Monday, March 16, 2009

Cheers bartender fired after 35 years, Team USA, and Melissa

Should you be tracking my every whereabouts, I’m back home in L.A. after a great week in Phoenix for spring training. While I was away getting the inside scoop on Manny Ramirez’s hamstring twinge (he’s out for a week) there were two non-writing questions that a number of you emailed to me. So I thought I’d address them today.

I must’ve gotten thirty requests for my reaction to the longtime bartender of the Cheers bar getting fired.

I don’t know the circumstances but it sure appears Eddie Doyle got a raw deal. Laid off after 35 years because of “the economy”? Are they kidding? That bar (originally called the Bull & Finch) is an absolute license to print money. It is the number one tourist attraction in Boston, which is saying something because I understand they have a lot of U.S. history stuff in that town. So the bad economy means their annual profit is now only staggering?

I’ve only met Doyle a couple of times and he seemed like a great guy. I’m sure the notoriety he’s received from this brouhaha will help him land another gig and maybe even an appearance on THE VIEW (where we learn that Elisabeth Hasselbeck hasn’t even heard of CHEERS).


Sam Malone was not in any way modeled after him. Unless you want to say “longtime bartender” and great head of hair. Sam was a former ballplayer, Sam owned the bar (at least initially), and considering the amount of women he had was a superhero.

Again, I wish Eddie well. And my heart goes out to the poor poor Cheers bar that won’t sell as many T-shirts and Norm mugs this year.

The other question a number of you asked is what I think of the World Baseball Classic.

Okay, first off, how many of you readers care about the World Baseball Classic or even know there is such a thing? There’s a whole lot more buzz over THE BACHELOR.

The World Baseball Classic is MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s X-Games. I must say I’ve gotten into it more this time than the initial one three years ago. But they’ve got a long ways to go before they can call themselves a “Classic”. Baseball is a game of moments. You remember great comebacks, heroic performances. So far the WBC has only one – Netherlands twice beating the heavily favored Dominican Republic (payroll of professional ballplayers on the DR team: roughly $84,000,000; payroll of Team Netherlands: $450,000.)

The World Cup of Soccer it hopes to be but never will.

But it seems to me the World Baseball Classic has to catch on in the United States. Even though other countries are pretty jacked up about it, if it isn’t a hit here I don’t think it survives. It’s an uphill climb anyway because we’ve got spring training and soon the start of the “real” baseball season (read: the one that pays those guys $84,000,000) and it doesn’t help that Team USA. not only lost last weekend but lost so badly the mercy rule had to be invoked. (By the way, Adam Dunn, learn the rules.)

And it’s kind of a joke that a lot of players for these countries aren’t even from them. Val Pascucci of Team Italia was born in Bellflower, California.

If the US doesn’t advance to at least the semi finals I feel the World Baseball Classic may be in trouble. That said, I hope to be at Dodger Stadium this weekend for the finals. A championship is a championship and should be exciting. But if it’s not Team USA beating the shit out of Team Iraq I think the WBC may be in trouble. On the other hand, can you believe the Bachelor jilting that dear sweet Melissa Rycroft????


j gillespie said...

The stories I've seen here in Boston have it as something of an amicable parting between Doyle and Tom Kershaw and that he's getting paid until the end of the year- they had some sort of farewell night last week

Anonymous said...

Nice job on the Dodger's Games! Especially the "Preseason All Star Game" idea. Cactus League vs Grapefruit League. Could detect a little Jon Miller (he's second only to Vin Scully).

The Milner Coupe said...

Now I've heard everything. Tourism off a bit or not, the people in Boston aren't drinking enough?

And just so I understand, baseball's numbers are so high in the regular season that this commish wants to attack the off-season? As usual, the folks of loftier brain power are off conquering the world while the home fires are barely flickering.

Vin Scully. (just seconding that emotion).

Mary Stella said...

On the other hand, can you believe the Bachelor jilting that dear sweet Melissa Rycroft????

and that dear Melissa Rycroft, also a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, danced off the set of The Bachelor into the ballroom of Dancing with the Stars where she's kicking salsa booty.

The Curmudgeon said...

My 16 year old son is completely into the WBC; we even went to a game three years ago when we were in Arizona.

