To celebrate the advent of this year’s MLB playoffs, which I am looking forward to with rapt anticipation (no, really), I’d like to do a few posts featuring YouTube finds representing each team that’s made their way to October. Last but not least, the Giants.
I know it’s hard to believe, since the game has been poisoned by Buck and McCarver for the last 10+ years, but there was once a time when national baseball coverage wasn’t a complete shit-show. Seriously! I long for the days of NBC’s baseball coverage, and it’s not simply nostalgia. Back then, NBC employed excellent play-by-play men like Vin Scully, Marv Albert, and Bob Costas. (Whatever else you think of Bob, he’s a great baseball play-by-play guy, and I wish MLB Network would use him in that capacity.) And even their color/sideline guys like Tony Kubek and Joe Garagiola were, at the very least, unobtrusive.
To see what I mean, check out this pregame footage from the 1987 NLCS between the Cardinals and the Giants. It makes today’s game reportage look even worse in comparison. Somehow, NBC was able to broadcast competent baseball coverage without the music of Kid Rock or Frank TV promos. Also, check out Whitey Herzog getting snippy with Marv Albert.
ABC also had the rights to some playoff games back in them days, and their coverage–featuring Al Michaels most prominently–was not too shabby either. Here’s the open of game 3 of the 1989 World Series between the Giants and A’s, which is notable for being the only postseason game ever delayed by earthquake. This one of those “where were you when it happened?” moments for people of a certain age. Except I can’t really remember where I was.
As a young’un, I devoured all three volumes of The Baseball Hall of Shame, which was pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The fact that the cover art was drawn by Mad Magazine‘s Mort Drucker should give you an indication of the intended audience. One book had a chapter dedicated to the worst mascots ever. The Giants’ Crazy Crab was high on their list. He made a few appearances in the early 80s, went over like a lead balloon, and was quickly relegated to the dustbin of history.
For some reason, the Giants revived him a few years ago, and he make some kooky appearances at AT&T Park. Some people were happy about this. Some, as seen in this video, were not.
Earlier this year, the Giants had a “Wearable Blanket” giveaway, a rather transparent euphemism for Snuggies. I do not approve of this, but the ad for said giveaway gave me a chuckle nonetheless.
To celebrate the advent of this year’s MLB playoffs, which I am looking forward to with rapt anticipation (no, really), I’d like to do a few posts featuring YouTube finds representing each team that’s made their way to October. Next, the Rays.
As you might expect, there’s not a huge amount of material out there on the Rays. They’ve only been around since 1998, and their fan base remains relatively small (much to Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria’s dismay). I was only able to find a single Rays-related video that truly fits under the admittedly subjective category that I call YouTubery. But boy, is this one a doozy. This item definitely falls under the How Do I Feel About This? category.
It’s called “Defenders of the Game,” a super-hero-y cartoon featuring various members of the Rays, including manager Joe Maddon and coach Don Zimmer, all of whom to their own voice work. It was meant to be in-between inning entertainment, but has of course found its way on the Intertubes. Their arch-nemesis: the evil Umperor!
On the one hand, of course this is cheesy, and Joe Maddon et al. are not the best voice actors in the world. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that if I was a Rays fan and 8 years old, this would be the coolest effin thing ever. If there was a cartoon featuring Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden as crime solving robots when I was a kid, I wouldn’t have watched anything else ever again. And if you think about the usual between-inning distractions, this is far superior to Kiss Cam and See Which Plane/Subway Car/Moving Van Gets to the Stadium First.
If you’re wondering if there’s an episode guide for this series (which ran at Tropicana Field during the 2007 and 2008 seasons), wonder no more.
To celebrate the advent this year’s MLB playoffs, which I am looking forward to with rapt anticipation (no, really), I’d like to do a few posts featuring YouTube finds representing each team that’s made their way to October. Next, the Rangers.
