Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Howie Rose: Put this in the Books [J. Mark English]

  • And down the stretch we come...
  • It is high, it is far, it is gone!
  • Here's the pitch, and its going far, and its OUTTA HERE!
  • That must be a Homer because the pitcher just went D'oh!
  • And its going back back back back, gone!
  • Holy Cow!
  • It could go all the way!
Recognize some of these catch phrases? They are cheesy catch phrases used by some play-by-play people to make up for...well, a lack of imagination when calling a game. They instantly become hackneyed and reek of bland self promotion. The call by the announcer becomes less about the event, and more about himself.
The ultimate sinner when it comes to this is the Yankees announcer, John Sterling. I just did a quick search on Wikipedia and came up with these train wreck nicknames that Sterling shoves down the listener's ear during every broadcast:
Current Yankees
  • Bobby Abreu: "El Comedulce!", and "Bobby Abreu is sweet as candy..."
  • Wilson Betemit: "You can bet on Betemit!"
  • Melky Cabrera: "The Melk Man delivers!", "It's the Melky Way!", and "The Melk Man always knocks twice!"
  • Robinson Cano: "Robbie Cano! Don't you know?", "Cano can do!", and "A Ribbie for Robbie!"
  • Joba Chamberlain: "Great joba by Joba!"
  • Johnny Damon: "Positively Damonic!", "A Damonic Dinger by Johnny Damon!", "Johnny on the Spot!", and "A demon from Damon!!"
  • Shelley Duncan: "Duncan, dunked one!", "Shelley Duncan ... Hines cooks one up!"
  • Jason Giambi: "The Giambino!"
  • Derek Jeter: "Captain Clutch", "El Capitan!", "a Jeterian swing...", and "a Jeter jolt"
  • Hideki Matsui: "A thrilla by Godzilla!" "Hideki, lower decki!" "An Upper-Deki!"
  • Doug Mientkiewicz: "Man oh Mientkiewicz!", and "Dougie do right!"
  • Andy Phillips: "Fill it up, Phillips!"
  • Jorge Posada: "Jorgie juiced one!", and "Jorgie jacks one!"
  • Alex Rodriguez: "an A-Bomb, from A-Rod!", "How A-Rodian!" and "Alexander the Great conquers again!"

Former Yankees

From his Atlanta Hawks broadcasting days (1981-1989)

Still with me? Some people may enjoy these touching moments of insanity from a man who would do better making calls at local county fair. Remember, its the New York Yankees, the most prestigious team in baseball that has hired this loon. But we've all come to expect the hammy approach of Sterling.

The cross town rivals on the other hand have had a history of having great broadcaster that were better known for their ability to describe the details of the game. Announcers like Bob Murphy, and Ralph Kiner gave a voice hazy and humid summer nights. Murphy passed away a few years ago, and Kiner has retired.

The Mets have filled in their big shoes well. Gary Cohen, who did the radio broadcast with Bob Murphy on WFAN for many years, has moved on to the Mets TV network SNY.

WFAN replaced Cohen and Murphy with Tom McCarthy who could aptly be named "Gary Clone" since he sounds just like Cohen. They also brought in Howie Rose, who used to do Mets Extra on the Fan, as well as call the New York Rangers broadcast on the Fan.

Howie Rose is probably best known for the call he made when the Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. The Rangers won the series in double over time of an epic game 7 off the stick of Stephane Matteau. Howie Rose belted out "Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! Stephane Matteau! And the Rangers have one more hill to climb, baby!"

The hysterical call by Rose still gives me goosebumps to this day. Even though it sounds like he is yelling 'my toe, my toe, my toe'...it is so special because he was in the moment. There was no prepared thought, no practiced line, he just captured the moment within the moment.

Now he is the Mets play by play guy, along with McCarthy. Guess what? He has a catch phrase. Its "put it in the books".

ugh...sigh... Why Howie do you have to resort to the Sterling way?

After every Mets victory he claims that we must "put it in the books". Put it in the books? Which book? He never says this after a Mets loss. Does that mean that the Mets only win? Or that the book only records victories?

The night Tom Glavine picked up his 300th win, Rose called the last out with the phrase "put it in the history books." Is that a different book from the book he usually records Mets victories?

I'm very confused. I hope you are too.

Last night I tuned into the game on my drive from Maryland back to New York...The books turned into a radio library. Even McCarthy chimed in with "seven in the books here in Philly". Hmmm, so now the book is updated per inning. Then in the bottom of the 8th after Jayson Werth of the Phillies notched his ninth hit in a row, Howie Rose told us to pull out the "Phillies history records book." Now we're talking about more then a few books in the same game.

In the top of the ninth, Tom and Howie discussed how players like Rusty Staub and Howard Johnson used to keep a book to write notes in about pitchers they faced. Players would always ask Staub if they could read his book, and Staub would say no. Tom and Howie thought this was funny. I was crying.

Please put away the books Howie, and just call the game. I mean, he won't even finish the description of the play before he gets to "put it in the books." There could be an unassisted triple play to end the game, and you wouldn't know it because Howie is rattling off "put it in the books."

If your going to keep referring to this book please tell me where I can find it, Howie. What all is in the book. How many books are there? I'm so confused...

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