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10.24.2005

The 'Stros Are Collapsing Around Our Ears 

By choice and by circumstance, I've caught most of the first two World Series games on the radio.

By circumstance, because I've been in the car or the shower for parts of the first two games. But mostly by choice, because Joe Buck's smarminess makes me barf; Fox turns broadcasts into pinball games, as every graphic swoops on and off the screen with the sound of a fighter jet (I guess it helps keep the kids' attention); and Tim McCarver's hair is second-scariest in the U.S. (Guess who's first.)

And what was with that elaborate pre-game segment yesterday about how you can't script October, with fast-cut images of typewriters and sheets of yellowing storyboard paper pinned to a wall? How much does Fox pay people to come up with stuff like that? Can I get in on that racket? How about this: "You Can't Predict October," complete with one-eyed Gypsy women and sinister moustachioed card-sharps? Or "You Can't Force October to Tell You Where It's Going or Who It's Hanging Out With," as images of sullen teenagers and a joint being passed around flash quickly by.

As bad as things are on the TV side, there's not much relief this year in radioland. Usually we can count on Jon Miller to pep things up with his insight, wit and tone that threatens melodrama but never quite tips over into it.

But I submit he's been off his game this post-season. Even his home run call -- "Goodbye! Home run!", with the second syllables stressed and slightly elongated -- feels forced. Perhaps the strain of working with Joe Morgan without the crutch of visuals has taken its toll. Joe has been his typical self-aggrandizing self this October, with his forays into incoherency magnified by the lack of distracting pictures.

He makes good points every so often, I'll grant. He said something interesting yesterday about Andy Pettitte being so dominant against righties because he's zeroed in on that down-and-in spot. But pitchers who can pound a spot like that may have problems refocusing on the same spot when a batter gets into the other batter's box. The visual frame shifts. Great insight into the psychology and mechanics of pitching.

Then again, Forrest Gump had a few good insights, too.

For running commentary on the post-season commentators, click here.

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