The announcer watches Carney Lansford of the Oakland A's at the plate: "3-2 pitch.... Whoa! Almost hit Lansford!"
"It did hit him!"" says the color commentator.
Apparently not hearing his partner, the play-by-play man asks. "Didn't that hit him?"
"Here's Jon Pino, the A's trainer, coming out to take a look." says the color man.
Well, Lansford was hit, the A's trainer is Barry Weinberg and. hey, who are these clowns anyway?
No, they aren't Vin and Joe on a bad day. They are Mark Pogue, a 27-year-old who owns a vending-machine business, and his friend Kevin Creighton. 25. a computer consultant, both from Fresno, Calif., and they've been having a day of fantasy fulfillment, calling the action in a live major league baseball game. The mysterious Jon Pino, it turns out, is one of Pogue and Creighton's buddies from home.
The two broadcaster wannabes have just experienced Fantasy Play-by-Play. the latest sideline attraction at Oakland Coliseum, in which fans try their hand at broadcasting a live game. Actually, says Pogue, he has been doing fantasy play-by-plays since he and Creighton were kids.
"When we were six or seven, playing baseball, we'd make up our own play-by-play. Or we'd be goofing off in the swimming pool, throwing a ball around: "And he makes a leaping dive!' " Pogue laughs self-consciously. "You know."
Of course we do. Pogue and Creighton, after all. are not alone. We know who we are. And because Andy Dolich. the A's vice-president of business operations, also knows, he came up with the notion of Fantasy Play-by-Play.
"Subconsciously, we all broadcast a game." he says. "And everyone believes they're a better sportscaster than the people they've been watching or listening to." On that premise. Dolich decided to consult with Fred Greene, a 33-year-old radio producer who had worked on the A's radio broadcasts for station KSFO from 1980 to 1986. Greene was also the producer of the nationally syndicated feature Radio Baseball Cards, a series of 60-second interviews with players that ran in '86 and '87. Together Greene and Dolich developed the concept of letting fans call the action during an actual A's game.