Watch this now before
MLB realizes it exists online: the last 10 minutes or so of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
Watch this now before
MLB realizes it exists online: the last 10 minutes or so of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
Courtesy of my father, here’s the last half-inning of Vin Scully calling Sandy Koufax’s perfect game on September 9, 1965. I’ve heard a bit of him on the radio during both Dodgers division series games so far, and he still sounds pretty much the same, 43 years later.
During the regular season, for the games he broadcasts (everything but away games east of the Rockies), Vin does the entire game on TV, with the first three innings simulcast on the
radio; Charley Steiner and Rick Monday do the rest of the game on the radio. For the playoffs, with no local TV, Vin is doing the first three and last three innings on the radio, which means he gets to take three innings off. In his L.A. Times column today, T.J. Simers suggested that he uses the time to take an extended bathroom break, but I prefer to imagine him going over to the WGN booth to try to distract Pat Hughes and Ron Santo. (Yes, I know he’s too much of a professional to actually do that.)
11:00 — Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds (ESPN 2, WGN, and FSN Ohio)
L.A. Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers (FSN Prime Ticket)
Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox (Comcast SportsNet Chicago)
11:01 — Vin Scully! “And a pleasant good day to you wherever you may be.” Now it really is baseball season.
11:13 — Hey, a new family movie starring Ice Cube! Looks about as good as the Devil Rays.
11:15 — There sure are a lot of car commercials on YES. But I thought no one in New York drove.
11:19 — The Blue Jays caps have a “T” instead of a “J,” I notice. Too bad, because I liked the “J.” Maybe that’s still the home cap.
11:21 — Two female fans in the upper deck of Comerica Park are interviewed. One of them refers to it as “Tiger Stadium” and is quickly corrected by the interviewer.
11:24 — Since the Reds are wearing their new mustachioed Mr. Redlegs patches, perhaps they should all have grown mustaches to match.
11:25 — The Superstation WGN Scoreboard graphic has a problem, I say.
I contend that “Sponsored By:” should either be right-justified so it’s against the sponsor graphic, or that graphic should say “Sponsored by Scotts” (which would work fine even with the graphic there on the right).
11:29 — C.C. Sabathia looks a little large.
11:31 — The White Sox announcers start talking about how one should not judge a book by its cover when it comes to C.C. Sabathia. I guess I’ve been properly chastised! However, Darin Erstad promptly hit a 2-run homer off him to pull the White Sox to within 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st.
11:37 — Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley is in the stands at U.S. Cellular Field, but does not have to be interviewed by someone with a radio mike.
11:39 — The Yankees infield has been a bit error-prone today, which has helped the Devil Rays tie.
11:40 — First appearance of Joe Maddon, coming out for an explanation from the umpire about a player being called out on a bunt that hits him in fair territory.
11:42 — Rocco Baldelli hits an RBI single, and the Devil Rays are leading.
11:44 — Amtrak — the Washington Nationals of transportation!
11:49 — Hey, Dr. Cox from “Scrubs” is in that movie with Ice Cube. Well, John C. McGinley, I mean. I assume he’s not playing the same character he plays on “Scrubs.” Not to be confused with John C. Reilly, who is not to be confused with Andy Richter, who is not to be confused with John Candy.
11:54 — Comcast SportsNet’s “Scores on the Fours” should perhaps be renamed “Scores on Most But Not All of the Fours.”
Yes, I went to this game alone, because all my friends here in L.A. have jobs and are a lot less likely than Levi to take a half day off to go to a game. On this date in Dodger history, in 1963, Sandy Koufax pitched a no-hitter. No such luck for Derek Lowe today, although he was fairly effective; the real problem was some fielding mistakes by the Dodgers, notably an amusingly botched rundown. So the Dodgers’ winning streak came to an end, and now they have to go to San Francisco and spend three games intentionally walking Barry Bonds.
Cheesesteaks are new at Dodger Stadium this year, courtesy of a local chain called South Street, to which I was introduced by hanger-on Jason. Their Dodger Stadium cheesesteaks are half the size and twice the price of the ones they serve in the restaurant — but, still, it was pretty tasty, and a nice change of pace from a Dodger Dog.
