Monday, February 4, 2019

Ellen Adair's Rules for Cheering Part II: How to Cheer Like a Sports Announcer

Ellen Adair w/ Scott Franzke—requested to be shown at her funeral
by Ellen Adair

Welcome to part two in my suggestions on how to be a more creative spectator at your favorite sporting event! If you haven’t read part one, you can read it HERE, unless you’re one of those people who likes to show up in the bottom of the third inning. In which case, you may have a little more work to do than the rest of us.

In taking inspiration from sports announcers, specificity is key. Tailor your cheers to the circumstance and a particular desired outcome. Personally, I rarely request a home run because it’s pretty obvious. Your team can pretty much always use a home run. How much better to suggest, given a particular situation:
—Hit a soft single to the gap!
—Gimme a wall-ball double!

So, to be more specific with my specificity, emulate a good sports announcer, not the kind who says things like, “Well, a home run here would really help things for the [Home Team]” leaving the viewers or listeners thinking, “Oh really, sir? Thank you for your INCISIVE COMMENTARY.”

Here are some other examples of situation-specific cheers if your team is at bat:
—Let’s get a runner in scoring position!
—Come on! The tying run is only 90 feet away!
—You struck out the first time, you flied out the second time, let’s try something different and I don’t mean a ground-out!   

Be sure to encourage your players if they’re really battling through an at-bat:   

—Work the count! Stay alive!
—Good eye! You own that strike zone!
—You’re in a hitter’s count! Go for it!   

Or make it all about you when the opposing batters have seen more than five or six pitches:

—Stop running up my pitcher’s pitch count!

Let’s not forget cheers tailored to pitchers:   

—Induce a grounder for a double-play!
—He’s the nine hitter! You can get this guy!   

And remember, the pitch tracking information in a lot of parks can give you some great specifics even if you don’t know much about their pitching mix beforehand:   

—Let’s see some more of that 98 MPH heater!
—Break his bat with an 87 MPH cutter!   

In addition to situation-specific cheers that take their inspiration from play-by-play announcers, you can use the color commentator model, both good and bad, to make a more creative call-out. So, some color guys make bad “jokes.” Feel free to make bad “jokes.”   

—The bases are empty! I’d prefer to see them half-full!
—Friends don’t strand friends on base!

Note that you can also make good jokes, if you have a good joke to make, I’m just working with what the Lord gave me here. You can also be a sports announcer who’s up with more current trends.   

—For pitchers: Strikeouts are up across the league, but I still want more of ‘em!
—For hitters: Let’s see that Fly Ball Revolution!

On a side note, do you hear who I call out in that video? Rhys. Rhys Hoskins, in June of 2017, playing for the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. What did Rhys Hoskins go on to do in August of 2017? Set the record for being the fastest-ever player to 18 home runs. COINCIDENCE?! (Cue infomercial for “Ellen Adair’s Cheering Technique: It Really Works!”)   

On a side note to the side note, wondering what that red folder is on my lap in the last video? It’s a sheaf of printed-out stat pages for minor league players, since the medium-trons at minor league parks don’t always give me the stats-hit that I so desperately crave. You may have noticed that all of these cheers are absent stat-specific suggestions, and stats are clearly a part of any good announcer’s game—even moreso today, now that we have so many advanced metrics. But we’re addressing that in the next installment, so don’t go measuring the spin-rate of your knickers.

Ellen Adair is probably best known as Janet Bayne in “Homeland,” Bess McTeer in “The Sinner,” and Bridget Saltire in “The Slap,” although she has also had recurring roles on “Billions,” “Veep,” “The Family,” and “As the World Turns.” Additional TV credits include “Chicago Fire,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Brotherhood,” “The Blacklist,” “Shades of Blue,” “God in America,” the pilots “Compliance” and “Codes of Conduct,” and numerous PBS films. She is the author of Curtain Speech, from Pen & Anvil Press, and is working on bringing to life a TV series about baseball writers. Visit her website at, or connect with her on Twitter at @ellen_adair or Instagram at @ellenadairg.