Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Dave the Baseball Guy

Dave was a baseball announcer who had a long and uneven career. While he was talented enough to broadcast for several major league teams, he was never quite good enough to get a network contract. In short, his entire career was probably best described as having pockets of excellence in a sea of mediocrity.

Part of the reason for this was that Dave suffered from Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. It had never been diagnosed and tended to manifest itself most blantantly whenever he felt stress or pressure. Since Dave indentified very closely with the teams he worked for, he spent a fair amount of time under stress whenever his team was in a tight game.

He "lost it" a few times a season but there was generally no harm done. However, over time these incidents would begin to irritate management and, after a season or two, they'd ask him to leave.

Dave's fondest wish was to announce a World Series game, but as he wound down his career, it appeared that he would never reach that goal. By 2001, the only job he could get was announcing for the rookie league Phoenix White Sox. He loved baseball so much that he took the job, but he decided it would be his last. At the end of the season he'd retire, settle down, move to a small town, and raise a family.

So on Labor Day weekend, Dave found himself packing up his belongings and planning a new life. He had the radio tuned to the local sports talk station when he heard an announcement that the longtime announcer for the Arizona Diamondbacks would miss a few weeks for undisclosed reasons. Almost simultaneously, Dave's phone rang. It was his agent telling him that he'd been hired as a temporary fill in for the absent announcer. Dave leapt at the opportunity. The Diamondbacks were in first place and almost assured of making the playoffs.

It was late in the season, so he never got the chance to fully identify with the team and so he was able to keep his AADD under control. As a result, he did the best work of his career. Even better, for Dave that is, the man he'd replaced was placed on indefinite leave.1 Based on his stellar work, he was offered the job for the remainder of the season.

As it turns out, the Diamondbacks went on a postseason run and made it to the World Series, where they faced the New York Yankees. Unfortunately for Dave, he grew to love the team more and more, especially when it became apparent that they were going to enable him to fulfill his dream. It all came to a head as he and analyst Steve Parks called Game 7 of the World Series.

And so it all comes down this. Bottom of the ninth, two outs and the bases are loaded. Luis Gonzalez is stepping in to face Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

Rivera winds up, and here's the pitch. Gonzalez swings and fouls it away.

Man, was he ever late on that swing. Gonzalez had a great regular season but has been struggling throughout the Series with 11 strikeouts in 24 at bats. If he's going to break out of this slump, now is the time to do it.

Rivera is set to deliver again. Here's the pitch, Gonzalez swings and fists it towards centerfield. Jeter is after it and....is that the popcorn guy over there? I'm starving. I mean, did you see those vultures in the press box attack the food? I almost lost a hand trying to get a hotdog.

Now that I think about it, I wonder why they call that a press box and this an announcer's booth. Why don't they use the same word. It should be an announcer's box or a press booth. I just don't get it.

Hey, look at that! The kid over there has a bobble head doll! I used to love those things. I had a whole set of them. I wonder what ever happened to my Mickey Mantle one. Oh, that's right, I hid it because Jimmy Robinson was threatening to take his new BB gun and use it for target practice.

I remember it because for some reason Angelica Capobianco was extremely attracted to me that day. Then she got mad and broke it when she found out that I wasn't just happy to see her, and that I actually did have a bobble head doll down my pants.

Uh, Dave? The game?

The game? Oh, right! Sorry folks....let's get back to the game.

Game. That's a funny word. Game. Game, game, game, game. Ever notice how if you keep saying a word, it loses all meaning? I wonder how many words I can get to rhyme with game. There's came, lame, fame, tame, same, dame....

Hey Steve, that reminds me. Do you remember the girl I was talking to last night? The cute blonde with the green eyes? She gave me her number, but I can't remember her name.

Name! That's another word that rhymes with game!

Wow, Harry, look at all of those people running on the field. What do you suppose happened down there?

1 Late in the season, Dave ran into the man he replaced at a local bar. When he asked the man what had happened, the only thing he'd say was "You can't tell me that girl looked 15 in that dark theater."