Cincinnati Reds broadcasters have the toughest job in sports today
Let me tell you about the hardest job in sport today.
To do this, you must be creative, patient, tolerant, nonjudgmental, incurably optimistic, and versed in historic sporting calamity.
Your voice cannot betray any emotion. You can not sigh or laugh disbelief or burst out laughing at the horror of it all. If you can’t help but bang your head against the nearest wall, better be discreet.
There could be a million Synonyms of “ugly”but you can’t use any of them.
You don’t get dangerous duty compensation, you can’t mention “mental fatigue” when filing a health insurance claim. You have to take one game at a time, even if a game looks like 1,000 replays of I Married Dora.
Nothing changes but the scenery, and even then all Marriotts look alike.
You are a broadcaster for the Cincinnati Reds. Heaven help you.
Tommy Thrall did not remember the score. It was late in the Reds-Brewers game on Wednesday night, another lopsided L, about as convincing as a nap. Thrall had it 18-0, Brewers, 16-0 Brewers then finally and correctly, 18-3 Brewers. At least I think that’s how he had it. I dozed off myself.
It’s not to smear Tommy. Completely the opposite. I listen most nights and I’m amazed to how Thrall, Jeff Brantley and Chris Welsh can keep the shows worthy of our ears. Not only does The Club lose every night, they lose the same way. How can we make this listenable?
It’s like giving cat food to one of Jeff Ruby’s chefs and telling him make him a Steak Burrow.
Advertisers are usually paid by the ball club or must be approved by the ball club. This makes them indebted to the ball club. The days of broadcasters like Marty Brennaman are over. So if you’re Thrall, you’re in a position to try to entertain without being overly judgmental. And unlike a writer, you work without a net.
I couldn’t write a Reds column every day by October any more than I could fly a rocket to Mars.
I have no idea how these guys do that. I have calls to ask them.
How do you make it more interesting than reading the back of a cereal box?
What is the predominant emotion in the stand? Anger, pity, frustration, homicide? All the foregoing?
What’s more fun, calling a Reds game or falling off a ladder?
Writing a review gives me some leeway. When the Bengals were losing every week for 12 straight years, I could get a little cheeky. One Sunday around 1995, I picked up leaves for a woman in Hyde Park, rather than covering the football game. A few years later, I did a poll after 12 games, asking readers for permission to stop covering the team. I offered to devote my energies to college basketball, the high school football playoffs, and finding a cure for cancer.
Readers said they didn’t care where I was going, as long as it was far.
I arrived with John Popovich on Sports of All Sorts, wearing a bag over his head. In the early 2000s, I kissed the bank of televisions along the back wall of the press dining room. They showed every other NFL game played at that time. I wrote a column during a Bengals home game on PBS about the 49ers-Cowboys, while the Bengals were being pounded by Pittsburgh right outside the glass in front of my seat. The Monday after Gary Reasons knocked Dave Shula’s cap off during a scary game, I arrived at the Shula presser wearing my cap backwards.
I did a bye week column on how the Bengals won their first W of the year. Against goodbye.
Etc. We laugh so as not to cry.
I know covering sports for a living is a real box of chocolates. But covering that particular team that year presents a unique challenge that, in its own way, is just as dreadful as picking up trash from the highway while wearing an orange jumpsuit. Its particular containment.
Now . . .
.LOSING AGAIN, THEY DID IT. . . We’re getting to the point where the anger is gone, the disgust is gone, the apathy is approaching (it hasn’t happened yet, you still tear them apart after every game), all replaced by a deep sadness.
Baseball is personal here. The game may not be what it used to be, but there is still a stitch in the fabric of who we are here. This isn’t Pittsburgh, with its Steelers brawn and valley of great quarterbacks. (Namath, Montana, Marino, Jim Kelly.) These are not New York basketball courts. This is Cincinnati, where baseball helps define us. It was once a great source of pride.
That’s not to say it can’t happen again, but it’s not looking good in the short term, and my crystal ball is in the shop.
Each defeat reduces our pride a little more. Every trivia player the Reds roll around town makes the already painful truth that much more painful. There’s not much to work on here.
Rather early, we will avoid the hurt by trying to ignore it. It’s the worst. Reversing apathy in a sport that already lacks new enthusiasm is like a magic trick.
So we are sad. The Reds have taken a good part of the summer of us, and it’s only in May.
AND NOW YOU REALLY NEED A SHOT O’ FUN. . .
Hi Michelle! is at your service.
It was a tough weekend to shrink! So many fun things
Salsa on the square ~ OK now, it just screams hot weather and fun! Starting Thursday, May 5 (Cinco De Mayo), salsa dances in Fountain Square with live music through September. It’s so much fun… you have to try.
With so many music venues nearby, you can listen to live music almost every night! Friday, May 6 is one of my favorites – Leon Bridges. He is such a soulful musician and truly a crowd pleaser. Find him in the indoor Andrew J Brady/Icon room.
Asian Food Fest ~ May 7 from 11am to 10pm and 8 from 11am to 8pm on Court St. You’ll get your fill of amazing Asain food and there’s non-stop dancing and live music. So go celebrate the Year of the Tiger and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Just when you think the weekend fun is over…the Monday fun is here ~ CIncy Chefs Cook for Ukraine puts Pierogi for Peace on May 9-9 at new cook OTR Stillhouse. Over 40 different chefs have created their signature pierogi. Enjoy beer, wine, live music and more. Tickets available at cincychefs.com
Soak Dave says at least the beer was cold.
We’re not going to talk about the team that usually takes the field at the Great American Ballpark. At Imbibe Central, we work hard to focus on the positives.
It seems the stadium experience staff have been very busy. View Level (400) could at one time be lovingly described as being laid out with spartan accommodations. It reminded me a lot of Riverfront, the home of the unique ice cream stand.
Well, the rare offers are no more. Not only are most Field Level brands like LaRosa now represented, but the beer selection is vastly improved. I grabbed a MadTree Rounding Third as soon as I entered to survive this far with two little humans in tow, but was delighted to find a Moerlein Smithy Helles Lager at their dedicated brewery stand upstairs.
In addition to the Fioptics viewing area in left field, there is now a family area in right field, complete with a playground, jungle gym and batting cages.
With a great view of the river, this turned out to be a cool place to check out in a slightly below average baseball situation and where you could afford to burn a few calories between popcorn, peanuts and the pizza.
The toughest decision of the night was the soft serve from Graeter or the helmet with nuggets. Serious question, they now serve nachos in full size helmets, what’s wrong with a gallon of Black Raspberry Chip slung in one of those bad boys?
TUNE O’ THE DAY. . . Sad song to fit my bullet loving mood.
Looks like nothing’s gonna change
Everything always remains the same.