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Baseball season is here, but that baseball team of yours is a few announcers shy.
I want to be your man.
Oh, by the way: I’ve never done any play-by-play work. No color commentary, either. Radio or TV. Not a lick.
But under the current O’s regime, your regime, a little lack of experience shouldn’t be much of an impediment, eh? Nobody who has paid any dues in broadcasting is aching to work for you or the team anymore, anyway. No surprise there. Not after the Jon Miller cataclysm, in which your bungling cost O’s fans the services of the greatest announcer in the business. Oh sorry, PeteI forgot for a second that I was applying for a job. What I meant to say was, I hear it’s been a little rough finding announcers after that unfortunate episode with that traitorous bum Jon Miller.
If you hire me, I’ll join you in purging from public memory any and all goodwill Miller generated during his 14 wonderful years with the team. I’ll work to erase the common knowledge that the now-former lead throat was a key reason the Camden Yards turnstiles kept turning and the lines at Boog’s Barbecue were never longer. He’s gone, and should be held out for ridicule, because he had the gonads to divulge a few very dirty little secrets about your operation.
Like how you insist that all broadcasters in your employ trumpet their allegiances to you and your team at all times. That their color commentary be exclusively orange-and-black, no matter how poorly the team performs on the field or how many boneheaded moves the front office makes off it.
It seems like a good time for a fresh start. After all, Mel Proctor, the No. 1 guy on the O’s TV crew for more than a decade, just up and followed Miller to a West Coast team.
Sure, a whole lot of names have come up as replacements, butlet’s be honestVin Scully ain’t one of ’em. No, I keep hearing old names like Fred Manfra, Chuck Thompson, and Ken Singleton, and new ones like Jim Hunter. From the way things now stand, that’s still at best a feebler lineup than the one the O’s put on the field in 1988.
So Pete, if you’re still in the market for a homer-for-hire, please look my way.
Invite me to spring training for a tryout. Whatever I lack in seasoning I’ll make up in groveling. I’ve got a black belt in kissing up, Pete. Show me the money, and by the end of camp I’ll have a browner nose than George Hamiltonand it won’t be because of the hot Florida sun. Whenever I’m on the dial, my only dialect will be O-bonics.
Let me run a bit of my shtick just so you know what you’re getting:
Say I’m at the mike when that new shortstop of yours, Mike Bordick, steps up to the plate. Well, first of all, I won’t dare bring up the obvious: that he’s just another Manny Alexander, the latest pawn in that bizarre and unwinnable crusade you and Pat Gillick cooked up to break Cal’s spirit. I’ll keep to myself that your zeal to replace last year’s third basemen, Todd Zeile and the unfortunately nicknamed B.J. Surhoff, is absolutely laughable.
Of course, it’ll go without mention that Bordick has never been more than a good-glove (I’d go with “great-glove” if the price were right), no-hit stiff, so I also can’t talk about his offensive numbers for 1996. And we are talking offensive: 5 homers and 54 runs batted in.
But whenever Bordick’s got a bat in his hands, I’ll consciously fail to point out that Cal’s 26 HRs last year were five more than the replacement shortstop has hit in his entire seven-year career.
In other unsaid words, Bordick may get to three or four grounders up the middle that Cal can no longer retrieve. But there’s no way in hell he’s going to be able to make up with his glove all the RBIs and HRs the team will lose with Cal moved over to third; it ain’t like Ripken was playing in a wheelchair.
Pushing Cal to his right might have made sense if Alex Rodriguez was taking his place. But Bordick? Even middling rotisserie players can tell that Cal’s value is greatly enhanced at shortstop precisely because he never hit like a shortstop. Because the truth is, even with that Iron Man streak, Ripken never has been Lou Gehrig in the batter’s box.
Miller and Proctor might have let slip that the O’s now have a third baseman who hits like a third baseman and a shortstop who hits like a pitcher. But I’ll neglect all of that negative, factual crap when I’m in the booth. Your booth, Pete.
So whenever Bordick strikes out with men in scoring position, as we all know he’s gonna, I’ll chime in with the O’s new mantra: “Defense wins championships!”
And I’ll also be ready whenexcuse me, ifRoberto Alomar spits again. As the umpire is rubbing our Robbie’s fluids off his eyelids, I’ll claim it must have been rain. Or, as some allies of Alomar did last year, I’ll blame the victim, and hint that the bad guy in blue made derogatory slurs toward our upstanding, big-hitting second baseman’s virility or his heritage, and that that’s why the, er, raindrops flew in his face.
Or best yet, Pete, I’ll just ignore Alomar’s low-jinks. Kind of like you did last year. Tell you what, Pete, next time Robbie fires off a hocker in anger, the only thing the radio audience will hear is: “Tickets to tomorrow night’s game are going fast!”
Hire me, Pete, and I’ll tell it like you wish it was.