Bob Raissman of the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, via Jimmy Traina of SI.com’s Hot Clicks, points a considerable tract of his most recent piece on New York media to the urinary dilemma that faced Mets announcers Kenny Albert and Tim McCarver during the Mets-Cardinals 20-inning game last Saturday.
In the 17th inning, Kenny Albert, Fox’s play-by-play voice, informed viewers that his partner, Tim McCarver, had left the booth in the seventh inning. Albert did not specify if T-Mac took a pause for the cause, but those familiar with the situation say he did. Albert also reported: “I have not left the booth in 17 innings.”
At that very moment, all chances of Albert landing that big-bucks Flomax endorsement deal went down the tubes. What was not known at the time is that Albert is practiced in the “art” of retention. In July 1998, he worked a 17-inning Indians-Mariners game and did not once visit a Kingdome bathroom.
“And I did not go during the entire game (Saturday),” Albert said yesterday.
How is he able to do (or not do) this?
“It’s all mental,” he proclaimed.
Albert explained he always has to “go” at halftime of football or basketball games and between periods of Rangers radiocasts.
“With baseball, if there’s a men’s room really close I sometimes sneak between innings, but commercial breaks are never more than two minutes,” Albert said. “On Saturday I never felt a need to make a run for it. I didn’t drink a lot during the game, just a few sips of water, and you’re not expecting the game to go that long.”
Albert also came to the booth relatively empty. A 9 a.m. room service breakfast and a few pretzels out of McCarver’s snack stash in the 16th inning. That’s all he ate. He also knows a play-by-play man can’t really risk missing the first pitch of an inning, unless his name is John Sterling.
If anyone is an authority on this sort of thing, it’s me. I broadcasted sports in the major and minor leagues for 10 years in every possible situation.
I covered baseball, hockey, football and college basketball during my broadcasting career as a play-by-play announcer, many times without a broadcast partner. Minor league baseball is by far the greatest challenge when it comes an announcer piloting his personal dirigible solo for hours at a time, mainly because the breaks between half-innings are usually barely over 60 seconds. Literally.
Like Albert (who I actually once worked an AHL game with) said, I found the only way to combat the inevitable urges was to engross myself in the game.
Same principle applies when you’re on a long airplane flight with no reading materials or movies. In those situations you tend to increasingly ponder your unfortunate bodily functions - which usually results in you needlessly clearing out the soon-to-be beleaguered passengers in your row. (Watch the loaded diaper bag!)
With that in mind, if you want to know who the sports announcers most often plagued with the urge to go are, note the guys who constantly mention the length of games.
From experience I can confirm dude’s more worried about frosting the urinal cake than the game he’s calling.