A question for you to ponder: Is it a crime that I was born and raised in the Delaware Valley and at the age of 27, I just saw my first lacrosse game??
I trust I've left the five of you in suspense for my next posting. I made sure I waited until the oddest time of day to do so. Delirium has a way of making sequences of words flow in unique, distorted fashion.
This is something I've been meaning to get off my chest for quite a while: it's time to let Gary Matthews, Sr., go. His Cadillac Time has come and gone as far as I'm concerned, and I long for the sweet sounds of Larry Andersen's Shallow Thoughts.
Let's face it, some ex-ballplayers and managers are not meant to be broadcasters. I used to think otherwise, so I was excited at the start of the 2007 season when Sarge entered the booth for the Phillies. He was a local hero, despite only spending three of his 16 seasons with the Phightins.
I cut him some slack during that first year getting his feet wet with Harry the K and Wheels. HK was a broadcasting legend, and Chris Wheeler was also a seasoned veteran (all of his personal controversy aside). While I'm sure both of them made Sarge feel right at home, keeping up with those guys on air was likely intimidating.
However, by 2008, I had gone from giving Matthews the benefit of the doubt to doubting the benefit of his so-called broadcasting skills. The untimely passing of Harry last season (R.I.P) only made Sarge's inadequacies stick out more.
Whenever watching Phillies games, I'm usually cringing from the fourth through sixth innings when Matthews is on. In my many years of baseball viewing, I only reserve the disrespect of pressing the mute button during Atlanta's home games when the Tomahawk Chop theme plays, but I may have to extend that discourtesy for my beloved Phillies. Sarge is just too hard to listen to without fear of popping a blood vessel in my forehead.
To give some examples of his futility, Matthews never offers any insightful or original comments, which is the purpose of a color commentator. The play-by-play guy explains what happens, and the color guy elaborates with his own baseball knowledge and experience. I don't doubt that Matthews carries a wealth of both in his head, but it just seems like his discomfort of talking live on the air prevents any of that from pouring into the microphone. Instead, we just get glorified explanations of what the play-by-play guy just said, or embarrassing comments like this:
"What happens is you jerk off the ball. You just wanna let this guy here jam you, and if it comes, it comes."
This is probably Sarge's most infamous statement, and is the fodder for all 20-something Phillie fans with a YouTube account.
What I can't stand is when Tom McCarthy (who is no Harry Kalas himself, but good enough with Wheels) will try and draw some of Matthews' knowledge out with pointed questions. The only problem is that TMac partially answers the question himself in the middle of asking, and Sarge will simply regurgitate back that answer with slightly different words. Yeah, Sarge, we know J-Roll was looking for the fastball. McCarthy already said that...
Perhaps I'm being too harsh, and Sarge does impart some worthy comments for the die-hard fans. It's only that I'm so disappointed with the words he just said that I'm not even listening. Watching baseball should not have to be this tedious. Too many people already can't stand it because it's "too slow."
And hey, it's not like Sarge would be out of luck without the job. Many older fans would still line up for autographs and public appearances, thanking him for his stellar performance in the 1983 NLCS. And if that's not enough to pay the bills, he could be very successful implementing his own line of fedora hats. Half the male adult fans at Citizens Bank Park would be wearing them within a month.
Until then, Sarge's presence is just one of the many negative realities of today's Phillies' broadcasts that frequently find me lamenting, "Man, I really miss Harry and Whitey."