I was surprised to find a dearth of Rangers material on The YouTubes. Sure, they don’t have the biggest fanbase in the world, but they’ve existed for 40 years and have had some highlights over their history. None particularly spring to mind, but I’m sure they have some.
However, I did enjoy this ad in which a father browbeats his son into LARPing. Minimal baseball content, granted, but a baseball ad nonetheless.
The Rangers played at Shea Stadium in 2008 as part of interleague play. One game was rained out, inspiring several players (who I don’t think see too much precipitation back in Arlington) to play Slip n’ Slide on the infield tarp. This video was set to Rihanna’s “Umbrella” for some reason, which doesn’t quite fit the whimsical mood.
In the twilight of his career, Nolan Ryan pitched for the Rangers, and also lent his name to this electronic pitching game. I don’t remember this existing as a kid, but I totally would have wanted one. Hell, I want one now.
Nolan also endorse a Super Nintendo game, which I never played (I was more of a Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball guy, personally). Watching this video, I do not regret that oversight in my gaming life. Go to this video’s page and read the comments if you want to see people bitch about gameplay in a 20+ year-old video game.
To celebrate the advent of this year’s MLB playoffs, which I am looking forward to with rapt anticipation (no, really), I’d like to do a few posts featuring YouTube finds representing each team that’s made their way to October. Next, the Braves.
Atlanta did not enjoy too much success before Bobby Cox came along, but they did manage to win the NL West in 1982 (even more impressive when you consider they’re located nowhere near the west!). Here’s some footage from when the Braves clinched the division on the last day of the season (thanks to a Dodgers loss). The clip starts out pretty low key, as the announcer fills us in on the particulars.
Then it cuts to the locker room, where the jubilant Braves make merry. Ted Turner is soaked in what I hope is champagne, while a blonde sticks to his side. One guy chugs Jack Daniels straight from the bottle, and I’m almost positive he’s not a player, just some dude who weaseled his way into the clubhouse.
Apart from this revelry, the 1980s were not kind to the Braves. But at least they were broadcast coast-to-coast on TBS, thus earning themselves the moniker of America’s Team (more for ubiquity than for performance). If you subjected yourself to Braves baseball at this time, you would’ve been treated to the opening credits seen here–which for some odd reason features as many non-Braves as Braves. Stick around to the end to see Skip Caray bitch about the horrible, horrible team he has to cover each night.
Earlier this year, at a game in Philadelphia, some idiot fan ran on the field in a red version of the Green Man outfit. Slow footed security personnel were unable to stop his romp through the outfield, so left fielder Matt Diaz took the law into his own hands. Be glad you just got tripped, buddy. At Citizen’s Bank Park, miscreants get tased.
Technically, this does not involve a major leaguer, but it happened in the Braves’ organization, so I will allow it. Mississippi Braves manager Phil Wellman disagrees with an umpires call and expresses his opinion with the China Syndrome of managerial meltdowns. On the Shit Fit Scale, this is at Winnebago Man levels.
He had to have been planning this in his head for weeks. Not even the most skilled comic improviser could have performed these shenanigans off the top of the dome.
To celebrate the advent of this year’s MLB playoffs, which I am looking forward to with rapt anticipation (no, really), I’d like to do a few posts featuring YouTube finds representing each team that’s made their way to October. Next, the Reds.
How long ago were the 1970s? Back then, Johnny Bench was considered handsome. Really! According to Joe Posnanski’s excellent book, he was quite the eligible bachelor in the hotbed of sensuality known as Cincinnati. He also parlayed his good looks into several hundred endorsement deals.
Here’s the most horrifying of them all: Hall of Famer Johnny Bench schilling for something called Bubble Fudge. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about a chocolaty bubble gum product makes my skin crawl. And if that didn’t, then I’d still be creeped out by the tons of unappealing close ups of the best catcher of all time failing to blow bubbles in this ad. See you in my nightmares, Bubble Fudge!
