Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Jew celebrates Easter

March 23, 2008 - 1:05 p.m. ET
McKechnie Field, Bradenton, Fla.
Play-by-Play : Bob Lorenz. Again!
Color: Ken Singleton

Well, Michael Kay couldn't be bothered to make the 38-minute trip to Dunedin, so why should he be expected to travel the 54 minutes to Bradenton?

That's right, Bob Lorenz is back at the mic for the Yankees. Under other circumstances, we might understand Kay taking this game off. It's Easter Sunday, after all. Only problem is Kay is Jewish.

We don't know the exact particulars behind Kay's absence this afternoon, but would it have really killed him to have gone out of his way to make the hour trip to Bradenton and given a goy like Lorenz the chance to spend Easter Sunday with his family? Apparently the answer to that is yes. How are we not surprised?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

MID - Missing in Dunedin

March 20, 2008 - 1:05 p.m. ET
Knology Park, Dunedin, Fla.
Play-by-Play : Mi...Bob Lorenz?!
Color: Ken Singleton

Well, folks, the regular season is almost upon us. Want proof? It's a road game for the Yankees, so Michael Kay of course is unable to grace us with his presence. Dunedin must be the Floridian equivalent of Oakland. When's the last time Kay was there? 1998?

It might prove instructive to Lorenzblog this matchup of Ian Kennedy vs. the immortal Kane Davis. However, if Tuesday's broadcast from Virginia Tech was any indication, Bob Lorenz is as dull as dishwater in a game-announcing role. Or dull as ditchwater. Whichever you prefer, either is acceptable. The bottom line is he's no Kevin Burkhardt.

Back on Saturday for the rematch at Legends Field, where the legendary voice of Michael Kay is expected to be back in a living room near you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008



March 18, 2008 - 3:15 p.m. ET
English Field, Blacksburg, Va.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: Bob Lorenz (!)

Open: We could make a joke about how the real tragedy is that Michael Kay has been the television voice of the Yankees since 2002, but that's probably in poor taste. With that in mind, YES did itself proud to get up to English Field and put on a broadcast indistinguishable from its normal ones. Kay and Lorenz -- why did YES not send a real color guy? -- wear suits, and their ties almost match Virginia Tech's colors of maroon and orange. Just so you know, Kay varied from his foolish routine and said, "When we come back, we'll have lineups, the first pitch, the whole bit." Good job!

Top first: The Yankees waste no time scoring a run, but Jason Giambi hits into a double play that Kay is sufficiently moved to bestow a "pretty play." Off to a flying start.

Bottom first: Kay goes back to the double play turned by Virginia Tech and says it was a "pretty major-league play."
  • Did he mean it's close to a big-league play but not quite there, or does he mean that it's a nice-looking major-league play. The first is insulting, the second is annoying. He just said pretty in the top of the inning. Turn off the repeat setting.
Top second: In describing the stadium, which seats 5,000, despite Kay's declaration a day earlier that it held 10,000, Kay says, "field-wise, it's a major-league field."
  • Hmmm. Announcer-wise, Kay's a bad announcer. What he meant was that the dimensions are similar to those in big-league ballparks. Or at least I think that's what he meant. It's so hard to tell these days.
Kay gets all excited about a Jason Giambi fly to right, but he takes his foot off the gas pedal just in time. "That one is CLUBBED to deep right. On the TRACK, Bumbry makes the catch."
  • If I wanted to hear gross exaggerations, I would have tried to hear John Sterling's call on the radio.
Top third: Alex Rodriguez is in the dugout with the Virginia Tech players. Kay: "Not to sound hokey ... no pun intended."
  • Not to sound obnoxious, but no pun intended? Of course not. Hokey is a word bandied about by everyone. He would have used it even if the school's mascot wasn't the Hokie.
Bottom fourth: Jeff Karstens drew the short straw had the honor of coming up to Virginia to pitch this game. Kay says: "I'd say his only shot to make the team was as a long reliever."
  • Clearly Kay has not seen what I have seen during Karstens' trips to the batting cage and catching other pitchers in the bullpen. He has a great shot as the backup catcher or as a pinch-hitter.
Bottom sixth: Kay says it wasn't that long ago when Kimberly Jones -- ugh -- was a student at Penn State. Kim will be 40 next year. That means she's nearing her 20th reunion. Congrats! And, 16 or so years is a long time.

