It’s that time of year again, when Jim Cheney–aka Mr. Blogtober–visits BC Beat to share his insights on the World Series…
When the Cubs and the Yankees got knocked out of World Series contention, the Fox Sports Syncretic Religion department hastily recalled their field team from Cuba. It seemed as though the pagan rituals didn’t work, and no amount of bled-out chickens would alter the network’s fate.
In fact, no amount of blended spirituality would help guide their broadcast dreams to an epic match-up of baseball’s Evil Empire taking on the game’s perennial, yet lovable, losers.
No, this year was destined to belong to another pair of teams, but maybe one of the deities on the Fox payroll came through. To the joy of the national ad sales department, the Boston Red Sox hit and hurled their way into the Fall Classic, sparing the country the perceived indignity, and sub-par ratings, of a Cleveland-Colorado showdown. Red Sox Nation would be sure to deliver loads of viewers with thick wallets and a taste for consumer goods.
As has become the tradition, the World Series broadcast began last night with a melodramatic montage, setting the proper tone to climb into the heads and hearts of viewers. (Only Fox could meld ancient Greece and the hula hoop into a semi-coherent presentation. God Bless America!)
But the National Anthem did this far more effectively. Introduced as “the epitome of our culture,” composer John Williams conducted some section of the Boston Pops through an original arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner. Just as they were building to the climax, I half expected, and frankly hoped, to see Darth Vader and a few Nazis chasing a dinosaur around the infield.
Regrettably, no such luck.
Possible late-night talk show host Joe Buck and his partner, Clairol spokesmodel Tim McCarver, took up their now familiar position as our heroic broadcast team. As a fairly steady rain fell, Joe and Tim made little mention of it until the middle of the third inning, upon the first display of the Fox branded segment “sounds of the game.” David Mellor, head groundskeeper at Fenway Park and a man who could have been an inspiration to Sid and Marty Krofft, delivered the forecast to umpiring crew chief and Game One plate ‘tender Ed Montague. According to the one-time Mayor of Living Island, the rain would continue to get heavier, but Witchiepoo was not expected to make a grab for Freddie the Flute.
Despite the predictions, the rain relented. Through the first four innings, there was, thankfully, enough quality baseball for the loquacious duo to keep it to the on-field action. No shots of “Bones” eating nachos, no pics of Paula Abdul sitting under a network-issue poncho–just good old fashioned baseball talk. With the Sox carrying a five run lead into the fifth, though, the chatter began to lead off the field and into…possibilities, and a promise to be delivered on a mass scale.
In what has the potential to be the most notorious mass consumption since Jonestown, should a player on either team, at any point during the series, steal a base, Taco Bell has pledged to give every American a free taco. When Sox speedster Jacoby Ellsbury took a lead at first, Joe made note of the offer, at which point the booth mics seemed to pick up the faint, but still detectable sound of McCarver salivating.
I’m sure Joe’s lush baritone has been thought of in many ways, but Pavlov’s bell can’t be one of them. Alas, Poor Tim, I knew him to love tacos–but he was destined to be disappointed as the Sox used the remainder of the inning to run up the score into double digits, rendering the game virtually unwatchable for all but the Boston faithful.
By 11:05 PM, the Red Sox were kind enough to make a decision for me. Their insurmountable 12-un lead made me yearn for my all-too mountable bed. I knew Joey and Timmy would chatter on into the night, sure to dispense healthy doses of two-bagger wisdom, but there are to be at least three more games of this.
To use a cliché favored by baseballers everywhere, the World Series, especially one appearing to be of limited competition, is something more of a marathon then a sprint. As such, I feel as though I will need my rest, and maybe a couple of tacos.
Better known as Mr. Blogtober, Jim Cheney is a failed jazz musician who likes to write. The author of the TV-sports column “Idiot Box” in the now-defunct New York Sports Express, Cheney works in an industry with little or nothing to do with either sports or television.