Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I can guarantee that the 2007 Minnesota Twins baseball experience will be unlike any other I have had in my lifetime.

I have seen by beloved hometown team celebrate two World Series titles, and I have seen them field the worst team in all of Major League Baseball. I have seen them set an American League attendance record, I have seen them on the cusp of contraction, and I have seen them celebrate the promise of a new stadium. I have seen Joe Mauer, but I have also seen Matt Walbeck. And after suffering through Dan Serafini and Rich Robertson, I have seen Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano. I've had the pleasure of listening to Bert Blyleven and Jim Kaat analyze telecasts, and I somehow survived a season of Tommy John (which I can pretty safely assume was more painful than his namesake surgery).

One constant, that perhaps I have not fully appreciated until late last week, was our "good neighbor": 830 AM. WCCO.

The Twins radio broadcast contract with WCCO expired after last season, and they bolted for the bigger dollars of the mostly conservative talk radio KSTP (1500 AM), ending a 45 year relationship with 'CCO.

On the surface, not much has changed. John "Gordo" Gordon is still the main play by play man, confusing opposing players with others of similar names, filling us with misinformation (see some earlier Foul Tips posts). Dan "Dazzle Man" Gladden is still here, too, still improving as an analyst. (It appears, based on spring training broadcasts, that the Twins are insisting to continue with the trainwreck experiment of letting "Dazzle" handle a few innings of play-by-play each game.) I believe they are still planning on wheeling Herb Carnael's bones (or at least his voice box) out of his tomb for the occasional home weekend and day game broadcasts.

The big differences will be in the subtleties of the broadcast. The pre-game and post-game shows will likely have a different feel, with different hosts. It's unlikely that 1500 will demonstrate the same surprisingly good taste (The Hold Steady, The Replacements, Sean Na Na) in gametime bumper music. Jeff McKinney will no longer cut into an important mid-August game from the 'CCO newsroom to update us on the golf-ball sized hail in Annandale, nor will he spend the next 15-20 minutes taking calls from "weather spotters." Will KSTP obsess about the weather in the same manner as WCCO? Remains to be seen.

And, of course, the station's non-Twins programming will be different.

Since the majority of the Twins schedule takes place at night, this probably won't be much of a problem once the regular season starts, but all these afternoon spring training games are taking a toll on me.

Last week, I spent one afternoon running errands. I had the Twins-Dodgers Grapefruit League game on my car radio. There were plenty of advertisements between innings welcoming me to the Twins new radio home. A few of them hipped me to stay tuned for "the best post-game show in baseball." Mildly curious as to what made KSTP's post-game show so great, I took their advice and stayed tuned. But there was no post-game show. There was a brief game recap from Gordo and Dazzle, immediately followed by one of the station's signature shows, Garage Logic with Joe Soucheray.

I had never actually listened to the Garage Logic program before that day. My father has been recommending this "absolutely hysterical" show to me for a couple of years now, but given the political and social differences that the old man and I have, I've always sort of had the feeling that Garage Logic wasn't really my bag. On a couple occasions (usually stuck riding with my dad on a Saturday morning), I've caught Soucheray's Saturday Sports Talk show with Patrick Reusse, but on that show Soucheray's more of a supporting player to Reusse's disgusting curmudgeon. (Reusse is an awful writer and an even worse human being. He once came to speak to my high school journalism class. He plopped his fat ass down on the chair behind the desk and basically told us, "Give up now. It's too hard and you don't have what it takes to be a journalist," not making eye contact with a single one of us during the course of the hour.)

But now the game was over, my radio was still on, and Soucheray opened his show by bringing up the subject of instant runoff voting. His opening statement to his show was, "I've been hearing a lot about instant runoff voting over the last year. I don't understand what instant runoff voting is, I don't know how it works. All I know is that the DFL is for it, so naturally I'm against it."


This is my reward for leaving the radio running for five minutes after a Twins spring training game? Some upper-class white guy wearing his own ignorance like a uniform? My jaw hung in disbelief. The car behind me started honking, catching me staring at my radio after the light had turned green. I can't say I was able to generate more anger that day; as I released my foot from the break I pressed the #2 pre-set button in time to catch the end of Chad Hartman's show on KFAN.

On Tuesday of this week, I was running more errands. I had the Twins and Cardinals going, listening to Johan Santana battle Albert Pujols, catching the Twins string together a nice mid-game rally, then leaving the car for about an hour and a half. By the time I started the car again, the game was over.

Garage Logic was on.

The subject was polar explorer Ann Bancroft and her recently abandoned Arctic expedition. For the record, Bancroft's and Liz Arneson's decision to cut their journey short was essentially that the temperatures they were experiencing were much colder than anticipated and the weather much more unpredictable, and the reason why their expectations were off was because of the effects of global warming.

Soucheray wasn't buying. "You're telling me that the temperatures were colder than they expected because of global warming? That doesn't even make sense!" He spent the next five minutes or so pontificating on how ludicrous it was of Bancroft to blame her "failure" on global warming. One brave caller, who admitted to being a registered Democrat, tried bringing up facts from the Al Gore film An Inconvenient Truth, but they were not swaying Soucheray's stance. The caller asked him, "I know you're not a fan of Al Gore, but are you telling me you won't believe anything he says in his movie?" Soucheray's reply was, "Nothing. Zero. I will say that doing things in your everyday life to conserve the environment is probably a good thing, but when it comes to Al Gore, I do not believe a word that comes out of that man's mouth."

Realizing that it was probably a driving hazard to be so infuriated while behind the wheel, I had to switch the station once again.

Where have you gone, Dark Star?


At 8:40 AM, Blogger Maria said...

Hooray you're back! I love you!

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Todd said...

Dude, that bit about Carneal's bones proved prescient!


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