Wednesday , July 18 2018
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What of it? Welch, Layne and Pierce on baseball when it counts.

Yes, I’m a Fair-Weather Fan

With the Angels taking a commanding lead over the Twinkies of 3-1 in the ALCS, I have easily slipped back into my ancestral Angel-backing, dormant since the Great Collapse of ’86.

Though I’m still a Chuck Finley man, I would love to see an all-Cal World Series with the Giants and Angels trading blows for the ring. With or without chemical enhancement, Barry Bonds just looks awesome, and there is no way you can ignore his last two seasons: two of the greatest in Major League history. My estimation of him personally went up several notches yesterday, when after yanking a game-tying three-run bomb into the Bay, he planted a big juicy kiss on his batboy/son right at home plate: surly he was not.

Where do we turn for insight on the long-suffering OC heroes? To some great SoCal bloggers of course. Matt Welch gives us a slice of Angels history:

    Now that some of you have become at least temporary Angels fans, it behooves me to spread a little of the team’s trivial history. For instance, one thing that makes the 2002 team positively jump out, compared to all others, is its absolute lack of an aging, over-the-hill slugger.

    This is a category my team has specialized in since its inception in 1961, when 36-year-old Ted Kluszewski hit 15 home runs in his final year, and 32-year-old Steve Bilko hit 20 in his second-to-last. In recent seasons, of course, the most notable over-the-hill slugger has been Mo Vaughn (1999-2001). But last year’s team also featured the final pathetic gasp of Glenallen Hill (.136, 1 HR in 66 at-bats), who in turn was trying to fill in for the unspectacular Ron Gant. And before Fat Mo, there was Really Fat Cecil Fielder.

    Many great power hitters who you don’t associate with my team came through town for a cough or two, before sputtering out. One of my very first baseball memories as a kid was watching an obviously creaky Frank Robinson hit a monster home run out near the Big A. Eddie Murray spent most of his final season (1997) flailing in an Angels uniform (.219, 3 HR in 160 AB). Super Daves Winfield and Parker teamed up to do nothing much in 1991. Bobby Bonds (1976-77) had one bad season, one great, and was gone. Dave Kingman and Rickey Henderson each stopped by for about a week.

    Most of this was deliberate (if idiotic) strategy, but sometimes it paid off. Many people thought Reggie Jackson was over the hill when Gene Autry lured him from the Yankees in 1982; instead, he hit 39 home runs, the team came within three innings of the World Series, and got even closer in Jackson’s final year (1986). Most every former Baltimore Oriole we snapped up — Bobby Grich, Don Baylor, Doug DeCinces — developed into legitimate power hitters while wearing Angel uniforms, and helped us to three division titles in eight pretty good years of baseball.

    Still, for every good-hitting Chili Davis or Tony Phillips, there have been a world of aging heroes like Bo Jackson, George Hendrick, Tony Armas, Von Hayes, Ruppert Jones, Alvin Davis and Kelly Gruber, each of whom fizzled out their careers in Anaheim, after starring elsewhere….

Check out the graybeard pitchers he exumes as well.

Ken Layne is happy for his friend Matt:

    Congratulations to our friends in the Twin Cities! The scrappy-ass Twins finished off the Oakland A’s today, meaning the Angels and Twins will meet on Tuesday for the final round of American League playoff games.

    There’s something real nice about having these two teams get so far. The Twins were a summer away from either being sold or suffering the Bud Selig sodomy known as “contraction.” The Angels have suffered more sorrow and shame than any MLB club in America — ask my long-suffering friend Matt Welch, who was so screamed-out last night he could barely speak. (When I used to follow the San Diego Padres, even we had the Angels to kick around.)

Tony Pierce is deeply concerned about Bob Costas:

    I despise Costas because i worry about the kids.

    I don’t want children to see and hear Bob Costas and think that it’s okay to simultaneously nostalgize and sterilize popular sports and culture in such a way that you never want to look at it again for what it is: a child’s game played by immigrants who wouldn’t get a job wiping puke off of porcelain if it wasn’t for an abnormal pituitary gland, or in the case of baseball, defection.

    Bob Costas has taken the lively art of calling a ball game and dragged it into the drab dens of middle america mediocrity. He’s as exciting as an acorn, as spontaneous as a tug boat, as lively as a hang nail. if he were a fish he’d be a white fish. a dead, odorless, forgetable one.

    In a world of 31 flavors Costas asks for vanilla yogurt in a cup.

    He makes Vin Scully sound like John Madden, Oprah sound like Ozzy, he gives milquetoast a bad name, he neither wears boxers or briefs for underneath his clothes are simply wires and switches and tube amps.

