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Joe's MLB on TV Report - MLB on TBS

Number twenty-three in a series.

Broadcast: Sunday MLB on TBS, LA Angels at NY Yankees, 8/3/08; Announcers: Chip Caray (play-by-play), Ron Darling (analyst)

Before we begin, I just want to say that I cherish the thought of writing these reviews. If you agree, feel free to express yourself. You may not like what I say; that’s only human nature. There’s no rule that says you must love me. I won’t get hung up if you don’t, but if you do I’ll be happy to take a bow. In the end, nothing really matters. Just don’t tell me to stop.

Sometimes it takes a while for me to get into the groove, when I’m not exactly burning up the keyboard. Other times the words just get ready to jump onto the screen and I can get together something quite easily. It might take a little longer than 4 minutes, but that’s good because quality is in vogue and…

Okay, time out. By now you must be wondering, “What the hell is he talking about?” Hey, I’m just injecting Madonna song titles into my work. What’s the big deal? Chip Caray did it during this game. I’m just paying homage.

Caray did it at least seven times, and the beauty of it is that I didn’t pick up on it the first three times he did it. I had to replay my recording of the game to find them. And for all I know there could have been more. My mind does tend to wander now and then. Here are the ones I caught:

We start with the Yankees’ first, after Alex Rodriguez (the obvious inspiration for Caray’s flight of fancy) is called out on strikes: “Right down the middle -- that was anything but a Borderline pitch.”

The top of the 4th was a busy one. Right after coming back from commercial, with the Angels up 3-0: “The Yankees, falling Deeper and Deeper into a hole today.” After Chone Figgins ripped a single between short and third: “A-Rod just said Hello and Goodbye to that baseball.” (This was clever, as “Hello and Goodbye” is a rather brief song from Evita, and it’s certainly not very well-known outside of Madonna’s most rabid fan base or people familiar with that musical.) And when Yankees manager Joe Girardi headed to the mound, seemingly for a pitching change, which ultimately didn’t happen: “Baseball-wise, Darrell Rasner will not Live To Tell the story of this 4th inning.”

In the top of the 5th Derek Jeter went into the hole to make a fine catch-and-throw to get the out at first: “A little Dress You Up for Derek Jeter.”

As A-Rod came to bat in the bottom of the 6th after having struck out his first two times: “If he punches out again he may need a Holiday.” And in the bottom of the 7th, after new Yankee Xavier Nady’s 3-run homer put the Yanks up 8-5 after being down 5-0 earlier: “Xavier Nady -- and these fans are Crazy For You!”

Despite the shtick, Caray didn’t get on my nerves as much as I expected. I'm assuming he didn't learn of the death of his father, longtime Braves announcer Skip Caray, before the game -- but if he did, his performance was astounding. And just as Ron Darling works well on the Mets' telecasts, I liked his work here as well. (Darling isn’t on TBS every Sunday, though. Last week I had their game on briefly and Harold Reynolds was paired with Caray; other weeks, Buck Martinez gets the assignment.) And I think I like the look of the TBS graphics better than any others I’ve seen. Unfortunately, one graphic misspelled Yankee reliever Damaso Marte’s name.

The teams’ respective general managers each spent a half-inning in the booth. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said he would do a “run-scoring dance, like a rain dance,” when the Yanks loaded the bases with one out in the 4th trailing by 5, but on a fly to deep left Bobby Abreu tagged and was thrown out at third before Derek Jeter could reach home plate, turning a sacrifice fly into an inning-ending double play (a mistake that Darling correctly called “awful”).

Brian, as Madonna might say, apparently you can’t dance…for inspiration… Grade: B-minus -- Joe Guckin