Sunday, July 15, 2007

Dave and Glenn, Day 4

Glenn is subdued. Dave as well. Glenn cannot get away from the note cards.

What I have learned so far:

The Blue Jays' pitcher spells his name Litsch.

Dave likes "The Tale of The Tape" for home runs. Glenn doesn't. Or, wait a minute, he does, but only would if there is consistency in measuring it between ballparks. The matter is closed. Two minutes later, Glenn says, to sum it all up, I would like it if there was consistency between the parks.

Also, I learned during that exchange that The Tale Of The Tape is like eating a hot dog, since according to Glenn, you like it, but don't want to see how they came up with it. Folks, I am not making this up....

Dave likes The Police, and thinks its members are good musicians. The Police is (are?) not Glenn's cup of tea, although Glenn's wife likes the Police. I'm dying to know what bands Glenn fancies, but I'm guessing he's not into death metal.

Glenn thinks the word "bat-boyed" is a verb, as in "Litsch bat-boyed for the Devil Rays just 4 years ago". Dave, to his credit, says, "Is bat-boyed a word?" Glenn assures him it is. I doubt it.

I also learned a whole lot about whatever is written on Glenn's notecards.

Dave announces the sell out at Fenway and has a call-back to Geffner's brave prediction of same on Friday night. (see this post)

God, this is brutal.



soxdownunder said...

I had not listened to the radio call over the last few days as by some miracle my internet was fast enough to pick up the streamed MLBTV coverage (which was NESN and therefore pretty good). So I went back and listened to a bit of the Obie & Glen show. What a catastrophe - I think Obie sucks almost as much as Geffner - it is such saccharine, asinine, predictable crap. The sort of stuff that one can, if one chooses, hear on Fox and ESPN.

And this, you say, is to be the future of radio broadcasts for the Boston Red Sox. It is amateur hour and truly a disgrace. It makes me so angry that pure nepotism can lead to this situation - that the fans have no say.

Keep up the good work Lou. Remember the little train chuggin up the hill - I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Sorry I missed you on the 4th. Also thought of you on "Maine Day" at the Pahk.


soxdownunder said...

I should go on (why not?) and say that this appalling new regime will actually lose revenue for the Red Sox. As the world becomes smaller with the interwebs (R), people like me will cotton on to what a wonderful thing MLB really is and they will start supporting teams from afar, buying t-shirts and caps and so on. If the broadcasts are interesting, put things in historical contexts, are funny and so on, those new consumers are far more likely to support the relevant team. In San Diego recently I listened to the local broadcasts on my 40 minute taxi rides north after two games: I don't know who the callers were but they were excellent. They didn't make you gnash your teeth and want to turn off. Obie and Glen don't have it. Jo & Jerry had it in spades.

Perhpas this revenue argument is something that the owners of the Red Sox will actually fathom - plainly, it means nothing to them that so many fans are disappointed, cranky and disillusioned.


Anonymous said...

