Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Mute Button is the Best Invention EVER

I was watching the Homerun Derby last night on ESPN and making my usual snarky comments on Twitter about Chris Berman, Joe Morgan, and Steve Phillips when I realized that the All-Star Game itself would feature the vocal stylings of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on Fox tonight.

My god, I miss Vin Scully on the Game of the Week. I miss Bob Costas before his ego grew to the size of Montana and he still gave a damn about baseball. I'd love for Howard Cosell to come back to do baseball again, even though he hated it. At least it was INTERESTING.

Berman has become a one-trick Muppet-like creature that should deservedly get mocked openly and often by Statler and Waldorf from the balcony. He hasn't done or said anything original since about 1989. If you were able to remove the word "back" from his vocabulary, we would get about 50% more dead air during his broadcasts and we would have a hard time recognizing the difference between him and Hawk Harrelson.

Joe Morgan has now described every moment and conversation he experienced as a player so he has nothing new to say at all. He just keeps telling the same stories about how he was a player and finding every opportunity to subtly point out that HE was the greatest second baseman of all-time and that Ryne Sandberg can suck it.

I continue to be shocked that Steve Phillips was ever a major league general manager. His insights into the game are so shallow and so often wrong I do find it easy to believe why he didn't last. I am left to assume that he has naked pictures of some powerful baseball people that allows him to continue making his living pretending to be an expert on the game.

These guys clearly had no idea who Nelson Cruz is because this young man from Texas was launching BOMBS into the St. Louis evening that were coming down on back concourses and the deck ABOVE Big Mac Land in left. While he was hitting, they discussed how much the crowd was anticipating Albert Pujols' turn, how it was nice Ryan Howard was able to participate in his hometown, and whether Joe Mauer would have enough of a power swing to make a serious challenge.

If Albert the Great had been hitting anywhere close to what Nelson Cruz was doing, Berman would have been screaming so hard into the microphone that anyone listening to the broadcast would have had blood streaming out of their ears.

The best they were able to come up with about Nelson Cruz was during the final round when they mentioned that Nelson Cruz had a friend he brought with him to the ballpark. Very nice. And? That was it. Nelson brought a friend with him to St. Louis. Great story, guys. Don't you have interns that could have dug up some information on ALL of the Derby participants? There were only eight. How hard could it have been?

Meanwhile, they would occasionally have the participants do an on-field interview with Erin Andrews. Erin Andrews is to sports journalism what Julie Andrews is to sports journalism. When she was talking to Prince Fielder, she reminded him that in his last Homerun Derby, he had three homeruns. This year he hit eleven. She asked, "What was the difference between this time and last time?" I'll tell you, I would have gone out and bought a Prince Fielder jersey right then and there if he had looked her dead in the face and said, "Eight homeruns" and left it at that.

I know there is a certain number of people who like to look at Erin Andrews instead of listening to whatever nonsense she is discussing, but if that is her purpose, just give the microphone to Alyssa Milano. She was in town doing events promoting her baseball fashion line. She could probably ask the same softball questions as Erin, be less annoying, and look way hotter. At least she has a passion for the sport.

In fact, just let Alyssa take over the whole broadcast of the Derby. I could listen to a lot more inane chatter if it was coming from someone who looked like Alyssa Milano. I might even start to come around to the idea that Ryne Sandberg sucks. But seriously, she could not do worse unless she was suddenly inflicted by sudden onset Tourett's Syndrome with a side order of extreme flatulence.

Unfortunately, the broadcast tonight will undoubtedly make me yearn for Berman, Morgan, and Phillips or a flaming wooden stake I can shove through my ears.

Listening to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on their home turf is going to be pure torture. I'll give you a snapshot of what will be discussed tonight on numerous occasions. Feel free to check off the list as you hear them. I bet you will have completed the list and can go for a second lap by the third inning:
  • Albert Pujols is the most awesomest player ever and we want to have his babies (or some variation on the theme)
  • The fans in St. Louis are so smart and appreciate sacrifice flies and good fundamentals
  • Baseball is embedded in the culture of St. Louis
  • Tony LaRussa always has the Cardinals playing above their ability because he's so smart
  • Pujols feels a sense of responsibility to the city of St. Louis and puts a lot of pressure on himself to perform
  • Many references to the normal summer humidity in St. Louis
  • Some stupid joke about Clydesdales

When they aren't personally orally gratifying Pujols, Joe Buck will randomly point to words in the dictionary and then use them in the game description to show the kind of vocabulary necessary to be the announcer for such high-level fans:

"Roy Halladay's mordacious breaking ball really gets in on the hands of batters." or "Aaron Miles is so hyposthenic that he can hardly ever hit the ball out of the infield on a fly."

Meanwhile, Tim McCarver will dazzle us with his color commentary by explaining such abstract concepts like that the number two follows the number one. I'm dead serious. I once heard him explain, "Now if he retires this batter, there will be two outs, HOWEVER, if he does not retire him, there will still only be one out." Thanks, Tim. You're really earning that salary there.

Now I know it is a bit hypocritical of me to criticize these guys when I have listened to the nonsensical ramblings of Ron Santo for years, and miss hearing Harry mispronounce the Latino players' names, but I would never suggest that either of those two should be the top broadcasters for a national broadcast. Harry before the stroke, sure, but after that he was only good for the local folks.

The All-Star game should bring in All-Star announcers to do the game. Give the game to Vin Scully again. Have Bob Uecker come in. Hell, I would even listen to assholes like Marty Brennaman or Milo Hamilton for a night because they have earned the right over the years and I don't have to listen to them prattle on during every other national broadcast throughout the year.

And then they could also have Alyssa Milano in the booth.


Arnold said...

Preach it brother! 

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