Johnny also hosted a kids’ show in the early 80s, The Baseball Bunch, which taught children fundamentals and sportsmanship and all that other crap. As a kid, I knew this existed, but somehow never got a chance to see it and always wondered what I missed. Now I know: Pete Rose screaming at children. YOU MISSED THE BAG!
Rose did his fair share of commercial work, too. (Couldn’t keep the knuckle-breakers away from your door on a ballplayer’s salary in those days.) He did a bunch of ads for Aqua Velva, but this one is my favorite, because it has a unique combination of bad acting, poor dialogue, and singing.
Rose slides steals second base headfirst, and Joe Morgan says, “Hey, it’s Pete Rose of the Philadelphia Phillies,” as if Pete stopped by his house and wasn’t playing a game against him. Then Pete Rose sings the Aqua Velva jingle in a voice that sounds like someone’s got a gun to his back.
I have an enormous mental bank of hideous ads from the 1980s, but I have absolutely no memory of this one for Kool-Aid. Little kids play baseball in weird pleather uniforms, while the Kool-Aid Man destroys a stadium and takes away a sure double from Pete Rose. The set looks vaguely like the landscape that appeared when Homer Simpson at a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper.
Finally, no survey of Reds YouTubery would be complete without the stellar acting chops of one Bronson Arroyo. Watch the high-kicking righty do a spot for a local Ford dealer and get all potty mouth on us. You’ll never play the big rooms working blue, Bronson!
To celebrate the advent this year’s MLB playoffs, which I am looking forward to with rapt anticipation (no, really), I’d like to do a few posts featuring YouTube finds representing each team that’s made their way to October. First up, the Yankees.
When I was a kid, Phil Rizzuto was still the voice of the Bronx Bombers, and it was awesome. It’s too bad there’s a whole generation of fans who only know Michael Kay and John Sterling, because Scooter was a delight. Sure, he was goofy as hell and would occasionally seem to get tired of actually calling the game. (I remember once Jackie Mason joined him in the booth–seriously–and they spent two innings talking about their favorite delis.) And his lengthy digressions and inattentiveness drove poor Bill White, his broadcasting partner, up the wall.
For all of that, Rizzuto’s goofiness was natural and endearing, not the studied, monstrous eccentricity of Sterling. Plus, he wasn’t one-tenth the homer that Sterling is. I can’t imagine him doing something so undignified as Sterling’s unbearable THUUUUUUUUUUUH YANKEES WIN!
Of course, I can’t show you any footage of Scooter actually calling a game, because that would bring MLBAM’s fiery wrath upon me. So I’ll have to settle for another touchstone of my youth: Phil Rizzuto’s commercials for The Money Store. As a child watching these commercials, I was quite confused; why would you buy money? If you needed money, you wouldn’t be able to buy money, would you? If Phil was just as confused, he didn’t show it (hardly).
Sadly, Phil was replaced in these commercials by pretty boy Jim Palmer, right around the same time he was unceremoniously removed from the Yankees broadcast booth. The world is a cruel place.
If you were watching Phil circa 1987, you might have seen a promo like this for Yankees baseball on WPIX, the local channel that carried their games for approximately 937 years. You also would have seen a terrifying teaser for the evening news like the one that opens this video, which is fairly typical of New York news during this era (with anchor Donna Hanover, aka The Future Mrs. Giuliani).
Or you might have seen these promo ads, also from 1987. I have no memory of these at all, but they’re pretty slick for the era. Also, Rickey Henderson walks down a Yankee Stadium tunnel with some kind of wild jungle cat because of course he did.
If we take the Wayback Machine even further, we find Phil Rizzuto the mystery guest on an episode of What’s My Line circa 1970. Soupy Sales seems to be a big fan. Amazingly, Phil points to the recent worst-to-first story of the Mets as a reason why the Yankees could do well in the coming season. (Spoiler: They actually won 93 games that year, but finished well back of the steamrolling Baltimore Orioles.)