Later, Bob Lorenz casually mentions that Phil Hughes went to college. Kay says nothing.

End seventh: Before I can find the remote -- I know, I know, I should have it at the ready -- Kay says, "We'll be back from Blacksburg, Virginia. Southwest Virginia to be exact."
  • "I need some directions."
    "Where are you going?"
    "Blacksburg, Virginia."
    "OK, take Interstate 81 to U.S. 461 and you can't miss it."
    "Yeah, but will that be in Southwest, Virginia?"
Oh, what a play!: 0-for-0

Fields, fires!:

I owe Juan Rivera an apology: Letting Lorenz's comment about Hughes slip by was pretty bad. But Kay kept the blatant errors to himself.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Michael O'Sucks


March 17, 2008 - 1:15 p.m. ET
Spring Training Game 17
Legends Field, Tampa, Fla.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: John Flaherty

Open: Well, it's St. Patrick's Day. Michael Kay dresses up in a lime-green nightmare, and John Flaherty sports a different shade of green. If it's possible for Kay to be more offensive to the eyes than usual, this is a good way to prove it.

YES, being ever so clever, tosses an O' in front of each name on the graphic -- John O'Flaherty and Michael O'Kay. I'm not here to hate on St. Patrick's Day. YES could have gone the extra mile and made all its graphics green, but, given their difficulties, the production truck would probably have exploded if they tried that.

Kay expounds on how great a coup it was for the Red Sox to sign today's starter, Bartolo Colon. And he's still excluding the game's first pitch from being a part of baseball.

Bottom first: On the Yankees' lineup "No green rookies in there."

YES shows a man with a hands-free device under a green plastic hat. Kay: "You've heard of BlueTooth. That's GreenTooth."

  • To quote Peter Falk's character from Made, "Do you see a pattern forming here?" Kay loves these green jokes, but they're just not funny. Of course, he has the comedic sense to stop making them.
Meanwhile, Colon -- surprise! -- has begun to suck, and Kay starts ripping the pitcher's body language. Gone is the effusive praise that was spewed out in the opening. All it took was 2/3 of an inning in a spring training game!

Top second: Oh no, here we go again: "F
unny thing about Lowell -- when the Red Sox traded for Josh Beckett, the Marlins forced them to take Lowell too ..."
  • For those who didn't watch a Yankees-Red Sox game in 2006-2007, this may come as news. Percentage that meets that criterion in today's audience? 1? Lowell has re-signed with the Red Sox for $12 million per year, $3 million more per year than he made after coming over from Florida. Seems to me he is no longer being forced upon the Red Sox.
Suddenly, Michael Kay is asking radio "voice" Suzyn Waldman a question. Who let her into the stadium? Luckily, YES keeps her off-microphone and off camera. The way it should be.

Bottom second: All this talk about the Red Sox and their travel to Japan sounds familiar. Oh, yeah, that's right, Kay spent the last four innings of Sunday's game talking about it because he couldn't bother to remember more than one pitcher in the Indians bullpen.

Top third: Ah, yes, Kay's daily eyesight check. Jeter gets to a ball any shortstop would get to, and Kay raves about how Jeter worked to improve his range to his left. "His range up the middle is somewhat limited. His range in the hole is good."
  • That's like saying: "Eliot Spitzer's political options are somewhat limited." As for Jeter's range in the hole, that's below average, too. Why do you think he's jumping all the time? This isn't the time or the place to go into a long soliloquy on how bad Jeter's defense is, but this is just another example of Kay's apologizing for a player.

