There are times when a team is inseparable from its broadcaster. Think Jack Buck. Ernie Harwell. Phil Rizzuto. Those golden voices had the rare ability to know when to shut up and when to comment, when to add something to the game and when to let the game be the game.
The truth is: baseball doesn’t need commentary.
Sure, it’s helpful at times and yes, I would be a liar if I didn’t admit getting a kick out of the “OUTTA HERE”s, the “JIMMY JACK”s and “OPPO TACO”s. Baseball, at its root, is game of great sounds: PA announcers and bat cracks and balls slamming mitts. But more often than not, I find myself at great odds with the voices who are currently mucking up my baseball game on television watching experiences.
The White Sox, in particular, harbor the most egregious of all audio-felons. I mean, Hawk Harrelson’s commentary is almost entirely made up of stupid catchphrases that he donned eons ago. And while they may have been cute back then, they are nothing short of annoying now.
Hawk is certainly not alone. There are countless other offenders. Michael Kay. Rod Allen. Bert Blyleven. I have nothing against them, personally, but often the commentary they provide is as mindless as it is boring, and I would like the option to shut them up.
Because MUTE ain’t the answer.
I want to hear the ump’s calls. I want to hear the beer guy in section 113. I want to hear the crowd roar on a go-ahead RBI double.
Back in 2009, SNY — a station that, ironically, has one of the better broadcasting teams in baseball — experimented with something they called “The Silent Sixth”, where they did just that: they shut up. Silence. No talking. But they cranked up the sound on the field mics and I can attest: it was a true thing of beauty. Soon I found myself tuning into lots of Mets games come the sixth inning, enjoying the pure sounds of the game the way they were meant to be enjoyed before egocentric legacy hunters and no-limit-in-yer-face advertising began trashing the game (seriously, does every bullpen move have to be sponsored by Domino’s?).
In this era of technocracy, where I can watch every single baseball game on my television, my computer AND my phone, where I can choose which broadcast I want to listen to WHENEVER I want, one would think that providing the option for silence would not be asking too much.
Baseball titans (King Bud, Joe Torre, whoevs), do me a favor and git ‘er done.
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
The Hall of Fame, PEDs and the suggested fondness of Phil Rogers is all it takes to get Jeff and Johanna attempting to kill each other. Allen probably wished at least one of them would have succeeded… but you’ll have to decide for yourself as the fellas discuss all things controversial and racy (almost like ‘sexy’ but less sexual). Keith Hernandez gets a mention. And the Kirk Gibson story… well ya need to just hear it… all to make you Sir or Madame Smilesalot!
– – –
Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. You can experience Keith’s wicked podcast and subsequent film projects at Undercard Films. Keith is a hot topic right now! Not only is he filming that cool baseball doc, but now he’s got some commercial gigs from the Undercast, so go check it out!
– – –
Recorded Saturday, January 8, 2011
Standing in the check-out line at my local grocer, I scanned the magazine rack hoping to find out if Khloe Kardashian had eaten herself to death or how drunk Jennifer Aniston got in Cabo while still thinking about Brad. Instead, I was subjected to an image I thought I’d blocked out 25 years ago:
Eldra “El” DeBarge.
On the cover of Jet.
Who’s Johnny… she said…
*cue the daydream montage*
I see Bert Blyleven record his 3,000th strikeout…
I see Bob Horner hit four homeruns in one game…
I see Mike Scott no-hit the Giants… the Red Sox come back to win the ALCS after being down 3 games to 1… Ray Knight skip like a schoolgirl on Mookie Wilson’s Bill Buckner nutmeggin’ dribbler…
…and… and, I… I see…
*snaps out of it*
Oh, Youppi… oh, dear, dear Youppi… no!!! It’s not FAIR! It’s not fair that El DeBarge gets a comeback and you don’t… not fair that in 2010 you’re relegated to Montreal hockey duty while El DeBarge gets nominated for a Grammy.
A GRAMMY FOR JEEBUS’ SAKE!!!
And you wonder.
You wonder why I don’t believe in god.
No loving god would subject the altruistic baseball fan to such chronic despair!!!
So hate me ‘cuz I I think El DeBarge topped out in ’86, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
I’m sorry, but did the National Bureau of Economic Research just inform me and myriad dear readers, that indeed the United States of America’s economy is in a (daresay) recession?
I beg your pardon, but did our Dear Leader, in an interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson, admit his own incompetency by saying “I think I was unprepared for war”?
As if the mass exodus of once-successful business owners to the overcrowded unemployment line in my Southside Chicago neighborhood wasn’t reason enough to believe. As if the tense gazes of disgust from world leaders and record low approval rating during Bush II wasn’t enough reason to believe. Well, folks, believe it; and believe that the spindoctors are just going to keep getting more and more convoluted as they assume we US Americans are as dumb as they are obvious.
Because apparently, the new status quo put forth by those in power has regressed to that of an unnecessary complication of issues that should otherwise be clear as day.
This has never been more true as we go into the third year of Mark McGwire Hall of Fame eligibility, where once again, I predict the baseball writers will find it in themselves to be a group of holier-than-thou judgmental jack^sses who consistently confuse clarity with integrity.
Did McGwire use performance enhancing drugs? Maybe. Probably. We don’t know for sure and we never will.
Did McGwire’s awkward Capitol Hill exchange further damage his image and cause us to question his character? Yes. Definitely.
Should it matter when considering him for the Hall of Fame?
Hands down, Mark McGwire should have been a first-time ballot Hall of Famer. His numbers, his performance, his legacy and the positive impact he had on the game alone should have put him in on the first try.
While I dare not minimize the damaging stain PEDs have left on the game of baseball as well as the youth of our nation, I still believe in the democratic principle of one being “innocent until proven guilty” and until someone proves that McGwire broke the rules, he deserves to be remembered as a Hall of Famer.
Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson… sure, waffle on those guys. They deserve to be waffled on a bit because they’re not stand-out no-brainer players. But McGwire? Give me a break. Give him a break.
And beware, for Barry Bonds will soon be in line for the same retrospection. Look, as much as I dislike the man as a human being, I cannot conceive a Hall of Fame without Barry Bonds’ plaque. Baseball writers, your job is not to teach lessons to suspected bad boys. Your job is to reward players for having Hall of Fame careers despite their antics — whatever and as displeasing as they may be. Remember, Ty Cobb, arguably one of the most disgustingly erratic, singly detrimental members of the entire human race, is rightfully in the Hall of Fame.
Get over yourselves, writers. You’re not judges. You’re not the police. You’re not God(s).
Do the right thing and put Mark McGwire in the Hall of Fame. And while you’re doing that, prepare for the barrage of suspect PED users, headlined by one Barry Bonds, who will soon be eligible for HOF consideration.
The world will be watching and I will be quick to slander.
So yeah, go ahead and hate me; I only ask that you don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.