Saturday, June 03, 2006

Hey bladder, bladder, bladder

People often ask me -- as well they should -- why I waste so, so much damn time on baseball. There are a lot of reasons that I love the game, but perhaps the biggest single attraction to me is a two-part thing: (1) the fact that they play nearly every day for over six months (and in Chicago, we're lucky enough to have two teams, so that's .. well, 162 times uhh you do the math) and (2) I enjoy the broadcasters. Bouncing around spasmodically, as I do, between radio and TV, and between the Cubs and the Sox, day after day, from April through October, and being a hopeless mass-media nerd ... geh, well, you either get what I mean by now, or you don't.

I love the game a lot, but ultimately the game is kind of an excuse for the real party: the radio and TV shows. And often the best part of the broadcast shenaniganery -- especially in a city known for perennially horrible clubs -- has nothing to do with baseball, or sports, or anything other than goofy middle-aged men filling air time.

I was first hooked sometime in the late 1970s, when Harry Caray and Jimmy "I'm Not Crazy (Yes He Is)" Piersall were announcing White Sox games on WSNS-TV 44 during the pitiful but colorful Bill Veeck era. Harry was not yet the cuddly archetype of senile dementia he was during his long tenure at WGN for the Cubs. No, he was still bitter and angry about being fired by the Cardinals for sleeping with the wrong man's (aka the boss's) wife (and how much I would give to hear some clips of Harry touting Griesedieck beer on KMOX ... OK, I wouldn't pay money, but I'd enjoy hearing it). As a kid at the time, I thought of him as a guy who was like the kind of drunken uncle who might threaten to backhand you if you got smartassy, but he'd also sneak you a can of Bud when your parents weren't looking and teach you a few dirty jokes. And Jimmy Piersall was ... Jimmy Piersall. In. Sane. Koo. Koo. By the time Piersall was suspended for calling the players' wives "horny broads," I was hooked, indeed.

These days, I generally prefer the radio teams for both clubs, but tonight the Cubs TV play-by-play guy, Len Kasper, in his second year in the job, scored some big points with me.

In the top of the 14th inning of what turned out to be a Cubs victory over the Cardinals in St. Louis, Kasper nearly made me fall off the couch with a reference to one of my favorite subjects in any context: peeing.

"I just want to mention that this game is approaching the five-hour mark," he said, "and I have not yet left this booth to ... do ... you know what. And you know me: I drink half a bottle of water, and it's all over."

Bravo, Mr. Kasper. It's not like you said "Dusty Baker is an aficionado of squatting nude with a wide open mouth on the receiving end of day-long sessions of gay Japanese bukkake." But at least I no longer think you suck.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Today he's talkin' peein'; tomorrow it'l l be Chicago Steamers.
Gotta love a sportscaster without inhibitions.