The first thing you should know is that Bill (The Spaceman) Lee has no chance of becoming Rogers Sportsnet’s Toronto Blue Jays analyst.
The second thing you should know is that he should. But the very reason the former Expo won’t even be considered is the same reason he should be: He’s too outrageous.
And that’s exactly what the Jays and Sportsnet need. What do they have to lose?
Will they increase the lowest ratings in team history with a team that hopes to finish fourth?
Will Tom Candiotti or Rance Mulliniks, capable fellows who could end up sharing the job, stir the hearts of disaffected baseball fans?
So why not give it to a guy who’s entertaining, irreverent, has close ties to Canada, says the Jays have a long way to go to recapture their glorious past and might actually inspire some fans to tune in?
Lee, for one, thinks it’s a heck of an idea.
“I would be the best guy you could get,” Lee said this week from his Craftbury, Vt., home while preparing to play in an oldtimers’ baseball tournament.
Although an American, he points out he’s pitched and hit a home run in every province and plans to retire to B.C.
“If you want someone who knows Canada and knows baseball, I’m your man,” he said.
“I would see things that the analyst doesn’t see,” he said. “I watch (Tim) McCarver and all these guys and they don’t know the difference between a slider and a forkball. They know nothing of physics.
“I can’t believe the stuff that they perpetuate on the airwaves.”
The reason, he believes, is that announcers are hired to sell the team and its products.
“They’re into hyping up the fan and getting them to buy,” he said. “The reason I’ve never been hired is I’m kind of a Zen, anti-consumer guy. I basically tell them, you don’t need that product and I’ll tell them why they don’t need it.
“That doesn’t sell well on TV.”
Lee has no illusions about his prospects.
“It’s subject to the approval of Major League Baseball and that’s where I’m probably never going to get past that,” he said.
“It’s a catch-22. People listen to me they say I’m a breath of fresh air. But baseball doesn’t want that.”