Wednesday, August 27, 2008

TBG's Sounds of Summer: Colorado Rockies

Game: Cincinnati Reds at Colorado Rockies
Date: August 23
Network: FSN-Rocky Mountain

Play-by-Play: Drew Goodman
Color Commentator: George Frazier
Greater Colorado Payback Sideline Reporter (Yes, he's sponsored): Marc Stout

The Rockies' first regular season game came on April 5, 1993. And, while their opening day lineup is a trivia question unto itself (Joe Girardi was their Opening Day catcher?) the fact that they played the Mets – the 1993 Mets – is what makes this game all the more fascinating. I mean, I know I should be writing about Dante Bichette and Andres Galarraga and David Nied, but I can't turn away from Vince Coleman, Bobby Bonilla and Doc Gooden. Let's split the difference and talk about former Met and '93 Rockie ("Rocky?") Daryl Boston. In their enjoyably mean-spirited and one-sided The Worst Team Money Could Buy, Bob Klapisch & John Harper wrote Boston had the style and grace of a star…at least after the final out. What an epitaph!

Chemistry: Frazier sounds little bit like former ESPN, current XM Radio/Orioles personality Buck Martinez and is surely the cheesiest, most irritating voice a lot of you have never heard. He and Goodman are cut from the exact same corporate cloth – they wear their hard-earned National League Championship rings on camera during the pre-game segment – and therefore OWN this category. The pace of the game was glacial at times, which allowed for Goodman to get a few good shots off. Goodman was lamenting the traffic and secret service teams in town last weekend, when Frazier – in all seriousness – said, "Well, that's for the Democratic National Convention next week." Goodman's sarcastically barbed "thanks" in response was gold. Grade: 7/10

Knowledge: Did you know that Reds 3B Edwin Encarnacion has NOT been helped by the bandbox he plays his home game in? Just ignore his SLG pct. splits, because Goodman and Frazier used home/road batting average and…RBI to show how similarly he hits everywhere! Frazier also let us know that despite OF Matt Holliday's recent struggles, he was going to do well in this game because, in his words, Frazier's got "a feeling". However, one of my highlights of this feature came when Marc Stout COMPARED the "issues" that Reds SP Edinson Volquez overcame with those of the player he was traded for (Josh Hamilton). These "issues" included being told by Rangers' management to cut his hair and wear his uniform "the right way". I re-watched this segment three times to make sure Stout couldn't sue me. Grade: 1/10

Enthusiasm: Goodman and Frazier's love for OF Willy Taveras knows no bounds. Taveras stole a base early on and Frazier actually said that Taveras can anticipate where the throw will be and slide around it. Please. Their rah-rah schtick is probably needed in a town that primarily bleeds Broncos, uhh…whatever the hell their colors are this season (mauve?) Grade: 7/10

Bar Stool Q: Nope. Grade: 1/10

Camera/Production: In the top of the first, the "Hyundai Cam" (similar to the X-Mo camera used on Angels and Dodgers broadcasts) showed a great replay of Rockies C Yorvit Torrealba getting a foul ball off his…uh, balls – complete with slow motion rippling of the flesh under his jersey. Ouch! In a nice touch on the "scouting report" graphic, a line for the starting pitcher's "out pitch" is included. Along the same lines, a really low-budget looking graphic showed "Where Will He Live" – a breakout of where the pitchers need to throw the ball in the strike zone. For some reason, there was real-time onscreen updating of Ian Stewart's post-All Star Break RBI total throughout the game. Grade: 6/10

Homerism: On a bang-bang play at third, Goodman called Reds 2B Brandon Phillips out before the umpire signaled him safe. This drew dramatic groans from both Goodman and Frazier. On the first two (obstructed) replays, the broadcasters only got more indignant. On the third replay, which clearly showed Phillips WAS safe, Goodman played the "well…it's hard to tell" card. Earlier in the game, a Rockies player was called safe at third when he was clearly out. Goodman just shrugged and said, "Well, if I have a call…I call him safe." Also, memo to both guys: OF Willy Taveras is not "amazing". In fact, he's the triple-f'ing antithesis of the word. Grade: -9.5

Commerciality: This can't be right. During a PSA for manager Clint Hurdle's Wins for Kids charity, Hurdle said that they've raised $90,000 this season. $90,000?! The Rockies have drawn 2,192,974 fans to Coors Field in 2008, which comes out to less than a nickel a fan…and that doesn't include the shut-ins. I'm donating $25 on payday, just so I can say I'm 500 times better than a Rockies fan. Coors Light pollutes the airwaves with their "most refreshing beer" nonsense. Sherbet is "refreshing" guys. Colorado's in-house ad campaign included this terrific spoof on last year's tainted entry into the playoffs.

AFLAC Trivia Question: "Who is the Rockies all-time leader in complete games?" (My answer: Jason Jennings; Correct answer: Pedro Astacio) 10 for 22

Final Grade: 12.5

1 comment:

Brian S. said...

Man, sounds like you picked a bad one. Drew is usually pretty fair with stuff, but I don't know why they were creaming their shorts over Taveras. The only issue I have with him is much of his home run calls involve the phrase "waaaay baaaack" with the exact same inflection every time, and the use of his continually failed HR call, "take a good look, you won't see it for long!" when the ball is already gone, and he just forces it in there.

Frazier IS supremely obnoxious, though, and has that sort of good-ol'-boy Oklahoma bullshit that irks this Denver city kid to no end. People from the coasts seem to assume that Denver is this white-bred, redneck, backwoods farm town where people ride horses on the streets (basically exactly what Wyoming is), and coupled with local reporter Tracy Ringolsby (never without his goddamn cowboy hat!), it just drives me nuts.

The alternate color guy is Jeff Hewson, who has a completely different, yet equally obnoxious voice. He does a TAD more actual analysis, but they're both pretty much useless.

One funny note: Chazz Palmintieri was in town to promote his one-man "Bronx Tale" show that he was doing, and after calling a home run seconds before it happened, George asked Chazz if he remembered him (from his days with the Yankees), and Chazz took great pains to emphasize that it was right at the time that Chazz was always at Yankee Stadium, but no, he didn't remember him, and George seemed bummed for the rest of the segment.

Those Rockies commercials are really almost unreasonably funny, but I'm glad to say that they finally fired Hurdle.