For the first time, I brought my radio and listened to it during the game — might as well get some use out of it, I figured, since I never use it at home, not even its NOAA weather radio-receiving functions. (It’s just a cheap AM/FM/TV/weather portable radio, not a fancy radio that turns itself on whenever there’s a thunderstorm watch in the middle of the night, like a certain other baseballrelated.com poster has in his bedroom.) Vin Scully gets simulcast on radio and TV for the first three innings, which is great, although he’ll occasionally say something that sounds like a complete non sequitur when you’re listening on the radio because it obviously relates to something not quite game-related that’s being shown on TV at that moment. Today was school field trip day, and a couple of times, he was referring to what must have been shots of kids in the stands.
Anyway, for the fourth inning and on, Charley Steiner and Rick Monday come in to do the radio only. They’re fine, except that they’re not Vin Scully. Now, Rick Monday — if you’ve got to be known solely for one thing, there are a lot worse things you could be known for than “keeping an American flag from being set on fire.” And Charley Steiner — well, when the Dodgers were down 4-2 and had the bases loaded for Kenny Lofton in the bottom of the ninth, he was excited enough that I was expecting him to blurt out “Follow me to freedom!” if Lofton got a hit. But he flew out to end the game.
Another advantage of listening to the radio — they announced the attendance about a half-inning before “Guess the Attendance” was played in the stadium, thus allowing me to loudly and confidently yell out that it was choice “A” on the scoreboard. So, in conclusion, I’ll probably bring my radio again if I’m going to a game by myself, or if I’m going to a game with someone I don’t want to talk to.
I should mention that this was all prompted by my mother. She suggested a couple weeks ago that I go to a weekday afternoon baseball game before I start my new full-time job on the 17th. I said, in my Eric Cartman voice, “But, Maaaaaaahm, the Dodgers don’t plaaaaaaay any weekday afternoon games.” I looked at the schedule anyway, and saw this game, so there you go.
Relating to that job: I temporarily have a PC in my living room within view of my TV, and Levi now has Internet access at home. Way back at the beginning of the season, I suggested that the two of us should watch the same game simultaneously, instant-message each other during the game, and post the log here. However, we haven’t yet been able to come up with a time that both of us are able to actually do this — Levi’s busy at work, as usual, and seems to have more of a life on the weekends than I do, and tends to attend a few Cubs games, especially when they’re playing the Cardinals, and since he’s just recently moved up to home Internet access, it’s probably going to be a while until he has a Treo or Blackberry and can use the Internet from the Wrigley Field stands. (To be fair, there’s been a couple of games when Levi was available but I wasn’t.) And now I’m not 100% sure how busy I’ll be at my new job, but I am certain that it will preclude us from scheduling this for one of those weeknight ESPN games that starts at 7:00 Eastern — I’ll still be at work at 4:00 Pacific. It also doesn’t help that we’re limited by the baseball schedules of ESPN/ESPN 2, WGN, and TBS, since those are the only networks that we can both watch together, and neither of us is too excited about doing this during a Braves game on TBS.
All of this is to say that there will probably be an IM transcript posted here when you least expect it.
Wow, I stayed up longer than the Los Angeles Times sports department last night! They went to press with “the White Sox quickly took control and built a 10-4 lead after 7 1/2 innings,” but I was awake until I caught up with the TiVo recording in the middle of the 8th inning. Speaking of the L.A. Times, here’s noted class act Vin Scully, quoted today talking about possibly being in the broadcast booth when Barry Bonds passes Babe Ruth’s and/or Hank Aaron’s home run records: “I would just as soon it not happen against the Dodgers….If I had my druthers, I would rather have that awkward moment happen to somebody else.”
Thanks to advanced technology that is currently available to me, I’m now thinking I’m going to attempt to make a post here once an hour today, with the first one around two hours from now, at 11:00 A.M. Pacific/1:00 P.M. Central. I will also attempt to be online on AIM/iChat as trainmanplus all day while I’m watching TV, so feel free to chat. (If I don’t say hi back, it’ll be because the advanced technology has turned out to be too overwhelming.)
In the opening segment of last night’s episode of “The Simpsons” — the episode that was incessantly promoted during Fox’s baseball coverage — an attempt to speed up a baseball game ends with the entire universe being destroyed, so there.
Actually, the whole thing was completely unbelievable, because it depicted a World Series game, broadcast by Fox, that was not only being played during the day, but also had Harry-Shearer-imitating-Vin-Scully doing the announcing, rather than Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Come to think of it, if the universe is going to be destroyed anyway, that wouldn’t be the worst way to go out.
