Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The folks who think I cross the line with my criticism of George Grande always counter with, "Yeah, but he was such a nice guy."
Okay. But you know what what? So is my mom. My mom is a heckuva nice guy, and she's nowhere near qualified enough to broadcast Reds games on my Samsung television. So there.
I really hate George Grande. I don't have a single nice thing to say about the man. In my opinion, he was the luckiest man in the history of broadcasting. And when I read somewhere recently that he's been a working member of the media for 45 years, honestly, I threw my niece off the balcony.
But anyway, I've broken down my hatred for George Grande into three categories: Lying, Impossible-to-believe quotes and Nicknames. Enjoy:
1. Lying. Hands down the most underrated aspect of the George Grande Experience. George Grande often lied to the fans he supposedly adored. You want examples? I gots em:
He described Reds reliever Mike Lincoln as "brilliant" after a 2008 season that ranked somewhere between (a.) lousy and (b.) decidedly average, depending on your view of things. But he never approached brilliance (not with a 4.48 ERA he didn't).
He once said that Reds OF Willy Taveras reached base safely 75 percent of the time when he hits the ball on the ground. If this were true, Cooperstown, NY would change its name to Taverasville (or something).
You'll have trouble believing this next lie...
In mid July, 2008 -- in other words, well into the season -- Grande described Mets reliever Scott Schoenweis thusly: The good news for Schoeneweis, he's a strikeout machine; 37 innings, 19 strikeouts."
This was Grande's way of saying something nice about Schoenweis. It was also a disgusting lie. Scoenweis pitched nineteen more innings that season, and actually improved his strikeouts-per-innings-pitched ratio...and...wait for it...wait for it...at the end of the season a whopping 292 pitchers in Major League Baseball had struck out more batters per inning than Schoenweis. In fact, when factoring in every pitcher who threw at least 40 innings in '08, only 79 humans finished with a crappier ratio than the so-called "strikeout machine." What a joke.
Whether you accept it or not, George Grande was a liar. Or maybe just stupid.
2. Quotes that either (a.) made absolutely no sense or (b.) made you want to puke.
Everything you're about to read was taken directly out of Geroge Grande's mouth. Verbatim. Ver. Bay. Tum. The grammar is often horrible, but that was part of the George Grande Experience, as well. You might think he's a nice guy. I just think he's an idiot. Enjoy...
Here's Grande describing a pre-game meeting between Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Don Mattingly (a guy who last played in an All Star game when Bruce was two-years-old):
"For Joey Votto and Jay Bruce today, kind of a special day--they had a chance to meet and greet and talk with Don Mattingly, the great first baseman. Outstanding hitter, .300 career hitter, and a guy who I think in both of our minds is a Hall of Famer. No, his numbers didn't warrant that simply because his career was cut short with back difficulties, but a Hall of Famer on the field, a Hall of Famer off the field, too."
Grande on Adam Dunn (a guy who never seemed to care too much about anything, especially not a player from the 1950's) passing Ted Kluszewski for most HRs by a Reds lefty:
"252 HRs as a Red left-hand hitter. That's number one all time, one better than the great Ted Kluszewski. And it's not lost on Adam Dunn. Dunn, since he put on a Reds uniform, has marvelled at Big Klu's numbers. Not just the home runs, but the few strikeouts in his career and the kind of player he was, and leader he was, for the Reds."
On lifetime backup Jeff Keppinger:
"The more you see Jeff Keppinger, the more you like about his approach to the plate. Just very solid. Not spectacular in any way he plays the game, but very solid in...a great team player both in the field and at the plate"
On Ted Kluszewski and his widow (in a conversation with Reds broadcaster Chris Welsh):
"And the Big Klu, not only a great hitter, a great gentleman, and Eleanor still graces us with her visits every once in a while at Great American Ball Park. And she lights the place up whenever she comes, doesn't she Chris? (Welsh agrees, Grande laughs the way I did the first time I saw Borat, and continues...) The Reds family, not just the players but their wives and widows that have meant so much to this great franchise."
On Paul Janish, a professional athlete, playing hard:
"What a great competitor. Just a ballplayer. Not spectacular in any one part of the game, but spectacular in the fact that he just plays the game so hard."
On multi-millionaire pitcher David Weathers being willing to pitch whenever he's asked:
"He's the best. The Reds are so fortunate to have him. And it's great to watch, not just David Weathers on the mound but David Weathers in the clubhouse, too. He's a supporter of his teammates and wherever the bell rang, whether it's 6,7,8 or 9, he was ready. And he will be again this year."
On the young players in the organization being such quality people:
"And the one thing that you could really notice in the last couple of years, not just on the field with the likes of a Drew Stubbs, or Chris Valaika, Jay Bruce or Paul Janish -- people like that -- they're just...not just good athletes, good ballplayers, but quality too. Quality off the field."
George Grande, while interviewing Reds owner Bob Castellini, had this to say while talking about all the dead people connected to the Reds organization (and nothing was taken out of context; this was a complete thought for Grande):
"There are special on the field, special people off the field, and all of those we talk about. But more importantly, special off the field."
3. Nicknames. George Grande loves nicknames. He once called Gary Majewski, one of the worst relievers in recent Reds history, "Magic" seven or eight times in about three minutes. And it's actually worse than it seems. Grande would say things like, ""Magic" hasn't walked a batter over his last two outings." or ""Magic's seen his ERA lower from 7.73 to 7.09 since the start of May!"
Of course, there's the time Jonny Gomes was dubbed "Never Say Die" Gomes after hitting a home run to shrink the Reds' deficit from ten runs to nine. And Grande was serious.
When lifetime .176 hitter Andy LaRoche strolled to the plate, Grande dropped a "Here's Andy" on us, as if Honus Freaking Wagner came back to life.
I'll never forget the time he called some retired umpire that we've never heard of "Spanky" approximately 45,000 times in a half inning.
The Pirates aren't the Pirates, of course, they are known as the Buc-O's and only the Buc-O's.
But the most mind-blowing example of Grande giving every MF'ing schmuck in baseball a nickname is the time he referred to Bud Black as "Buddy" Black. Grande was so determined to give Black a new nickname that he lengthened an already existing nickname. "Bud" is a nickname, always has been, always will be. "Bud" is something you're called when you have a stupid birth name. In Black's case, it was Harry Ralston Black (stupid indeed). So, anyway, Black's lifelong nickname wasn't good enough for Georgie Boy. Grande had to give Black's nickname a nickname.
If George Grande was around to broadcast 1920's Yankees games, I'm sure he would've called Babe Ruth "The Babe-ster."
With exception of the first two stories in the "Lying" section and the "Never Say Die" Gomes thing, all of these stories/quotes were gathered from the rougly 120 games I watched in the 2008 baseball season. So, when you consider that Grande probably called between 1,500 and 2,000 Reds games in his career...and when you factor in the thousands upon thousands of hours I've been subjected to this bozo, it's easy to see why his retirement was one of the happiest days of my life.
Good riddance, loser!
-Brad Spieser (Brad@TwinKilling.com)
Posted by Twin Killing dot Com at 9:19 AM