Bottom third: We get it, you are Michael O'Kay for the day. Tell them to stop putting up graphics about it.
  • I should also point out that Kay is in such a habit of doing his, "Along with John Flaherty, I'm Michael Kay routine" -- he only does it four times a game -- that he butchers this. "Along with John Flaherty...err...I should say, John O'Flaherty, I'm Michael O'Kay." A masterful delivery as always.
Top sixth: Does anyone tell more stories about himself than Kay? Now he's whining about how Jorge Posada hugged Flaherty but not him in the clubhouse before the game. "It's a catchers thing," Flaherty reassures Kay.

  • First of all, I don't think Posada's arms are long enough to reach all the way around Kay. Second , is he four? Does he really need a hug?
Kay also says he would have made fun of Posada's ears but Posada made fun of them first.
  • Is Kay really going to start making fun of another person's appearance? He has as much standing to do that as ... he does to make fun of other another person's announcing. No wonder Posada won't hug him. Guy's an ass.
Bottom sixth: At the end of the inning: "You stay right there."
  • Wow. I was going to go to the bathroom, but I better not move out of fear Kay will jump out of the TV and smother me with his lime-green shirt.
Top seven: For the second straight day, Legends Field has set an attendance record. Every game this season has been sold out. Have they
A. Built more seats each day?
B. Lied about the sellouts?
C. Started counting people twice?

End of game: We're going to wrap this baby up. [.23 seconds later]. Remote clicks TV off.

Oh, what a play!: 0-for-0. Despite Jeter's perpetual magnificence, Kay had no reason to bust this out.

Fields, fires!: 1/2-for-1. Kay used the weak variation of "straightens, fires" when Keith Ginter fielded a ground ball.

I owe Juan Rivera an apology: Nothing of note again. Kudos to Kay!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kay, an all-time legend


March 16, 2008 - 1:15 p.m. ET
Spring Training Game 16
Legends Field, Tampa, Fla.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: John Flaherty

Open: On the starters, Chien-Ming Wang and C.C. Sabathia: "How about the pitching matchup today? You'll take this matchup any day, and you'll pay to see it. And you'll see it free today on YES."

  • First of all, no one wants to hear someone who gets paid to call baseball games tell him who is worth spending money to see. Second, I love that Kay is so sure I would pay money to see Sabathia and Wang pitch in a Grapefruit League game. How many of the 10,000 or so people in the ballpark do you think knew the pitching matchup when coming to the park, much less when they bought tickets? No matter how great the starters do, they'll both be gone after the fifth inning at the latest. Also, thank heavens YES has provided us Kay free of charge.

For those scoring at home, Kay did the, "When we come back: lineups, first pitch, baseball" routine on the way to break.

Top first: YES comes back from commercial early, and Kay is forced to fill. "Yogi Berra's not just a legend, he's an all-time legend."
  • I wonder what would happen if Kay were placed on a similar scale. "He's not just a bad broadcaster. He's an all-time bad broadcaster."
"Let's just sit back and let the sunshine come through your television, whether it be plasma, or something else."
  • Kay clearly not versed in other forms of TVs.
Top second: Chien-Ming Wang doesn't look great, so YES decides to go to the pitch-count graphic.Without fail, Kay will read the numbers on the screen. That's the second time in two such graphics he's done that. It's like clockwork.

David Dellucci makes his second plate appearance. Kay again doesn't mention he used to play for the Yankees. Odds that he doesn't remember? 2:1.

As YES goes to break, Kay says the Indians scored three runs on three hits. YES' graphic says four. Tough to tell who is right without some research, but Kay takes the hit on that one.

Bottom second: Well, if you bet on Kay forgetting that Dellucci played for the Yankees, you lost. But, Kay tosses in a gratuitous "actually" by saying, "When he actually plays against right-handers, he does very, very well."