    The French laugh at Jerry Lewis and Jerry Lewis laughs at whoever the idiot was who put Costas on tv. I’d call him a demon from hades but evil is usually interesting. he’s an antedote to insomnia and the only cure for the flu because not even a virus can stand to listen to more than a hour of Costas droning on about “The Mick” or Stan “The Man”, they wince like children do when their uncles talk about the war or how Hilburn writes about Bob Dylan.

    you’ll never see Costas sitting in a dunk tank at a fair because real baseball fans would fake throw and bum rush the tank and ruthlessly drown this ill like a frothing dog.

    Bob Costas was raised in the Ozzie and Harriet world of baby booming St. Louis and embodies every sad stereotype therein. My spite only intensifies when I realize that he grew up blessed to listen to the rickety calls of Harry Caray broadcasting for the Cardinals. I bristle because the Good Lord sent down an angel when He gave us all Harry, a man who could drink beer and broadcast a game and it sounded like a real man drinking a beer and calling a game.

    When in St. Louis Harry was hired by Auggie Busch who owned the local brewery famous for Budweiser. Mr. Busch told Harry that he admired his work, that he knew that he was the best baseball announcer in the game, and that all of St. Louis was his and he could work for the Cardinals for as long as he lived as long as he didn’t marry any of his daughters.

    Harry shook the man’s hand and promptly married the youngest and prettiest of Mr. Busch’s three daughters and was immediately fired.

    Would Bob Costas marry anyone’s daughter like that? Don’t hold your breath.

    Harry went on to broadcast all over the midwest, making a home for himself on the South Side of Chicago. Known as the Mayor of Rush Street because he was often spotted drinking with the locals on the popular street known for its taverns.

    “Booze, broads and bullshit. If you got all that, what else do you need?” Harry was once quoted. He lived his word. He was not only the keeper of the flame he was the reason for the fire.

    If the White Sox were playing and Harry was broadcasting for them and the fans were drunk and the game was nearly over and one of the weak hitting infielders popped up to end the inning, you could hear it in his voice. Like a wind-up toy that needed a few turns. “Ahhh, that wouldn’t a been a home run in a telephone booth,” he’d say, uttlerly depressed. A fan at the mic! What a concept.

    Harry Caray is the reason that we sing the 7th Inning stretch at Wrigley Field with the enthusiasm that we do. In the ’80s, in order to garner more revenue, new owner Jerry Reinsdorf told Harry that they were going to put a bunch of Sox games on Pay-Per-View only. Harry said that baseball was meant for the average fan and most average fans couldn’t afford pay per view for everyday baseball games, so he quit and joined the Cubs.

    Would Costas make such a stand? If he did would anyone see him?
    Once I saw a Cubs game where Harry broadcasted the game from the left field bleachers. He brought two ice chests with him. One full of beer and the other full of more beer. He had a paper scorecard and two pencils. Where’s Bob Costas’s two chests of beer?

    Harry had glasses as thick as a steak. He had a tongue the size of texas. His lips were big and he was shorter than you think, and the first time I saw him he had on a checkboard suit with a red dressshirt, white tie, white pants, and white shoes. i said are you heading out anywhere after the game all dressed up like that? he said, son, i’m heading out everywhere all dressed up like this. might even make it to your house if the light’s on.”

    and he laughed and everyone around him laughed and his breath didn’t smell like booze it smelled of life.

    i bet you a million bucks that bob costas’s breath smells like bologna.

    harry handed me back my baseball and it said Holy Cow Harry Caray on it.

    know what it says if you get NBC’s golden boy autograph on your lucky day?

    it says bob.

    but the worst thing that Costas has done, jay, is mess up the bell curve. he has made it okay for announcers to be soulless and bland and average and background filler. fakers like jack buck’s son, and harry’s grandson, step children of milo hamilton have polluted the airwaves with a lust for attention and a fear of life. corporations would never hire a man like Harry Caray when they could put their money on dull and hire a Bob Costas who would never get caught closing down a tavern buying a beer for a cop and chasing it down with a redhead.

    People say that baseball has lost its edge because of spoiled players and high salaries and greedy owners, but i say it’s because the storytellers only want to read from the children’s library and live the lives of elves.

More on Bob the elf and Harry Caray here, his grand softball experience here, and announcer John Miller here. It’s Tony’s time of year.

UPDATE
The Halos take the ALCS in dominant manner, winning 13-5, including a 10-run 7th inning and three home runs by Adam Kennedy. Vicious. The Old Cowboy is smiling up there somewhere.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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