July 12, 2013

Bellwether's Guide to the Royals on Radio: Part 1

If you’re like me, you’re a dashing (balding), debonair (hairy-knuckled), swashbuckling (10-speed riding) lad who lives in a penthouse condominium (rent-controlled loft) with many fit, large-breasted independently-wealthy women at his beg and call (a cat) who attends many-a cocktail hour with important dignitaries and Kardashians (listens to Royals games on the radio).

In fact, I can count how many times I’ve actually watched the Royals on television this year on your sister’s tits. Yes, it can be difficult to get into the baseball-without-the-visuals world of awesomeness. Fortunately, I’m here to help with the first in a three-part series on how best to listen to the Royals on the radio.

Part 1: Know Your Announcers

Denny Matthews
Denny with noted cabbage enthusiast Steve Mingori
Denny Matthews is the best. He’s a Hall of Famer, and I wish I could have appreciated it more when he was paired with Fred White.

That said, he talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks about productive outs, and the value of bunts and stolen bases, and how strikeouts are rally killers, and pretty much every single non-Sabermetric trope that makes people roll their eyes to death. But it’s not that he’s violently anti-Sabr like Harold Reynolds. He knows Sabermetrics. He understands Sabermetrics. He’ll give the differences between Sabermetrics and “old school” baseball. But that doesn’t mean he’ll accept it part and parcel.

**Denny Matthews sits on a porch at sundown; his rocking chair swaying like the breeze across the prairie his eyes are fixated upon**

“You know what....[long pause]...some people pasteurize their lemonade in order to reduce the number of viable pathogens so that they are unlikely to cause disease and slow spoilage caused by microbial growth by heating it to a specific temperature for a predefined length of time and then immediately cooling it after it is removed from the heat.

[sips lemonade]

“But that’s just not something we do here at Matthews Farms. Because we never have. Matthews Farms. It’s a Really...Good Farm®

It’s amazing the guy hasn’t succumbed to e-coli yet.

"A mule bit my friend once!"
Steve Fizzyock
My grandpa’s favorite TV show was Everybody Loves Raymond. I mean his favorite ever. So, he loved to do this thing where he would tell us about what Raymond did the night before. He would get all excited and start laughing even before he was done with the set-up of the joke but he keeps on going and you’re kind of following and then he gives the punch-line and it’s completely wrong so he goes back to the middle of the joke to tell it again and get it right now, but you’re saying to yourself I’ve never really watched the show too closely but Robert couldn’t have delivered a line like that because it’s not in his character, so it must’ve been Frank, right, and you know I think everybody wanted to do Patricia Heaton, right... right guys, right, and Alcides Escobar grounds into a double-play.

Steve Fizzyock is my grandpa.

Steve umm... shoot... what’s his umm... Stewart
It’s Steve Stewart, right (??)
Steve Stewart?
I’ve been told that Steve Stewart is the host of the Royals pre-game radio show. I guess. Probably. What I’m saying is that I would be more apt to remember the guy if he was more vocal about wanting to love me and fuck me.

Steve Stewart grew up in St Louis and has spent time calling games in his 20+ year career for the Cardinals, the Reds and the Royals. He’s basically the whitest guy ever. But it should be said -- and I say this with all sincerity -- that Steve Stewart could be taken from the Royals broadcast booth and placed into any other broadcast booth in any other city, and the people listening to that game would never be, like, “hey, who’s this guy?” He’s milquetoast. He’s stagnant.

Basically, he’s the Steve you hope Denny throws it to when he throws it to “Steve for the totals”

Captain Forehead
$50 gets you an hour of ad space.
Occasionally, our fearless play-by-play warrior Ryan Lefebvre moves from the land of FSKC to the humble radio booth to call a few innings, leaving all of you people with color TVs in the hands of The Fizzyock. Honestly, for all his deadpanned platitudes, I really like Lefebvre. He’s as plain as a pail full of oatmeal, but really that’s all you need to be. You’re calling a baseball game. We don’t need Doc Emrick out there.

Seriously. It could be so, so, so much worse. I once listened to a Cubs broadcast where it took Ron Santo three innings (THREE INNINGS!!) to tell a single story. A story that had to -- HAD TO -- make it to the ears of the North Side faithful. What was the story, you ask? Mr. Santo was enamored enough with god knows what that he told the story of one of his best friends who wore a toupee. And how did his friend wash said toupee? By putting it in the dishwasher. That’s it. That’s the story. That’s what took Ron Santo three innings to tell.

You don’t have to thank your lucky stars that we have Lefebvre. You don’t have to stop railing on him for saying stupid shit. Just remind yourself every-once-in-a-while that you could be listening to Suzyn Waldman for 162 games a year. And just think, with any luck in the next few years, Captain Forehead will be regaling us with his own tales of toupee laundering.

The Pride of Hays, Kansas
Holy Shit, Bob Davis?!?!
So, like, out of nowhere there’s Bob Davis on the radio calling the game Thursday at Yankee Stadium. Davis was a broadcaster for the Royals for the better part of two decades before he stepped down this winter, and I gotta say that I did enjoy hearing his voice a whole helluva lot more than I thought I would. But instead of waxing poetic about his past with the Royals, I’d like to -- as a Jayhawk fan -- share with you my favorite Bob Davis call ever. From 2008. (I think you know where I’m going with this)

“Here they come, Collins brings the ball across mid-court. He dribbles right. Oh, he was pushed! GETS IT TO CHALMERS!! FOR THREE!!!! GOOOOOOOOOODD!!!!!!! Chalmers!! Hits the three!! And KU leads against Washburn, 19-2 with 12:45 left in the first half.”

The Pride of Rex Hudler
Rex Hudler


Hud does not ever broadcast the Royals on the radio... and it just now occurs to me that I could have saved every minute that I wasted typing this up by simply letting you know that at the beginning.

Oh well.

Go Guglielmo Marconi! You’re the best!

1 comment:

  1. Santo, at his first trip to the new Giants stadium, looking in the outfield: "Pat? Are there...people in that bottle Pat?"

    Nice piece. Are there really 2 more parts?



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