Philly Media Sports’s (PMS) Weblog

Who Is Rob Brooks and Why He Must Be Fired NOW! (Part 2)

Posted in Uncategorized by phillymediasports on May 28, 2008

I was watching the Phillies-Rockies game tonight (May 28th) when I heard those seven awful words that curdle the stomach:  “Gary Matthews will join us in the third.”

Those seven hideous words made me think of what I’d do as a third base coach signaling Matthews’ turn behind the microphone. I’d take my hands, cover both ears and make a spastic gagging motion, while simultaneously falling face down on the third base bag.  Then I’d roll over and pantomime stabbing myself repeatedly in the chest.  Oh Lordy, three more innings of excruciating Matthews pain coming up. 

Hmmmn.  Let me do the math.  162 games times 3 innings per game at an average time of one hour per three innings = 486 hours of inanity, banality, and the rank idiocy of Matthews’ mutterings over the course of an entire TV broadcast season.  That, Dear Readers, computes to 20 ¼ hours of drivel foisted upon our minds by the raging tinkerer and would-be re-inventor of television baseball broadcasting: Mr. Rob Brooks, Phillies director of broadcasting …. and atrocities against Phillies fans.

As Matthews’ three innings were about to begin, I turned off the TV and busied myself, waiting out the “Sarge” for the next hour or so.  During that time, I wrote this account of a singular, dizzying happening that transpired earlier that day.

My phone rang around noon, the voice identified itself, and for a second my mind went blank.  It was so unexpected and so odd.  You know how it is when you’re stuck inside a fraction of a moment and that moment seems to stretch on into eternity.

The voice asked, “Is this J.J.?” I said, “It is.”  And then the voice announced it was “Rob Brooks calling.”

Whoa!  The man whose job I said should be taken from him – as I wrote in my recent blog posting  (Who is Rob Brooks and Why He Must Be FIRED NOW!)- was calling me.  What was I in for?  I was caught off balance, and immediately went into a psychic crouch, certain I was about to be verbally pummeled.

Well, I was wrong.  Brooks was very much the gentleman throughout the conversation, never raised his voice, and treated me with respect. Then again, he never once questioned his decisions or in any way intimated that maybe, just maybe, I had a point or two. He was completely defensive.

I’d written scathing attacks on how awful the Phils telecasts were/are. I’d gone off on the insipid and incoherent mutterings of Matthews, a Brooks hire, and surely the worst baseball analyst (an oxymoron if there ever was one) in the history of our city, our country, and, probably, the entire planet. 

I’d also written quite harshly about the “cutaways” to Tom McCarthy’s (another Brooks hire) vapid reports during game action, and how those reports intruded on the flow and announcing of the game.  I’d cited, most infamously, a McCarthy interview that not only was vanilla-bland and of no reportorial value, (a silly and empty exchange with Padres broadcaster, Jerry Coleman), but obstructed the call of a game-wining 8th inning home run by Ryan Howard.  (Can you imagine how Harry Kalas would have called it? Can you imagine Harry’s voice rising in excitement as Howard crushed the ball and it went deep into the right field stands? Can you say OUTTA HERE!!!!) But what did we get instead?  McCarthy interrupting his vacuous interview by saying, weakly, something like, “Oh. Ryan Howard hit a home run.”  Well, zowie Rob.  Thanks for “robbing” us of the very reason Phils fans endure Matthews and McCarthy at all.

So we talked about it.  I told Brooks that there was evidence that HE also thought hiring Matthews was a mistake.  My argument was that last year, Matthews’ first, Brooks assigned him to report throughout entire games, whereas this year, he reduced Matthews’ role to three innings. I further said Matthews had not noticeably improved and that he never would.  I went on to say that color analysts either have it or they don’t.  I cited the maiden voyages of the exceptional first-time-in-the-booth work by the likes of Tim McCarver, Doug Collins, Steve Kerr, and Jeff Van Gundy.  These dudes were good from the get.

Brooks countered by alluding to some shenanigans in the three-man booth he created last year.  His implication was that the reason things went so poorly had nothing, or little to do with Matthews.  His inference was that the problem resided with either Harry or Chris Wheeler, or both. Otherwise, Brooks suggested, three-in-the-booth would have worked.

Brooks went on to say that Ron Darling (or “Ronda,” as he called him) was not very good his first year, but had improved so much that now he could do national broadcasts.  Oh well, I suppose that an exception makes the rule.  And besides, that opinion is clearly debatable.

But what finally reveals Brooks to be insubstantial to the task of hiring Phils’ broadcasters, and supervising their workload, was his declaration that Merrill Reese was a poor announcer.  I swear he said that.  Talk about blasphemy. I mean, really, are there any announcers Philly fans cherish more than the wondrous Harry and the incredibly gifted Merrill Reese?  If I needed any further proof that Brooks was incompetent, that was it. 

And so I thank Rob Brooks for the courtesy of his call. I do. In the spirit of cooperation and fellowship, I urge him to consult Craigslist to see what other jobs might be available to him.  For Brooks’ decisions – from Scott Graham to Gary Matthews to Tom McCarthy’s in-game intrusions, to the disjointed pairings of announcers throughout each game – warrant his removal from office.  It’s time for a change. Yes, it is.

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  2. sara said, on June 1, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    That cutaway was the worst and shows the poorest possible judgment. I can’t stand it. Maybe I’ll have to start watching the Mets or something miserable like that.

  3. The Beast of the East said, on June 2, 2008 at 12:10 am

    The only question is this: Is Harry God or is Merrill God? I bet the dude hated Gene Hart too. As the Sixers guy says, “Are you kiddin’ me?”

    By the way, my personal preference is for “literati” over “cognoscenti.” And you, sir, are a member of both tribes–the lits AND the cogs.


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