Tuesday, October 08, 2002
jay asks: Tony, great post. But what's with the loathing of Bob Costas?
Fair question, Jay. I despise Costas because i worry about the kids.
I don't want children to see and hear Bob Costas and think that it's okay to simultaneously nostalgize and sterilize popular sports and culture in such a way that you never want to look at it again for what it is: a child's game played by immigrants who wouldn't get a job wiping puke off of porcelain if it wasn't for an abnormal pituitary gland, or in the case of baseball, defection.
Bob Costas has taken the lively art of calling a ball game and dragged it into the drab dens of middle america mediocrity. He's as exciting as an acorn, as spontaneous as a tug boat, as lively as a hang nail. if he were a fish he'd be a white fish. a dead, odorless, forgetable one.
In a world of 31 flavors Costas asks for vanilla yogurt in a cup.
He makes Vin Scully sound like John Madden, Oprah sound like Ozzy, he gives milquetoast a bad name, he neither wears boxers or briefs for underneath his clothes are simply wires and switches and tube amps.
The French laugh at Jerry Lewis and Jerry Lewis laughs at whoever the idiot was who put Costas on tv. I'd call him a demon from hades but evil is usually interesting. he's an antedote to insomnia and the only cure for the flu because not even a virus can stand to listen to more than a hour of Costas droning on about "The Mick" or Stan "The Man", they wince like children do when their uncles talk about the war or how Hilburn writes about Bob Dylan.
you'll never see Costas sitting in a dunk tank at a fair because real baseball fans would fake throw and bum rush the tank and ruthlessly drown this ill like a frothing dog.
Bob Costas was raised in the Ozzie and Harriet world of baby booming St. Louis and embodies every sad stereotype therein. My spite only intensifies when I realize that he grew up blessed to listen to the rickety calls of Harry Caray broadcasting for the Cardinals. I bristle because the Good Lord sent down an angel when He gave us all Harry, a man who could drink beer and broadcast a game and it sounded like a real man drinking a beer and calling a game.
When in St. Louis Harry was hired by Auggie Busch who owned the local brewery famous for Budweiser. Mr. Busch told Harry that he admired his work, that he knew that he was the best baseball announcer in the game, and that all of St. Louis was his and he could work for the Cardinals for as long as he lived as long as he didn't marry any of his daughters.
Harry shook the man's hand and promptly married the youngest and prettiest of Mr. Busch's three daughters and was immediately fired.
Would Bob Costas marry anyone's daughter like that? Don't hold your breath.
Harry went on to broadcast all over the midwest, making a home for himself on the South Side of Chicago. Known as the Mayor of Rush Street because he was often spotted drinking with the locals on the popular street known for its taverns.
"Booze, broads and bullshit. If you got all that, what else do you need?" Harry was once quoted. He lived his word. He was not only the keeper of the flame he was the reason for the fire.
If the White Sox were playing and Harry was broadcasting for them and the fans were drunk and the game was nearly over and one of the weak hitting infielders popped up to end the inning, you could hear it in his voice. Like a wind-up toy that needed a few turns. "Ahhh, that wouldn't a been a home run in a telephone booth," he'd say, uttlerly depressed. A fan at the mic! What a concept.
Harry Caray is the reason that we sing the 7th Inning stretch at Wrigley Field with the enthusiasm that we do. In the '80s, in order to garner more revenue, new owner Jerry Reinsdorf told Harry that they were going to put a bunch of Sox games on Pay-Per-View only. Harry said that baseball was meant for the average fan and most average fans couldn't afford pay per view for everyday baseball games, so he quit and joined the Cubs.
Would Costas make such a stand? If he did would anyone see him?
Once I saw a Cubs game where Harry broadcasted the game from the left field bleachers. He brought two ice chests with him. One full of beer and the other full of more beer. He had a paper scorecard and two pencils. Where's Bob Costas's two chests of beer?
Harry had glasses as thick as a steak. He had a tongue the size of texas. His lips were big and he was shorter than you think, and the first time I saw him he had on a checkboard suit with a red dressshirt, white tie, white pants, and white shoes. i said are you heading out anywhere after the game all dressed up like that? he said, son, i'm heading out everywhere all dressed up like this. might even make it to your house if the light's on."
and he laughed and everyone around him laughed and his breath didn't smell like booze it smelled of life.
i bet you a million bucks that bob costas's breath smells like bologna.
harry handed me back my baseball and it said Holy Cow Harry Caray on it.
know what it says if you get NBC's golden boy autograph on your lucky day?
it says bob.
but the worst thing that Costas has done, jay, is mess up the bell curve. he has made it okay for announcers to be soulless and bland and average and background filler. fakers like jack buck's son, and harry's grandson, step children of milo hamilton have polluted the airwaves with a lust for attention and a fear of life. corporations would never hire a man like Harry Caray when they could put their money on dull and hire a Bob Costas who would never get caught closing down a tavern buying a beer for a cop and chasing it down with a redhead.
People say that baseball has lost its edge because of spoiled players and high salaries and greedy owners, but i say it's because the storytellers only want to read from the children's library and live the lives of elves.
Rot in peas little man with all the potential in the world but sits on it like so many telephone books used for your pampered ass so you can see over the mic. All the vocabulary in the world but with no backbone to bring the game to life the way one would if chatting about it over a twelve pack in a basement.
That's what Harry did.
In fact when Harry realized that he had accumulated a ton of cash from being the best there ever was, he and his wife Dutchie (they never divorced) decided that no one would be a better saloon owner than Harry, and they were right.
What would Costas open if he could? A candy store, I bet.
Filled with one flavor of bubblegum.
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Previously on busblog...