By Phil Simmons
From time to time, I don’t feel like doing much work but still want to be paid by the word. When that happens, it means it’s time for the Philly Sports Guy’s mailbag. As always, these are real questions from actual readers.
Lost or The Wire: How do they compare to this Phillies team?
The Wire doesn’t work as an analogy here simply because the Wire is the undisputed best show in television history, while the Phillies position as the best team in the NL is constantly being doubted.
The Phillies mirror Lost in terms of the characters on the show as well as the reception to the show itself. Lost was one of those shows that nobody really expected to do much, as other shows of it’s kind usually fail. It formed a huge group of die hard fans right off the bat, gained a lot of bandwagon fans, and had very loud haters who for whatever reason or another, didn’t get it and thought it had no business being on television. Mention you’re a Lost fan to another Lost fan and you’ve made a friend for life, tell a non-Lost fan that you like the show and they will look at you like you just drove a bus full of baby kittens off a cliff. Lost fans will try to put their show up with the other great shows on television, while Lost haters will scoff and say it has no business being mentioned as a great show, and won fluke emmys.
But let’s look at the characters in Lost and how they compare to the current Phillies team.
By Phil Simmons
Before today, there were only two instances I could think of where someone’s departure really stunned me: when Daniel LaRusso left Mr. Miyagi to train with Terry Silver at the Cobra Kai Dojo and when Pedro left the San Francisco Real World house rather than deal with Puck. But now I have to add Gus Johnson leaving CBS to that list. As you all know, I’m a huge Gus Johnson fan, and his leaving CBS really leaves a void in any sports broadcast on that network.
But after I digested the news and talked about it with Philly SportsGal, who told me “I’m trying to watch The Real Housewives of Orange County you dork, I should divorce you!” I came to a realization: Gus Johnson can save the Phillies broadcast team just like Ken Reeves saved Carver High in The White Shadow! Gus could probably get a job anywhere, but what’s a better job than one with the Phillies?
When you look at the Phillies broadcast team, there’s no real voice there. On the radio side, there’s Larry Anderson, who has about as much enthusiasm as Coach Finstock had when Scott Howard was trying to tell him about his problems. There’s Scott Franzke on play-by-play, who sounds like he’s one “LA On-Air Nap” away from tunneling out of CBP like Andy Dufresne. They also shoehorn in Jim Jackson, who is so out of place that it reminds me of when Demolition would send Crush and Smash down for a tag team match instead of Axe and Smash!
On the TV end, you have two color commentators who are a respective 8 and 9 on the Unintentional Comedy Scale. Sarge is basically Clay Davis if he got into baseball instead of politics, and Wheels is a venerable Philadelphia institution. I seriously want to make Wheels commentary tracks for movies. Could you imagine Wheels doing commentary for Fast Five?
“Now ya see here what they wanna do is they wanna drive the car… right there… they wanna get it on the road, middle in, but The Rock wants to stop them and Vin Diesel, he really respects the game and he’s a real heads up thief, so he knows that if he approaches this race all loosey goosey, he’s cooked and the Rock knows that this guy can fly if he gets behind the wheel of a car so he’s really gotta be careful here”
If I could make those, I’d be rich! I’d be even richer than I already am from my pandering to my fratboy reader base!
So, Gus couldn’t replace either of those two. He’d have to replace T-Mac. T-mac has gotten a raw deal, he’s basically like Kurt Thomas in Gymkata, being thrust into a starring role before he was ready. More importantly, T-Mac took full PBP duties after Harry died and we haven’t won since, so if we dump T-Mac for Gus, and the Phillies end up winning the Series, I’d be fully satisfied with renaming my famous “Thome Theory” to “The T-Mac theory.”
But don’t get me wrong, I’m a T-Mac fan. Last time my buddies and I went to Vegas, we were getting destroyed at the blackjack table. I was about $10,000 down, and I had my last few chips. Normally I’d walk away, but my buddy started doing T-Mac’s “GOOOONE” whenever I’d lose a hand. Eventually I was all out of cash, and the T-Mac jokes died for a bit, but later when I hit the ATM, he dropped a “HE’S BAAAAACK” which cracked everyone up. We ended up winning big, and I credit T-Mac for loosening us up! As far as I’m concerned, “HE’S BAAACK” is up there with “Look at the size of that Russian” as one of the greatest calls of all time, but I would sacrifice it in a heartbeat for the chance to hear Gus Johnson try to talk over a Wheels story, or a Gus-Sarge exchange.
So it would be a great opportunity for both Gus and the Phillies. We all know that the only sports teams and cities that matter are the ones I directly root for, so there’s nothing standing in the way of this and I can’t understand why Gus would choose to go somewhere else.
The Philly Sports Guy is the author of a book on basketball that ignores everyone except for the Sixers. He has also written a book that undermines every world series not won by the Phillies.
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