We love our Fightin’ Phils. But here we are in November, with Christmas wrapping paper and candy canes already in stores, and we’re not quite ready to wrap up the season. No, not yet, not for two more games, both ending in “W’s.” But, there’s still plenty of annoying stuff going on.
One Vulgar New Yorker
Unlike many locals, I harbor no particular disgust for New York fandom. Ok, I lied, I despise them just like all of us.
During Game 3 of the World Series, I had great seats, six rows behind the Homie’s dugout. And it was great fun for three innings as the boyz led and Cole Hamels was in control. But then, calamity struck, the Yankees pulled ahead, and all the fun was sucked out of the ball yard.
At the exact time that the Yankees took the lead, I became aware of a horrible-sounding voice behind me. I turned around and saw what I can only describe as a truly ugly man wearing a faded blue ball cap, with white “NY” emnbroidered on it, shouting profanities in the general direction of the Phils dugout, and yucking it up.
Where did he come from? He hadn’t been there before. He was the living, breathing caricature of the prototypical New York fan. Obnoxious with a capital “O.” He was full of himself, loud and vulgar, and was rubbing the Yankees sudden success in our faces. I took it for awhile, but when he began making cell phone calls, bragging that he had “snuck into an empty seat in row 7,” I flipped. I jumped from my seat, found an usher, reported the dude, and within minutes, whimpering like a girlie man, he was removed from the district. See ya,twerp. Buh-bye.
Championship Team, Expansion Team Cheerleading
It all started, I think, with the founding of the American Football League. When the league was formed and had second rate players and third rate stadiums, they introduced the clarion”Charge” call, to alert the unknowing local yokels of when to cheer. Fifty years later, the poison has spread throughout sportsdom like swine flu. Now, scoreboard operators and their staffs have become glorified, cheerleading DJ’s. Where I find this most objectionable is when they find the fans too dumb, or apathetic, at least, to know when to cheer. Scoreboards light up with instructions to “Get Loud,” or “Make Noise.”
It’s the kind of thing you’d expect to find in an expansion town, or at the least, San Diego, but certainly not on the east coast. That’s why I was horrified to see the Citizen’s Bank scoreboard explode with directions to GET LOUD, and to MAKE NOISE at Game 3 of the Series. All the theatrics of modern faux extravaganza’s came into play: flashing lights, changing colors, exploding stars, all urging us, the ignorant masses, to cheer – as if we were too dumb to know, or maybe too passive to care. Insulting, unnecsssary, putrid theatrics, and at the core, disrespectful of the gathered faithful.
I only want two things from scoreboards: easily accessible, useful information, and as many replays as possible. Oh, a third desire is to be entertained before the game with highlight packages and mini-documentaries of great Phillies accomplishments.
Instead, what we get in Philly is a scoreboard whose graphics are poorly designed and inaccessible at a glance. It’s busy, confusing and disconcerting. Where is the pitch count? Oh, now I see it, over there. Where are balls and strikes? Uh oh, no time to look the ball’s in play. There are a lot of lousy graphic designers out there in the world who have no sense of order or proportion, and apparently we’ve got a contingent of them at the Bank.
One More Thing
A lot of fans got to the ball park early. I was with a huge crowd waiting for the gates to open at 5:05 P.M. on Saturday afternoon. For the next two hours, the Phillies Jumbotron featured a swirling mess of incomprehensible activity which, after intense scrutiny, could be deciphered as a kind of space station featuring moving Phillies and Yankees logos. Around and around they moved, over and over again, ad nauseum. I’ve posted a picture. Take a look.
WIP’s Howard Eskin and Ike Reese Show
This is painful. It is not going to last. We were told that Eskin’s ratings had dropped and that he’d need to have a sidekick to bolster his afternoon drive-time standing. And so Reese won the prize. To my way of thinking this was no prize, it was a demotion. After all, Reese had his own show at 7P.M.
So what have we now? A mismatch of sub-epic proportions. Eskin completely dominates Reese making Reese an afterthought to the proceedings. Eskin is all too obvious in his contempt for the situation and, instead of inviting Reese’s participation, ices him out. Reese tries and tries to jump in, kind of like Celine Dion trying to upstage Aretha Franklin, but guess what? It ain’t gonna happen. Not now, not later, not ever.
And worse, in a vainglorious attempt to get his foot in the door of Eskin’s superiority, Reese has rendered himself an idiot. Yesterday, he aimed his full quiver of arrows at Jimmy Rollins, condemning Rollins at length for his poor performance. It was small minded, self aggrandizing, and a pathetic effort to find footing on Eskin’s stage. It was a hollow attempt and it failed. It made Reese all the smaller.
Eskin obviously resents the situation. He sees Reese as an intruder and because of this, Eskin will torpedo the show. This show will not survive. Something must change. But Eskin is too smart and too clever to go down with the ship. I’m betting Eskin has his agent out there right now, scouring TV and radio stations, for a new gig. He surely knows his show is going down and he is going to bail as soon as he can. Vai Sikehema, watch your back.
The Top Nine Most Annoying Philadelphia Sports Personalities
What is it about the number 10? I’m tired of it; it’s so predictable. So, I’m going with my Top Nine Most Annoying Philadelphia Sports Media Personalities.