Top third: We're not crazy about John Flaherty, but he has some self-deprecating humor. He tells Kay that he won't be at opening day and says YES will have the A team there.

Kay: "You can be part of the A team, John."
Flaherty: "I'm on the B team."
Kay: "I can't accept that." To himself: "Wait, if he's on the B team, does that mean I am too? But I'm on the A team. Hey, how come Paul O'Neill isn't here to order food? It's the third inning already."

Bottom third: Flaherty starts talking about how Alex Rodriguez was "cheating" on C.C. Sabathia's fastball when he swung way too early on a changeup. Kay: "Explain to the people out there what you mean by cheating. A lot of people will think Alex is doing something wrong."
  • How many people out there watch spring training games and didn't understand what Flaherty meant there? ["Cheating? Is he corking his bat?"] Three? That's poor faith in the public's grasp of idiomatic language. This also shows Kay's bad habit of playing Jim Lehrer with a his color commentator and asking silly follow-up questions when everyone already knows what the color guy meant.
C.C. Sabathia's pitch-count graphic comes up, and, you guessed it, Kay reads it aloud.

Kay on Grady Sizemore's routine catch of Shelley Duncan's fly ball to center. "Sizemore back, STILL back, makes the catch. Takes an extra-base hit away from Duncan."
  • Calls like that make Kay wish he were still on radio, when fans had no idea how much he distorts reality.
Bottom fourth: Kay reads another pitch count graphic. This isn't egregious in itself, but when it happens every time, it's a problem.

Top fifth: Kay tells everyone how Josh Beckett's "back has been barking." Two minutes later, in talking about Bartolo Colon, says "his shoulder has been barking."

Flaherty then compares catching a knuckleball to working with Kay. Meanwhile, a pitch count graphic goes by unannounced!

"You really hated catching a knuckleball. I hope you don't hate being here with me."
  • Don't ask questions you don't want answered.
Flaherty: "I thoroughly enjoy this. ... You have made this transition into the booth so enjoyable."
Kay: "Oh, go on. No, go on."
Flaherty: "That's enough."

Of course it is. Makes me sick.

Thank goodness this Captains' Corner isn't a series. Just a one-time show with people like Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly and Mike Eruzione. Hold on while I set my DVR.

Bottom five: Back to that pitchig matchup I will pay money to see. Wang didn't finish the fifth, and Sabathia doesn't even start the inning. What a ripoff.

With Aaron Fultz in the game, Kay uses the opportunity to talk about how great the Indians bullpen was in 2007. Of course, he only mentions Joe Borowski, who Kay says has the worst stuff of the bunch. ("But that's not a knock on the guy.") Besides, Borowski has to be great because he "got it done" with 45 saves. Kay doesn't mention the 5.07 ERA or Rafael Betancourt or Rafael Perez.

Top sixth: This isn't a knock on Kay, but as he says the Yankees have set a Legends Field recordwith today's attendance. YES shows wide-angle shots and the park looks 1/3 empty.

This is a knock on Kay: The Yankees have played at Legends Field since 1996, a fact Kay has said at least four times in the past two games. He follows up this non-nugget of information by declaring that the Yankees have made the playoffs every year since then.

He also describes it as a "small major-league stadium." Look, I'm sure it's nice, but doesn't that make it a minor-league park? It holds 10,000 people. That's 25 percent the size of the smallest big-league park.

Top seventh: Kay follows up some Flaherty commentary on how useful Darrell Rasner is by, out of the blue, congratulating the North Carolina basketball team on its win over Clemson in the ACC title game. Now that Tyler Hansbrough has heard Kay acknowledge that, he can go do something else.

Kay also asks Flaherty if he lost weight catching in hot weather.

"What did you lose, five pounds?"
"Well, I didn't go in and weigh myself."
"I like to weigh myself 15 or 20 times a day -- see the ebb and flow."

