Let’s check resumés. Steve Lyons was a journeyman utility infielder for nine years, and he never played for a World Champion. He had his fighting chance with the 1986 Boston Red Sox, but selfishly abandoned them for the greener-looking pastures of the Chicago White Sox, who, it appears, did not particularly enjoy employing his services. He never posted a batting average higher than .280 in his major league experience. He never even played in a postseason game.
Steve Lyons pitched three major league innings and recorded four walks. He made 25 errors in 1988 as a third baseman for the White Sox, who, remember, probably did not want him to play third base. He pitched, was a designated hitter, and played every possible position, including catcher, for a total of four teams in his nine years in the bigs. He also enjoyed careers as a wedding photographer, the author of The Fires of Vulcan (a Doctor Who novel), the Director of International Student and Scholar Services at Wright State University, a tropical weather expert on the Weather Channel, a member of the Graphic Artists Guild, and the self-appointed “Dr. Décor” at No Big Deal Interior Decorating.
This is not, I have no trouble asserting, a man who has any place ascending whatever announcing ladder one has to ascend in order to be calling one half of the games involved in the 2002 Major League Baseball League Championship Series. We are still early in this argument, but allow me to reiterate my thesis, for emphasis: Steve Lyons may be a jack-of-all-trades on the baseball field, but he is not the jack of the 2002 Major League Baseball League Championship Series announcing trade.
We will see later that this may, in fact, be a jack-free trade, but that is for later. Our business is Steve Lyons, for now.
Steve Lyons, he of the flowing, wavy hair-mane (circa 1989). He of the pointy, shiny nose and the creeping chest hair, he of the not-all-that-curved baseball cap. He of the pinned-back ears. Steve Lyons does not belong in the same broadcaster’s booth occupied, not all that long ago, by the likes of Boston’s own Jerry Remy. Steve Lyons is not our man.
Not to say that flowing manes are a guarantee of poor announcing. Not to say that explicitly, anyway; if the close juxtaposition of flowing manes and poor announcemanship leads to such an impression among readers, so be it. But Steve Lyons is, indubitably, a bad announcer, principally because he has a funny voice. Like Kermit the Frog, if marginally subtler. He also lacks the usual wit and sagacity of good announcers. I cannot blame this on his being from Tacoma, even if I might be trying.
Thom Brennaman is likely a saint in comparison to his boothmate. All the same, he manages to be in a confined space with Steve Lyons for several hours on a regular basis, which indicates some proclivity towards self-abnegation or at the very, very least, a total lack of self-esteem. Maroon researchers tell me that Mr. Brennaman attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. I know people who attend or attended OU, and I can assure you that all of them are at or near the bottom of a list of people who should be permitted to speak into a microphone that will transmit their immediate reactions to a game of baseball across the entire country.
Marty Brennaman is a good announcer. But I demand conclusive proof that the good announcing gene is carried on the Y chromosome. The fact that Harry Caray, a passable if charismatic announcer, parented Skip and Chip Caraynon-passable and charismatic only in the sense that both younger Carays have been known to speak in tonguesspeaks against this possibility. Jack Buck is the more-distinguished progenitor of Joe Buck, who is less distinguished, and appears to have attained his somewhat sanctimonious stature within this article as a result of hard work rather than innate abilities (we will return to this point momentarily). Please do not get me started on Jeremy Schaap. Maroon Sports, to keep this already-fairly-long story short, does not truck with Jeremy Schaap.
More importantly, Thom “I Enjoy Non-Standard Spellings of Common First Names” Brennaman has worked for the following organizations: the Cincinnati Reds, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Chicago Cubs, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the University of Cincinnati Athletics Department. Thom Brennaman is probably an OK guy, and probably a good announcer. The fact that he has to share airtime with Steve Lyons probably makes him angry.
Before I get to the Tim McCarver noiseand there will be noiselet me submit a caveat: Joe Buck does not deserve any blame for his misanthropic co-host. This may precipitate a somewhat awkward and backhanded canonization of Joe Buck into some obscure yet respectable pantheon, which is probably, all things considered, not a necessary thing. Nevertheless, Mr. Buck the junior has managed through mysterious means to avoid acquiring a blotch on his announcer’s escutcheon in spite of sitting side-by-side with one of the most pedantic baseball talkers in the game today. On with McCarver.
Tim McCarver, the colorguy of Fox’s flagship team, has taken this whole “Tim McCarver is the foremost chronicler of the baseball experience” ethic more than a little too far. I have attempted to compose my thoughts on Tim McCarver in a letter, so as to avoid visiting any violence up on him. I promise not to send the letter.
My letter to Tim McCarver:
Dear Tim McCarver,
1. The fact that in the course of tonight’s game a pitch was thrown in the general direction of Kenny Lofton’s head, in San Francisco, by a member of the St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff, is, yes, not that big a deal. But Tim, people are going to ooh and aah over it nonetheless, because people are not you, Tim McCarver, and they do not have the ability to see through time and into the mists of human will and ascertain which brushback pitches are actually intentional, so please, Wizard McCarver, do not destroy us.
2. The fact that a pitch in the course of that same game was thrown at the head of Benito Santiago is in fact a big deal. Santiago hit a game-winning home run in the game before. Any pitch that would go near his head, even if it is a breaking pitch and thus probably not intentional, could understandably be received with oohs and aahs, since the patrons of PacBell Ballpark are not Matt Morris and do not know that he just threw a curveball and not a 99 mph laser with the express intent of murdering Benito Santiago. The fact that you immediately denounced the oohing and aahing as unnecessary makes me doubt your intelligence.
3. You talk about the Rally Monkey way, way too much.
4. You talk about the faint-at-best resemblance between Kirk Reuter and the cowboy from Toy Story way, way, way, way too much, which is to say that yes, you deserve to die.
5. The fact that you stated that Luis Gonzalez might be able to bloop the ball over a pulled-in Yankees infield moments before he did just that does not in any way mean you knew or even expected that to happen. It merely indicates that you, among thousands of other amateur physicists, understand the many different ways a ball can come off a bat. Congratulations.
6. Deion Sanders hates you, and I am beginning to understand his thought process, which is to say you make me take sides with Deion Sanders, which is a lot closer to Satan worship than you might think.
7. You are old.
8. You played for the Cardinals. This is not always bad, but it is, in your case.
9. Catchers are not supposed to talk so much.
10. Eyebrows. You’ve got eyebrows.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the non-Chone Figgins-generated rancor is roiling. Tim McCarver has not atoned for any of the sins attributed so skillfully to him by the foregoing pinch runner. He has not, more importantly, atoned for his sin of ever, in any anachronistic moment in the scope of human history, been even tacitly involved in anyone, least of all himself, being nicknamed Buckethead.
It’s a devastating gang of three, this unholy trinity of Lyons, Brennaman, and McCarver. I’m getting shades of Dante, shades of Cassius, Brutus, and Judas, respectively (Brutus may, after all, have been unduly punished, by Dante, for his sins, as is Brennaman the younger). The Maroon, in spite of its considerable campus suasion, cannot (nor should it) bring about any eternal ice-interment for the three fellows in question, but we do intend to use our powers to bring to light the badness being perpetrated on this country. That is what we can do.
We can count ourselves lucky for never having heard McCarver, in all his eyebrowious glory, in the booth with Steve “Journey-Man” Lyons. Let us hope this unsavory combo meal never hits the baseball menus.
Joe Buck can carry the baseball playoffs alone, please, from here on out.