#1 – Barkann, Michael. Comcast SportsNet
By acclimation, Barkann could sweep all nine spots for himself. No one in the Philadelphia sports media community is more of a huckster, so tirelessly, so aggressively, so LOUDLY in love with his own wonderfulness. Michael B. – The Barkmeister! The Barkenenema! The Barkann’t Stop Talking About Me, Mister! Look at me, look at me, oh please, please, please look at me. Love me. Love me. Love me.
#2 – Fadool, Amy. Comcast SportsNet
OK, camp tryouts are over. She did her best. Fadool tried really, really hard. But if viewers need subtitles to understand her marble-mouthed utterances, and if she mis-speaks on every single broadcast, then it’s time to go. I mean I have seen her stop in mid-sentence –more than once – to try a second time to say what she wanted to say the first time. It’s an insult to sports fans to have to wade through such annoying, incompetent work. One more note about Fadool. She needs to hire a fact checker. On the night of September 3rd, when Ryan Howard drove in his 113th run of the season, Fadool reported he had driven in his ‘112th.’ This kind of error is like a print journalist not using spell-check; there’s no excuse for getting it wrong. That’s just bad work. Fadool needs to leave the yard. She’s gotta be OUTTA HERE!!!!!!!!!
#3 – Matthews, Gary. Comcast SportsNet
How painfully bad is this dude? I’ve chronicled his awful-awful-awful work in other posts. What makes Matthews so horrible, and his horrible work so unforgiveable, is that he doesn’t improve. He wallows in the ooze of the pathetically bad, Ad infinitum. His grasp of the obvious is so strong that he chokes ‘obvious’ to death. Bring in the coroner for “The Sarge.” And, Dear Lord, he never stops talking. He goes on and on and on and on babbling about nothing, tell us nothing, making sense of nothing. And so, I am denied the pleasure of watching the Phillies broadcasts with sound for one-third of every game. I have to ‘mute’ the television for my emotional well-being. But, in the interests of making an up-to-date report, I forced myself to watch the middle-three of last night’s game against the Giants – a Phillies 1-0 victory, a gem of a game pitched by Cole Hamels.
Here are three of Matthews’ more memorably stupid, incomprehensible babblings:
1. On Ryan Howard running the bases: “He should be able to move with his feet.” I suppose moving with your elbows didn’t occur to the Sarge.
2. On the work of shortstops: “Shortstop is the busiest position. You have line drives. You have grounders. You have pop-ups.” Now that’s deep. That’s incisive commentary. That’s analysis of the highest order.
3. On Winning Road Games: “In most cases, it’s always difficult to win on the road.” Golly, I’d sure like to know those cases where it’s sometimes easy to win on the road.
Lastly, I’ve (sadly) memorized a beauty of a Raul Ibanez home run call by Matthews. It went like this: “That’ got a little more distance than it’s goin’.” Just a little more, indeed.
#4 – Gudel, Leslie. Comcast SportsNet
It would seem to me, outsider that I am, that the first rule of broadcasting is to have a pleasing voice. But our Leslie’s voice could make serene the sound of group blackboard scratching by the entire population of South Philadelphia. Turning down the volume doesn’t help, at least not much. If you simply must listen, then it’s crucial to put away your china and glassware.
#5 – Missanelli, Mike. ESPN Radio
He’s our Mikey of Eternal Anger. Missanelli must be so unhappy. Maybe his daddy was mean to him. Missanelli is a tireless bore who, by definition, is totally predictable.The only question is when he’ll get fired. The over/under is six months.
#6 – Charry, Rob. WIP Radio
I just went online to have a first look at this guy. You know how radio personalities never look like you think they will? Well, here’s a notable exception. He looks crazed and upset. Angry Rob is second only to Missanelli because he gets so much less air time. But this dude is perpetually pissed-off, and equally perpetually dull, hollow and humdrum. A nasty man.
That’s it. I’m done. I will not continue my self-flagellation with three more paragraphs. But I will honor my commitment by filling out the roster.
#7 – Kram, Mark. Philadelphia Daily News – Does this man have a pulse?
# 8 – Spadaro, Dave. Eagles Digest – His cloyingly transparent kiss-ass defense of everything Eagles, no matter how smelly rotten it is, would make syrup angry. Have you ever witnessed a more pathetic wannabe jock sniffer? Oh you have?
Well, then, that would be Mr. High School Harry, aka #9 – Clark, John. NBC10-TV
There you have it: the nine most annoying sports personalities in Philly. Bring me some Maalox. Hurry.
P.S. I know. I know. No Eskin. No Cataldi. Cataldi deserves his very own slap-him-upside-the-head page, all by himself. On the other hand, many of you love to hate Eskin. I understand. His arrogance, his condescending in your face superior mien, is hard to take. No, it’s often impossible to take. But compare him to the other radio sports talkers, and I think you must agree: no one gets more scoops, no one gets better guests, no one does better interviews, no one goes into the clubhouses and locker rooms, no one does his homework like H. Eskin. Irascible Howie delivers the goods.