Where to begin? Is Kay looking for a weight-loss plan? Catching a baseball game would probably rank about 101st on my list of such plans. Does Kay really weigh himself 15 or 20 times a day? That is such a bizarre total it almost has to be true.

Bottom seventh: "Let's take this baby to the eighth."

Top eighth: "Pretty play!" makes its return. Cody Ransom makes a diving stop to end the inning. "That's a pretty play by Cody Ransom." For those who don't know, Kay said this about 45 times per game in 2006, but someone was listening enough to realize that he said it too much. It virtually disappeared in 2007. Maybe that same person will realize that Kay is on the air too much.

Bottom eighth: I'm ashamed to admit this, but I just laughed out loud at Kay. Nick Green was robbed on a diving catch by Ben Francisco, and Kay comes up with, "Green could have been singing 'I left my hit in Ben Francisco.'" Not half bad.

Bottom ninth: Kay gets excited when Nick Green wins the game with a two-run single. He's thrilled he won't have to call extra innings.

Oh, what a play!: 1-for-2. Blows it on Ransom's diving catch, but tosses in a variation on a nifty double play by Bernie Castro and Alberto Gonzalez. "Oh, what a DOUBLE play."

Fields, fires!: 0-for-1: Casey Blake started a double play, but Kay's call curiously omitted his famous phrase.

I owe Juan Rivera an apology: No real major flubs in this game.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ides of March

What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than with Michael Kay? Who cares about conference tournaments?


March 15, 2008 - 1:15 p.m. ET
Spring Training Game 15
Legends Field, Tampa, Fla.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: Paul O'Neill

Open: On the newfound Yankees-Rays rivalry. "It actually all got started on this field."

  • ACTUALLY? Actually. What are the odds that a rivalry formed this month on one of the two team's fields?

"When we come back, lineups, first pitch and most importantly, baseball."
  • Kay loves to make believe that the first pitch doesn't count as part of the game. Let's see how long this lasts this season.He's been doing it for a while.
Top first: Kay tells us the temperature is "around the 80s." [Nice, so it could be in the 70s or the 90s. That narrows it down] When Ian Kennedy takes the mound, his 2007 numbers come up, and Kay calls Kennedy's 15-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio "great."

  • It's not. In fact, that's lousy. But remember what Kay said, we'll come back to that.
Bottom first: Jeff Niemann on the mound for the Rays. His Triple-A strikeout to walk ratio? 123-46. Kay calls it "good." See? We came back to it.

Top of the second: Who comes up with these graphics? Here's the "Scouting Report" on the Tampa Bay Rays:

  • Ray of Hope
  • Depends on Pitching
  • Haven't won yet
Wow, what insight. You know Kay pushed for that Ray of Hope line at the production meeting.

As for the "haven't won yet" part, Kay backs that up with some solid info:

"Only time they won 70 games was with Lou Piniella was in 1994, they went 70 and 91"
  • Little-known-fact: Four years before they existed, the Rays won 70 games for the only time in their existence.
A few pitches later, "I misspoke. It was '04, not '94 when they won 70 games." Excellent job.

Bottom second: O'Neill comes through again! Kay tells a story of Alex Rodriguez's mother's persuading her son to play baseball instead of basketball.

"Mothers always know best. [To Kay]: Did your mother buy you a notebook? ... 'Put your bat away, son'? Get you a karaoke machine to practice on?"
Kay: "I'm not even going to engage you on this one." That's because you have no chance, Michael.

Kay reveals his parents asked him to leave them alone. I'd love to get tips if they were successful.

Top third: Talking about Billy Traber, warming up: "There's Traber, he's pitched with Cleveland."
  • That's the truth, but not the whole truth. Look down in that media guide, Michael, and you'll see he also pitched for the Nationals in 2006 and 2007, well after his Indians season in 2003.
Top four: On Mariano Rivera: "He's 37 years old, he signed a three-year contract in the offseason."
  • He's 38.
Kay quotes Bill James in talking about Rivera's pitch selection. Have to give credit where credit is due.

