Sunday, July 11, 2010

From the Chutzpah Hall of Fame...

Here's another baseball post for people who don't like baseball. It's about one of the most outrageous characters I've ever met.

This goes back to my minor league days. For the three years I broadcast in the minors for Syracuse and Tidewater. You meet a lot of colorful individuals on that circuit but none even close to the announcer for Louisville (who was replaced by a guy named Joe Buck). This guy, we’ll call him “Louie” had a big booming voice and a style that only can be described as carnival barker. Having crossed into middle age, Louie was still a big skirt chaser, although in those days he generally wound up getting girls in big skirts.

One day Louisville is in Des Moines. He meets some woman at the hotel and they arrange to rendezvous in the lobby at 11 PM after that night’s game.

Unfortunately, the game drags on.

The visiting broadcast booth is right next to the main area of the press box with an open window between the two. Reporters can easily hear the visiting broadcasters.

It’s 10:40. Going into the 8th. The game has at least a half hour to go, then there’s wrapping up the broadcast, shutting down the equipment, and getting back to the hotel. No way will Louie make his 11:00 tryst.

As the two teams are changing sides and the pitcher is making his warm up tosses, the reporters start to hear play-by-play coming from Louie’s booth.

“Bottom of the 8th, Jones up, swings at the first pitch. Fly ball to right. Krellman makes the catch. One out. Next up is Smith. He swings at the first pitch and hits a grounder the first. Two quick outs…” etc.

Louis begins MAKING UP the play-by-play. Sure enough, “his” game is over in ten speedy minutes and he’s out the door. Louie belongs in the “Chutzpah Hall of Fame” for that one stunt alone.

But there were many others. Among them: getting thrown out of a game by an umpire for ragging on him from the press box, getting thrown out of an NBA game and costing his team a technical foul when he did same thing during his brief tenure as the San Antonio Spurs announcer, getting fired from the Minnesota Twins for illegally promoting a drag strip nightly on the broadcast he had ties with, getting canned from a Cleveland sportstalk station for accusing a team of “Jewing down” a player’s agent, and last I heard he was doing TV weather in a small Midwestern town and was arrested for fondling some woman’s breast in a carwash.

As a writer, if you were to put Louie in a script your producer would throw it right back in your face saying he was waaaaay too implausible. And he’d be right…except in minor league baseball. Guys like Louie made all the nine hour bus rides, make up doubleheaders, and dinners at Shoneys worth it.

11 comments:

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

...and I was worried that kids had no sports heroes to look up to.

Louie, Louie!

Gary said...

Louie, Louie, he gotta go now. Funny stuff. You should make a movie about him. Troy Evans could be Louie and you could be his radio partner. Ah, this movie stuff is so easy. Somebody bring me a martini.

Michael said...

I think I know the name of the guy., and there's a story that he told the Twins he would get attendance to a million or take only half his salary. On the final day, the Twins had drawn maybe 650,000, and a sportswriter said, "If the paid attendance today isn't 350,000, he's going to lose a lot of money."

Bob and Rob Professional American Writers said...

And I thought show business had all the best characters. What a classic.

A. Buck Short said...

Thanks. The "big skirts" tag you telegraph from Upstate New York all the way to Hampton Roads. Then I spend half the rest of the post relishing the reply, "And your point is...?" and you step on my line. A good friend and boss played second for the Rochester Red Wings; did that even count as a road game? Michael, that is a funny funny writer's comment.

The Curmudgeon said...

That's a good baseball post for people who like baseball as well. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the scene from the MASH episode where Hawkeye and Radar fake a baseball broadcast (a la Liberty Broadcasting) because Winchester had a bet riding on the game. The highlight was when Hawkeye had to change his play by play discription because Radar used the wrong sound effect.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

So, "Louie," how was the tryst?

Ed Blonski said...

It was Burns, not Winchester. It was BJ who made the wrong sound effect, not Radar.

Yes, it is that important.

Charles H. Bryan said...

While all of the behavior described is classless, why does the car wash location bother me more than any of it?

tb said...

Did any of his make-believe stuff come true?