Chili for Breakfast?

I live in Chicago’s Southside neighborhood of Bridgeport.  We’re
famous for being a pleasant,  working class area made up of cops,
Mayor Daleys, Italians, Mexicans, Chinese and one Cardinal fan. 
We don’t get a lot of press or recognition because we’re a quiet folk
who routinely go to work, pay our taxes and get raped by our government
because our leaders won’t make universal healthcare a top
priority.  We do this because we have to, not because we love to.  But despite the hardships, we tend to be quiet about them and
take joy in a simple stroll through the park or taking in a baseball
game.  We don’t riot in the streets; we write our Congressman Dan Lipinski (who doesn’t really get
us because he’s Polish and they mostly live west of us).  So
that’s Bridgeport.  Imagine how exciting it is when we hear public
figures praise us for our work ethic, good manners and fantastic
restaurants.

stoney2.jpgThis afternoon during the AM 670 broadcast of the White Sox victory
over the A’s, Steve Stone (one of Chicago’s finest) raved about a
Bridgeport restaurant called Ramova’s Grill
My ears perked up and a smile cracked as Stoney’s caramel voice spoke
unyielding devotion to this Southside gem.  He told Ed Farmer that
he went to Ramova’s for breakfast this morning and was tempted to order
the most famous dish on the menu: Ramova’s Chili. 

ramovaschili.jpg

This would’ve been a good time for Stoney to go on to a different
subject — like the hit and run or the squeeze play or Ed’s favorite Chicago
restaurant… anything would have been better than chili for breakfast because we were
all thinking what Stoney said next:

(Paraphrasing)
“I figured you and the guys would have a real hard time sitting next to
me in the booth and then on the flight to Baltimore if I had ordered
the chili.  Whew.  Wow.  No, that… if I would’ve
ordered the chili
, whew…”

No matter how old I get or how much wiser I may become, fart-jokes will always be funny.

But some broadcasters wouldn’t be able to deliver this type of bathroom
humor, or any humor at all for that matter, and get away with it. 
I have already professed my allegiance to the greatness that is Steve Stone,
which explains why I think he is the exception, but there are some
White Sox broadcasters that people absolutely detest:

“I really hate the Sox commentary team. Really hate them.”
— comment by Russell, A Common Goal, April 15, 2008

kenharrelson.jpgI point out Russell’s comment because this is something that has a life
of its own — a complaint that I have heard ever since I was a kid and still frequently today, even here in the Chi.  I assume he’s referring to Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson
and Darrin “DJ” Jackson, the White Sox television broadcasters who seem
to anger all types of viewers, including White Sox fans.  Harrelson
is known for his southern drawl and signature phrases like “He Gone!”,
“Duck Snort” and “You can put it on the booooaaaaarrrrrd, YES!” not to mention other favorites like “Sacks full of Sox”, “Big Hack, No Contack”, “Ball Four Base Hit” and “Dadgum Right”. 
I find these catchphrases pretty amusing myself, but I know many people are infuriated by them.  But why?  Is it the fact that
Hawk is a no-holds-barred redneck with a voice that sounds like an out of tune trombone?  Do people across the country think he is representative of Southsiders as a whole?  Or is it that Hawk and DJ maintain an extreme bias against all things non-White Sox, sometimes going too far?  I must admit, at times even I find their banter ridiculous, like Hawk’s recent third grade expletive rant:
“Doggone it ball.  Stay fair!  Doggone it!  You dumb
ball.  You dumb ball!  Jeesh, you coulda stayed fair.”  He said this after a Jim Thome foul
ball missed being a homerun by about four feet on Sunday.  It’s just one example, but when you spend 3 hours saying things like this during a broadcast, I can see how people might be ticked off — like these guys, who are trying everything in the world to get rid of him.   Russell, if you want to get really angry, spend a few minutes reading this website.   It might just make you laugh.

I grew up listening to the gravel-pit voice of Jack Buck (who was great) alongside a drunk Mike Shannon (not so great, but we love him anyway), so I’m used to hearing strange things from the broadcast booth.  In fact, Shannon still refuses to believe that somebody (or somebodies) other than Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball, even though history has proven the Doubleday tale to be pure myth.

In the end, I have to say that I love that these guys say what’s on their minds, dumb or not, and I always have the power of hitting the mute button.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

4 Comments

You can imagine my excitement at being mentioned in this entry (the phone hasn’t stopped ringing). Now whilst I wouldn’t go so far as to set up a website against “The Hawk” I still think that the fact that he has so many “catchphrases” means that he’s ceased to actually commentate on the game in any meaningful way. What makes it worse is that here in Vancouver, for some reason, we get WGN so my annoyance is magnified (thank God for MLBtv).
But just to prove that this is not a new complaint from me here is a link from last year in which I “prove” that Wittgenstein also hated “The Hawk”
http://arizonaviaslough.mlblogs.com/archives/2007/07/as_part_of_this.html

Now I’m off to do an interview with “Canada Today” about Red State Blue State.

Russell – welcome to the Canadian Fame. With such hot females coming out of Canada, (i.e. Pamala Anderson, Natasha Henstridge, Estella Warren, Kristen Kreuk), you should be living the dream in no time at all. Next stop, the Playboy Mansion.
Jeff – I personally have never heard them commentate and, after the statements, am frightened to in the future. I think they would be funny at first but after a few games it would result in me stabbing out my eardrums or breaking the television. I can’t afford to lose either of those right now…especially the big screen.

Baseball could use more out of the box color and less suits, so I really wanna like Harrelson, but dont honestly enjoy his broadcasts much. Maybe “bully” is too strong a word, but he dominates the booth in a less welcoming way than the truly great, over the top mikemen: Haray Caray, Phil Rizzuto, fellow southerner Red Barber, etc.
.

If you’re gonna make the game about you, primarily, an innate, gentle charm really helps – and Harrelson strikes me as mostly in your face kitsch
.
http://diamondhacks.blogspot.com/

I think I’m more impressed that Canada has WGN. Does that mean you get to watch that hottie Robin Baumgarten in the morning too? My day can’t start without witty banter from Robin and Larry — and of course, the WORST sports anchor in the free world: Pat Tomasulo. You think Harrelson’s an idiot? Watch five minutes of Tomasulo — better yet, don’t. If ya’ll are ever in Chicago, you must try that chili though.

–Jeff

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