H.R. & HRs: We Can Do Better
When Joe Torre, one of the untouchable paragons of class, is getting slammed for allegedly revealing all the Evil Empire‘s dirty secrets in a book that no one has had the chance to even read yet, I think it’s a pretty clear sign that we’ve run out of things to talk about this off-season. Manny being Manny being unsigned is now as interesting a story as Bea Arthur is sexy. The Varitek saga in Boston is teetering on the pathetic. And when the Rangers look to be the best bet for unreliable dark horse Ben Sheets, does anyone really care anymore?
How about a new MLB Network drinking game? It may not be that ramshackle of japery that we created back during the post-season/presidential debate, but it sure will sauce your inhibitions quicker than Rush Limbaugh will make you want to commit suicide.
It’s simple. Tune in to the Hot Stove Show and anytime Harold Reynolds leads the panel in a symphony of phrases uncomfortably coated by the word “guy”, take a drink. You’ll be hammered ten minutes in to the program.
Look, I have nothing personal against Harold Reynolds and his self-serving ramblings. He seems like a genuinely nice man and most of the time I actually get something out of his demonstrations on the diamond; but I sometimes feel dumb listening to his emphatic, annoyingly frequent use of the word “guy”. Let me paraphrase a sample, dear reader — a hypothetical spew based on several weeks of actually listening to the man:
A guy like Manny… Manny Ramirez is a guy who just doesn’t change a team, he changes a division. Guys see a guy like Manny in the clubhouse and then guys are suddenly seeing changes. He’s a guy who has the ability to go out there and be that guy that all the other guys are honing in on — a guy who can beat you every time he takes the field. And guys on the other side, guys on your side, those guys see that too. Makes them want to go out there and be more competitive guys, guys that get things done. You see guys change, not just guys on the team, but guys throughout the division.
I wish I were exaggerating.
H.R.’s inability to find a synonym for “guy” probably wouldn’t bother me so much if he didn’t subliminally infect the rest of the cast with his lecherous verbal disease. Broadcasting newbies Barry Larkin and Al Leiter have picked up on it, and the ensuing cacophony is near deafening.
But, I keep watching… ‘cuz I love the MLB Network. I can’t stop watching it. So I might have a problem.
As much as I love it, there is one block of MLB Network programing that baffles me like a Spaceman eephus pitch.
Whoever thought it would be a good idea to rerun old homerun derbies during a prime-time slot deserves to have John Kruk sit on his face during the two hours they’re being aired. The homerun derby? Really? I’m supposed to get excited about watching a bunch of superstars hit lollygaggin’ Jamie Moyer fastballs from two, three, four years ago while Chris Berman entertains himself ad nauseum with his cutesy cleverness? I didn’t care about the homerun derby the first time; why would I care now?
And even if you do enjoy the homerun derby (when it actually happens each July), do you really get excited about watching it again? Save Josh Hamilton’s gargantuan effort of 2008 — a contest which he ultimately lost — is there really anything titillating in any homerun derby that makes you say: “Yeah! Can’t wait to put aside two hours to watch that again!”
MLB Productions has done a fine job of producing edgy, dramatic, quality programs that explore the deep history and colorful characters of the game. I haven’t been disappointed with one of their productions yet. So I am both baffled and bored by the network’s decision to rerun past derbies instead of wowing us with original content. Seems like they’re missing a big opportunity there.
The good news is: if I play the H.R. drinking game, I won’t be conscious enough to watch the derby reruns anyway.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.