Bottom four: Hideki Matsui lines out to left. Since he went the other way, Kay invariably pipes up with, "That's a piece of hitting." Any ball that goes the opposite way and comes close to being a hit is a "nice pitting of hitting." Write that down, kids. Kay should start doing instructional videos.

Top five: "I'm going to throw a stat at you, Paul." [Kay and stats, not a great combination] Turns out LaTroy Hawkins has a 9.64 ERA at Yankee Stadium. According to Kay -- so check the facts -- that's the highest of any pitcher in the past 50 years. Kay's challenge for O'Neill? Find out why that is.
  • O'Neill, bless his heart, points out that the Yankees have had a, well, good lineup over the years. Maybe that had something to do with the ole boost in Hawkins' ERA. He doesn't go into sample size, but it really doesn't seem that remarkable for a pitcher with a career 4.68 ERA to have one of 9.64 in 28 innings against a perennially good team.
On Larry Bowa's refusal to wear a helmet as a third-base coach: "Joe Torre had to talk him into it."
  • Had nothing to do with MLB's saying it would eject him from every game in which he didn't wear it.
On Jorge Posada's catching: "You know how much it meant to have [Roger] Clemens say how Posada was the best catcher he ever threw to.
  • Yes, that Roger Clemens, an embodiment of credibility.
On cue, Posada throws out Akinori Iwamura. Kay's take: "Iwamura tagged himself out."
  • That sounds awkward.
Bottom five: Ah, a promo for what YES show to miss next. Captain's Corner.
  • O'Neill: "Is this your show, too? We'll have to get a YES2 and 3 for all your shows."
Top six: Everyone's favorite pitcher, Kei Igawa, makes his appearance. "The one thing we noticed about Kei Igawa last year is that he left a lot of pitches up."
  • Really? The one thing? He displayed a complete inability to do anything a big-league pitcher should be able to do, and Kay makes it seem as though Igawa hung a few curves every now and then. Sounds like another disc in the Michael Kay Tells You How to Play Baseball DVD set, available April 1 wherever laughable ideas are sold.
"Could the difference between the Japanese leagues and the majors be that big?"
  • Let's see. Igawa leads the league in strikeouts in Japan and can't stay in the bigs here, despite getting more than his share of opportunity. Japanese starters don't exactly have a track record of success. The difference is probably big.

Bottom seven: I'm like a hitter. I don't need these last two weeks of spring training, I'm ready to go now."
  • No comment.

Final score: Rays 7, Yankees 2

"Oh, what a play!":1-for-1. Iwamura's diving stop of a hard smash clearly merited the Kay superlative.

"Fields, fires!": 1-for-1. Eduardo Nunez made a nice play in the hole.

Wait, that was Ruben Rivera?: Mariano Rivera's 38, not 37. Rays first played in 1998, not 1994.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March 13, ST #13: Pirates at Yankees

Here we go! The first Kaylog of the new season is also Billy Crystal's debut in pinstripes. As it's also Spring Training for the broadcasters, we'll go easy on Kay. Wait, no we won't.

March 13, 2008 - 1:15 p.m. ET
Spring Training Game #13
Legends Field, Tampa, Fla.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: David Cone, Paul O'Neill

Open: "It's the New York Yankees against the Pittsburgh Pirates in an exhibition game from Legends Field in Tampa, Florida."

  • Actually, Michael, an exhibition game is what the Mets played against the University of South Florida. This is a Grapefruit League game, not an exhibition.

Top of the 1st: "Batting fifth and playing first base, Adam LaRoche. Ryan Doumit is the catcher, he's going to bat fifth. Batting sixth and ... playing third base, or should I say seventh ... Jose Bautista."

  • What comes after five? No, Michael, it's not five again, contrary to common belief. And we are going to love seeing Jose Bautista play seventh.