A recent tweet by Michael J. Nelson (of MST3K/Rifftrax fame) used a phrase that had, for me, nigh-Proustian implications. Its mere utterance was enough to bring flooding back a lifetime of memories, vivid and haunting. It was a syllable that had as much cosmic resonance as om or na mya ho ren gen kyo–perhaps more
You may not have heard this word before (if it can even be called a word). That’s because it only existed for one very brief period, spoken by one lone visionary, and then disappeared into the ether from whence it came. And it only was heard in one, very special place: McRib commercials.
The McRib was basically a fake-pork sandwich (the kind you can now get in packs of ten at Sam’s Clubs everywhere) on a sesame seed hoagie roll with pickles and onions. (Amazingly, not fake Big Mac onion chiplets, but actual onion slices.) According to Wikipedia, the McRib was first introduced in 1981 in select locations. McDonald’s tried to make it a nationwide menu item in 1989, but soon abandoned this experiment.
Since then, it’s been reintroduced and rescinded in brief, tantalizing spurts, taunting lovers of meat byproducts and sugary barbecue sauce. I’m not here to extol the virtues of this sandwich, which was pretty awful. (I liked it as a kid, but I also liked fluffernutter as a kid, so there you go.) I’ve come to celebrate the memory of the ads, and its magical monotone mantra.
The premise of the ad: Mustachioed Dad buys some McRibs for a nice healthy family dinner. On the drive home, he feels tempted as their tantalizing smell wafts throughout his car and invades his every pore. What’s that, McRib? You want me to eat you? I really shouldn’t, but…oh what the hell, I’m not made of stone!
All actors must make choices. At each stage of a script, he must choose which path he will travel for whatever role he inhabits, be it Hamlet, Willy Loman, or the narrator harassing the McRib Dad. Those choices, as much as the words on the page themselves, create the work of art known as Theatre. ACTING!
I’m one hundred percent sure that the copywriters did not pen a script in which they asked a narrator to say CHAWMP, because why would anybody do that? No, this was a decision made by the narrator. “Mind if I do some improv?” he must have asked, and the guys in the studio, feeling adventurous, must have said, “Yeah man, just riff!” The result: GOLD.
Kudos to McDonalds (a normally conservative outfit when it comes to ads) for retaining this bit of weirdness in the commercial. That’s why CHAWMP remains tattooed upon my brain, much like the pizza guy from the Polly-o String Cheese commercial who says NUTHIN’? As does the narrator’s decision to say MACK-donalds and MACK-rib, which I found almost as bizarre/hilarious.
Even better, this 15 second ad-let in which the narrator says CHAWMP not once, but twice!
The man responsible for CHAWMP is Tony Joe White, best known for his 1969 hit “Polk Salad Annie” and not much else. But apparently he’s opened up for Creedence, Sly Stone, and Steppenwolf, and also appeared in 1973’s Catch My Soul, a rock-opera version of Othello directed by Patrick McGoohan (nothing about that sounds like it could be terrible!). So the man’s had quite an interesting career. However, CHAWMP is clearly the pinnacle of his art.
According to his web site, Tony Joe White is also known as The Swamp Fox, which could also be the name of an outboard motor, or a sexual act so depraved I cannot describe it here. Just thought you guys would like to know that.
I should add that I don’t know for 100 percent certain that Tony Joe White is responsible for CHAWMP. It’s not in any bio of his that I could locate online, and a Google search had no authoritative answers. But just listen to “Polk Salad Annie” and tell me that’s not the same voice. The first time I heard that song on the radio, I nearly drove off the road. “HOLY SHIT! IT’S THE MCRIB GUY! HE SAID ‘CHAWMP’!”
The only other possible explanation is that somewhere out there exists a masterful Tony Joe White impersonator. And that McDonalds sought this man out–20 solid years after Tony Joe White’s sole hit song was released. I find this possibility not only implausible, but also crushingly depressing to even contemplate.
For extra evidence, peep this video where Mr. White duets with Johnny Cash. Him and The Man in Black share a few sly drug references and also appear be, if not high, then enjoying themselves far more than they should be. Johnny also throws in quite a few CHAWMPS himself.
