Tuesday, September 12, 2006

9/12/06 Two Seamer With Some Hair

Since the White Sox are in town, I had the rare pleasure of watching an entire game on TV. Those of you who enjoy sports and watch them on a regular basis should understand my fascination with announcers. When you follow a few teams during your life, the announcers become part of your day. They become the friendly voices you look forward to spending your evenings with. For the sake of this post, let's just focus on baseball. Ever since I can remember, Ken Harrelson has been the voice of the Chicago White Sox. There's something strangely comforting in hearing his voice. (Many tend to disagree with my opinion of Harrelson and we can save that debate for another time.) When an announcer gets replaced, I immediately feel resentment towards the new guy. It's almost like your mom getting remarried and, no matter what the new guy is like, you're automatically ready to cut him down. I still haven't quite gotten over Darren Jackson replacing Tom Paciorek as the color commentator.

What am I getting to? I got to watch the game last night with the Angels announcers. Listening to new announcers is a little discomforting, but it's also an eye opening experience that gives you a bar for comparison. You begin to understand if your hometown announcers are really good or bad. You find out what you're missing. But you also find out what you've got good and have taken for granted.

I'd like to compliment the Angels announcers on their enthusiasm and their legitimate appreciation for the opposition. Their player of the game was the opposing pitcher (Jose Contreras) and they interviewed Joe Crede, the opposing 3rd baseman, after the game. But I also had to find out who the 2nd fiddle color commentator was - For two reasons. First, he's one of the voices on the video game MLB '06 The Show. On the video game he's a little obnoxious in a sense that, well, I just call him "Captain Obvious". But it's a video game with limited space (and every time Tadahito Iguchi comes up to hit, the stadium PA announcer says, "Now batting - Robinson Cano" - definitely far from perfect), so it's excusable. What's not excusable? The fact that he's like that in real life. I asked a guy at work today who the announcer is - His name is Rex Hudler, former Angels player. I don't remember word for word, but last night he said:
  • After the top of the ninth - "The Angels are down by 2. Which means, if they get a runner on, the tying run will come to the plate."
  • White Sox hitting, runner on 1st, nobody out - "Lackey would sure like to get a double play here. He would probably prefer striking out this hitter and getting a double play after that."
  • "If he doesn't start throwing strikes, he'll walk the leadoff hitter."

So I had to do some research. Can a paid, professional announcer really be as bad as Bob Uecker's cohort in Major League? (You know the guy... "Fly ball. (long pause). Caught.") And now it all makes sense...

"Hudler was hospitalized in 2001 with a brain aneurysm. He was suspended briefly from his broadcast job in 2003 after being arrested at Kansas City International Airport for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia."


In the past I have expressed my complete and utter contempt for Rupert Murdoch without much explanation. He owns News Corp. Go ahead. Click on the link. He owns all of those media companies. Most of what you read or hear today on the news is the result of his puppetry.

"The Company publishes more than 175 different newspapers, employing approximately 15,000 people worldwide and printing more than 40 million papers a week."

"The Company's television stations group has enjoyed ten consecutive years of record profits, and FOX Broadcasting Company is America's most watched network among young adults."

"FOX Broadcasting Company is America's most watched network among young adults."

Which means.... It's the same dude who publishes your newspaper, offers your TV news, makes the movies you watch, monitors your MySpace activity (I'm up to 25 friends!) AND provides cable and satellite services to your home. And he continues to build his empire, giving us the illusion of choice in media, when in reality, he's the puppet master behind it all.

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