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…
After a rough night of Pirate inspired debauchery, Jeff and Johanna clear the cobwebs (and police reports) to make room for special guest, Paul Lebowitz. It doesn’t take long for them to get riled up as they touch on the evil FOX chimera Joe McCarver, Clint Hurdle’s Pirates, the White Sox’s diamond impotence and much, much more!
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Recorded Saturday, July 16, 2011
What a coincidence, dear reader Henry! For just the other day I was telling my crestfallen and oft flustered colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, that the only surefire way to take over the world is to get a bunch of followers to trust in some cliche, universal proverbs with some fairy tales thrown in for fun. And hot dog if you didn’t just poke me to share!
First, allow me to correct you on the title. Mr. Lung is my pop’s name. This here lil book is called The Holy-Cow Canon of Jeff. It is presented in three parts, or books as you shall see.
The Book of Baseball
Respect. Not sayin’ you have to love the hell out of baseball like I do, but you gotta at least respect it. You must recognize the fact that those of us who worship the game and revere the diamond as our sanctuary tend to be wiser, more patient, and definitely more prone to bouts of combustible love rooted in our collective ability to cherish the good and to quickly forget all that is bad.
From The Book of Baseball, Chapter 28, Verse 5:
“Smith corks one into right, down the line! It may go . . . Go crazy, folks, go crazy!”
The Book of Womenz
Basically, the moral of this book (the largest of the three, naturally), is to always admire and respect beauty — whatever that means to you. For me, that means Erin Andrews’ choice wardrobe selection, Kim Kardashian’s bangin’ bum, Jenna Fischer’s girl-next-door allure, Allison Stokke’s athletically gifted physique and Lucy Liu’s dominatrix potential. (If it’s menz you’re into, then simply substitute “menz” for “womenz”. If it’s non-humans you’re into, then I can’t help you, but maybe these folks can).
From The Book of Womenz, Chapter 43, Verse 12-14:
“The girls is all jockin’ at the other end of the bar, havin’ drinks with some no-name chump, when they know that I’m the star. So I got up and strolled over to the other side of the cantina, I asked the guy ‘Why you so fly?’, he said ‘Funky Cold Medina’.” (via Deacon Loc)
The Book of the Golden Rule
Just like in modern day Christianity, you can skip the other books of this canon if you want and just focus on this last and most important one. It’s fairly simple and you heard it in kindergarten (maybe you haven’t learned it yet) but you’ve definitely heard it: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Got it? Don’t want someone to beat you up and take your money? Then don’t beat people up and take their money. Don’t want strangers dictating to you what you should and shouldn’t believe? Then don’t dictate to strangers what they should and shouldn’t believe. Like living in peace without bombs being dropped on your house? Then live in peace and don’t friggin’ drop bombs on other people’s houses!!!
It’s really that easy!
There’s only one verse in this book, so let me repeat it, The Book of the Golden Rule, Chapter 1, Verse 1:
DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE OTHERS DO UNTO YOU.
Thank you and good night.
Also, the above chapter and verse can be ignored when it comes to Chicago sCrUBS bashing, which is vehemently encouraged and allowed.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m makin’ moves, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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Yes, I was. Yes, he did. Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!
As my friend, Mr. Lung, mentioned yesterday, I was indeed present at the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama. And honestly, the only way I can describe the event is by comparing it to an early (or possibly late, although I have no experience with that) season baseball game. You know the kind of game I’m talking about, where you think you’re wearing plenty of layers but you figure out 30 minutes into it that you will never be warm again. But at the same time, you don’t care about a couple of numb fingers and toes because moments like this don’t come along every day.
Even now, I’m trying to sort through all the emotions that come along with an occasion like this. Of course there’s pride in knowing that for all our faults as a nation we always find a way to overcome them. And there’s hope, echoed in the words of the inaugural address, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.” There’s also a little bit of uncertainty because, let’s face it, these are not easy times in which we live and, as the President said, we all share in a “collective failure to make hard choices.”
But I guess what I feel most of all right now is relief. Relief that the unwashed hordes will soon leave my city. Relief that almost all disasters were averted. And relief that the stewardship of the country has passed into the hands of President Obama and his team.
At the same time, there were also events that left me conflicted. I freely admit that I am no fan of former President Bush and I’m sure I’ve written many scathing criticisms of him in these pages. But, the man was still our democratically elected President and because of that he deserves respect. Perhaps his opinions and his decisions don’t always deserve respect but the man and the office do. That’s why it left me a little unsettled today to hear people booing whenever President Bush’s face was shown on the screens. I understand the atmosphere and I understand the strong feelings. But, even if the inauguration felt like a sporting event and even if President Obama is the Michael Jordan of politics, there’s no excuse for booing his competition.
