiefs. They insist on saying Chiefs Kingdom instead of Chiefs Nation. Just sounds weird and awkward.

  9. JP says:

    I’m going to disagree on the Rex bashing. If you listen to his comments, he does make some insightful remarks. He is a character, but I have a feeling the same people that are bashing Hud will be bashing his replacement if he’s boring and dull and just comments on the game.

    • Mysterious.j says:

      Well Hud DOES have something to add…the trouble is you have to get through about 19 nonsensical comments to get to one good one.

      As far as Denny goes…he DOES sound disinterested a fair bit. No matter how much you were getting paid, you would have had your soul crushed over the last 20 seasons as well. I feel strongly that he should be able to keep the job until he is ready to give it up.

  10. John Giardino says:

    I thought the Lefeb call was just so goofy and over the top. It used to be that baseball announcers would want to be an impartial and even-keeled presence on the mic. A lot of announcers back in the 40s, 50s and 60s would not have lost their gentlemanly composure. Nowadays, in the race to be the most outlandish, announcers have to be overly excitable clowns (see: Gus Johnson) in order to be considered quality. Matthews doesn’t need to inject “passion” into his call..he just needs to call the game as it happens (and he does a fine job).

  11. Renton says:

    The record Fox Sports ratings for Royals telecast is probably going to keep Hud around (by default)

  12. john doe says:

    Just think of Bob Davis, and you will immediately love Matthews, Hudler and maybe even Physioc

  13. B12 says:

    I like listening to Denny. Ryan has grown on me. Hud has too. Hud is basically Jeff Spicoli calling a game. Physioc. Probably a very nice guy. He sounds like he is reading a bedtime story, with the perfect enunciation etc…

  14. rio_garchnik says:

    “legendary” only for hanging around so long..not a KC born guy..Boston, maybe?? avoided the Nam draft while announcing games.. never married.. no family… not doing it because he needs the dough..annoying slurring of words these days..

    yep.. time to go started about 20 years ago for this guy

    • John Giardino says:

      Umm…OK? First, you didn’t have to go to ‘Nam if you were enrolled in college (which Matthews was…and plenty of men were). Second, he is from Jacksonville but grew up in Bloomington, IL. Third, what does not having a family or being married have anything to do with it…plenty of good people are lifelong bachelors/single women…it doesn’t really say anything about his talent as a broadcaster…

  15. Doug Tucker says:

    I would give the OK to new 20-year contracts for Matthews, Physioc and, yes, Hudler, in exchange for never again having to listen to Mitch Holthus and his stupid, frenetic calls

    • Crockett says:

      Totally agree on Mitch. He is Chiefs Hype Man Extraordinaire. He would hype all of the coaches up like Gunther, Herm, Haley, Romeo, and now Andy. Totally sucked off King Carl and Pioli, but then stepped on them when the new guy was on board. What bothered me is he always acted like each of these guys were Lombardi or some Army leader, but when they were gone he would indirectly throw them under the bus. He is so over the top w/ his Kingdom stuff it is really annoying.

      • John Giardino says:

        Chiefs Kingdom is an exercise in absolute homerism…it’s fine that the guy is proud of his team; they pay his salary. But the Lotawana Lake Rats? Susie Bling Bling…they have no excuse.

  16. Crockett says:

    Denny’s calls have seemed like he is looking at his watch, tapping his feet, rolling his eyes with each ball or foul ball that delays or lengthens a game. He comes off like he really can’t wait for the games and season to end…has really felt that way for over a decade. I think Hud is decent. Really nice guy in person. He is growing on me. Ryan is a little overrated in my book. He’s good, but when 810 or 610 have him on they hype him up like he is one of the best. I have always thought he could be a little boring. Physioc sounds artificial to me.

  17. Mike Hendricks says:

    Can’t stand physioc when they don’t pair him with a color guy. Jarring to have him call everything. Doesn’t know when to stop talking. Denny knows when to let the game/crowd do the talking

  18. Dave Roberts says:

    Denny is still the King of the Airwaves in my opinion. He is one of the few broadcasters who still has the nerve to make negative comments when they need to be made.

    Frank White was the best TV colour commentator that I’ve ever listened to. I learned something new about playing the game of baseball on every broadcast.

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