The reason it's not catching on well in America is that the All Star team recruited (from among the very small universe of players who (a) would go and (b) whose teams would let them go) has players from the AL and NL both -- and AL fans don't recognize a lot of NL players and vice versa. As an AL (White Sox) fan I recognized more players on the Venezuelan team than I did on the American.

As a White Sox fan, I particularly enjoyed Carlos Marmol's meltdown vs. the Netherlands. But it was great fun to cheer for a team of Davids against the Dominican Goliaths.

(Not House of David. That's a much older, and more hirsute, league.)

And my Oldest Son will be in San Diego this weekend and plans to catch a second round game. He wants to see the Cuban team so he knows who will be on the White Sox next year.

Nathan said...

I used to hang out at the Bull & Finch before you guys made a show out of it and got one installed in every airport in America. I can't claim to have been great friends with Eddie, but I distinctly remember all of the buybacks he comped us (hey, we paid for a lot of rounds), and him plugging in my electric typewriter behind the bar so I could finish some bullshit termpaper for Sophomore Film Appreciation. (If you can't write about Luis Bunuel with a load on, you didn't understand him anyway.)

Anonymous said...

Great job on the Dodger games last weekend. I hope you are the one they choose for the 40 games this season. Good luck and look forward to hearing you this season.

Anonymous said...

WBC feels like an ESPN forced product (like King Jame's NBA). The only good thing that came out of the WBC was hearing (cause I didn't watch) the Dominican Republic lost to a bunch of single A players representing the Netherlands. It may not be the biggest upset of all times because of the steroid issue with Dominican Players.

Anonymous said...

Ken - great job this weekend! And you predicted every play 10 seconds before it happened. How do you do that?

WV - unial: I need someone else to do this work - it's too menial for me.

Anonymous said...

Why is is called 'World' series when nobody outside North America plays in it?

Dave Mackey said...

I love baseball (or at least that's what my wife tells me), but the World Baseball Classic doesn't hold my interest. The season really starts for me when the first MLB pitch is thrown! Bring it on!

WV: yes, it's baseball related: "garbyish" - Sort of like Steve Garvey. (variant)

Matt said...

I think the major leagues will expand into these other countries before the WBC actually becomes a classic. After all, that is what the WBC is designed to do anyway, isn't it, i.e. build interest in MLB so they want a team just like everyone else?

VP81955 said...

If Eddie Doyle had been the inspiration for the "Cheers" bartender, it would've been goodbye Ted Danson, hello Kurtwood Smith. And while Kurtwood is a splendid actor (he proved it on "That '70s Show," where he gave Red Forman's character a texture most actors wouldn't have bothered with on a sitcom), I couldn't seriously picture him in a romantic comedy with either Shelley Long or Kirstie Alley.

wv: "hybierte" -- sounds like some sort of southwestern hot spring (just not Palm Springs).

2nd wv: "inchne" -- for years, Studebaker, based in South Bend, sold a model called the Rockne, in honor of the late University of Notre Dame football coach. This was the subcompact version.

BTW, glad to be back after a few days laid low with sinusitus and an infected tooth.

Anonymous said...

she's really pretty..

Anonymous said...

Dam, those burn scars on her arm should be covered. Is that raw meat?

How could anybody stay drunk long enough to get that much tatooing done?

Anonymous said...

what is it with using the word "world" to name things with sports that are only played in 1 country? the "world series", and now the "World Baseball Classic"? you know what "world" means, right?

Unknown said...

Aw Ken nice post but...

you said the guy isn't even from Italy.

Over here in Europe you gain citizenship not by place of birth but by ancestry. If your parents are from Italy, you'll get an italian Passwort, no matter where you are born. Even if only one parent is from there.

What IS ridiculous is people changing their citizenship and then playing. Last year we got an olympic gold medal from a former Urkainian gymnast who can't speak german.

Anyway, great story.

Anonymous said...

I think they call it the World Series because the USA never gets anywhere in the (actual) World Cup. And as for when they hosted it...

Anonymous said...


I too enjoyed your broadcast last weekend, as well as the 1-800-I-love-Ken calls. Personally I didn't mind one bit hearing you broadcast the game, dodger talk, AND the sunday sports final show. You crack me up - and only if you were 30 again and single, alas.

We switch spots, I've come to AZ from LA for a spring training game. After watching Ken Burns Baseball this winter and being a Dodger fan, I sported my "Dem Bums" sign. I would have loved to get any players or Josh, lovely Josh, to sign it. What do I have to do to get this autographed?