Actual quote from an e-mail from my father: “Better you should have never been born, than to post something good about
Harry Caray.” Obviously, I can’t resist now. Bill James on Harry Caray, from the 1985 Baseball Abstract:
Cable television has arrived to the distant Balkan outland that I call home, and I have been watching Harry Caray whenever I get the time. It’s the first significant exposure to Harry that I’ve had in fifteen years, and I realize with a sense of shock how much of my own attitude about the game and about my profession, which I thought I had found by myself, I may in fact have picked up from hundreds of hours of listening to Harry Caray as a child.
Or perhaps it is a false pride, but I love Harry Caray. You have to understand what Harry Caray was to the Midwest in my childhood. In the years when baseball stopped at the Mississippi, KMOX radio built a network of stations across the midwest and into the Far West that brought major league baseball into every little urb across the landscape. Harry’s remarkable talents and enthusiasm were the spearhead of their efforts, and forged a link between the Cardinals and the midwest that remains to this day; even now, some of my neighbors are Cardinal fans.
This effect covers a huge area and encompasses millions of people, many times as many people as live in New York. A Harry Caray-for-the-Hall-of-Fame debate is in progress. To us, to hear New Yorkers or Californians suggest that Harry Caray might not be worthy of the honors given to Mel Allen or Vince Scully is a) almost comically ignorant, sort of like hearing a midwesterner suggest that the Statue of Liberty was never of any real national significance and should be turned into scrap metal, and b) personally offensive. That Harry should have to wait in line behind these wonderful men but comparatively insignificant figures is, beyond any question, an egregious example of the regional bias of the nation’s media.
But besides that, the man is really good. His unflagging enthusiasm, his love of the game, and his intense focus and involvement in every detail of the contest make every inning enjoyable, no matter what the score or the pace of the game. His humor, his affection for language and his vibrant images are the tools of a craftsman; only Garagiola, his one-time protÃ©gÃ©, can match him in this way. He is criticized for not being objective, which is preposterous; he is the most objective baseball announcer I’ve ever witnessed. He is criticized for being “critical” of the players, when in fact Harry will bend over backwards to avoid saying something negative about a player or a manager. But Harry also knows that he does the fans no service when he closes his eyes and pretends not to see things. A player misses the cut-off man, Harry says that he missed the cut-off man, the player complains to the press, and some sweetlicking journalist, trying to ingratiate himself to a potential source, rips Harry for being critical of the player.
Harry is involved in another controversy now over the firing of Milo Hamilton, onetime heir apparent to Jack Brickhouse. Hamilton as a broadcaster is a model of professionalism, fluency, and deportment; he is, in short, as interesting as the weather channel, to which I would frequently dial while he was on. Milo’s skills would serve him well as a lawyer, an executive, or a broker. He broadcasts baseball games in a tone that would be more appropriate for a man reviewing a loan application. He projects no sense at all that he is enjoying the game or that we ought to be, and I frankly find it difficult to believe that the writers who ripped the Cubs for firing Hamilton actually watch the broadcasts. Is Harry to be faulted because the fans love him and find Hamilton a dry substitute?
People confuse “objectivity” with “neutralism.” If you look up “neutral” in the dictionary it says “of no particular kind, color, characteristics, etc.; indefinite. Gray; without hue; of zero chromel; achromatic. Neuter.” That pretty well describes Milo Hamilton. To Harry Caray, the greatest sports broadcaster who ever lived. This Bud’s for you.
Dad, you’ll be pleased to know that Bill James lost me somewhere around “Vince Scully.” Surprised he didn’t also refer to “Melvin Allen.” Also, it seems Milo Hamilton must have run over his dog or something.
Another quibble is that broadcasters don’t go into the Hall of Fame per se, they just win the Ford Frick Award. Harry Caray won in 1989, and despite Bill James’s best efforts, Milo Hamilton won in 1992.
Since I don’t have high-speed Internet at my new apartment yet, I’ve been watching more TV than usual. That included tonight’s Dodgers game, a 2-1 win over the Brewers. I wanted to mention this piece of trivia that fascinated Vin Scully, since I’m not sure how far it will be disseminated: with this game, the Dodgers have now played more games at Dodger Stadium than they had at Ebbets Field.
