(This guy knows his sports, people)
There was a time when I was entertained by Chris Berman and his schtick. It was way back in the mid-to-late 90s, when I was still young and stupid, and awaiting the onset of puberty to at least attempt to mature me a little bit. I took great joy in hearing him say "RUMBLIN'-BUMBLIN'-STUMBLIN'!!!" when calling football highlights or make explosion noises when a Mike Alstott highlight came on. In a related story, I was a loser kid.
Since early high school, though, I've been keenly aware of a fact that many other intelligent sports fans know to be true; the fact that Chris Berman absolutely sucks. He's an abomination of a "sports personality;' a bloated, self-important, uninformed caricature of what an ESPN anchor/studio host/announcer is supposed to be, and the perfect visual and auditory representation of what ESPN has horribly mutated into over the past 10 years or so. So it was an entertainment dick punch to end all entertainment dick punches when the ESPN broadcast for last night's Yanks-Rays game began and I heard Berman's obnoxious voice come through my TV speakers. I was already planning on tipping a few brewskis back while I watched the game, but as I told my friend, my 12-pack didn't stand a fucking chance when I realized Berman was doing the play-by-play.
While there's nothing informative or entertaining in what Chris Berman says or how he says it as it relates to the sporting event he's blabbing about, his general buffoonery is good for a couple of laughs at his expense. Knowing this, I gritted my teeth and forced myself to concentrate and listen to what he said last night in the hopes that I could catch some good lines, and I think I came out with a few winners. Please know that I didn't enjoy doing this. It was practically torture. But my dedication to you dear readers knows no bounds. Without further ado, I present to you, The Worst of Chris Berman from last night's game.
Top of the 1st- "The designated hitter, Derek Jeter, designates the start of the game... "
"Designate" is not a word that applies to the start of a baseball game, so to use it in connection with Jeter's position as DH last night is neither clever nor witty. It's a lazy attempt at word play that caters to the lowest common denominator of mouth-breathing sports fan. And even IF that word did apply, the fact would remain that it's still not an accurate statement because the game had already started and pitches had already been thrown before Jeter's double. The game was barely 2 minutes old and Berman had already said possibly the dumbest thing he said all night.
Bottom of the 1st- "And Alex Rodriguez is over there like, 'maybe I need to take a shower... '"
Because everyone is standing so far away from him, you see??? That's why it's funny. It's a funny joke! The defense doesn't shift because they are trying to be strategic against a left-handed hitter. They shift because A-Rod is smelly!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
/fashions shoelaces into a makeshift noose
Bottom of the 1st- "He [Andruw Jones] had 10 Golden Gloves back in the day."
Golden Gloves is an annual amateur boxing tournament. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD Gloves are the awards given out to baseball players every year for defensive excellence*. You should probably brush up on the difference between the 2 before you start discussing them in connection with Andruw Jones.
Bottom of the 2nd- "Back it goes, BACK-BACK-BACK!!!!... (whispering) ... just foul."
I can understand wanting to bring a little excitement and drama to the game, but there's really no need to try to create either over a deep flyball hit by Ben Zobrist in the 2nd fucking inning.
Top of the 3rd- "And Matt Moore was 'The Natural' on that one."
Similar to the "designated" line, this is just another lazy attempt at a clever joke based on Rick Sutcliffe describing the "natural" talents of Matt Moore. Not to mention that Roy Hobbs struck out Babe Ruth swinging, and Moore struck out Curtis Granderson looking. Makes no sense. If you laughed at this line last night, you should be kicked in the taint.
Top of the 3rd- "That's the classic, 'Bang, buh-bang, buh-bang!"
This was Berman's call of the replay of the line drive double play that Cano hit into to end the 3rd inning. The "bang" was Moore's catch of the line drive, the "buh-bang" was his throw to first base to double up A-Rod. What the fuck is the other "buh-bang" there for??? There was no second "buh-bang," you jackass!! That would have been a triple play!
Top of the 5th- Some kind of Jim Morrison reference when discussing Moore's MiL stats
I missed the actual quote, but I spent a good 5 minutes trying to figure out what the hell Berman was talking about here. Judging by the lack of response from Aaron Boone and Sutcliffe in the booth, they were doing the same thing.
Bottom of the 5th- This:
This, this, a THOUSAND times this. Who in the blue hell still wears short-sleeved button down shirts??? Short-sleeved button down shirts are acceptable for 2 groups of people- stereotypical nerds or science teachers in 80s movies and child molesters. That's it. And of course, there's Chris Berman's big pudgy body stuffed into one of those shirts like it ain't no thang. It's like he's trying to make us all hate him more.
Fuck you, Berman.
Bottom of the 6th- "That's a professional at-bat right there..." in reference to Jeff Keppinger grounding into an inning-ending double play.
Damn right. Nothing more professional than taking runners off the basepaths and killing your team's chances of scoring more runs!
Top of the 7th- "Hall of Famer, Hall of Famer, Hall of Famer!..." in reference to the players Derek Jeter is passing on the all-time hits list.
Why is it such a surprise that Jeter is passing Hall of Famers on the all-time MLB hits list when he's already in the top 15??? Was there ever any doubt that guys like George Brett and Cal Ripken and Nap Lajoie were going to be Hall of Famers? I would say it would be a shit-ton more surprising at this point if Jeter passed somebody on the list who WASN'T a Hall of Famer.
NEWSFLASH- When you reach 3,000 career hits, you're going to be listed amongst Hall of Famers!
Bottom of the 7th- Not 100% sure on this, but I'm pretty sure he called Boone Logan "Clay Rapada" as Logan finished warming up and entered the game.
Typical Berman. No clue what's going on down there on the field or who's doing what, but goddamnit he's gotta say something!
At this point in the game I was pretty well hammered, so the quality of my listening and writing skills started to deteriorate, and it didn't help that the Yankees coughed up the lead and put me in a bad mood, but I think this gives a pretty accurate description of just how soul-crushingly terrible it was to have Berman doing the PBP last night. Never in my life have I ever pined more for the melodious voices of John Sterling and Big Suze, and normally 20 minutes of them on the air is enough for me to want to Van Gogh myself.
Don't do this to me again, ESPN. Please don't. I know I hardly ever have nice things to say about you, but I'll at least try to take it down a notch if you promise not to have Chris Berman call my nationally-televised Yankee games.
P.S.- Chris Berman blows.