Baseball fans frustrated as announcers get caught in discussion about Wordle

·4 min read

A pair of announcers at a San Francisco Giants baseball game found themselves taking part in one of America’s favourite pastimes this week: openly chatting about something other than the game being played out in front of them.

Commentators Dave Flemming and Jon Miller found themselves on a hot mic, as they discussed the minutiae of the online game Wordle on Wednesday night as the Giants took on the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The chummy conversation about The New York Times word puzzle broke out as the Giants, who led 2-1 in the series going into Wednesday’s game, entered the fourth inning and would continue for nearly half the turn of bat.

Mr Miller, who appeared to have not known about the popular online game that became a global sensation when it launched back in October 2021, begins by telling his co-commentator that “he’s looked it up on my app here” before Mr Flemming begins to relay with announcer-like clarity how to play the game.

“You start it off, you pick any five-letter word and then hit ‘enter’ and it tells you which letters you got right,” Mr Flemming tells Mr Miller, who appears to be playing the game for the first time alongside his boothmate’s tutelage.

“So any five-letter word?” replies Mr Miller, to which his Giants co-worker confirms a truth that so many of other have realised before: yes, and “there’s a lot of ‘em.”

“I should actually call the game,” Mr Flemming says at one point in the middle of delivering an explanation about how the colours of the online game signify how close you are to solving the puzzle – green meaning it’s in the correct spot, yellow in the wrong spot and grey not in the word at all.

That delay in the Wordle play-by-play coverage was only briefly interrupted before Mr Flemming again turned his attention back to Mr Miller’s game and reassured him that not getting all or some of the words on the first try is actually quite common.

“Many times, you get none. A lot of days I get zero.”

The pair continue back and forth discussing other elements of the online brain teaser, including the 24-hour refresh and the origins of the man who invented the game, Josh Wardle, who later sold the product to the New York Times for at least $1m.

Later in the segment, Mr Miller interjects that he’s now receiving complaints via text message about the commentary on Wordle rather than the game, but not for the reasons most would expect.

“I’ve been getting text messages now from friends saying, ‘Well don’t mention what the word is, I haven’t done mine yet for today!’” Mr Miller said.

Despite spending several minutes covering a virtual game – which no one could see – rather than the baseball diamond below them, the reception to the pair’s Wordle commentary online was warmer than one might expect.

“Hey @NYTGames , if you need someone to record a Wordle tutorial, @SFGiants broadcaster Dave Flemming is available,” tweeted The Athletic’s official account, who is also owned by The Times.

“Dave Flemming teaching Jon Miller how to play Wordle during their call of the Giants game is the reason radio broadcast technology was invented,” tweeted another user, while another decided that the back-and-forth between the two Giants announcers was indicative of “why the Giants booth will always be the best in baseball.”

While the world is unsure of how Mr Miller’s Wordle addiction is fairing, the Giants did end up losing to the Diamondbacks 3–2 to fall to one game below in the series.