Recently, Thom Brennaman was suspended by both the Cincinnati Reds and FOX Sports Ohio after making an antigay remark that he didn't know got on the air.
By the time he did, the damage was done, and Brennaman removed himself from the game telecast live on the air.
While this is likely the most egregious case of foot in mouth disease in baseball broadcasting history, another announcer many years earlier said something that cost him HIS job. This is the story of how Mel Allen landed in the Yankees' broadcast booth.
It was 1939, and the three New York baseball teams finally decided to broadcast their home games on the radio. The Yankees hired Washington Senators' announcer Arch McDonald to be their lead announcer.
They also hired an announcer named Garnett Marks as McDonald's partner. One day in June, Marks was reading an ad for Ivory Soap, the sponsor of the broadcasts.
Marks misspoke and instead of saying IVORY, he said OVARY. TWICE. Remember, there were no such things as prerecorded commercials in 1939. Everything was read live on the air.
Another problem for Marks was that you didn't say a word like ovary in 1939. If he said that today, he would be subjected to mass ridicule on social media and the late night talk shows. Back then, however, morals and standards were WAY different. Such language landed you in seriously hot water, and Marks paid the price.
Marks was fired the next day, and named as his replacement was a 26 year law degree graduate from Alabama who had already earned a reputation in the broadcasting industry as a good one.
His name? Mel Allen. Ironically, Allen almost got hired to replace Arch McDonald in Washington, but team owner Clark Griffith insisted on former pitcher Walter Johnson.
Following the 1939 season, McDonald returned to Washington, and Mel Allen would take over as lead announcer, where he would establish himself as "The Voice of the New York Yankees" right up until he was fired at the end of the 1964 season.
The lesson to be learned from all this might come from the lyrics from the song "Secret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers: Be careful what you say, or you'll give yourself away. Odds are you won't live to see tomorrow. It's a lesson Garnett Marks learned the hard way.