Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sundance -- does anyone care?

The LA TIMES Calendar section has been devoting an inordinate amount of space to covering the Sundance Film Festival. Review of the movies, latest scuttlebutt, who’s buying what for how much, etc. Only thing is – I can’t see any of these movies, I’m not invited to any of these parties, I don’t stand to benefit from any of the exciting big deals. And a lot of the names they’re throwing around are known only to Endeavor agents. I’m in the industry and I really don’t care. So I can imagine what all the “non pros” think.

Seems to me the only people interested in this coverage are the people who are already there.

When I broadcast minor league baseball I used to often think, “other than the players and the players’ wives, who the hell is really listening to this? Who cares if we win the International League championship?” I don’t even think the wives gave a shit. Plus we were asked to give out of town league scores. “They’re in the third in Rochester and Toledo has a 3-1 lead. Uh oh, pitching change in Pawtucket where Columbus is threatening in the 6th.” Zzzzzzzzzzz.

So I figured I had to do something to make the broadcasts a little more interesting. I’d hear my counterparts filling time by spelling out the players’ backgrounds. What high schools they went to, hometown, batting average in college, that sort of thing. Zzzzzzzzz.

So I decided that since the audience didn’t know any of these guys anyway I would just make stuff up. Who’s going to know?

A typical Syracuse Chiefs broadcast would sound like this:

“Eric Green up there now. That gold medallion around his neck is actually a Tony Award Eric won in 1984 for choreography.”

“Alex Campusano spends his free time inventing new surgical techniques.”

“Colin Washington is warming up in the pen. Most people don’t know this but Colin has seven brothers and six sisters, all of them named Colin.”

“Mario Infante makes the catch. He’s looking forward to our trip next week to Buffalo. Last time he was there was when he went over Niagra Falls in a barrel. It was pretty scary but he said he did win five dollars.”


“Otis Yelding takes a strike. A lot of excitement in the clubhouse before the game when Otis’ boa constrictor got loose. The ball girl didn’t find it too funny though when she found it in the Gatorade bucket. I’m surprised you couldn’t hear her scream back home in Syracuse. Next pitch…low.”

“Geronimo Sanchez strikes out looking. And boy is he hopping mad. He’s yelling at the umpire, and…I think he’s yelling in Hebrew.”

“You know that baby on the cover of Gerber baby food? That was really Scranton manager, Stan Bailor. They used his baby picture for that cover. I think it was only a year later that he started chewing tobacco.”

Hey, gimme a break. It’s a long season.

So for any of you TIMES reporters in Sundance, it’s okay to tell us Robert Redford was seen in a dress, or that one of the movies this year deals with bestiality. Wait a minute. There actually is a bestiality movie this year.

Hmmmmm? At least that’s what they’re saying.

13 comments:

D. McEwan said...

OK Ken, you suckered me in, and successfully tricked me into reading a posting that turned out to be primarily about baseball, and which was pretty darned funny to boot.

Damn you sir. This round goes to you!

Willy B. Good said...

I don't know much about baseball but that made me horse from laughing

benson said...

Assuming you're not pulling our legs...how the hell did you get away with it? Between sanctimonious fans and radio and/or team management, I can't believe nobody called you on it, because as you know better than I, there always one who will, and of course, management always assumes that "everyone" feels that way.

Oh, and like the two post above me said- God, it was funny!

david said...

i love the tony award line, that's beautiful. back when i was a bartender i would sometimes tell the most audacious lies to my clients just to see how far i could go before someone called "bullshit". you'd be amazed the trust people put in their bartender. i very very rarely got called on anything even though i would resort to cliff clavenisms "it's a little known fact"...

Anonymous said...

<< The LA TIMES Calendar section has been devoting an inordinate amount of space to covering the Sundance Film Festival >>

It's no secret the LAT is going after the Daily Variety / Hollywood Reporter ad dollars. For what seems like an eternity they have been putting out a weekly supplement called the "envelope". It's filled with mostly studio paid ads for films vying for industry votes for the accolade of the week.

Judging by the advertiser response it seems to be working for them.

Bill Nesbitt

Ken Levine said...

The team owner found it amusing, the radio station signal was so bad that anything to draw listeners was appreciated. The players themselves got a kick out of it. And the Tony line I actually used on one of our few telecasts. In that case it was because my partner was oblivious to anything I said. So I said more and more outrageous things just to get him to notice. He never did. I'm sure to the viewer that was far funnier than any of the audacious statements I made.

Thomas said...

Don't leave us hanging, Ken! Who won the big Rochester-Syracuse game?

benson said...

So were you the inspiration for Fred Willard's character in "Best in Show". I've always heard Joe Garagiola's name attached to it, but after having read your post....

Inquiring minds want to know....

Another thought: I have no idea what kind of guy he is to work for, but it seems like you and Mike Veeck would be a marriage made in heaven...

Glenn said...

How can you give us all those examples and NOT include "No School in Borneo" perhaps the greatest home run call of all time.

Ken Levine said...

There is a whole separate post on Borneo which I will repost.

Jesse Wendel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ken Levine said...

My greatest home run call will appear tomorrow. It's in the on deck circle. Complete with added pictures. Thanks to Jess and others for requesting it.

dodgrblu said...

Oh, Ken, the Mariners need you back so badly! Instead, we'll have Rick Rizzs to remind us how, even when Jeff Weaver just gave up seven runs in two and a third innings, "This team never quits!" Sigh....