Thursday, September 09, 2004

Broadcast Blues

With meaningless baseball returning to Philadelphia painfully on schedule this September, I've begun the process of disengaging from the day-to-day immersion of earlier in the season. No longer must I try to catch at least several innings of every game on television. Instead, I tend to check in on the radio broadcast periodically while out running errands.

Last night, I was in the car during the first game of the Phillies' doubleheader against the Braves, and got to hear Harry Kalas call an inning. Harry brings a different style to his radio work, a little more descriptive and freewheeling, and it's usually fun to give him a listen. But the disappointment of the season was fully evident in his voice -- he sounded thoroughly beaten, as if he couldn't wait to escape to the NFL Films studio. Every Phillies misplay brought a "Now what?" reaction that was difficult to hear. Poor Harry had to start his season uncomfortably in the spotlight due to a conflict with Chris Wheeler, and he has to finish it calling a stretch of games that nobody really cares much about.

And speaking of Wheels, I had game 2 on last night, and when Ryan Howard came to bat in the first, he couldn't resist giggling at Larry Bowa's giving him his first big-league start and hitting him in Jim Thome's usual place in the order. "How about Bo putting Howard in the cleanup spot?" he laughed, as if it were funny that Clueless Larry stuck a rookie with three career at-bats in the No. 4 hole. I know Howard had, like, 90 homers in the minors this year, but presumably the Phils are still trying to win games, and I'm not sure that the cleanup guy should have been a player who spent most of his season in double-A. Wheeler, of course, is completely incapable of delivering even the mildest criticism, no matter how deserved; I think it probably makes him physically ill. But, hey, I'm glad he found Bowa's "managing" so ... amusing. Somebody has to have fun this dreadful season -- why not the team's designated clown?

1 Comments:

At September 9, 2004 at 9:46 AM, Blogger Mark said...

I usually am the first (only?) person to defend Wheels, but I think you're exactly right this time. This isn't the last week of the season and we're not the Devil Rays. Although it could be that this season (and the Kalas flap) has made Wheels certifiably crazy.

I also agree that Harry sounds beat. But that uncomfortable spotlight he was under at the start of the season was of his (and his agent's) own making. I don't feel sorry for him, except for the fact that he may not have known what he was getting himself into when he changed agents.

And is it me or does Larry Anderson descibe every single home run pitch the Phillies pitchers give up with, "Not necessarily a bad pitch he threw up there"? Uh, yeah Larry, it was.

 

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