Bottom of the 1st: Going to break: "But this inning will be remembered for a 59-year-old man, living out his dream, turning training camp into fantasy camp. We go to the second -- it's crystal clear, no score."

  • How soon after the news broke that the Yankees had signed Crystal do you think Kay sat down to pen that gem? Five minutes?

Top of the 2nd: Of Jason Bay: "Probably the most recognizable Pirate name."

  • What? You mean to tell me Michael Keaton isn't warming up in the Pirates bullpen?

You certainly get your money's worth on this broadcast. Two YES glitches in under 10 seconds: The cameraman has a seizure on Bay's fly ball to right and then former Pirates President Kevin McClatchy becomes the mysterious Kevin McClathy. This does not deter Michael, however. He nails McClatchy.

Two batters and two "pop-ups" to right and left field. Apparently balls that travel 300+ feet aren't fly balls anymore. Good to know.

Bottom of the 2nd: And A-Rod leads off with a "pop-up" to the right-field corner. Just think: 15 more feet and that pop-up would have been a home run!

Top of the 4th: O'Neill on baseballs: "Some days, I'd look over at Bernie and say, 'God, this thing feels like a grapefruit.' And then some days, it felt great. It doesn't take much. Kind of like you, Michael, in the old days. You knew if you pulled a No. 2 or a No. 3 pencil out, right? You had to."

Kay: "Oh, yeah. If it wasn't the right ink, sure."

  • Didn't you know? Back in the old days, pencils didn't have lead in them. That's right, they were just like pens -- they had ink in them! We love O'Neill. It's going to be great hearing him rip Kay this year.

Going to break: "So Mussina to Molina. M&M! It's a sweet combination as we go to the bottom of the fourth."

  • That's it. I'm setting a limit. No more than two canned "jokes" going to break per game, Michael. PLEASE.

Bottom of the 4th: A-Rod pops one up into the stands by the Yankees dugout, narrowly missing Robin Williams, who's at the game to see Crystal bat. Kay: "Almost hit Robin Williams. He would have had to call Patch Adams if it did."

  • If there's one thing you can count on Kay doing, it's making the bad and obvious joke.

Top of the 5th: O'Neill: "Michael, you'll know this. Who were some of the names of that World Series who beat the Yankees? You had Mazeroski, obviously."

Kay: "Mazeroski."

O'Neill: "Was Clemente on that team?"

Kay: "I believe ... uhhhh ... I believe ... yeah, he was on that team."

Awkward five-second silence.

  • Far be it for Michael Kay to actually know anything about baseball history. He's only a professional baseball broadcaster. What reason would he have to know that guys like Dick Groat, Bob Friend, and Harvey Haddix were also on that team?

Bottom of the 5th: Kay on Jaret Wright: "He burst onto the scene with the Angels. Nasty, nasty stuff. Shut down the Yankees in a playoff series."

  • Ah, that's right! Who could forget the famous 1997 AL Division Series between the Angels and Yankees? ... that is, if you like calling the Indians the Angels.

On screen: Doug Mientkiewicz is in the game at first base for the Pirates, but don't expect Kay to mention it until he comes to the plate ... check that. Jose Molina actually hits a ground ball right to Mientkiewicz, so Dougie does garner a mention after all.

Top of the 6th: Kay interviewing Crystal, who's still in the Yankees dugout: "You're 59 years old, you've never played in the big leagues, and you put a ball into play."

  • Ah, yes. The ole' foul ground ball that's in play. O'Neill to the rescue: "You were six feet away from putting the ball in play."

Top of the 7th: Kay on Jeff Karstens, who comes in to pitch the seventh: "His ERA [11.05] somewhat inflated because of a couple of bad outings."

  • Inflated? Couple of bad outings? In 2007, Karstens pitched in seven games. In four of those appearances, his runs total exceeded his innings total, and he very nearly did it a fifth time by giving up three runs in 3 1/3 innings. In another outing, he yielded two hits without retiring a batter (exiting the game with a broken leg). In his "best" game, he surrendered two hits in an inning of work. Hmmm ... that would seem to be to be seven bad outings in seven games. Kay, the master apologist, as always.