McDonalds knew the power of CHAWMP, at least at first. When the McRib was reintroduced in 1991, the ads used CHAWMP at the very end. Although without the golden pipes of Tony Joe White, the effect was muted, as you can see/hear in this example.
However, subsequent ads eschewed CHAWMP for other dumb schemes that don’t even warrant mentioning in this space. And perhaps it’s just as well. Why try to recreate such a masterpiece? Do you try to redo the Mona Lisa, or a shooting star?
Perhaps it is good enough that for one brief, shining moment, there was a CHAWMP.
It’s been a busy time at Scratchbomb HQ, and I haven’t had the chance to work up anything significant for the site the last few days. Please accept this video of footage from the old Lawrence Welk Show synced to Minor Threat’s “Seeing Red” as an apology.
It’s Friday! Procrastinate and count down to happy hour with these lovely bits!
Do you love the Muppets? That’s a trick question. Of course you do. After all, you’re a human being with a sense of humor and a soul. Only an inhuman monster would not like the Muppets. I would not care to be in the same room or ever meet such a quote-unquote person.
Yesterday, the tweeting of Chunklet led me to this YouTube gem. It’s a camera test for the first Muppet movie (aptly titled The Muppet Movie). I don’t know who posted this, but I owe you a few beers. Words can not express how happy this video made me. In it, Kermit and Fozzie engage in an existential meta-conversation about what they are, exactly. Plus, Miss Piggy admits to a horrible, horrible crime.
There is another video from the same session, apparently, which is not quite as brilliant but still has some amazing dialogue in it. For instance, Fozzie wondering why the car he’s riding in does not have a stove.
This next thing is not a video per se, but it’s my damn site and I’ll promote whatever the hell I want. The illustrious Paul F. Tompkins and Tom Scharpling appeared together on a special two-part edition of the podcast Comedy and Everything Else. It made for nearly four hours of non-stop hilarity. I particularly like Tom’s reasoning for why he shouldn’t have to sit through the Sarah McLachlan animal cruelty PSA’s. Subscribe now and listen to it all. You won’t be sorry.
It’s Friday! Procrastinate and count down to happy hour with these lovely bits.
Earlier this week, a video debuted for a song by esteemed musicians Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope–collectively known as the Insane Clown Posse. It was immediately shared across the Twitterverse and the Faced-Book pages as an example of majestic stupidity.
But this video…holy goddamn, this thing is…words fail.
Truth be told, it’s not really the video itself, which has some cheesy graphics but isn’t all that funny on its own. No, it’s the song featured in the video, “Miracles”. It’s about the extraordinary features of everyday life. It sounds like a musical version of a Mitch Albom book, but with tons of F-bombs.
Kudos to ICP for trying to get deep, but very few things mentioned in this video count as “miracles”. Almost all of them can be explained with some basic science. That doesn’t prevent Shaggy 2 Dope from wondering, “Fuckin’ magnets, how do they work?” And Violent J shares his tale of the time a seagull in San Francisco stole his cell phone, which is less of a miracle and more of mildly amusing anecdote.
But maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m the jaded, cynical one. Maybe I’m the guy just can’t see the miracles of “fuckin rainbows” and “pet dogs and cats”. Watch the video and judge for yourself.
Have you see the new Tiger Woods Nike commercial? You’ll love it if you like Inappropriate. In it. the disembodied voice of Tiger’s father, Earl Woods, admonishes him, as the camera slowly pulls in on his face as he looks stoic and competitive. Did you know Earl Woods is dead? Yeah, he’s dead. That, plus Tiger’s dead-eyed stare, make this really uncomfortable to watch.
Naturally, this has inspired almost as many re-workings as the bunker scene in Downfall. My favorite: This one, which uses a certain speech from Shawshank Redemption. (This is un-embeddable, but I forgive you, whoever you are.)