Just when you had forgotten about the hockey robots

As is my habit, I watched my recording of last night’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” during the 5:00 P.M. hour today. Joe Buck was the third guest, promoting tonight’s Fox “‘Wonderfalls’ Memorial Friday Night Broadcast” of the Red Sox-Yankees game, and at one point, the topic turned to Fox’s new innovations for their baseball coverage this year.

Their discussion of one of the innovations led me to immediately start the TiVo recording the game, mainly because I wanted to see if it really existed, or if this was a bizarre example of Joe Buck’s deadpan sarcastic humor.

The innovation in question is Scooter the animated talking baseball, and he really does exist, much like the bubonic plague really does exist. Now, upon hearing about Scooter, Conan immediately did an impression of him, saying in a high voice, “Hey, kids, a slider moves from side to side!”

Since the game had already started, my TiVo recording only captured the third inning on, and I had to fast-forward all the way to the eighth inning, stopping only to admire Johnny Damon’s hair, before Scooter showed up. Now, first of all, referring to him as “animated” is an insult to actual animators, by which I mean that Fox just has him making one certain mouth movement over and over again while he’s supposedly talking; even the cheapest 10-frame-per-second cartoons never resorted to that sort of thing (in fact, the cheapest cartoon ever, “Clutch Cargo,” superimposed actual mouths on the drawings rather than have incorrect mouth movements).

And, as you might have guessed, Conan’s impression was almost perfect; the only fault was that it wasn’t long enough. Here is my transcript of the Scooter segment I saw: “What’s up, bros? This is Scooter. When Scooter really wants to scoot, it’s time for a little heat. The pitcher just rears back and throws me as hard as he can. Whoa! A good fastball comes so fast, a hitter has no time to react. Stee-rike!”

Anyone who thinks Tom Kenny should start limiting himself to HBO sketch comedy programs and maybe “Powerpuff Girls,” raise your hand. I thought so.

Original comments…

Levi: You must be making this up. Otherwise, there’s no hope in the universe. And I refuse to believe that.

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