Thursday, October 25, 2007

Welcome to the World Series of Sportsthink, Game 1.

What baseball fan didn't see it coming?

After steamrollering the Indians in the final three games of the league championships, the Red Sox came into the World Series against a Colorado club that hadn't played in eight days (after quickly sweeping its own championship series with the D-Backs). So when the Sox won in a rout last night, 13-1, Sportscasting Nation trotted out all the obligatory cliches. The BoSox were "hungry" and "in the zone"; they had "momentum" on their side. (How do broadcasters know this, pray tell? Did someone spy large quantities of momentum piled in the dugout, alongside the sunflower seeds and discarded tins of chaw? And by the way, where does one store one's momentum when it's not in use?) The Rockies were "flat," maybe even "a little intimidated"—except, that is, for rookie sensation Troy Tulowitzki, who, we were told, "walked with confidence" (despite having the most improbable baseball name since Van Lingle Mungo, immortalized in that wistful lyric* from jazz pianist/humorist Dave Frishberg). And the lads from Colorado had better be careful the rest of the way, too, because the Sox "know how to win."

Question: If you can conjure a winning effort pretty much at will, as the latter phrase clearly implies, then why did the Red Sox allow themselves to lose 66 games this year, and three out of the first four against the Indians? Oh, wait...I guess they must've left their momentum back at the hotel on those days.

Let me be clear: I have no problem with someone observing that the Rockies may have been a bit "rusty," because that, to me, has a physical explanation. Rusty = out of practice. And we should always look for the physical explanation first (i.e. before we veer off into the realm of things that can't even be measured, let alone proved). But flat? Even "emotionally unprepared," as one of the geniuses in Philly sportstalk-radio surmised this morning?


Oh, and once again: Somebody please-oh-please turn Tim McCarver's microphone off.

* Follow URL, scroll down to radio icon to play song. The audio is pretty bad, but the charm and wistfulness of Frishberg's take on the subject (odd/memorable baseball names) comes crackling through.


Anonymous said...

I'm old enough to remember basesball in the pre-sportsthink days when everything was "good" to Tony Kubec on the Game of The Week:
"Gaylord Perry has good stuff today: good fastball; good slider and his control is pretty good, too. And don't forget his good pickoff move to first. Ron Santo is having a good year at the plate, with a really good eye and really good bat speed. He's got good speed on the bases plays third with a good glove; good range and a good arm..."
Tim McCarver mindless babbling makes me use the mute button for innings at a time. He even starts his sportsthink nonsense with "Watch how..." as if we are supposed to see this paranormal activity. "Watch how Kevin Youkilis stays within himself to play that short hop... he refuses to be intimidated by ..."

Steve Salerno said...

Anon, that is priceless. Hilarious. Gave me an out-loud laugh on a day when I very much needed one. Thanks for weighing in.