posted: Oct. 24, 2005  |  Feedback

Some funny moments from the first two games of the World Series, including ...

• The McCarver/Buck exchange right before Podsednik's walkoff homer Sunday night, which definitely goes down in the pantheon of Eerie Broadcaster Moments. Buck said something like "Do you think Lidge still has the taste of that Pujols homer in his mouth?" -- quickly followed by McCarver saying, "I don't think that taste is there." Within like 0.000000000045 seconds, Podsednik was slamming the game-winner. I don't think everyone else combined in the history of sports broadcasting has jinxed as many pitchers as Buck and McCarver over the last few years. It's unreal. The 1965 version of Sandy Koufax couldn't pitch a no-hitter against the team from "A League of Their Own" with Buck and McCarver announcing.

(The big question: Does this dynamic transfer to other sports? What would have happened if the announcers yesterday's Giants-Broncos game and McCarver said something nice about Eli Manning right before the final play?)

• Jeff Bagwell getting the charity start in Game 1, with predictable results. Vaguely reminscent of McNamara leaving Buckner out for the 10th at Shea because he wanted him to celebrate with the other guys when they won. That was a nice gesture, too.

• Jeanne Zelasko wearing one of Michael Irvin's mink coats from the 1992 Cowboys season in last night's pregame show. Fox should have her wear theme outfits for every game. Like, for Game 3, she could be dressed up as a Vegas showgirl. For Game 4, she could be a hippie war protester from the late '60s. And so on. These are the things that would happen if I were running my own network.

• Aaron Rowand's ecstatic dugout celebrations ... highest of high comedy. I wish we could hire this guy for personal appearances; I want him in the house for the first time my daughter says "Da-da," or even for when I beat the Colts in "Madden." He's like a cross between Mark Madsen, Jack Haley and every sidekick in Cobra Kai, only he actually starts for them, plays center and has an impact on games. This is really uncharted waters.

• The awkward cut to "Prison Break" star Stacy Keach in the stands during the sixth inning ... it's almost like Fox is trying to parody itself at this point. I don't even think ESPN would do something like that. Seriously, can you imagine Mike Patrick pointing out Michael Madsen and the stars from "Tilt" in the stands during a Sunday Night Football game as Paul Maguire chimed in, "I'm gonna tell you something right now, that's a good TV show!"

(Wait, don't answer that.)

• Me TiVo-ing Game 1 so I could try out the new "Warriors" video game -- which is absolutely jaw-dropping, by the way -- and being unable to figure out how to get Rembrandt beyond the opening stage where you learn how to beat guys up. I mean, I'm all for beating guys up, and it certainly makes me feel better, but is there a way out of this stage? I'm a pretty smart guy -- if I can't figure it out, how will anyone else figure it out?

(And by the way, if I ever get divorced, don't think the Sports Gal's deposition won't include the sentence, "October 21st ... he claimed he had to watch the World Series for work on a Saturday night, then I caught him playing a video game in which he was beating the hell out of gang members, then he became belligerent when I told him that he was too old to be playing a game like this.")

• Every big Paul Konerko moment, as his winter pricetag continues to rise, as does the inevitability that he'll be hitting .224 for the Angels next June as announcers say things like, "Here comes Paul Konerko, last year's World Series hero ... just hasn't been able to get it going this year ... the Angels would LOVE to see him get it going ..."

(And if he's batting .224 on the Red Sox next June, I'm going to jam a kabob skewer into my own throat.)

• The non-controversy of Jermaine Dye's 3-and-2 HBP which may or may not have hit his bat, immediately followed by a truly fantastic baseball moment -- Konerko's grand slam -- followed by Buck immediately calling it a controversy (umm, can I enjoy the grand slam replays?) and 400 replays of the last Dye pitch. OK, this wasn't funny. Not at all. But does everything have to be a controversy? Who's to say Dye wouldn't have walked on the next pitch? Wasn't the story there how Houston switched pitchers in the biggest moment of the game -- against the only legitimately dangerous hitter on the White Sox -- and brought in a guy who immediately gave up a grand slam? No second-guessing at all there?

