- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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I had to smile when I saw your Cardinals cover—not because of any warm, fuzzy feelings about Kurt Warner's comeback but because his stance reminded me of your April 1, 1985, photo of Sidd Finch (far right), the Tibetan pitching phenom who was signed by the Mets. Actually, the Cardinals in the Super Bowl (Red Storm Rising, Jan. 26) seems about as believable as Sidd was.
On the Big Screens
Your story on the arms race in giant video screens (Jumbo Dreams, Jan. 26) was timely, but I take exception to the premise that fans "love it" and "want it" as part of the game-day experience. Big screens are often an annoying distraction. Ultimately we go to games to, you know, watch the game. At the annual Cubs convention recently, a team official broached the subject (half-jokingly, I think) of a big screen at Wrigley Field, and the suggestion was met with a chorus of boos.
I thought of your jumbotron story while watching Super Bowl XLIII. As Larry Fitzgerald streaked down the middle of the field for a touchdown in the fourth quarter (right), he watched with the rest us as the Pittsburgh defense was left in his dust.
In recounting the ways athletes have used jumbotrons during competition, you could have mentioned mixed martial artist and former SI cover boy Roger Huerta's 2007 fight against Alberto Crane. Huerta used the screen as a guide to throw his elbow into Crane's face while Crane was on Huerta's back. Huerta won the fight by TKO in that round.
Years ago I attended an exhibition cricket match between the world champion Caribbean team and an international all-star team at Toronto's SkyDome. A fielder made a spectacular catch and, being unfamiliar with jumbotrons, got caught up in watching the replays. While he was distracted, another ball came his way. To his great embarrassment, this all-star player allowed runs to score—and that, of course, was also replayed on the big screen.
As a cameraman for WGN-TV, I covered Super Bowl XX in New Orleans. By halftime it was apparent that the Bears were going to blow out the Patriots, and the electricity had left the building. Then, just before the halftime show began, the jumbotrons showed The Super Bowl Shuffle, and the fans began to cheer and dance; the end zone screens had taken center stage.
According to my soon-to-be boss, I was being "methodical, but dull" in my interview for a job as an insurance agent when he asked, "Is there anything unusual or interesting that you could tell us about yourself?" After a pause I replied, "I dance on jumbotrons. The cameras always find me doing my disco moves. I've been on screen in eight major league ballparks." That answer got me the job.