"More strikeouts than walks, also not good."

  • The numbers are on the screen as clear as day. Five (5) strikeouts and nine (9) walks. Gotta love Kay's math. First, five comes after five and now five is greater than nine. You can't make this stuff up.

Top of the 8th: Kay on Brian Bruney, who enters the game mid-inning: "Was sent down in August and ironically enough, when he was sent down, the Yankees brought up Joba Chamberlain."

  • The height of irony. The Yankees sent down a pitcher who wasn't pitching well for one who did -- the complete opposite of the roster move's intent!

"The problem [Bruney] has is that he doesn't always throw strikes."

  • As is the case with every other pitcher who's ever played. Great observation, Michael. No one pitcher always throws strikes.

Bottom of the 8th: Kay mentions how a lot of people across the country would love to do what Crystal did and play in a Major League game.

Cone: "I think nowadays, Michael, there's some guys out there that dream about being you. 'Hey, I want to be Michael Kay, covering the Yankees."

Kay: "I don't even like being me, so ..."

O'Neill: "... until payday."

  • We sympathize with you, Michael. We know Cone was just being facetious, but we wouldn't want to be you, either. O'Neill with another great zinger.

O'Neill: "Radio ... TV ... can't get away from you in New York, Michael."

  • You're telling us!

Kay: "Gonna start doing movies, too ... you stay tuned for that."

  • Oh, god. And here we thought the apocalypse wasn't for another couple of centuries at least.

O'Neill: "Black and white? Silent? No?"

  • Yes! Please! Silent! The answer to our prayers!

Cone: "If there was a movie about Michael Kay, 'The Michael Kay Story,' who would you want to play you?"

Kay: "Well, John Candy's dead, so ..."

  • Not a half-bad casting choice!

Top of the 9th: Kay mentions how he used to give away Outback Steakhouse gift certificates while he was in the Yankees' radio booth on WABC.

O'Neill: "I guarantee you pocketed a whole bunch of those things."

Kay: "Me?!"

O'Neill: "Yeah."

Kay: "Yeah, I did, but you don't have to say that on the air ..."

O'Neill: "That was before Atkins jumped into the diet."

  • Have we said how much we love O'Neill? If only he were the permanent color guy ...

Bottom of the 9th: And my DVR cuts out right in the middle of an exciting Kay call of Justin Christian's double to left-center. Since there were three outs to go, we'll have to give Kay the benefit of the doubt here and assume he made two more stupid comments and/or errors before all was said and done.

Final score: Pirates 5, Yankees 3

"Oh, what a play!": 0-for-2. He had opportunities on a Shelley Duncan pick down the first-base line and flip to Mussina in the second, and again on a Cody Ransom play in the shortstop hole in the eighth.

"Fields, FIRES": No real chances for Michael today.

"Wait, that was Ruben Rivera?": 4. Ink pencils, the fair foul grounder, Wright on the Angels, minimizing Karstens.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Kay Pollution

The putrid sounds of Michael Kay extend beyond the mere confines of New York City. In fact, the stench can be smelt from much farther away. Farther than the YES network, even, thanks to the mostly-good innovation of MLBtv (the negative exceptions being that distant Yankee fans/haters have to endure Michael Kay through half their broadcasts).

I come to this blog not out of any love for the Yankees nor any hatred, but rather as an objective viewer in want of better announcing.

That the ineptitude of this "a**hide of the Yankees" has reached me - a distant observer - and inspired me to chronicle his inadequacies should serve as a warning to any baseball fan who questions the gravity of the situation.

Add Mr. Kay's pompousness to the pot and we're left with a weighty problem; one so corpulent that it gives Cecil Fielder a reason to believe he could have been a pinch-runner.