• Speaking of announcers noticing things, I was on the phone with my buddy Gus during the top of the ninth, when the Astros rallied for two to tie the game. Before Jose Vizcaino came up to pinch-hit, Gus points out that we were in "Jose Vizcaino territory" and adds, "Remember, he had the big hit in Game 1 of the 2000 World Series against the Mets." Well, that's a significant piece of information -- you would think that this would come up at some point during the at-bat, with video cued and everything. Nope. So Vizcaino singles to tie the game, and about 3-4 minutes later, McCarver makes the Vizcaino/2000 connection. Interesting.

• Speaking of buddies noticing relevant things, my buddy Sal noticed something during the ALCS: The Astros don't have a single African-American player on their playoff roster. Not a one. The lesson, as always: Roger Clemens hates blacks. (I'm just kidding. He doesn't hate blacks. Just looked funny in print.) But that is pretty strange. All white guys and Latin players? I'm dying for Buck to read a graphic like, "Time for today's Old Spice Fact of the Day: The last team to win a World Series without any African-American players was the 1949 New York Yankees."

• Has there been a sports-related commercial that provoked more barbs and sarcastic comments in the last 25 years than A-Rod and Vlad having that HR contest for Pepsi? I giggle every time it comes on -- the only thing it's missing is a scoreboard that has A-Rod's team up by eight runs.

• I can't decide whether Clemens's Exit Stage Right after two innings of Game 1 counts in his historic resume of coming up short in big games ... after age 40, isn't he playing with house money at this point? With that said, I enjoyed it immensely. I wish you could wager on things like "Clemens will not make it past the fifth inning." Oh, wait, you can. (Nodding happily.)

• Just throwing it out there to sidetrack the Baseball Crank's day, but after Brad Lidge's second demoralizing walkoff homer, is there any way to figure out the ratio of "Closer eventually bouncing back and becoming effective again" to "Closer who was never the same"? For instance, Calvin Schiraldi was probably the best pitching prospect in the Boston farm system before the '86 playoffs -- look at his regular-season stats in 1986 compared to everything that followed in his career. And what about Byung Hyun-Kim, Donnie Moore, Mitch Williams, Mark Wohlers, Tom Niedenfuer ... really, the only guy I can remember who kept chugging along was Dennis Eckersley after the '88 World Series. Anyway, let's see what the Crank can dig up on this.

• On an unrelated note, what's happening to Saturday Night Live is almost tragic. This season makes the Charles Rocket season, the Anthony Michael Hall season and the Janeane Garofolo season seem amusing by comparison. Remember the days when the sketches were funny, cast members could pull of celebrity impressions and the Weekend Update hosts didn't laugh hysterically at their own jokes? It's like Lorne Michaels went back and studied every mistake with every bad SNL season, then incorporated it into this season of shows.

Way too many cast members (check) ... cast members breaking up during sketches (check) ... gratuitous celeb cameos for no real reason (check) ... sketches written solely in the hope that they could becoming a running sketch (check) ... Horatio Sanz (check) ... generic political-based openings that seem the same every week (check) ... Weekend Update hosts giggling at their own jokes (check) ... niche cast members with no real star power (check).

Put it this way: I stumbled across Mad TV's parody of "House, MD" on Saturday night ... other than Bill Hader's Pacino impersonation in the first show, that "House" parody was better than anything I've seen on SNL all season. How scary is that? And by the way, I would be 10 times angrier about this SNL thing if it wasn't for TiVo -- you can just easily fly through every bad sketch. For example, it took me about 10 minutes to watch Saturday's show. That's better than 90, I guess.

• Quick reminder about the book tour: Stops in Westwood, Calif. (Borders) on Tuesday and Santa Monica (Sonny McLean's) on Wednesday. Also, if you live in the Boston area and wanted an autographed copy, I signed a bunch of extras at the Downtown Crossing Borders when I had my signing there. Or, you can just wait until mid-December for "East Coast Tour: The Sequel."

More tomorrow.

October 2005