Close the shutters, Grandma, it's hailin' horsehide!
And...Fences? We don't need no stinkin' fences!
But when the Giants' Jeff Kent mauled one to deep right center in the fifth, I didn't use any of them. I was in the middle of a fascinating story about underwear when George about ripped my arm off pointing to the baseball hurtling away from us. I was somewhat flubberfluxxed and, unfortunately, said, "Oh, that's hit deep to right. That might go. That's a home run!" Somewhere, Pugs cringed.
But you don't understand how difficult play-by-play is. You have to keep track of every defensive player, every runner, the score, the scorebook, the stats, the promos, the ad copy, George, your stories, the count, the outs and the huge burp knocking at your esophagus because you were stupid enough to drink three Cokes beforehand. It's like doing play-by-play of a car accident that you happen to be in. O.K., I'm bleeding nicely from the neck now, and, let's see, the Wal-Mart semi is skidding this way, and it's 78 degrees out, light cloud cover, and there's a tan 1988 Buick Regal in the backseat and...
I confused Brian Hunter with Jeffrey Hammonds. I said Shawn Estes's curveball was 74 mph when the graphic right on the home viewers' screens said 71.1 said Bobby Bonds of the Giants was hitting "awful" against Rockies starter Kevin Jarvis, when, in fact, Barry Bonds was hitting a not-very-awful .667 against him.
"This isn't live, is it, George?" I said.
I pretty much should've shut up.
I broke every rule Armstrong told me about. "Never start a story with two outs," he said. I started a fascinating story about John Rocker with two outs and was halfway through it when the third out was made. "If it's not on the monitor, it doesn't exist," he said. I told a fascinating story about Colorado reliever Gabe White, who wasn't in the game and couldn't be located by Fox cameras. "You can say anything—once," he said. During a La Quinta hotel promo, I used the old line, " La Quinta is Spanish for 'Next to Denny's.' " In my ear the director said, emphatically, "We never make fun of the sponsors."
I really missed my DELETE key.
To be fair, I'm not the most horrible broadcaster in the history of electronic media, but I'm in the photo. Still, I did some good things. I thought I was particularly riveting on how the average major league dugout floor would make a very good biological warfare lab. I used the word "squibber" successfully. Most important, I was not kicked off the team charter.