It’s difficult to be original in anything you write, analyze, or observe. I remember a time in my teens when Keith Olbermann and Craig Kilborn were my heroes the same as Magic or Gretzky. The reason KO and Kilby were great is that they were showmen just like the athletes and they were original. They made me want to watch and ultimately want be one of them. Unfortunately, they bred a generation of anchors who had more catchphrases than Randy “Macho Man” Savage, which made me change the channel for about ten years.
That brought to my attention a few thoughts that while unseasonal, are still true and help get through this baseball-less winter.
I just watched the 1960 World Series Game 7 that aired on MLB Network over the holidays. Having Mel Allen and Bob Prince on the call while they were the play by play men for the Yankees and Pirates, respectively, was tremendous. It gave it a different feel than someone having to look in a media guide during the World Series to figure out what the initials C.C. stand for.
Unfortunately, in 2011, the enthusiasm for all of these games has a consistently disingenuous tone to it. You have lead network play-by-play men for MLB (To quote the late, great Jim Healy, I’m not going to mention any names, but his initials are JB…. JB) admitting they aren’t interested in the game they are calling. What a joke.
For a change, why not be logical and do what they did in the 50’s and 60’s and have the two teams share the national radio and television broadcasting for the playoffs and World Series. That way, America gets to hear from broadcast teams who have a genuine interest in what is happening, knowledge of the teams playing and maybe, more than anything, give the public a variety that will add just a touch of that city and team to each broadcast. Wouldn’t that make the game more compelling for the viewer? Wouldn’t the drama of the game, as called by the home broadcaster give more depth to each big play? I know that one of the first things I listen for in highlights of special games is the radio or TV call of the home team. The only exception to this would be anything that makes us listed to John Sterling.
At the very least, give the viewer the option. If we can have five NASCAR pay per view channels that allow us to listen to Carl Edwards’ pit crew for 500 miles, can’t we have an alternate audio option for the freakin’ World Series.
Wednesday’s baseball hall of fame vote was about what everyone expected. Congrats to Bert Blyleven for being good enough to finally make the hall of fame. 287 wins means it takes you 14 tries to get in. The holier-than-thou BBWAA has played God for long enough. Ron Santo died before he could make it in the hall of fame because these writers can’t take the responsibility seriously at all. B.J. Surhoff got a vote with Don Mattingly and Tino Martinez on the same ballot. This same writer didn't vote for anyone else…. No Blyleven….no Alomar….no Mondesi. He must have a stack of those Surhoff 1987 Topps “Future Stars” cards.
I think the big debate that will satiate baseball geeks like me for the next twelve months will be whether Jack Morris and Barry Larkin will get in. I think you have the two best at their position (apologies to Ozzie Smith, but Larkin was a better hitter) in their era… should be a no brainer. I think the guy that people will start to rally around in the next few years will be Tim Raines. Without attacking the stats, Tim Raines has better stats than Lou Brock (higher OBP, more RBI, same runs, better SB success rate) with almost the same amount of plate appearances and probably would already be in if he didn’t play in the same era as Rickey Henderson. Plus he was nicknamed Rock before Dwayne Johnson…. That counts for something, right?