I found your blog researching an article I'm working on about Red Sox announcers, and have found it pretty entertaining. I've got to say, however, that although the Glen Geffner bashing rings true, and I will write about that too, my experience is Dave O'Brien has become quite popular with Red Sox Nation. In conversations I've had with fans who pay attention to the radio and TV talent, the overwhelming consensus is "Obie", (as you and his partner Joe Castiglione refer to him) has been a big hit. David Scott's report, dozens of bloggers, and scores of fans who have offered an opinion - as well as several newspaper critics - would appear to put you in the extreme minority.
Do you think you could be wrong about Obie? I've seen you refer to his strong voice as if that were a negative. This makes no sense to me: on radio, you want a guy with great pipes, a strong delivery,
a clear, distinct tone, an ability to cut through. His description of the game, which you never mention, is top-notch. O'Brien provides far richer detail than most announcers ("a line drive foul, driven over the Sox' dug-out to the right and into the boxes", or "Manny takes a 3-step lead off first, both hands on his knees", or "a 93 MPH fastball right over the shoelaces for ball two.") A grateful blind caller on WEEI recently called O'Brien's addition to the booth a "gift from above" for a fan who must rely on the announcer's words to paint the picture for him. High praise indeed.
Even the acerbic hosts on that station, who generally dislike Geffner, have been enthusiastic in their support of Dave's work, and seem to laud his style. Often they'll praise exactly the item you (oddly) choose to slam - the power of his voice. One blogger wrote: "O'Brien's voice is like a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter's day." Soothing, pleasant. His voice is generally regarded as one of the best in sports announcing, with an exceptional timber. He has a wonderful sense of the moment, and builds drama with the best of them.
O'Brien is obviously a Red Sox supporter - he, like us, has been coming to Fenway forever -but several times this season I've heard him point out when a bad call went Boston's way, or question why Lugo hasn't be benched for a stretch, or if a poor base-running decision was made by a Sox runner. He's not a blind homer with disregard for the truth, but rather fair and honest.
Sox fans I know seem to embrace the idea that, after many years without, they now have a genuine star in the radio booth. What you seem to have forgotten, or won't detail for some reason, is that a large part of O'Brien's career has been on radio, not television. His roots are there, not on TV.
Could you also be unfair about this: the voices around him are not nearly as strong, i.e. Joe and Glen. Why would you bash O'Brien's for being superb? Maybe that's the place to examine if it sounds "out of whack" to you, but to blame Dave sounds ill-conceived.
The sense is that Joe and Dave have developed a strong chemistry in a relatively short period of time, and you seem to agree - for the most part. I sense you still wonder why the Red Sox fired Jerry Trupiano, an announcer you apparently liked a great deal. I can clear these items up for you, if you like.
First: Jerry was fired because they didn't think he was that good. Period. Although Trupiano was in the booth a long time (14 seasons), he was never considered in the elite class of announcer the new Sox ownership felt they deserved, and was on thin ice for several years (Geffner is a temporary solution, not permanent). Trupe was a decent #2 talent, perhaps. But he was fortunate to have stayed so long. Eventually, the people who call the shots had a chance to get better. It wasn't because of the misses on home run calls, either (though I found "Waaaay back!!" as annoying as any Red Sox fan).
The powers in radio and the front office also felt that in O'Brien they had an outstanding national-level talent with Boston roots who was returning to the area anyway, and they snatched him up for however many games he could do. In Year One.
In all probability, Dave will be around for years and years, working with Joe for a long time to come, as a two-man booth, beginning in 2008. I have that on strong authority. That was the plan before this season, and O'Brien's popularity has only strengthened the resolve of those in charge. David Scott's obsvervation on this topic is quite accurate.
A few times you've seemed confused - or drawn what I believe is an incorrect conclusion - when discussing the air time of the talent. It has long been true of radio play by play guys that when one is "calling" his innings, his partner rarely ventures in. This was true of Trupiano and Joe, though far less true of Joe and Obie,( who most observers believe has re-charged Castiglione ). It is radio protocol at work. If one of them seems "missing" for a time, that's the reason - not that they don't get along, or have an ulterior motive. TV is different - the pictures tell the story. In television, one voice isn't required to provide every moment of the play by play. They are both - as is the case with Don and Jerry Remy - commentators on the play. A much different dynamic exists between radio play by play men, I'm sure you'd agree.
I'm certain you've seen the reaction to O'Brien's radio work on blogs everywhere - "outstanding", "excellent", "awesome" are typical responses. No announcer - particularly here, and especially one following a guy who'd been in the chair 14 years - can expect universal love. But "Obie" is pretty close. I would expect a handful of your personal pals, like "soxdownunder", to side with you.
Anyway, thanks for the time. Perhaps these notes will cause you to rethink your opinion. It was just interesting to see a fellow Red Sox fan with such drastically different views from the majority of us in "The Nation." My educated guess is Dave O'Brien will be on your radio a long time, and Glen Geffner will not.

LC said...

Anonymous (if that really is your name). Thanks for the thoughtful post. You make some great points, and I trust that your insight is accurate: "In all probability, Dave will be around for years and years, working with Joe for a long time to come, as a two-man booth, beginning in 2008. I have that on strong authority."

In truth, I have warmed to O'Brien, and believe in time he will be just fine. My basic criticism is that his modulation is TV-friendly, not as well-suited for the intimacy of radio, but he will get better. The observation of the blind listener is very interesting, but I think it proves my point; namely that the description swallows up the media. But, your mileage may vary...

In all, O'Brien will be great and I do think he has raised Joe C's game this year. Joe and Jerry were just a little too comfortable with one another.

Part of this blog is, for lack of a better word, satire: painting in broad strokes to make a point. Thus, the seeming prayer at the Temple of Trupiano (1977 hockey clip, talking beer opener). In fact, I thought Jerry was a bit of a hack, but I am a loyal guy and did not think he was treated well when kicked to the curb for the likes of Geffner (even as a stop-gap). Maybe you didn't dig deep enough in the archives (after all, why would anybody?), for here is what I said about Jerry when I set out on this journey:

/begin quote/
Radio play-by-play is key to the mind-bending succubus that is baseball in my life. Having grown up listening to Curt Gowdy, Mel Parnell, Ned Martin, I was hooked. Now, I didn't say I liked all the announcers, but they told the story to me day after day [Have a 'Ganssett], even when the RS were bleak. Now, we have a new team that, on first blush appears to be soulless and dull. Frankly, I hope they prove me wrong. But, from the time it was announced that the San Diego announcer boy was being brought by Lucchino to work in RS administration, you knew that it was curtains for Jerry Trupiano. Then, around the time that Mothra was signed, a couple of days before Christmas 2006, the hammer dropped. Was I a big Trup fan? not especially. Did I get sick of his story about being a neighbor of RJohnson in Montreal? Probably. But the dude had stories and a fresh way of looking at things, especially useful in a 9-2 snoozefest on a July evening. And when the game was close, he could call it strong. I even grew to relish the WayBack call, however contrived it seemed initially. He understood National League baseball, something all of us RS fans are a bit light on. I think we will learn that he actually made JoeC more interesting, but time will tell.

I hope I am wrong, but I'll be listening.
/end quote/

So, in (not so) short, I hope I have been consistent. In any case, I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts. If you would email me, I'd be very interested to continue this discussion, should you choose to be (as I am) anonymous.