Brog: Buss Blows Off Boston, Busted In Las Vegas

If you travel this space regularly, you know I’m going to be moving from South Beach to L.A. shortly. Now if I’m able to make it back home by this weekend, I’ll goto Game Five of the NBA Finals at Staples between the C’s and Lakers. And have coverage on SbB.

Jerry Buss Lacey Jones

(We’d rather have poker pro Lacey Jones play with our stack too, ol’ Doc Buss)

I didn’t make it to the first two games of the Finals in Boston, which isn’t all that surprising. But what may have left some Boston fans befuddled is that Lakers Owner Jerry Buss and daughter Jeanie Buss (also Phil Jax’s GF) didn’t go either.

Jeanie stayed back in her Marina home, ordering in (C & O?) for the games. Meanwhile, her father decided a poker tournament in Vegas was a higher priority, which means “double-down” is now taking on a whole new meaning for ol’ Doc Buss.

Now, anyone who follows the Lakers is in no way surprised at this revelation. In the case of elder Buss, this is the same guy who refused to come home from a vacation in Italy to attend to the final, fateful Shaq-Kobe blowup - which eventually led to O’Neal’s ouster (hindsight: that was Buss’ plan all along).

Jeanie Buss basketballs

(Jeanie’s priority #2 - after Phil’s Doan’s pills - score Hef courtside seats)

The only thing surprising regarding Jerry passing on Game 1 & 2 in The Bean is that he didn’t do it from the O.G. in Vegas.

Wait a minute, who said he didn’t?

And of course, Jeanie has her priorities too, like setting up Hef for his Game 3 digs on 1111 South Fig. Playboy’s Hugh Hefner will make a rare appearance at a Lakers game on Tuesday. More importantly, he’s bringing his three fake girlfriends with him.

Girls Next Door

(Yes, the old goat will be courtside too)

So, I think I might be able to make it out of Miami by Tuesday night. If I do, I’ll be filing from the road. Hopefully I’ll be able to scare up something interesting along the way but don’t hold your breath.

In case you don’t know, I broadcasted baseball on radio and TV for 9+ years in the minors - and for the KC Royals - so when I watch or listen to a baseball broadcast, I’m mainly focused on the job the announcers are doing - with the game merely a backdrop. Yes, I know, it’s the other way around for you, but I lived in the business for many years, so indulge me.

Living here in South Florida the last few months, I’ve been introduced for the first time to the wonderment that is Marlins’ radio voice Dave Van Horne. Van Horne has been in the Bigs for decades (longtime voice of the Expos), and I always wondered why I never heard much about him from friends in the industry.

Well now I know. Not much personality. He’s an old school, balls-and-strikes guy. And if you took the media guides out of the booth, you’d have pretty much three hours of dead air. But he is a very entertaining listen for me, because he has the absolute worst (best!) put-on voice in MLB.

I’ve since heard from my MLB broadcast sources that Van Horne even uses his put-on voice when he’s off-the-air, which is absolutely fantastic. Wonder if that also includes his intimate moments? *shudder*

Second in the fake voice derby, for my money, is DeWayne Staats, who does TV for the Rays. Third is Mick Huber, who does Florida football and basketball. And finishing out of the medal round is Merrill Reese, who calls the Philadelphia Eagles.

Honorable mention: Rick Goodbye Baseball … PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!! Rizzs of the Mariners (back on KIRO-AM soon?!) - who is the proud owner of the cheesiest *signature* call in the game.

Any others? Drop me a note or leave in the comments. I’d like to make a list, all sports. Fake-voiced announcers are like novocaine for the souls of fans following bad teams - they make the broadcast unintentionally amusing, and thus easier to endure.

I spent much of the past weekend listening to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on Yanks radio via WFTL-AM in Miami - which covers the Yankees broadcasts on weekends (yeah, it was a rollicking two days!).

Sterling and Waldman have good chemistry, mainly because everyone has good chemistry with Sterling. He’s an easygoing guy and an underrated listen. The two together are tolerable if not pleasant at times. Sterling’s PBP call is short on detail, but adequate.

But you get laughably little baseball analysis on the broadcast, except for what Waldman parrots from her clubhouse sources. And of course, everything has to go through the Yankee homer filter, so at the end of the day, you really get nothing interesting. If Sterling had a bad voice, the broadcast would be insufferable. But he’s a jolly sort and he keeps Waldman from intruding too much with her oft-inane analogies and asides.

