Sunday, May 23, 2010

Exiled in Cardinal Country

Since the move I have found myself enjoying life a heck of a lot more, and working a heck of a lot less. And with all that free time, I have been able to do something that I really haven't had the opportunity to do over the last couple of summers... Watch baseball.

I have been watching at least a game a day for what seems like weeks now, and while that might seem boring to most, it fits perfectly into my new world agenda of laying on the sofa in the evenings and watching television.

Now, as a Cubs fan one might expect most games I watch are of the Chicago National League team, but that really hasn't been the case. We nodded out of our Dish Network renewal when we moved and opted instead for Mediacom, which to those of you who live in Zimbabwe, is a cable television outlet.

Unfortunately for me however, Mediacom doesn't have the Fox Chicago regional channels, nor Comcast which hosts most of the Cubs games. The team Mediacom does feature most is that outfit in St. Louis, and despite my hatred towards the birds in red, it is nonetheless baseball, and my grievances towards Dish Network are such that I am willing to take a splintered baseball bat up the ass so to speak, at least for the duration of this baseball season. I am blessed with ESPN's coverage of baseball, and the occasional Cubs games on WGN. Other than that, it's at least one hated team on television virtually each and everyday. (I have found that it is just as fun to root AGAINST the Cardinals as it is to root FOR the Cubs because lately the Cubs have been just as good as the Cardinals have been bad. The satisfaction is all mine.)

To take the complications in my life even further, I work outside during the day. I mow big grassy fields and I have the luxury of being able to listen through headphones to an old transistor sports radio that I have had for years while I am working. The Cubs play alot of day baseball, which is nice. On a non-windy clear day I can pull 1350 KRNT out of Des Moines and listen to the Cubs broadcast with Pat Hughes and Ronny Santo. But most days in central Iowa are windy and cloudy, so reception isn't always there when I want it. There are several other stations close to 1350 on the dial that have a stronger signal that jam up the short term frequency of my non-digital sports radio. One of the stations that makes for a lot of interference into my baseball utopia is the local station KCOB, which lies at 1280 on the dial. It's a double whammy because when KCOB isn't playing cheesy country ballads that make me throw up in my mouth, they are playing... You guessed it... Cardinals baseball.

But my love for the game persists. Baseball is in it's purest form when it's broadcast on the radio, and despite the fact that John Rooney and Mike Shannon are complete buffoons, the Cardinals broadcast IS a step better than the suicide driving country music that the station normally plays. Let me elaborate for a minute... Ken Harrelson, who broadcasts television games for the Chicago White Sox is the absolute worst television baseball announcer in MLB history... Even worse than those tools who do the Fox coverage, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Harrelson's quirky little sayings and his personal politics are very unwelcome to a baseball broadcast and never mind the fact that he is a complete idiot, who inserts his foot into his mouth at least once a week during the long baseball season. Without the addition of Steve Stone in the booth, an announcer that actually has a brain, Harrelson would shrivel up like a dandelion shot with Round-Up during each broadcast, eventually spontaneously combusting into a stuttering cloud of incomprehensible smoke. His backwoods and hickish demeanor actually taints the splendor of baseball, and brings to MLB what Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders bring to the NFL.

Now if you are wondering where I am going with this, here comes my point. Mike Shannon and John Rooney are the two most boring and incompetent baseball announcers to ever do a radio broadcast, and they together are like Ken Harrelson times two. They remind me of a couple of old men telling fishing stories... Long drawn out yarns of the ones that got away, though done in a steady monotone that fails to excite, or to keep the listener from um... Listening. I find myself spacing off whenever these idiots are on, to a point that I forget that I am even listening to a baseball game. you NEVER get that with Santo and Hughes... The story they tell is full of wonder, vibrant colors and excitement. I am seriously shocked that Cardinal Nation hasn't revolted and lobbied to get these two morons out of the radio booth.

But yeah... I'm looking forward to summer and enjoying the national pastime. Baseball is as pure as it gets for entertainment, and never has a more perfect game been played. As a Cubs fan who is truly kept in exile, I am lobbying to you Cardinals fans to take the first step towards the revolt I spoke of and get somebody with a brain into the radio broadcast booth. If you don't have the common sense or the decency to do it for yourselves, please do it for me... And meanwhile I will be using the Mute button when the Buck McCarver sideshow is on.



Len Cleavelin said...

I am seriously shocked that Cardinal Nation hasn't revolted and lobbied to get these two morons out of the radio booth.

About Rooney I have nothing to say pro or con, he's just sort of white noise. But re: "Moonman", exhibit A for the defense:

Mike Shannon

Note that there are three lines that should jump out at you on that player card: 1964, 1967, 1968.

Moonman helped us win two World Series trophies and a three NL championship trophies.

We citizens of Cardinal Nation will forgive him a lot for that. :-)


gooseneck said...

I totally understand how Cardinal fans would look at Moondog's accomplishments as a player and tolerate his presence in the booth. (Some could make the same argument for Ron Santo, that he doesn't quite have what it takes to broadcast baseball games... I am not one of them) On the other hand, surely somebody else could step in... Jack Clark, The Mad Hungarian, Ozzie Smith despite his disdain for LaRussa, even Dal Maxville... Just a thought. I need to keep awake out there when I'm sitting atop my Kubota.

I do realize however that the cardinals aren't likely to make a move any time soon, especially to appease a Cubs fan... Alas.

Cheers to you too, Len.

Len Cleavelin said...

The Mad Hungarian does do the analysis on the Fox Sports Midwest cable TV broadcasts of Cardinals games. And actually, he's pretty damn good at it.

But you've gotta love a man whose greatest ambition as a player was to receive a standing boo in a road game. :)