Tuesday, November 03, 2009

How I spent my endless summer vacation

Oh no! A baseball post! Don't worry. It's really a humor piece disguised as a sports article disguised as something worth reading. The HuffingtonPost is starting a Sports section and asked me to write something for their inaugural run. Thought I'd share it with you first. Really, it's safe.

It’s hard to believe the World Series is wrapping up. The baseball season is so very short. It has been my pleasure this year to co-host Dodger Talk with Josh Suchon after every game on Talkradio 790 KABC. I kept a journal so I wouldn’t forget all the unforgettable moments. This may differ from the “official” season-in-revue but they miss the really important things.

February 24 – Arrive in Phoenix for Spring Training. Got a great deal on the rental car. Only $49 a day! But with state tax, airport concession fees, stadium tax, airport surcharge, and city tax it comes to $250 a day.

March 12 – Dodgers beat Team Korea. There were more recognizable players on the Korean team.

March 13 – Manny Ramirez re-signs with the Dodgers for $45 million. Immediately pulls a hamstring.

March 14 – I do play-by-play on the Dodgers-Brewers game. My Valentino Pascucci home run call is one for the ages. Plans are made for Pascucciwood section of Dodger Stadium.

April 4 – Valentino Pascucci sent to the minors.

April 6 – Travel to San Diego for opening day. Padres celebrate their 40th anniversary with highlight film of the team’s rich history. It lasts all of two minutes. This is actually not a joke.

April 13 – The home opener. All the local radio and TV sportscasters are there. I never see half of them again. Dodgers crush the Giants 11-1. Orlando Hudson hits for the cycle, prompting several of these noted sportscasters to say, “Orlando Hudson is with the Dodgers?”

May 4 – It’s Dodger magnetic calendar/Heimlich Maneuver chart night – just one of many great giveaways this season.

May 6 – The Dodgers win their record-setting 13th home game in a row. Nothing can stop them now!

May 7 – Manny Ramirez is suspended 50 games for failing a drug test. He took one of the few female fertility drugs not approved by Major League Baseball. Dodgers jump out to a 6-0 lead against Washington in the first inning. Everyone says they’re making a statement. Not sure what that statement is because they lose 11-9.

May 12 – Head groundskeeper bobblehead night. The Dodgers beat New York 3-2 moments after they were trailing 3-2. Mets’ third baseman Ryan Church failed to touch third and instead of scoring a run is called out. The Mets commit 5 errors. But only 4 are costly.

May 22 – Every Friday is Fireworks night at Dodger Stadium. This week’s stirring patriotic theme: the music of the Louisiana Purchase.

May 23 – The Dodgers triumph 5-3 over the Angels. It’s a rare opportunity for Dodger fans to join the rest of the world in chanting “Beat L.A.”

May 28 – The Dodgers sweep the Rockies in Colorado. Juan Pierre, filling in for Manny Remorseful is hitting about .400. And this is without any “help”. Dodger fans are relieved to learn Pierre has no plans to start a family.

June 2 – Dodger fleece straightjacket night proves to be a big draw as they beat somebody 6-5.

June 13 – Interleague play finds the boys taking on their arch-rivals, the Texas Rangers in Arlington. Josh and I do two hours of mid-game “Dodger Light Malfunction Talk” as one of the light towers goes out and the Rangers have to call around for an electrician who (a) will work on a Saturday night, (b) isn’t already hammered, and (c) will accept payment in Rangers tickets.

June 26 – Another big Fireworks Night. The Dodgers beat the Mariners 8-2 and the big crowd sticks around for spectacular pyrotechnics set to the music of Bjork.

July 3 – Travel with team to San Diego/New York/Milwaukee to cover the return of Manny Ramirez. In press conference he drops bombshell by revealing: “God is good and good is God”.

July 4 – As patriotic gesture and ploy to sell more MLB merchandise, all teams asked to wear red caps. The Cardinals and Phillies refuse.

July 7 – In New York, ESPN’s Erin Andrews hit with a foul ball.

July 11 – More big stars news: Ernest Borgnine throws out the first pitch in Milwaukee.

July 12 – Infielder Blake DeWitt sent down to Albuquerque… for the sixth time this season. Passes himself in the airport.

July 14 – All-Star Game. The National League loses for the 67th straight year. President Obama throws out the first pitch. Ernest Borgnine has a better arm. Erin Andrews attends unharmed.

July 16 – The second half begins with Manny’s return to Dodger Stadium. Receives a warm reception. Juan Pierre gets standing ovation. Giveaway: Dodger eyeglass cleaning cloth night.

July 17 – Fireworks Night: A musical salute to the SAW film franchise.

July 22 – Manny Ramirez (now in his second trimester) socks pinch-hit grand slam against Cincinnati on Manny Ramirez bobblehead night. Juan Pierre gets standing ovation.

