Baseball season has ended with a melancholy whiff, and football season is upon us like a grand piano falling eight floors onto a poodle. Let’s see that again Bob. Ooh. That’s gonna leave a stain. Let’s see that again, Bob…
A lot of people don’t like baseball. Too little action, too much thinking, plus the beer prices are outrageous. Actually the beer prices are outrageous at football games as well. But whereas, in baseball you’re always waiting for the big hit, in football, hitting of the people by the people for the people, so help you lard butt is where the nachos are at.
Rather than argue the merits of mind over splatter, I like to pause at this time of year, as one sport gives way to another, and assess a completely different aspect of each.
I speak of the art of calling a game by TV announcers. Many of them, graduates of broadcasting school, have never played football or baseball but do have a passing familiarity with Duck, Duck, Goose and One potato, two potato. Some are retired jocks who have never spoken a complete sentence but have necks so thick they still have bark on them.
What the two are supposed to have in common is a facility with the English language such that they may explain to viewers complicated plays or rulings. These range from the subtle distinction between baseball’s infield fly rule and the outfield giant rat of Sumatra rule, to football’s difference between the shotgun, the pistol and the AK 47 formations–and which ones require an FBI background check before use.
While I enjoy both sports, I like to think baseball offers more opportunities for an announcer to make a fool of himself. Football, on the other elbow, contains a certain Je ne sais pas ce que la baise il parle quality. For some reason it inspires announcers to utter profundities that cause fans to turn to the fans on the couch beside them and remark “WHAT THE FRAMPTON???”
This past year I stalked and snared pronouncements, ejaculations and holy moleys from various baseball and football announcers. (I like to solder my Smarty Pants Phone to my hand for usage 24/7/365. I tap in whatever I hear and immediately text myself messages—to which I always respond promptly.)
Strictly for your edification, here are verbatim quotes by men paid lots of money to attend games, sit in the best seats, get free stuff, ogle the happenings on the field and then open their mouths to expel questionably nuanced carbon dioxide.* (The perfect grounding for a seat in Congress).
- That pitcher has his legs underneath him.
- The ball comes out of the back of his head and explodes.
- It must be tough for young pitchers, not knowing what their balls do.
- They had a great night cutting balls off.
- (He is good) with whatever is in his hands. Usually it’s his magic wand.
- He has an elastic groin.
- They’re looking to see if the toe stayed on.
- He’s keeping his body nice and quiet.
- Certain guys respond really well to rest.
- I talked to him about his tight end.
- It gives him a place to go with the ball.
- That groin is still with him.
- He’s a great physical runner.
- He knows how to smell the end zone.
- He has great explosion.
- The tackle needs to break the midline of the center’s rear-end.
*Apologies to articulate and thoughtful broadcasters such as Gary Thorn, Jon Miller, Chris Collinsworth and Steve Young.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2015, all rights reserved.
Scene: A crowded bar.
Speaker No. 1 (thick glasses, black frames, dark wavy unkempt hair, wears macro-yarn multi-colored sweater knitted by his mom, big toothy grin, shares booth with other guys with thick glasses, black frames etc., interrupts story about his broadcasting career to yell at Speaker No. 2, who’s just entered bar):
Speaker No. 1: “Hey, Speaker No. 2, siddown! We’re talking about APBA baseball!”
Speaker No. 2 (perfectly sculpted dark razorcut, chiseled features, athletically trim, icy blue eyes with VanHuesen buttondown to match, Burberry raincoat, Hermes necktie, an open Harris tweed sportcoat doesn’t hide the reporter’s notebook sticking out of an inside pocket, raindrops remain on his ample shoulders): “The hell’s APBA Baseball?” He leans on the edge of their table, drumming with his fingers, never acknowledging that it’s a soggy day.
Speaker No. 1: “It’s a baseball board game. We all played it at home when we were kids. Did you ever play APBA Baseball? Huh? Huh?” His companions snork and snuffle in an affirmative manner. They look like walleyes in an aquarium.
Speaker No. 2: “Never heard of it. I played the outdoor kind.”
The bar goes silent.
(To be continued)
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