Incidentally, the best Vin Scully moment of the game was him reading Jim Tracy’s lips during an argument with the home plate umpire, but not giving the exact translation: “Fertilizer, fertilizer.” The second-best was his plug for the pre-game show airing before tomorrow’s game: “I think you’ll find it somewhat interesting, as it always is.”
While I’m at it, it’s looking like the plans detailed here for me and Jason to do a 4-city baseball trip next month are not going to come to fruition, since I will have only been in my new job for a month. We may do an overnight trip just to Phoenix, for a Saturday night game. But that leaves things open for me to ask: hey, Levi, how about a Western trip in 2006?
In fact, more often than not, the phrase “Major League Baseball announces” is enough to get me worried.
But one thing they’ve done extremely well is use the Internet to bring their product to fans in ways that, just a few years ago, weren’t possible. They have game tickers, pitch-by-pitch updates, and a variety of video packages that is pretty impressive.
By far the best thing they do, though, is have the radio broadcasts of all games available on their web site. Having spent years tuning in KMOX after dark to (barely) hear the Cardinals, being able to listen to games clearly has been a sheer, unadulterated joy. We don’t have the Internet at home, but getting to hear day games while I’m at work, and getting to catch up on particularly exciting games from the night before has been wonderful. On top of that, when the Cardinals aren’t playing, I can listen to, say, Vin Scully.
And this year, for the first time in five years, they’re not raising their prices. Maybe they’re learning? Probably not. But right now, I don’t care. We’re hours away from the first game, and soon my workday will fly by at the pace of a ballgame.
Now, if they could just do something about that site design. I suppose it could be worse. It could flash and play Smashmouth or something.
Oh, and Jim, you’re invited to the house for a big breakfast and a viewing of tomorrow morning’s game featuring your favorite team and that team that couldn’t hit Josh Beckett. Game starts just after 4 AM Central Standard Time, and just after 5 AM Rocketship TiVo Time.
A thought on Saturday night’s Dodgers-Cardinals game: since Joe Buck was off for his NFL football broadcasting duties, wouldn’t it have been great if Fox had told Tim McCarver to stay in St. Louis and instead had the game called by a certain Los Angeles-based announcer who’s been around since the last Ice Age and has more broadcasting talent in his little finger than Tim McCarver has in all the shoe-polished strands of his hair combined?
No such luck, and even if I had been watching live instead of TiVo-delayed, I couldn’t have listened to him on the radio because of the delay inherent in DirecTV. Eventually, I put the TV on mute and listened to Brian Wilson’s “Smile” on my iPod instead.
Toby: Levi, Did you happen to catch Fox Sports’ “Beyond the Glory” special on Kirk Gibson’s WS Game 1 HR in 1988? It was narrated by Joe Buck. …Was a great piece.
The thing that struck me, though, was that they played Vin Scully’s call of the homer first, then used Jack Buck’s a little later. I had never heard anything but Jack Buck’s call of that homer. It was very interesting.
You’re so right about Vin Scully and McCarver, though. Why does he seem to worry so much about how deep the outfielders are playing?
Toby: Whoops – Just noticed that Jim posted that. Regardless, my comments wouldn’t change–just direct it at Jim, instead of Levi.
Jim: They did an entire “Beyond the Glory” on Kirk Gibson’s home run? Wow. I’ve closed-captioned a couple of those, and they’re pretty good, but I’ve never watched one at home.
In the video of the home run, you can see one car in the parking lot beyond center field leaving early. Its taillights suddenly come on just as the ball leaves the stadium, and it apparently syncs up perfectly with Vin Scully’s call, as if the occupant of the car was listening to the game on the radio and reacted to the home run by slamming on the brakes.
By the way, it turns out that if you actually go to a Division Series game at Dodger Stadium, not only do you not have to listen to Tim McCarver on your TV, you get to listen to Vin Scully’s calls of memorable moments from the past season. His call of Steve Finley’s grand slam to clinch the division was something like:
“Wherever it comes down, the Dodgers are division champs.” (35 seconds of crowd noise)
Can you imagine Tim McCarver being quiet for 35 consecutive seconds?
Toby: NO! He’d be talking about how one of the fans in the seventh row was playing too deep to catch the home run ball.
maura: chris berman was silent after vladdy’s grand slam the other night. as was ALL OF FENWAY. it was totally creepy and everyone at work was just looking at each other all alarmed-like.
thatbob: fucking yanx