Put a Sock In It

I've heard

this song before.

When I was about 13, I took issue with Curt Gowdy’s play-by-play. I’d watch NBC’s

Game Of The Week

on our Amazing 1971 Zenith Color Television featuring Chromacolor 100, a Totally Advanced Color TV System.

(Zenith. The quality goes in before the name goes on).

I had two specific laments about his efforts:

1. He told the story about Darrell Evans’ mother playing professional softball

every time

the Atlanta Braves were on. Sometimes twice in the same game.

2. He about wet his pants anytime there was an infield popup with fewer than 2 down and runners on first and second or the based were loaded.

Breathlessly, Gowdy used the exact same words and inflection every time. If you just tuned in, you’d think it was the Emergency Broadcast System, that Soviet ICBMs were on the horizon and our only option was to duck and cover.

“THE INFIELD FLY RULE IS IN EFFECT...

(GASP!)...

THE BATTER IS AUTOMATICALLY OUT AND THE RUNNERS ADVANCE AT THEIR OWN RISK

(PANT, PANT)

.

.!!”

My grandmother grew weary of my complaining and urged me to write him a letter. So I did.

July 21, 1971

Curt Gowdy

NBC Sports

30 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, New York 10112

Dear Curt,

Deep breaths, fella. It’s a pop fly.

Your friend,

Mike

Today it’s Joe Buck. My problem is a general ‘know-it-all’ vibe he gives off that I find annoying. Harold Reynolds thought maybe Hosmer’s foot was on the bag in the 4

th

inning of Game 2. Replays appeared inconclusive. Buck was convinced Hoz’s foot was

off

the bag. Rather than swallow it, he then felt compelled to share that sentiment.

Acting on his compulsion, showing up a colleague and strengthening the know-it-all vibe.

In addition, there are just too many voices. Three people in the booth, Rosenthal with the bow ties, Erin Andrews and her penetrating on-the-field interviews. No fewer than five bodies on the pre/post-game “committee.” My God, that’s ten throats vying for a finite amount of air time. Each trying desperately to come up with some new, undiscovered pearl or insight.

There’s little, if anything, plugged-in Royals fans will learn from these ten. We know they Keep The Line Moving, that Esky swings at the first pitch. We know Salvy’s preponderance to go oh and 2. We know sometimes Ned leaves pitchers in too long, but often comes up smelling like a rose.

Die-hard Mets fans know their team the same way.

Plus, with the savviness in which big league ballplayers stay on message, the “interviews” seem pointless.

On-air personnel used to be ancillary to the action on the field. Today, unfortunately, they have become the show, the unwanted drama. We’ve blown way past the sweet spot and are mucking around in the bitter and sour.

My bottom-line message from age 13 remains unchanged:

Less is more.

I think I’ll buy five pair of Officially MLB-Sanctioned Kansas City Royals Men’s Team Socks.

That’s ten socks. One for each mouth.