I have been a big fan of yours for many years. I appreciate what you've done with the Phoenix Suns over the years and you've obviously done masterful things with the world champion Arizona Diamondbacks, a delightful collection of unselfish athletes, each of whom who will do whatever it takes to help the team succeed. Because you have provided an average sports fan such as myself so many wonderful moments, I would like to repay the kindness and offer my services.
I am hereby offering to serve as the sidekick/analyst on the radio and TV broadcasts of any and all future Diamondbacks games. I can start immediately. I know what you're thinking; we've already got one of those and his name is Rod Allen. But, Mr. Colangelo, I've just always assumed that you've been so busy building that Empire in the Desert that you can't possibly oversee every aspect of your operation.
It's quite obvious, for example, that you haven't had the time to listen to Mr. Allen talk. If you had, you would have cut him off faster than Bruno Kirby did when Robin Williams was doing that off-color Nixon thing in Good Morning, Vietnam.
You're probably wondering why you would want to trade Allen for me. After all, he did play pro baseball. Yes, but he played for the Detroit Tigers. I played for the Cochise College Apaches. That makes the two of us about even. And I also have athletic kids that I could use precious air time to brag about instead of focusing on the game. However, I can offer you one thing that Allen apparently cannot.
I speak English.
Well, maybe not English English, but I at least speak American English. That puts me several laps ahead of Allen.
I'm one of those guys who grew up listening to ballgames on the radio. Having grown up in Southern California, I was blessed to have the late Chick Hearn doing Laker games and the God-like Vin Scully doing the Dodgers. While Hearn's frenetic pace and emotions-on-his-sleeve approach was perfect for an up-tempo sport like basketball, so too was Scully's smooth-as-butterscotch voice and folksy charm perfect for the laid-back game of baseball.
How many nights did I go to sleep with a transistor radio under my pillow, listening to Scully paint a work of art with his voice? (And back then, transistor radios were about the size of today's microwave ovens, so you can say that radio made an impression on me, not to mention my posture.)
Scully's delivery was perfect. Not once in all those years did I ever feel that he was talking too much. No one would have blamed him if he had fallen in love with the sound of his own voice. Heck, everybody else loved it. Instead, he was spare with his words and he kept his emotions in check so that if he did marvel at a play, we all knew that it truly had to have been something at which to marvel.
Kids used to gather at the playground to discuss the highlights of the previous night's game and, more often than not, to discuss and recount Scully's descriptions thereof. I have no doubt that this ritual was repeated in many other parts of the country, with many wonderful announcers, including Detroit's Ernie Harwell and the late Jack Buck in St. Louis.
I am part of that generation that has seen both sides of baseball. We worshiped it as children and then we didn't so much drift away as we were pushed away by greedy players and short-sighted owners. To this day, we can't quite get it out of our systems, despite the pettiness and ugliness that defines today's game. I can't help it; when I get in my car on a hot summer night, I tune to a ballgame, settle in for the trip and then scream myself hoarse every time Rod Allen opens his yap and butchers the language.
Now, I know that there is only one Vin Scully. But this guy isn't even Vin Diesel! (Or Vinnie Barbarino, for that matter.) It would at least be nice if you had someone on the radio who didn't speak as though he barely got his G.E.D. and then, when he talks about it, does so in such a way that it rhymes with "bed."
In just part of one game last week, Allen uttered all of the following (and more):
"He shoulda went back to first."
"Boy, when we went to that restaurant last night, they really treated you and I really well."
"That pitch really sunk."
"Gonzales had came up on the ball ... "
"If the Braves hadn't did that double play ... "
He brags about how his kid plays on some best-that-money-can-buy "All-Star" traveling team, like anybody actually gives a crap. Even more annoying is his insistence on referring to Erubiel Durazo as "Ruby." Durazo has always been known as "Eru" (pronounced Eh-doo). That's what Durazo was called at Amphi High, at Pima College and when he played in Hermosillo. But Allen insists on calling him "Ruby." Why not call him "Nancy?" Or "Shoulda went?"
You might think that this could be touchy, since Allen is one of a dozen or so African-Americans who actually live in the Valley of the Sun. But race has nothing to do with this; being functionally illiterate does. And don't let him plead ebonics, either. As it turns out, the whole ebonics thing was just a college prank perpetrated by the staff at the Harvard Lampoon and then picked up by the idiotic media.
I'm your man, Mr. Colangelo. I know the game; I know the fans; and I know the language. Of course, this may all be moot if baseball commits mass suicide in the next few days. Then, I'll move on to football, you can get to work fixing the Suns and Rod Allen can sit around muttering, "Boy, they never should have went on strike."