The above-described is what MLB broadcasts have now become. No substance and very little, mainly muffled entertainment value. The announcers are paid shills, nothing more. Very sad. That’s the number one reason I got out of the business. When you’re an MLB announcer, you aren’t allowed by club management or the flagship station (in most cases) to speak your mind. New York, L.A., Philly and Boston used to be the exceptions, but no more.

The one exception to all that though is Marty Brennaman. He truly is the last guy left who calls his own shots. And it’s not a coincidence that he’s absolutely beloved in Cincinnati, and is the most entertaining listen in all of baseball. No one is even close.

Speaking of superlative announcers, Jim McKay’s weekend passing left me wistful.

Jim McKay

(Was McKay an O.G. or what? - Photo credit ABC & SBD)

I grew up watching him, and I’m truly glad he was spared the internet - to prevent stuff like this from happening.

I can’t stomach watching college baseball on ESPN for more than two minutes, but I did briefly catch a standup with Karl Ravech (the best moussed hairpiece in television) and Robin Ventura yesterday.

When I think of Ventura, who of course had a very nice MLB career, why is this always the first thing that comes to mind? Jim Rome mentioning it every other week I guess doesn’t help matters (to his credit).

Funny, I never hear about stories like this when Dick Vitale and other college hoops pundits bend over backwards to fluff up Tark’s tarnished legacy.

Remember how pissed and defensive Michelle Tafoya was about her MNF sacking? Well if you watched the end of last night’s C’s-Lakes game, you know why she was dragged off MNF sideline duty kicking and screaming by ABCESPN truckers.

As the primary ABC sideline reporter for the NBA Finals, she had a precious minute with Paul Pierce after the game. Pierce thwarted the Lakers’ astonishing comeback by blocking a 3-point attempt by Vlad Rad, and then nailed some free throws down the stretch.

So what does Tafoya ask Pierce as he walked off the court? Not how the C’s defended the Lakers - subsequent to his shot-blocking heroics - but what he was thinking while shooting free throws.

Pierce’s incredulous response, “I was thinking about making them!”

I probably shouldn’t bring stuff like that up though, considering how much Tafoya loves blogs.

When Evan Longoria first came up with the Rays, we goofed on his name (of course). Now who do you think will last longer in the public eye? Eva or Evan?

Let’s play a game, shall we? It’s called “Spot the non-white college baseball player“:

Black College Baseball Player

Oh, oh … I win!

I understand that there now aren’t many blacks playing baseball at any level, but what about Latinos? They dominate the major leagues, so what about college baseball? They’re about as prevalent in the college game as a (breathing) political dissenter in Cuba.

On the culinary front, I’m much disappointed over this (last item). Just think of the whine cellar that joint would’ve enjoyed!

Phil Anschutz, the enigmatic owner of Staples Center, the L.A. Kings and half the teams in MLS, has been hit with a $144M tax bill.

Amazing Ebay item, via UNI WATCH BLOG:

Colorado Caribous Soccer Jersey

The soccer uniform of the Colorado Caribous of the NASL. God, I don’t miss the ’70s.

Yeah, the Belmont was a major letdown, but that doesn’t mean all was lost Saturday at the New York track. NEWSDAY reports that sweltering temps lead neighborhood residents surrounding the racing grounds to open fire hydrants in order to keep everybody (outside the track) cool.

That in turn meant no water pressure for the 130,000 fans at the track - and so the fun begins!

More than 100 women stood in line outside a third-floor women’s restroom in the Belmont Park clubhouse. Inside, the toilets would not flush and only hot water came from sink faucets. A men’s restroom nearby was supposed to be off-limits. But those in need breezed speedily past a maintenance employee stationed at one of the doors.

“What am I supposed to do?” said the worker, 62. “When some people have a couple of drinks, it can get scary, so I just let them go.”

The water-pressure troubles made for long lines outside restrooms and portable toilets for much of the afternoon. Some men resorted to relieving themselves in garbage cans, on clubhouse stair landings and in the manicured shrubbery outside the clubhouse.

On the bright side, with so many losing tickets that day, the restroom-impaired masses had no problem wiping away their tears, and, well, you know.