So, there you have my initial, unvarnished thoughts. And I’ll bring you more along with a roundup of the absolutely ridiculous coronation, uh, I mean concert I attended on Sunday.
A smile, a wink and a good old fashioned Chicago roundhouse to the face and everyone seems to have forgotten that Rod Blagojevich is the scum of the earth who not only embarrassed the millions of people who chose him to lead but also tainted the already highly critiqued political machine known as the City of Broad Shoulders. And let me tell ya: it’s really friggin’ hard to embarrass a city known to root for those lovable bastions of disappointment: the Chicago Cubs.
Indeed, after a brilliant array of surreptitious spin-doctoring, both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President-Elect Barack Obama swiveled from one extreme to the other and now favor seating Blago-appointee and Chicago granddaddy of patronage, Roland Burris, to the US senate. To quote Jack Buck, “Excuse me while I stand and applaud.”
(*clap, clap, clap)
Yes, dear readers, Rod Blagojevich may appear to be a complete idiot, but his sinisterly savvy move of handpicking Burris to take Obama’s place (accented by the potentially trumping race card) just proves that he’s way smarter than anyone ever thought. In fact…
Dude is wicked smah’t.
Meanwhile, many of you may see my flippant ferments to dispel equally corrupt John Mozeliak from the Cardinals’ helm as mere exercise in futile hyperbole, but believe me when I declare my absolute sincerity — that my dissatisfaction stems from a sound place: my undying loyalty to preserve the winning spirit of St. Louis Cardinals baseball.
Whether you like it or not, Mozeliak is corrupt. Anyone who thinks he can throw around pretentiousness disguised as frugality in the Cardinals’ front office is corrupt. Anyone who squashes the fans’ perennial hopes for a pennant (before the season even starts) while the hated Cubbies build and build and build only to get better, is corrupt. Anyone who “rebuilds” a severely damaged bullpen by signing the likes of a lukewarm lefty named Trever Miller or Royce Ring — mere band-aids on a gaping, gushing head-wound — is corrupt.
Yeah, sure, Tony LaRussa is extremely intelligent — so much so that he hid Mozeliak’s ineptitude for most of the 2008 season. With Dave Duncan at his side, it’s no secret that LaRussa has fixed many a troubled bargain-bin pitcher — whatever riff-raff Mozeliak (and Jocketty before him) could dig up and throw his way. But how long can we expect TLR’s elite level of intelligence to conceal the GM’s corruption?
One of these days (probably sooner than later) LaRussa and Dunc are simply gonna get tired of the b.s. and walk away.
One of these days (probably sooner than later) the Illinois legislature (and the Democrats as a whole) are simply gonna get tired of the b.s. and send Blago on his way.
At least, I hope as much.
Intelligence can’t hide the scandalous scars of corruption forever.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Wait. So who won the Home Run Derby? The only participants I even heard about were Chase Utley (for his expressions of love toward New Yorkers and Yankee fans) and Josh Hamilton (who apparently smoked super crack that allows him to destroy baseballs). Oh right. Justin Morneau. Oh well. Nothing to talk about there.
But there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to Josh Hamilton. Or at least that’s what I gather from watching Joe Buck’s play-by-play at the All-Star Game the other night. From Hamilton’s inability to brush his teeth by himself the morning after the Derby (I’m still not sure what Buck was trying to say) to a sloppy and drawn out True Hollywood Story rendition of Hamilton’s life, Mr. Buck managed to alienate most viewers within 15 minutes of the game’s first pitch. And that’s only if you were lucky enough to tune in late and miss the pre-game festivities.
However, none of this should really come as a surprise. Joe even recently admitted that he’s been phoning it in for awhile now. I mean, his on-air performance is about as thrilling as a Hilary Clinton stump speech and almost as inspiring as John McCain’s control of important health care issues.
It’s just sad that this is what Jack Buck’s kid has come to.
Anyway, it could be worse I suppose. He could make odd drunken sounding noises like his broadcast partner, Tim McCarver. Makes me wish for the old days, with guys who could really call a game. Guys like Ernie Harwell. And that’s all I’m gonna say because otherwise I’m going to come across as an old codger. At least it’s better than auditorily fellating an almost Home Run Derby champ.