Sunday, April 15, 2007
Hand In Glove (Part 2)
Yeah it's not really a preview anymore, but I'm running out of song titles....
The Reds defeated the Cubs Sunday 1-0 at Wrigley. I was able to watch this incredibly boring pitcher's duel on MLB's extra innings package (the Reds offense looked awful, but the Cubs' was worse) which I recently signed up for. Kyle Lohse (above) pitched a great game, striking out 12. The game was called by Chris Welsh, who's been doing Reds games for quite a few years now, and Thom Brennaman, Marty Brennaman's son, who was hired this past season to pair up with his dad in the radio booth and call some TV games as well. Also, as far as I can tell, he was hired to be fucking annoying.
I once spent the better part of a summer break driving an ice cream truck with no tape player or air conditioning around the hinterlands of Clermont County, Ohio (areas like Bethel, New Richmond, Goshen). The highlight of these long shweaty-balls days was, without a doubt, tuning in to listen to Marty and Joe Nuxhall call a Reds game. And that's saying something, because this was back when the heart of the Reds lineup looked like this:
3: Chris Stynes
4: Eduardo Perez
5: Reggie Sanders (who only played half the season)
Needless to say, the games were boring as shit (on a side note, I think it was the next season that the Reds picked up Dmitri Young and started an OF lineup consisting of Young, (Mike) Frank, and (Chris) Stynes. Get it. Young, Frank, and Stynes. I hate myself). But listening to Marty and Joe was awesome. They genuinely enjoyed each other's company, and Joe kinda mellowed Marty out when he got a bug up his ass. Joe was always just a scotch or two away from Harry Carey territory, and I could probably listen to him attempt to pronounce the name "Encarnacion" on a loop for the rest of my life and die a happy man. They'd switch play-by-play up occasionally to give Marty a little break, and Joe would basically chime in every 5 minutes or so to tell what was going on, breaking up the long chunks of uninterrupted silence. Marty was opinionated and generally upset with everything about the team, but I kind of felt like he had earned the right to be a little bit of a dick on the radio. You know, just because he was old and he had called a couple of classic World Series games.
Thom Brennaman is not old. He has not, thank god, ever called a World Series game. He did, however, apparently graduate from the Joe Buck indignant-school-of-condescending-broadcasting, which has gotten him far in the network broadcasting world (he called the BCS Championship game this year). Far as I can tell, he has all of his father's bombast and none of his likable qualities. He desperately needs a Joe Nuxhall. I think I heard Thom defer to Chris Welsh's opinion once the entire broadcast, but it really felt like an empty gesture. Thom, much like Buck, is not happy to just call the action and check in with the color guy for technical details. He's the judge, jury, and courtroom reporter for the entire broadcast. Some samples (approximate) from Sundays broadcast:
"I mean, what's Ryan Freel doing swinging at a 2-0 fastball?"
"I can't believe the Reds aren't stealing more bases against Lilly" (they had two SBs against him after only getting three baserunners the whole game)
"What in the hell is Jerry Narron thinking not leaving his starter in for the 9th inning" (after Lohse had thrown 114 pitches, a key fact that was never mentioned during the broadcast, Stanton and Weathers closed the game out)
"How dare Kyle Lohse throw anything on the inner half of the plate to Soriano when the wind is blowing in from right field in Wrigley" (Lohse had been pitching Soriano away the entire at-bat and used the inside fastball to set up his out pitch, the slider away. Soriano K'd on the next pitch, a slider away).
Leave the preachiness to Joe Buck, Thom. And take that stupid "H" out of your name while you're at it.
On a lighter note, I did find out that Friday night's game against the Phillies is going to be "Ryan Freel Dirty Shirt Night for Adults". And no, I didn't make that up. Ostensibly, it's because Freel always gets his his jersey dirty hustling in the outfield (kinda like Chris Stynes used to), but I think if I still lived in the Nati', I'd roll into GABP on Friday wearing this gem:
Really, there are lots of options.