(Turner’s Ernie : Free from Chuckster abuse, presiding over a Zelasko-free zone)
“By the middle innings of the Red Sox-Angels game I found myself laughing uncontrollably, like the guy in the movies who’s gotten away with the bank job and is rolling around on a hotel bed covered with money,” gushed King Kaufman in his Thursday AM entry for Salon’s King Kaufman’s Sports Daily. The source of Kaufman’s joy, believe it or not, was his realization that until the League Championship Series begins, he doesn’t have to listen to the other K-Squared.
Early in the triple-header’s nightcap, the Boston Red Sox-Los Angeles Angels game from Anaheim, I noticed that my breathing was normal, my teeth weren’t clenched and I hadn’t yelled or thrown anything at the TV screen all day. No way that’s all true after eight hours watching baseball on Fox.
TBS points some cameras at the game and has its announcers discuss it. There are very few sound effects or graphics intended to do anything but offer insight into the game. There are no sponsored fan polls or stunts promoting TBS shows, though of course there are so many “Frank TV” commercials that even Frank, in one of them, makes note of it.
There’s no overarching slogan that the various announcers keep repeating, something like “You can’t script this.” There aren’t any high-concept opening montages narrated by movie stars. The game announcers don’t spend a lot of time working out their limited comedy chops. Any off-topic silliness is left to the boys back in the studio, though even they’re a lot more serious than Johnson and his cohorts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith are on the TNT basketball show.
It’s not perfect. TBS could have done a better overall job of hiring announcers, particularly play-by-play announcers. I still wish Tony Gwynn would use some of his encyclopedic knowledge of hitting to educate viewers a little bit, and that Chip Caray had gainful employment doing something other than describing baseball games I’m trying to watch.
But these are quibbles. Caray is the only member of the team who’d be at home on a Fox broadcast. Fox will be back at it in the next round, but that’s a blissful week away.