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NOTES FROM THE DUGOUT

Presenting World Series 2000, Brought to you by. . .
By Tom Goldstein

If you think that the World Series on TV is becoming a bit commercialized, if you grew weary of Fox Television's non-stop preview after preview of its fall line-up of shows (although I kind of enjoyed Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart repeatedly jumping lap-first onto John Ritter's shoulders during the game one broadcast), if you'd like to hear someone other than a Fox Television celebrity singing the National Anthem, well my friends, you haven't seen anything yet...

 

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Millennium World Series, brought to you by behemothcorp.com and today's Microsoft Chevrolet. It's a beautiful night here at Titanic Park, where the Los Angeles Murdoch Dodgers take on the New York Cablevision Yankees in a rematch of last year's thrilling seven-game series. Hello, I'm Joe Buck, speaking into a Tandy-Ericcson cellular microphone, joined by my partners Tim McCarver and Bob Brenly in the Subaru Renegade broadcast booth. Okay, Tim and Bob, let's hear your thoughts for tonight's M&M Snickers pre-game analysis.

"Well, Joe, I think pitcher Kevin Brown, star of the new Fox Television thriller Millionaire Soldiers of Fortune, is the key. Brown is a master at hiding a Rawlings official major league ball inside his Mizuno glove, thereby disguising his great array of pitches, and with his powerful leg drive off the Monsanto-brand pitching rubber installed on the Ground Round mound, often the hitters see just a blur of white as Brown kicks his Adidas-clad spikes toward them."

"I couldn't agree more, Tim. But let's not forget what Bernie Williams, who prefers Franklin batting gloves, did to Brown with his Glomar-Hoosier bat in last year's series. His game two homerun, just inside the Prudential foul pole at downtown Manhattan's 42nd Street Stadium, proved the winning margin in that contest, and then he came back with a ninth inning blast over the Edison Electric centerfield pavilion to tie-up the memorable seesaw battle in game seven. So if Williams gets as hot as the Proctor-Silex coffeemaker in the Sprint media center next to the Camp Snoopy themepark behind the First Union right field promenade, Brown might be in trouble."

Well said, Tim and Bob. But I gotta ask you, have you seen the previews of Millionaire Soldiers? Is Kevin Brown one versatile performer, or what?

"Tell me about it, Joe. Here's a guy that misses five starts in May while shooting the pilot, does his own stunts, and then still comes back to win fifteen games to lead this staff. There was some grumbling from players that having a TV star was a distraction to the club, but hell, it's L.A.: What do you expect?"

"I thought Dodgers GM Kevin Malone had a really interesting comment. He said 'guys like Will Smith and Robin Williams get something like $20 million a picture for about three months work, and we get Brown for almost a whole season at $15 million. That's like a million bucks a victory, which is a steal. Not to mention the revenue he'll bring in from his new show.' Kind of puts it all in perspective."

Good point, Bob. And this wonderful overhead view of the downtown L.A. skyline comes to you courtesy of the Goodyear/Fuji/ Memorex blimp. Check out the latest specials from all these companies on everything.com ...

Before we begin our Gillette Mach 3/Brewery-Fresh Budweiser pre-game report, I did want to mention that tonight's infield sponsor is Lava Soap - "We love dirt!" Okay fellas, there's been a lot of talk about the installation this year of the Neon Computers yellow fence in centerfield. Some have claimed that it's a distraction to the hitters, while outfielders say that it's so bright they get temporarily blinded when chasing a fly ball into dead center. Any thoughts? Bob.

"Well, Joe, as a catcher who never had to wear the Sony helmet-cam and Toshiba two-way head set, it's hard to appreciate what the guy behind the plate has to deal with. I think the glare off the fence is a big annoyance for the catchers, and it probably has a lot to do with the increase in passed balls this year. But you have to remember, these guys are pros. When they strap on the Wilson chest protector, the MacGregor facemask, and the Gatorade refill pack, they're ready to play."

"I agree, Bob. Back when I played, of course, you didn't want any distractions, 'cause you needed all the concentration you could get with Drysdale, Koufax, Marichal, or my old buddy Bob Gibson on the mound. We didn't have the Johnson and Johnson helmet-side impact bags in our day, so you always had to be ready to bail out. But hey, Belle and Griffey combined for 118 homers at this park, so how much of a problem can that fence be?"

You know guys, maybe the ones who really have the hardest time are the plate umpires. They've got to stare at that bright fence all game long because the umpires union and Major League Baseball haven't been able to agree on a sunglass sponsor this year. Then they're expected to make a snap decision on ball and strike calls after viewing the Microtron hand-held instant replay monitor. Kind of makes you wonder if the sponsorship dispute is really worth all the fuss.

"That's a good point, Joe. Neon has offered to add fifteen stadiums to its sponsorship package next year if the glare issue can be resolved. That's fifteen million bucks that can go into the American Express small market teams growth fund, and baseball Commissioner Budweiser Selig has threatened to push for another trial use of the Robotics Industries mechanical umpire behind the plate in spring training if an agreement with the umpires isn't reached by the end of the year."

"Tim and Joe, I was talking with some of the players, and apparently there's a growing consensus that the players' union would be willing to give up their exclusive deal with Rayban in return for a cut of the umpires deal with Pearle Vision. So I'm sure Donald Fehr and Richie Phillips will have a lot to talk about during next month's profit-sharing teleconference with baseball's ownership council."

Okay, fellas. Today's celebrity guests in the X-Files Diner are Party of Five's Scott Wolf, wearing the Chicago Cubs cap by New Era, and Monica Lewinsky, co-host of America's Funniest Impeachment Videos, decked out in a Starter jersey of the new expansion Washington Senators, who begin play at Monument Park in 2002. Enjoy the game, kids ...

Before we get to the Coors Light Staring Line-Up, we need to remind our viewers that at the conclusion of this game we'll be picking the Chevy Trucks Player of the Game award. And by the way, one of last year's winners of that award figures prominently in the answer to tonight's Aflac Trivia question, coming to you later in this broadcast. But now we direct your attention to the playing field where the General Dynamics-Pershing Industries-Boeing Aviation sponsored presentation of the colors is being carried out by members of our armed forces. After a brief ceremony, our national anthem will be sung by none other than the Murdoch Dodgers own Kevin Brown!

"Wow, is this guy versatile or what?"

"Oh baby, I love it!"

—EFQ


This column first appeared in EFQ 16:1, Winter 1999

© 1999 Tom Goldstein

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