[A few clarifying words are added below in boldface.]
Second City never looks so second as when Sox games are broadcast. And it’s never so obvious, by contrast, as when the Fox or ESPN (both national) ‘casters are doing a game. They keep the air alive with solid info, not cracker-barrel speculation, about players and the seasons they are having and where we had dinner last night. Comcast is no Fox, of course, and the technical aspects also make a big difference. I don’t aim a camera, but I do know when I’m being bored by the same shots time and again, sans movement, sans teeth (bite), sans everything but the same old where-the-pitch-goes and (after the hit) where the pitches went, all of which goes with interminable, repetitive discussion of what this pitch does and that.
The Fox play-by-play man is a professional announcer who knows baseball, vs. an amateur-once-a-player who does the cracker barrel with the best of them. Or the bar or the team bus, whatever. The Sox radio man, Farmer, once in a tight spot said, “There’s the pitch!” and there went the pitch, but he said nothing, so disappointed was he at what came of it. They get cranky when Sox lose, TV man Harrelson drawling out his disappointment — hey, Red Barber had an accent, but it didn’t matter — and Farmer removing even more affect than usual from his deadening voice. He makes Bob Elson sound lively. And his cohort Singleton has his dumb jokes. Yuck!
How long, how long, O Sox fans, will you endure the shamless huckstering of your favorite players, the excuses — it’s hard to put down a bunt, so much do you expose your body and head to a pitch, or it’s hard to keep playing with injuries and in such a long season — and the all-around root-a-toot-tooting for “us,” meaning the Sox? You’ll endure it as long as Reinsdorf the businessman, and a very good one, thinks that’s what we want. And the heck of it is, maybe most of us do.