I wish I had the job of a baseball color commentator. Some of them know a thing or two about the game, having played it at the big-league level, sometimes well, but often not terribly well at all, though well enough to have made it to the biggest stage in the world before embarrassing themselves with two out in the bottom of the ninth and the whole world watching. Most don't know so much more than you or I about baseball. They just know some of the game's famous players, having showered alongside them when they were having their so-called "cup of coffee" in the majors.
And yet, here they come into our living rooms with important-sounding titles such as "analyst," which suggests that they have received advance training to interpret your dreams or pick apart your psyche. Maybe they just know how to read data tables. In truth, they are there because fans would rather listen to former ballplayers talk about the game nostalgically and with a modicum of objectivity, rather than listen to you whine about a call that, in truth, was probably correct.
This may be how Lou Merloni, who played a bit part for his hometown Red Sox from 1998 to 2002, is allowed to "commentate" (a word that needn't ever have been created, given the existence of "comment") on Red Sox radio broadcasts now and again. This season, early on, Lou managed to concoct a phrase that I had never heard a baseball analyst utter. Speaking of the young Red Sox, Lou noted that Alex Cora's squad had "a ton of inexperience."
This turn of phrase – indicating that the absence of something – experience – was really the presence of something else – inexperience, was clever, even if Lou didn't mean it to be. It's like saying that you have an infinite amount of nothing.
Reminds me of a former roommate I had when I lived on Murdock Street in Brighton, who once replied affirmatively, sort of, to some question I had tossed his way by saying, "For sure, probably."
Thanks for being clear.
It seems like just yesterday – ok, maybe two or three days ago – that the Red Sox were disencumbering the 2004 Yankees of yet more American League Championship hardware by winning the final four games of that seven-game series to cap the most excruciating and scintillating era of sports in my lifetime. The series included Dave Roberts' stolen base and tying run, an 11-inning game, a 14-inning game, a bloody sock, and the absolute pummeling of the despised (by me) Yanks in the Bronx. My life was changed forever!
Prior to that moment, everything was shit. I had nothing to live for. Sure, I had a wife who loved me (well, liked me – I think) and a dog who loved me as well (well, appreciated that I fed her), a house, a good job, and bike. But I also had one hell of an attitude and clothing that fit poorly.
When the Sox finally won a World Series after 86 years of frustration, avenues of hope opened for me. I became the head of a large corporation and everyone, even my dog, became effusive with adoration. (You can fact check that; I'll give you some highly reliable sources.) People threw jobs at me for which I was completely unqualified. To show my appreciation I rose to the occasion, mostly by taking night classes. I became famous in the quiet sort of way that humble people like myself become famous, which is to say not terribly famous at all. Still, people looked at me differently. They said that I had a bounce in my step, which people had formerly misinterpreted as a limp. Ha, me, limp. Not a chance!
Anyway, today those same Red Sox (sort of) will be playing those same Yankees (kind of, ish,) to determine who has the right to lose to the Rays in the divisional series. (Why does the world have to have Rays anyway!). A one-game long series in which you win or go home. No six-game lead-up to the final chapter or any of that other nonsense!
I'll be watching. Will you?
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