July 25 – The annual Hollywood Stars game (pictured above). Got to emcee it. Interviewed the lead singer of Good Charlotte and asked how it was to be the lead singer of Creed? A gentle reminder that I’m 200 years old.

August 4 -- Milwaukee Brewer Prince Fielder tries to break into the Dodger clubhouse to beat the crap out of pitcher Guillermo Mota. Security guard alertly recognizes he is not a county census taker and denies entrance.

August 18 – the frozen yogurt machine in the press lounge is on the fritz. Didn’t record whether the Dodgers won or lost. Too upset.

August 23 -- The annual media game. For the first time in six years Fox Sports’ Ben Maller doesn’t wind up in ICU. I do the play-by-play for KABC. It’s the nadir of my sportscasting career.

August 31 – Major brush fires in Los Angeles. Dodgers lose 5-3 to Arizona. Matt Kemp seemingly hits a home run but the ball flies right into the teeth of the soot and stays in the park.

September 12 – Join team in San Francisco. Giants have giveaway: Map of LA that show O.J. Simpson’s house, the Bronco route, Phil Spector’s house, streets to avoid when Halle Berry is driving, the site of the Rodney King incident, and the Spahn Ranch.

September 13 – Blake DeWitt called up for the ninth time.

September 14 – Blake DeWitt flies back to Albuquerque just out of habit.

September 15 – Andre Either hits 4th walk-off homer of the season but the Elias Sports Bureau won’t recognize it because it was hit against the Pirates.

October 3 – Crowd is very loud. I question the wisdom of Dodger Leaf Blower Day. Team snaps 5 game losing streak to clinch the Division title.

October 10 – In St. Louis for celebration as Dodgers sweep Cardinals in the NLDS. There’s no trophy because well...they haven’t actually won anything.

October 21– Worse than the yogurt machine going out -- Dodgers lose the pennant to the Philadelphia Phillies. Long flight home. Players so upset not one spends $200,000 on items from the Sky Mall.

And that’s it for 2009. Great times, great memories, and great team (except at the end). Thanks to the Dodgers and KABC for a terrific year. Next season will be here before you know it. Pitchers and catchers due in February. Manny Ramirez due in January.


Tom Quigley said...

"July 11 – More big stars news: Ernest Borgnine throws out the first pitch in Milwaukee."...

Glad to hear ol' Ernie was able to take some time out from tossing to do some pitching...

(BTW -- Ken, hope you had as much fun reporting the season as we had reading about it here.)

Baylink said...

Was there coverage of the media game? Cause that'd be fun to watch...

Diesse: the new hair treatment for women whose men drive the big rigs. Gets that diesel smell right out of your hair...

YEKIMI said...

You could have had it worse, you could have had to announce Cleveland Indian games.

They trade Victor Martinez the day BEFORE they have Victor Martinez bobblehead doll giveaway. Fans show their appreciation by standing up and giving the finger to the Indian Players, front office and owner of the team.

Mary Stella said...

Very funny, Ken.

My favorite journal entry, of course, is the one for October 21st.

Go Phillies!

Paul Yeager said...

Great post!

Especially the call on Valentino Pascucci's HR. I remember him coming through Des Moines this summer to play the I-Cubs. I loved the name. Now I can just imagine your call of his HR. Thanks for the great post on the season.

Hopefully the yogurt machine gets fixed by next season.

Howard Hoffman said...

Proud to have spent a good number of those games with you, pal. Someday we'll look back on this season and cry even louder.

Jeffrey Leonard said...

Hi Ken...

Actually, this is a note to your daughter, Annie. Teacup (or pocket) pigs are fed alcohol when they are babies to keep them small.
This is a true fact. If you get one, you will have PETA on your doorstep.

tb said...

When are you going to blog about the drunks calling your show? I mean, c'mon, you spend half the show saying "so, um, did you have a question or what?" as they ramble on for ten minutes. I see comedy there, Ken!

The Curmudgeon said...

I enjoy and appreciate the baseball articles. Please don't apologize for giving us another one.

Bob Costas did promise to apologize to Manny if Manny delivers a baby this month... and, with Manny, you really never know, do you?

Anonymous said...

I agree with The Curmudgeon. There's no need to apologize for baseball articles. You are just as funny, so I don't see a problem here. I'm biased since I like both baseball and television. But you can write about anything you want. I'll still read for the funny.

Gridlock said...

Allow me to assure you that your post was entirely impenetrable to a Limey.

You have frozen yoghurt in vending machines?

Author X said...

Question(s) Time:

Dear Mr. Ken,
Why are DVD sets of some TV shows allowed to include the syndicated version instead of the original? Do you think this is false advertising? How can we stop this practice or at least get the sets labeled as syndicated?

Thank You,
T-Bone from Seattle