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U Tell Us and I Tell Ya

Fox Sports does a great job with baseball, ok, so let’s not get all defensive about yet another media dweeb harping on the negatives. I’m not one of those guys.

But you really need to do something about the speech impediments. Professional broadcasters should not stutter, lisp, or get unusually nervous in front of a microphone, and certainly, the serial overuse of a phrase, any phrase, is a sportscasting no-no, even for cable.

In this Mark Gubizca has no peer. Nice pitcher, solid citizen, and pretty good generally in the studio, but Mark, buddy, lose the “I tell ya.” I tell ya, you simply cannot start every analysis of every ball player in every accompanying game highlight with the phrase, “I tell ya.” You just can’t.

It’s like a hitch in a swing. It may be comfortable, but in the end, it’s not a good thing. Nobody messed with Henry Aaron’s hitch because it was a thing of beauty, and because he was Henry Aaron, after all. Talk to Charlie Lau if you think it’ll help, spend some time in the cage, but please do something about that hitch, I tell ya.

Kevin Kennedy is the best baseball analyst going today, but Kevin has a problem-phrase too, “no doubt about it.” Everything is “no doubt about it.” Everything. Baseball isn’t that clear. There has to be some room for doubt somewhere.

Bob Brenly and Thom Brennaman, for some reason, think that every player in the majors and every play that takes place in every game every week is “outstanding.” They’re very emphatic about it. Brennaman also thinks that every ball hit in the air is a “pop,” even if it travels 500 feet.

Oohh, here’s one. Fox has this new “Southern California Regional Sports Report” thing nightly at 11. John Fricke’s the voice of reason there. The show has been panned elsewhere so I’ll save it, but if I hear one more “The trading deadline ends Monday” from Chick Hernandez or Gaard Swanson (Gaard Swanson?!), I’m gonna hurl. The trading deadline does not end Monday. The trading deadline is Monday. Or if you prefer, the trading period ends Monday. I know it’s just sports, but c’mon, hire a writer already.

Over at ESPN, Mike Marfarlane starts each sentence with the word “again.” It gets him started, and again, it’s a hitch. Peter Gammons, who should know better, uses the word “but” like a comma.

On the bright side, “Baseball Tonight,” still the most important show in television history, has made a cool feature out of “Web Gems.” “Web Gems” is a perfect name, and it’s become part of the language. You see a great play in the field, you just call it a “Web Gem.” It’s no longer a “TWIBer,” which didn’t exactly roll off the tongue. And glove conquers all, remember.

Pluses for Fox include Ron Darling, who is very clean, and Steve Lyons, who doesn’t get near the credit he deserves for making the transition from athlete to anchor. Steve Sax is still a Dodger at heart and fun to watch, even if he is a little skitterish. Some things never change. If Chuck Knoblauch ever straightens out, maybe Sax can move on to other issues....

Memo to Bob Daly: the 1150 signal is still unacceptable. The whole place reeks of unprofessionalism. Whether it’s KABC or some other station, please find an answer for 2001....

T.J. Simers is to page two sports columns what Mark Davis was to free agency. The poison pen act has its place if there’s something behind it, like say, sports (not just football) savvy or an actual sense of humor and timing. Simers just tries too hard to be obnoxious. The real trick is to be naturally obnoxious....

Vinny, you’re the greatest....

Howard Cole

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